Kona Hawaii fishing report - May wrap-up .
Marlin were in short supply for most of May but the number of marlin catches has increased over the past week. Spearfish are the most common billfish being caught right now but with the summer season just starting up, we should see the numbers of blue marlin increasing and the number of spearfish decreasing. May is listed as the peak season for black marlin in Hawaii but what most people don't realize is that black marlin are a rare catch in Hawaii. The spot on Kona's "Big Fish List" for the biggest black marlin of the year remains vacant. With most marlin being caught and then released by the majority of captains now, it's possible that one or more blacks have been caught this year and released without it ever being known that it was a black. It takes a keen eye to spot the subtle differences between the three types of marlins we catch here. The best way to tell a black marlin from its cousins is that the pectoral fins stick straight out and are fixed. Striped and blue marlin pectoral fins can fold back and lay tight against the body. If you're going to release a marlin, it's not likely that you're going to take the time to try to move its fins. There is another way to tell a black from the others but that's reserved for people who can spot those subtle differences I mentioned. A black marlin has a larger, fatter bill in comparison to its body. In fact, all three types of marlins caught in Hawaii have differences in the bill-to-body size proportions but it takes years of seeing these marlins next to the boat to readily spot those differences. .
Other billfish that are rare in Hawaii are sailfish and broadbill swordfish. The first broadbill of the year was brought in this month. Broadbill are caught at night and are usually a bycatch of the night time tuna fishery. There are only few broadbill and about a dozen sailfish caught in Kona in a typical year.
The blind strike ahi (yellowfin tuna) bite started right on time this year. From May until the end of summer, when a lure is taken on the troll, it just might be a 100+ lb. ahi.
The ono run started early this year. Last year they didn't even show up. We had a little spurt at the beginning of the summer last year and then nothing for the rest of the summer. This year it looks like things might be back to normal.
Mahi mahi are still being caught on a regular basis but their close cousin, the pompano dolphin are being caught here also. I think there are only a handful of us here that even know the difference between a pompano dolphin and a mahi mahi. Most of the pompano are being mistaken as baby mahi mahi. It's another one of those "subtle difference" things. I tried doing some research as far as how big they get. My IGFA world record book is from 2001 and the pompano dolphin isn't even listed in there. I caught one yesterday that was about 14 lbs. and I found out today that the Hawaii state record for these is only 7 lbs. Most of them I've been catching are under 5 lbs. but the next big one I get (if I get another big one) will definitely get submitted for the state record.
The bottom bite was pretty good this month. The sharks have been thick so getting fish to the boat has been tough but the sharks in turn are a fairly easy hook-up and they make great sport. With the marlin in short supply right now, sharks are the biggest animal that you have a good shot at catching. On stand up tackle, they can be more of a fight than most anglers are up for. The "subtle differences" on shark identifications are even more complicated than with most fish. For instance, the difference between a bronze whaler and a dusky shark is the shape of the bottom teeth. I have to admit, most of the time I'm just guessing as to what kind I'm catching. I'm leaning. But just like playing with marlin fins, It's too dangerous to give a P.O.`d shark a close dental check-up.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers