September is always the slowest month of the year for tourism but, hardly ever the slowest month for marlin. The only reason that there are less marlin being caught in this month (as usual) is that there are less boats going out. It's always a weird feeling to be out on the water this time of year and not see any other boats out and wonder… did they close off the ocean today and I didn't get the memo? This year has been even slower for charter than the past few and part of that reason might be the severe weather conditions that we have been having. It seems that the hurricane and tropical storm warnings just keep coming back to back. The storms have been going around us and not hitting us but if you're a tourist looking for a sunny vacation and see a forecast that you might be in a hurricane while on your vacation in Hawaii, it might be time to re-think your plans. Even without a direct hit by these storms, we've been seeing flooding here in Kona like I've never seen before. I've lived in Kona for over 30 years and the frequency and amount of rainfall this year has been the most I've ever seen. Some of the YouTube videos about it are awesome! I mentioned in last months fishing report about the "Godzilla El Nino" and many people think that it's this effect that has brought on one of the best marlin bites Kona has seen in years but one of the other effects of that warmer water is more ocean water evaporation, causing more humidity, causing higher than normal air temperatures and causing more rainfall. All of that water vapor climbs up the steep mountains, cools and then dumps on us! The good news is... The water has started to cool down a little bit and with it, a little less rain, a little less humidity and finally some cooler temperatures.
The mahi mahi have started moving in as is typical for this time of year and the tuna bite on the buoys and ledges has been pretty good too. There's obviously been a new hatch of both mahi mahi and tunas because on the few charters I have had this month, I've been picking up some real small babies of both. I've seen a few spearfish flags hanging in the harbor and I usually do pretty good with those because I pull small lures on stand-up tackle out in the deep. I guess I've just been able to steer around them. Recently I caught some ono out in the deep but from what I hear from other fishermen, the near shore ono bite is still real slow. It's the end of their season anyway but one thing about ono, we can have a good run any month of the year.
I always end my reports with the bottom fishing bite but again, because of the fickle currents and the good trolling bite, I haven't been doing much of it. In fact, on my last three trips, the bottom fishing grounds were so rough, it was un-fishable anyway but here's something about Hawaii bottom fishing to consider. The high El Nino water temperatures have killed vast amounts of corals in the shallower waters by a process known as "coral bleaching". If you Google that and "Kona" you will find that it's pretty big and just now reaching the news media. It's certainly a big enough issue to deserve it. As we head toward winter and the better bottom fishing season, it will be interesting to what effect that has on the deep bottom fishing.
See 'ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers