The no-grander countdown is getting closer. I really didn't expect there to be a grander marlin caught in November anyway just because it's only happened once in our recorded history and the odds of one being caught in December isn't too good either (but not impossible). Our grander run has lasted for nearly two decades with the last year on record where no granders were reported being caught was 1997. A glimmer of hope though, this month the biggest blue marlin so far this year was caught and weighted in at 896 lbs. And again this month, there weren't very many fishing boats out on the water due to this sluggish economy. Charter fishing is one of the more expensive activities to do here in Hawaii. It's right up there with helicopter tours and all the other fun stuff to do here is a whole lot cheaper.
This month was the peak of our Fall mahi mahi season and although the bite was OK, it was the ahi bite that provided more meat for the table. The offshore fish farm (aka thousand fathom porta potty) has been holding some nice ones but they're extremely finiky so you need to put in some time to get the payoff. Bigeye tuna season is here now but it's mostly yellowfin being caught. A few spearfish and a few ono were caught this month even though it's not season for them.
Bottom fishing had both its good days and its bad days. Pretty much every year I catch (and usually release) an amberjack that weighs over 100 lbs. I was thinking that this year it might not happen but the winter months are indeed the better bottom fishing bite and we got a 100+ at the beginning of the month. I also caught some almaco jacks, trevally, snapper and some sharks.
Hawaii is the only state that doesn't require a fishing license to fish. You need a commercial license in order to sell your fish though. Several years back, Hawaii implemented its first ever recreational fishing license for people who deep bottom fish. This was a "foot in the door" technique. So what did the state find out from that? There were a whole lot less people recreationally bottom fishing than they thought there were. The excuse? They suspect that recreational bottom fishing is still happening in mass but now illegally. I'm out on the ocean a lot and I don't see that happening. I can tell the pros from the amateurs and I see it as more of a straw man in order to impose even more regulations. Now the state is (again) looking to expand recreational fishing licenses for any form of fishing. The meeting on that will be in Honolulu on December 7th at the DLNR boardroom. DLNR always claims that these meetings are kind of a "talk story" affair but the usual truth is, the board has already made up their minds and it's going to happen, like it or not. Here's my main problem with it. It will hit the already ailing charter fishing industry hard. Yes, they will make tourists get some form of a fishing license to go out on a charter boat. The hassle and added expense will keep even more tourists from fishing. Along with that, some of the locals fish for food when the belt has been tightened up to its closest notch. Too bad for them too I guess. This license move by the DLNR has been shot down many times over the years so unless the outcry about it is loud enough, we're going to get hit with it.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers