More "granders" for Kona! Last month there were two 1000+ marlin caught on the Big Island. One in Hilo and one in Kona. This month there were two more granders caught, both on the Kona side. That brings the total of granders caught in Hawaii to 6 out of the now 10 granders caught worldwide. Historical records of past granders weighed in Hawaii can be a little sketchy but it looks like in 1978 there were 7 granders weighed in Hawaii so we're on track for tying or even beating that in 2015. It's been a great summer for marlin in general. The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament was held this month and during the 5 day tournament, all 31 teams caught marlin. Most of the marlin are averaging 100 to 200 lbs. so in the tournaments, the small ones are tagged and released. There were over 100 billfish caught (that includes spearfish and one striped marlin) during the tournament and only 7 were killed and weighed in. Some people are figuring that it's this (now labeled) "Godzilla El Niņo" that is causing the great billfish bite here but I remain skeptical about that. We have had other really good summers bites without an El Niņo happening. When the Hawaii commercial longline fishing fleet was put on hold for a few years due to their interactions with endangered turtles and birds, within a couple of years of them not taking the marlin, we saw a big rise in the number of marlin caught here in Kona. As soon as they found a way to minimize their interactions with the turtles and birds, they started back in business and the numbers of marlin we were catching declined immediately. In 2012 the Billfish Conservation Act was passed by Congress that made it illegal to buy or sell billfish in the United States. The U.S. was the biggest importer of billfish meat in the world. Broadbill swordfish were excluded from the new law and the State of Hawaii was excluded entirely because billfish, marlin in particular are part of our culture and heritage. We're a small population here in Hawaii so we don't consume a whole lot of billfish. With the commercial fishermen taking less billfish because it's worthless to them, I think the Billfish Conservation Act is doing the job it was designed to do. It could be both factors combined but the law will stay in effect long after the El Niņo is over.
The ahi bite slowed down early this year. The FAD's, the "farm buoy" and "The Pipe" were all producing a good number of tuna 'til about the middle of the month. If you don't know what those tuna attractors are that I just mentioned, take a look at last month's fishing report. They're explained there. The otaru tuna bite was good for the month and the spearfish bit slowed down as is expected for this time of year. August is suppose to be one of the best months for ono fishing but there were very few being caught this month.
As I've been saying for months now, the trolling has been so good that I haven't been doing much bottom fishing. I only fished two days this last week and I tried the bottom both days. Early in the week the current was going south. The wrong way for a good bottom bite and we had one solid bite and didn't get it. Later in the week the current started pushing north again, the way in normally goes and the bottom fishing was great! GT, shark and amberjack one after the other. I've said it in the past several times and I'll say it again. The current is the main factor that turns the bite on and off here in Kona whether it be bottom fishing or trolling. Moon phase, tide, time of day and even an El Niņo doesn't affect the bite as much as the current speed and direction do.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers