Several large blue marlin and even a large black marlin were caught this month. It started on August 1st when the biggest fish for August was brought in. A 964 pounder. There were several other marlin caught and released that same day. The five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament started just the next week and we were expecting several big ones to be caught in the tournament but it didn’t quite turn out that way. Almost all of the big ones that week were caught by non-tournament boats. The biggest of the HIBT weighed in at 588 lbs. Several non-tournament boats caught 600+ lb. marlin that week. Some brought in and some released. I also heard of a few big fish fights that ended up with the line breaking. The black marlin caught this month weighed in at 678.5 lbs. That’s the biggest black caught in a decade here. There are only about a half dozen blacks caught in Kona each year. I hold the record of the third largest black marlin ever caught in Kona caught in 2000 and at 843 lbs., it will probably keep that position for a long time.
The ahi bite was awesome if you hit the right spot at the right time. There were plenty of “blind strike” bites but certain areas just went nutz with boats hooking up almost as fast as they could get their lures back in the water after fighting the previous fish. Personally, I never found a zone like that this month. There were a few spearfish that showed up in August even though it’s not really season for them. The same can be said for the mahi mahi. For not being mahi mahi season, there sure were a fair number caught this month. August is supposed to be a good month for ono and it was pretty good at the beginning of the month but they seem to have left the islands early this year.
I didn’t spend much time bottom fishing in early August but I’ve been dropping fresh bait to the bottom on my last few trips and hooking up without much of a waiting time. What I’ve been catching mostly are sharks. They seem to be pretty plentiful in my favorite bottom fishing hole. The kind of shark I catch most is the sandbar shark. They average about 70 – 80 lbs. but lately I’ve seen a few well over the 100 lb. mark. Sharks are getting a lot of attention here in Hawaii but it’s bad attention. We’ve had 8 shark attacks this year so far. It’s the tiger sharks that are doing the attacks and they’ve been regular visitors in front and even inside the Kona harbor. Tiger sharks average between 700 – 1000 lbs. but can get much larger. I saw one in the harbor that I estimated at about 1300 lbs. People in general blame us fishermen for the tigers being in the harbor but, I think they’re right only in a round-about way. Yes we fillet fish and toss the scraps into the water. Mostly done in the inner basin where the tigers won’t travel far into. I think it’s the electrical fields given off by all the boats that messes with their sensors much like shark repellant technology does. What is in the harbor eating up all the fish scraps is green sea turtles. A favorite meal for the tigers because turtles are slow and easy to catch. We’ve seen many injured ones that managed to escape over the years. When the tigers come in, the turtles basically disappear. In the outer basin where the tigers hang out there also use to be a school of puffer fish numbering close to 100. Right now there’s only a little over 20 left. They’re also slow swimmers and easy for a tiger to catch.
No other captain in Kona catches as many sharks as I do, including tigers. My biggest tiger so far would have easily topped the scales at 2000+ lbs. but I don’t kill them, just photo and release. The fish photos page on my web site is loaded with recent shark catch and releases. Sharks are a lot of work to catch; they’re powerful and don’t tire out during a fight like most marlin do. You get to put the hurt on them and they also get to put some hurtin’ on you.