Another “grander” (1030 lbs.) for Kona! In last month’s report I stated that since 1954 we have averaged slightly more than 2 granders a year here in Kona so we’re off to a good start with 10 months left in the year to up that average. A few days after the catch I saw the captain and deckhand at their boat so I walked over to congratulate them on their first grander. The captain said it was his third. As I stood there puzzled with a ? expression on my face, he stated that he had caught two grander tiger sharks. It’s not the same thing in my book. In fact, I catch more tiger sharks (and other sharks also) than any other captain in Kona. Because I do variety fishing on almost every trip, it just works out that way. While I do have a grander blue marlin catch already, I have caught and released more grander tigers than I can count. The average size tiger here runs 800 to 1000 lbs. but because I release them, it is an estimate but as I stated in last month’s report, because of experience I know a 1000+ pound fish when I see it. A couple of years ago I even got a tiger up to the boat that was an easy 2000+ pounder. While tigers ( and sharks in general) are indeed a tough fight, the way that marlin and sharks fight is quite different. After you hook a marlin, they usually jump all over the place and wear themselves out. Because of that, the smaller marlins are a pretty easy catch but the real big ones are usually able to catch a 2nd wind and put up a good fight. Sharks fight consistently hard the whole way and don’t seem to get tired at all. In my experience, pound for pound sharks that are under a few hundred pounds are usually a tougher fight than marlin of the same size but when it comes to the power of a really big marlin, big sharks and even grander tigers just don’t compare.
While there are a fair number of blue marlin around for this time of year, the striped marlin and spearfish were a slightly more common catch this month. Since I’ve been talking about fight-ability, I’ll throw it in here that spearfish are one of the wimpiest fighting fish ever. One of their favorite tricks for getting away is to match the anglers cranking speed so the angler thinks the fish came off. If an angler doesn’t have much experience, they’ll stop winding and that’s when the spearfish get’s slack line and is able to shake the hook. Some ono have been caught this month and they also are not a very strong fighter. The mahi mahi bite started early this year and when it comes to a good fight, it doesn’t get much better pound for pound than mahi mahi. In fact, the word “mahi” is the Hawaiian word for “strong” and as it is in many foreign languages, if something is VERY much the meaning or essence of that word, they use the same word twice to describe it. Ahi have also been a fairly regular catch this month and pound for pound every bit as strong of a fighter as a mahi mahi.
Now for the bottom fish. The bottom bite has been pretty good this month. Most of the sharks I catch are hooked while bottom fishing. I also catch and release plenty of amberjack while bottom fishing. In Florida these fish have the nick name of “reef donkeys” because of their power to fight but there is one fish here in Hawaii that puts ALL of the other fish here to shame when it comes to sheer power. The king of all fish fights pound for pound goes to the GT, giant trevally or in Hawaiian, “ulua”. I also catch more ulua than any other captain in Kona and the fight that they put up for their size is sometimes just unbelievable! If the ulua could obtain a size of 1000+ lbs, I don’t think that there’s any fishing tackle currently made or human strength ability that could even catch one.