We're just getting into the peak blue marlin season here in Kona. June is kind of the lead-in. While a few nice ones were brought in this month, the numbers are a little lighter than we expected. We don't expect to see many striped marlin in the summer but there's still some nice size ones hanging around. The spearfish have been plentiful and are the most common billfish being caught right now. The guys commercial fishing for tuna at night are picking up some broadbill swordfish.
We're having a good ahi bite. Good in the numbers being caught but if you're one of those commercial fishing guys depending on your catch to make a living, it's time to cry. The price the fishermen get for any fish is based on supply and demand. When the bite is good and a lot of fish are being caught, be that ahi, ono, mahi mahi or whatever, the price drops. The local markets can only handle so much fresh fish. In fact, more fish is consumed here than is provided by the local fishermen so most of the fish is (longer shelf life) frozen fish that is flown in from the South Pacific so the local fishermen have to compete with that price also. Restaurants often advertise their fish as fresh local "catch of the day" but more often than not, that's a lie. Right now though, if its ahi on the menu, it's very likely that it is local caught. We locals can easily tell the difference from the rather tasteless frozen fish shipped here vs. the flavor and texture of the local caught fish. Maybe it's time for some truth in advertising laws to be enforced like we did with "100% Kona coffee" that really wasn't.
The ono bite has been decent with the peak month of the season hitting now. The ono are normally caught close to shore but right now, more are being caught in the deep than near shore. That means they're coming in so I'm getting ready for a good ono bite coming up. There's still some mahi mahi showing up but that gets less and less as the water warms up. The "chunk light" tuna bite is still on but not as good as last month. The peak for those is August.
The bottom fishing bite was good at the beginning of the month! I even made the cover of our local papers sports section with the catch of a 100 lb. class ulua I also did good with shark, almaco jack and amberjacks. I bottom fish more than any other captain in Kona but I've been boatless for over a week now. I had an exhaust manifold blow out on me and getting parts and repair has been slow. I keep thinking, maybe tomorrow? I was supposed to be out fishing on a charter today but if I was, I wouldn't have finished this report before the end of the month.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers