April was certainly a mixed bag of bites. We would have a good blue marlin bite for a few days, then the marlin would almost disappear and the ono would be the big bite. Then the mahi mahi would show up and the ono would disappear. Spearfish, even though itís still peak season for them, disappeared for weeks and then showed up again. So whatís up with that?
The majority of the people who vacation in Hawaii and also elect to go fishing usually have some kind of fishing experience under their belt. They are familiar with their local lakes, streams, rivers and near shore fish runs. Lakes are perhaps the easiest to determine where the fish went. They canít go anywhere very far now can they (the Great Lakes being the exception)? Rivers may be a little trickier but you know the fish have either gone up or down river. Salmon are a pretty predictable fish because they have definite migratory patterns so you know that during certain months, they WILL be where theyíre suppose to be. Now picture in your mind a lake or river thousands of miles wide and thousands of miles long. You can only fish one very small portion of it because itís too big to cover the other places that are just too far away. Kind of like being stranded on an island in the middle isnít it? The Hawaiian island chain stretches over 1500 miles. Itís the longest island chain on the planet. Even taking a boat from one island to another takes the better part of a day, one way. On top of that, the pelagic fish we have here in the middle of the Pacific donít really care much about land anyway. They spend most of their lives far away from it. In fact, when it comes to blue marlin, they donít like it at all. The ocean is so pure and clean out here that marlin can see 1000+ feet down and when they see the bottom, it freaks them out and they rarely come in closer to shore than 1000í deep. Lucky for us in Kona that 1000í depth is only 1 to 3 miles from shore.
Being stranded on an island in the middle of all that water also has some unique advantages. The near shore fish. Hawaii is in such a remote location on the planet that one third of the fish here are found nowhere else in the world. It provides a consistent food source for the pelagic fish to come munch on and even better, structure for the bottom fish to congregate on. We now know from bottom fish tagging programs that many of the bottom fish migrate between islands even though itís thousands of feet deep between most of the islands. They donít follow the bottom, they swim in the thermocline so yes, even the bottom fish can disappear and reappear here but certain underwater structures will always have fish hanging around them. Ono are typically caught near shore as they cruse these structures but thereís only a few of us charter guys that drop lines down on to these structures. Here in Kona, Iím the go-to-guy for that because I do it more often than anyone. Itís a lot more work than just trolling around all day so why do I do it? Simple. Iím a living oxymoron because Iím an ďimpatient fishermanĒ. Trolling lures is OK if youíre getting some action but if not, after a while, fishing becomes too boring and itís time to mix it up and do some ďcatchingĒ. It doesnít always pan out that way but more times than not, the best action is fishing the underwater structures.