The spearfish bite is no longer the top bite after having a solid five month run as the most common Kona catch. The peak of the blue marlin season is off to a slow start. The first weekend of the month and the 4th of July weekend tournaments on Monday resulted in some marlin caught but not in the numbers that we've seen in previous years. What went wrong this year? One captain that I talked to was certain that it had everything to do with RIMPAC. There is a huge Navy exercise going on right now off of the Kona coast. We even had a Russian spy ship right on our fishing grounds. During the exercise the Navy transmits very loud acoustic signals (sonar) through the water. These loud signals have definitely proven to have effects on whales even to the point of causing pods of whales beaching themselves. Whales and dolphins rely heavily on sonar to communicate and hunt. Could it be that the marlin are also affected by the sound waves? It's certainly possible. Another thing that is proven to affect the bite here in Kona is the currents. I've written about the currents several times in my reports so I'll spare my regular readers a repeat into the details but the currents weren't very favorable for the start of July either. Another thing that is a big factor in the overall marlin bite is fishing effort. The more boats out fishing, the more fish are caught. It's simple math. Prior to the holiday weekend and right after, not many marlin were caught but at the same time, I saw very few boats out fishing. It's almost like we're in the off tourist season. This sucky economy we've been in for so long and also this being an election year has really hurt Hawaii when it comes to tourism. I'm going to say that I think all three factors I just mentioned have had their affect on our blue marlin fishery. The good news is that as we progressed through the month, the bite has been picking up and even some 500+ pounders have been both brought in and released. No granders for the year yet though. Next week starts the 5 day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. For the past few years, each of the teams caught several blue marlin during the tournament. Hopefully, the currents will be favorable but RIMPAC isn't scheduled to end until August 4th. There's no way of knowing if the Navy is still transmitting their sonar. For the tournaments sake, I hope they're done with that part of the exercise.
The ahi bite remained good for the month with a lot of blind strikes going on. There were even some big ahi caught in ono lane this month. I spent a lot of my fishing efforts trying for ono with good success on most trips this month. On one trip I had a triple strike and bringing in the first fish, an ono, I was expecting the other two fish on the line to be ono also. I was surprised to find that the other two fish were both ahi but only about 25 lbs. each. I also found a mahi mahi hiding in ono lane along with rainbow runner and kawakawa.
I said in last months report that I was doing more high speed jigging when targeting the bottom and I did some baiting too. While mostly successful, rough water kept me off of the main bottom fishing grounds for most of the month. In fact, the seas weren't kind to us on several trips this month and that's one of the reasons I spent so much time in ono lane. It's a good way to hide from the strong North winds and sea chop. Also, with the spearfish bite so slow, it's the best food fish bite going on right now.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers