It's still the spearfish and it should be. If you're a regular reader of my monthly fishing reports you know that it's the spearfish that have been dominating the catch reports for the last few months. It should come as no surprise that spearfish dominated again this month since its the peak season for them. The striped marlin peak season is over but there's still some around. Even the blue marlin bite was pretty good for April but no grander marlins have been caught this year yet. Not just here in Kona but no where else in the world either. The odds are that Kona will be the first to get one but as time moves on, those odds move away from our favor.
The mahi mahi should have been here by now but we're not seeing them in the numbers like we should. Not a single month of the year goes by that a mahi mahi isn't caught here but this is the peak season so we should be catching a lot more than we are. It's a good thing that the ono bite picked up the slack. Yes, we had an early season spurt. That spurt has died down a bit since it started but we're just entering ono season.
Still no FAD buoys!! With the buoys gone, both the mahi mahi bite and the smaller ahi bite won't be very good. We were scheduled to get VV and C buoys re-installed and the original date for the replacement was back in March. Then I was told that it would be April. Now I'm getting a "maybe" for May. The replacement buoys and work boat come from Oahu and it takes a longer trip to replace the Big Island buoys so one person in the program decided to take care of the easier (closer) buoys first. Maui and Oahu have most of their buoys back. When they finally do come to the Big Island, Hilo will get two buoys replaced and we'll get our two. Now I'm told that getting F and OT buoys back might take a long time because the program is running out of money. Just a little perspective here, two thirds of Hawaii's charter fishing boats are based in Kona. That means the Kona side buoys are utilized a lot more than other buoys. I seriously doubt that was taken into consideration though.
I didn't get in as much bottom fishing as I would have liked to this month because the water conditions were just too rough to fish it. I did OK though when I did fish it.
About the "Kaupulehu Marine Reserve" that I mentioned in last months report and the new fishing restrictions that were going to be imposed on the back side of "The Grounds", it appears that common sense may be winning. The original reason for the reserve was to protect a small section of the shoreline from over fishing and only out to a depth of 120 feet. How the reserve boundaries got extended out to over 3 miles offshore and 600 feet deep is still somewhat of a mystery (although I have some theories) and the fishing restrictions would have made it illegal to catch some of the most common fish found on the ledge! The most common top water fish found there is frigate mackerel. We fishermen commonly use these mackerel as bait fish. I commonly use them as bottom bait. On the bottom, I expect to catch amberjack, almaco jack, giant trevally and sharks. All of the fish I just mentioned would be illegal to catch or even attempt to catch in the reserve. All of these fish I listed do not "live" in that particular area but they migrate through following along the ledge. There's no doubt in my mind that the reserve regulations would have been passed and moved on through the process had I not found out about it and cried "foul"! Lucky for us fishermen that the Dept. of Aquatic Resources seems to be willing to listen to common sense and is considering revising the (not so well thought out) regulations before it moves on to become law. That's what I'm being told anyway.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers