As I sit here and write this, Hurricane Madeline, now downgraded to a tropical storm is hitting the island. The East side will get some strong winds and a bunch of rain in just hours from now but the Kona side will remain sunny with only light winds. Why? Huge mountains! Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea stand about 14,000 feet and we also have Hualalai right above Kona standing at 8,000 feet. We're basically blocked from it. We have another hurricane right behind this one but I've been on this island for a long time and when these hurricanes and storms approach, the main thing I look at is the ocean temperature. Warmer water in the projected path fuels a hurricane or storm while cooler water dissipates them. Looking at the water temp yesterday, I thought we might get a fairly hard direct hit because of the water temp but over night the cooler water moved down out of the North so this thing is going to fizzle out. The hurricane behind it is also entering the cooler waters.
The marlin bite was fairly slim for the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Only two marlin were weighed in. There were a fair number of small ones tagged and released during the 5 day tournament but a marlin big enough to weigh in had to be at least 300 lbs. There were only two that were weighed in, one weighed in at 302 and the other came in at 301, barely making it. Like I said in last months report, RIMPAC was still going on and the currents kept switching around and that always makes the bite slow. There's always some marlin around though no matter what but if the currents had cooperated like they did in the past few years, there's no doubt in my mind that every team would have had multiple catches. There were some other tournaments later in the month that did a little better but the current acted funny pretty much all month long. It's not really the season for spearfish anymore but the surprise was that a bunch of them moved in at the end of the month and quickly became the top fish catch.
With the offshore bite being so slow this month I spent a lot of time fishing nearshore for ono and while the bite wasn't 'hot', I got some here and there. August is also otaru tuna time (aka, chunk light tuna). They also tend to stay fairly close to shore along the ledges and though they weren't here in big numbers, again, we caught some here and there. Some ahi came in this month on the troll but it was the commercial fishermen surrounding the newly replaced VV buoy that did the best with those this month. There were even some big ahi caught really close to shore this month. Starting to see the nearshore trend yet?
Like I said, since the offshore trolling bite was pretty slow, I spent my time fishing close to shore and that of course puts me near my bottom fishing spots. The bottom bite was really good for all kinds of fish. The biggest surprise was that we caught and released several giant trevally even though it's not season for them. In fact, summer time isn't really bottom fishing season at all. Winter is. But the bite was on!
The saddest news this month is the expansion of the Papah?naumoku?kea monument making most of the Hawaiian island chain off limits to fishermen. This takes away 60% of our fishing grounds. With the stroke of a pen (and maybe a phone) Pres. Obama, trying to build some kind of positive legacy before the end of his term, signed off on it. According to all of the science behind it, it had NOTHING to do about protecting ANYTHING. For the people who promoted it, it was all about power and funding. It was rushed through and while the mass majority of well informed people were against it, special interest groups got their way. With the current government leadership, that wasn't much of a surprise.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers