The Kona trolling bite is HOT, HOT, HOT! It's been almost a decade, nine years to be exact since we've had a really hot striped marlin bite in Hawaii. Top that off with a good bite on mahi mahi of all sizes even though it's not the season for them, toss in a fairly good spearfish bite along with a sprinkle of as many small yellowfin tuna that you want to eat andů. I make it sound like a recipe and it should be because all of the fish mentioned here are great to eat. Small striped marlin are my 2nd favorite fish to eat. Especially if the meat is really pink but the best is when the meat is orange. Spearfish and mahi are next in line also, depending on the meat. Diet is everything when it comes to the flavor of the fish. Some fish are fatty and some are lean depending on what they've been feeding on. Also, proper care right after the catch also plays an important part of it all. Cooking recopies is where I draw the line though. That's out of my field of expertise so I leave the recopies and the cooking up to my beautiful wife.
Striped marlin, spearfish and mahi are pretty small fish and not much fun on typical 130 lb. Kona tackle. I use a fair amount of stand-up tackle when the smaller fish are around and even got a 97 pound striped marlin in this month on a Penn 30 with little problem. Spearfish are one of the weakest fighting fish there is and you barely even know you have a fish on the line using 130. 80 lb. is a good compromise just in case that big blue marlin shows up.
There's been some activity with the big 100+ yellowfin tuna happening in the porpoise schools and I haven't heard of a "blind strike" yellowfin in months. Last winter the yellowfin bite was a lot better so I'm hoping this is just a lull and not a downward trend. We also had a good off season ono bite not long ago and it looks like some ono have moved back in.
Even though the trolling bite is Hot, there are still some boats coming in with no fish for the day. That's just the nature of trolling all day. On almost every trip, I like to target the bottom. It's almost a guarantee of catching something and in most cases; the fish are bigger and harder fighting than what is being caught on the troll right now. I only use stand-up tackle to target the bottom. It's just more fun that way and I'm all about having fun.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers