July is a month with a lot of tournaments here and the marlin bite was good enough to make things exciting. The "World Cup" on July 4th has been a nail biter for years because of the close competition between Kona and Bermuda but this year it was Madeira that took this world wide marlin tournament. There was a time long ago when Madeira had tied Kona with 3 wins each and they claimed to be the new "Marlin Capital of the world" but a tie doesn't make you a winner. Now Madeira has 4 wins but since Kona now has 9 wins now, we know where the top big marlin spot is. Although we didn't win the tournament, it bears special note that 2 marlin weighing over 1000 lbs. were caught off the island of Hawaii this month. There have now been 8 recorded "Granders" this year so far and 5 of them were caught in Hawaii. 3 of them from the Kona coast. One in Hilo and one in Maui. The two landed this month from the Big Island were both brought in by small trailer boats. A 1010 pounder from a 25' boat on the Hilo side and a 1,368 pounder from a 20' boat on the Kona side. When I'm out on charters my customers often comment about the small boats out on the water with us. Claiming that somehow it's unsafe but I always tell them that our ocean here is usually as calm as a lake, sudden storms are very rare and that the fish have no idea what size boat is pulling that lure that's about to be eaten. In the case of the 1368 pounder, I should note that not only was it just 8 pounds shy of the IGFA world record marlin but it was also caught on a live skipjack tuna used for bait. The really big marlin are rarely caught on bait but when they are, it makes the fight a lot easier. A fish hooked in the gut won't fight as hard as one snagged in the face.
The yellowfin tuna bite was also good this month along with an exceptional month for albacore, bigeye and otaru. The FAD's have always been a good spot to fish for tunas because the structure starts the whole food chain going and the tunas hang out there because of it. About 2 years ago, the fish farm that raises Almaco jacks just off of our airport tried an experiment raising the jacks out in the deep just a little over 3 miles out and although the experiment ended and they pulled out the boat and fish cage last year, the buoy they used to attach it all to the bottom still remains. It's been the main fishing spot for the small boat guys ever since it was put in and that's where the 1368 pounder was caught. Now we have a new piece of structure holding fish. I use to work as an underwater construction diver 25 years ago at an aquaculture farm and I helped deploy several 28" polyethylene pipe lines, each a little over a mile long out into the ocean. The deep end of the pipes sat at about 2500' and the water temperature of the water we pumped up from there was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We raised a number of cold water species in on-shore ponds. When the farm went bankrupt and there was no one to maintain the pipes, things started breaking loose. Polyethylene is buoyant so we had the pipes weighted down with cement strapped on with metal straps. The metal has rusted away and somehow one of the pipes found its way down the steep slope to just inside the 1000 fathom line, about 3 miles off shore. The pipe now stands straight up! The weight holding the very end of the pipe to the bottom is not likely to come loose but that's another story. I first spotted it about 6 months ago but the end of the pipe could only be seen when there is no current. The pipe is flexible so it doesn't stick up out of the water but lays bent over on top of it. I've seen as much a 100' of exposed pipe on the surface. Some small buoys were tied to the end of the pipe to help avoid an accidental collision with it but the buoys were pulled under the surface when there was some current and there almost always is. I've been catching fish around that spot for a while now but it's no longer a secret spot. Some small buoys were put on a longer rope this month so they could be seen on the surface all the time. Last Monday they put an even more visible marker on it. It's a string of 7 buoys. About 50' between each buoy. I happen to be there when they attached it. Now when the current pulls the end of the pipe under water, even on a fairly strong current, a few of the buoys remain on top of the water. This not only shows you where the pipe is but what direction it's leaning. There's tuna all around it and I even hooked up a marlin hanging around it on Thursday. So now the word is out and the guys wondering what those buoys are there for will eventually hear about this report. As far as what's holding the end of the pipe to the bottom goes, if it's the pipe I'm thinking it is, there should be enough weight there to hold it in place for a while. It can't rust off like the straps did. It's kind of a long story about what's on the deep end of the pipe.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers