Posts by Capt. Jeff Rogers

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – April 2021 wrap-up.


    Tourism numbers continue to ramp up even with the Covid restrictions. One guy that wanted to fish with me called me up because it was getting close to his flight time and he still hadn't received his negative Covid results. He asked how strict Hawaii was about the 10 day quarantine. In other words, he thought they could just act like normal tourists and not get caught. Absolutely NOT! "Don't even try" was my advice. Luckily they got the results just in time to make their flight (we fished and caught plenty) but their story is a common one.


    The test is only good for up to 72 hours and some places won't guarantee the test results in less than 3 days. Well? Find a place that will! The local authorities are not taking this lightly.


    More and more blue marlin are showing up and the official blue marlin season basically starts now so things are looking good. It's still spearfish season and the bite on those for April was pretty good. It's also time for some black marlin to show up as May is the peak season for them.


    It's now both mahi mahi season and ono season. Currently ono seems to be the most common catch in the harbor. It's also the start of "blind-strike" ahi season. Every year at this time we start seeing a random and single BIG splash on the water. That's a 100+ lb. ahi coming up from down below to eat a fish swimming near the top. If you're in the right place, at the right time, it could be your lure that ahi has its eyes fixed on.


    The bottom bite was very good to me this month. Getting fresh bait was often harder to catch than hooking up sea monsters from the deep. It's near the end of giant trevally season but there's more of those around now than at the peak season. There are also a lot of sharks in the same area so getting smaller fish from the bottom to the top has been a challenge.


    My bookings for May are almost filled up and the rest of the summer is filling up fast. It looks like I'm done getting that free government income for staying home. It's time to get back to work fulfilling people's dreams of catching the BIG ONE in Hawaii.


    See 'ya on the water,


    Capt. Jeff Rogers,


    http//FISHinKONA.com


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – March 2021 wrap-up.


    Tourism isn't up to 100% yet but it's getting fairly close. One very noticeable change is the behavior of the tourists. The majority of people who go on vacation make at least some plans on what activities they are going to do when they get there. What we're seeing a lot of is people arriving and then trying to figure out what activities they are going to do after arrival.


    It's true that some businesses that cater to the tourists haven't' opened back up yet but most have. We still have some fairly harsh restrictions that are affecting what many activities are allowed to do. Luckily those restrictions don't really apply to the fishing boats.


    The peak striped marlin season is winding down and blue marlin season is coming soon. For several years in a row, the Striped marlin season has been basically non-existent. The stocks have been heavily depleted on an international level and have been designated as "over fished". While the U.S. fishing vessels are fairly heavily restricted, the international fishermen get to have a marlin free-for-all. Even our blue marlin and spearfish numbers are being affected.


    The mahi mahi season has started and we're seeing some around. It's not ono season yet but they too have arrived. The offshore fish farm, FAD's and ledges have been seeing a fair amount of ahi, shibi, bigeye, otaru and aku tunas.


    In last months report I talked about almaco jack and a few people asked if I kept them to eat or released them and the reason for the question is about ciguatera poisoning. If you are unfamiliar with that term, look it up and ask yourself if eating that fish is worth the risk?


    I did some research on cases of ciguatera poisoning in the islands and it's a fairly low incidence. The Big Island had several reported cases in 2018 caused by what seems to be one incident where they ate giant trevally caught from shore. Kauai, Oahu and Maui have had a few incidents each year and almost all were incidences caused by eating shore caught fish that any local would know that those fish were at high risk. FYI, the majority of local people don't report ciguatera poisoning. They know what they got. Only if it's severe enough to get them hospitalized does it get reported.


    So, I'm catching the jacks in deep water away from shore. Shouldn't they be safe to eat? Well, maybe safe-er but by no means risk-free. Between the symptoms of ciguatera poisoning and the time it might take you to get over it along with the severe diet and even the activity restrictions you need to go through for some time after the initial effects of eating that fish are gone, I think it's best to say NO THANKS!


    See 'ya on the water,


    Capt. Jeff Rogers,


    http://FISHinKONA.com


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – February 2021 wrap-up.



    The tourists are coming! In fact, my phone has been ringing all morning with people looking to fish. I went from not fishing for over 2 weeks to having to turn people away because I'm already booked up. What a nice feeling.



    The few trips I did in February resulted in catches of tuna, shark, and kampachi. We had some marlin action but as happens with the majority of marlin hook-ups, the hook was thrown after several jumps. It's striped marlin season right now but I wouldn't say the bite is "on". The spearfish are showing up and I'm really looking forward to catching them. They're one of the best-eating fish out there but because of Covid, it's been a year since I've had any.



    It's not mahi mahi season, ahi season or ono season but I was surprised when a friend of mine told me that he caught 3 ono on a recent trip. I'll be out on Wednesday and I definitely want to give the off-season ono bite a try. That will be on my way to the area where I heard the tunas were biting. It happens to be the same place where I scored tunas on 2 out of my 3 February trips.



    I only bottom fished on one trip in February and it was fast action. Three sharks in a row caught and released. After those sharks left the area, we caught a kampachi. Or is it kanpachi? There seems to be ongoing confusion about this fish. The word itself is Japanese and when I researched this term years ago, it was just a variant in the spelling of the same fish. But then it turned out that, what was once thought to be "the same fish" turned out to be two different fish that very closely resemble each other. For you fish ID egg heads, the difference is Seriola dumerili (greater amberjack) vs. Seriola rivoliana (almaco jack). There are currently 2 fish farms raising almaco jack in Kona. One farm calls them Kampachi and the other one calls the same fish Kanpachi. It might be a "branding" thing so it could easily remain a dilemma for years to come. As a side note, I'm credited with the discovery of almaco jack in Hawaiian waters. It took me over a year to prove that Seriola dumerili were in Hawaiian waters. It's a pretty common bottom fish.



    See 'ya on the water,


    Capt. Jeff Rogers,


    http://FISHinKONA.com



    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – January 2021 wrap-up.


    Just a decade ago, if someone would have suggested that one day soon there would be more snorkel and dive boats going out per day than fishing boats, they would have been laughed out of the harbor. But here we are. The snorkel and dive boats are pretty busy but few charter fishing boats are moving. It boils down to competition for the tourist dollar and it's been trending in that direction for some time.


    There was a time when you needed to get 'certified' to be able to scuba dive. Then a thing called an 'intro dive' was created so it's real easy to go scuba diving for the first time. For snrokelers, not only can you go to popular spots not readily accessible from shore but you can swim with the spinner dolphins and swim with the manta rays. A decade ago, those two activities really didn't exist.


    I'm not ready to trade in my rods, reels and lures for mask, snorkel and fins just yet. The thrill of the hunt and my ability to often put people onto the biggest fish of their lives is still one of the best jobs a person could hope to have. The big problem now is that job has become very part-time employment instead of full time employment. Fishing only a couple days a month won't pay the bills and the Covid relief payments I've been getting are running out soon. I'm hoping that tourism will be back to near normal by this summer because that will give me a fighting chance.


    With only 2 trips this month, there's not much to report. On one trip, I couldn't find any fish. That happens when hunting sometimes. The next trip made up for it. Dropping two baits to the bottom resulted in two quick hook-ups. Both were sharks. The first one pulled hook several minutes into the fight. The next one, at about 120 lbs. was foul hooked under the pec. fin. That's a hard way to bring in any fish.


    We had a good size blue marlin come in and do some light lure taps but it was really uninterested in taking one. Then we did find one willing to attack. We caught and released a 170 pounder. During the fight, another blue marlin came in swimming between the boat and our hooked marlin, checking out the activity that was going on. We trolled the area for a couple more hours after, hoping it was still around but then it was time to head home.


    Hopefully I'll have more to report on next month but so far, it's not looking very promising.


    Aloha from Kona ,

    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,

    http//FISHinKONA.com



    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – December 2020 wrap-up.

    The week between Christmas and New Years' has always been the busiest tourist week for Hawaii. People looking to get out of the cold and get just a little bit more summer in.

    While there are definitely a lot more tourists around than we've seen since last April, it's nowhere near the normal numbers. After the holiday season, Hawaii will return to very few tourists. It happens that way every January and February but current virus conditions and ever changing infection rates and new "rules" will amplify that.

    Even with Hawaii opening back up for tourism a couple months ago, the Covid infection rate has remained pretty low. People in Hawaii in general take distancing and mask wearing more seriously than most places on the mainland. Tourists have told me that seeing people in stores or gathered together without masks is common on the mainland but you don't see that here. Knowing that we're the most isolated populous on the planet might tend to give us islanders a different perspective.

    Striped marlin season has started but we're not seeing them yet. The blue marlin bite has been picking up the slack. The spearfish came in early but then slacked off. The beginning of spearfish season actually starts now.

    Mahi mahi season is winding down but there are still some around. It's months past ono season but running in ono lane, there's still a pretty good chance to hook one or two. This is the time of year for smaller but more abundant tunas around the buoys and ledges and they're here but not very eager to bite.

    The big news for the month here on the Big Island was another volcanic eruption. The volcano has been very quiet since it stopped flowing a little over two years ago. It was nice not having a constant supply of volcanic smoke covering our island but we all knew it was only a matter of time before it would start up again. It's got to come out somewhere. The only 'somewhere' where it can come out but still leave us with smokeless skies would be the new island forming to the South East of the Big Island called Lo'ihi. That will happen sooner or later. The sooner the better.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http//FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November 2020 wrap-up.


    It's working! The Hawaii visitor Covid pre-testing program has been in effect for 6 weeks now. Tourism has been picking up and the daily number of Covid cases in all of Hawaii has remained at about the same level since mid September.


    Hotel and vacation rentals are starting to fill up. Charter fishing boats, dive boats, snorkel boats, manta boats and more are starting to move. A lot of other tourist related activities are starting to open up. In December, tourism usually picks up with the week between Christmas and New Years being the busiest tourist week of the entire year.


    So what's going on with the fish? With more fishing boats going out now, the harbor information loop is active again. The marlin bite has been relatively slow as is normal for this time of the year but the spearfish have moved in a little early. Striped marlin season is right around the corner. Ono season has come and gone but there's still a lot of action in ono lane. It's peak mahi mahi season so there's a good shot there.


    Right now pretty much every state in the US is having an upsurge in Covid cases and more lockdowns are going into effect. We are feeling fairly safe here being isolated in the islands. It's not like some infected person can drive into our state and stupidly spread it around. In fact, it's quite nice knowing that the people coming in are known NOT to be infected. Well maybe. The state needs to stop letting people fly in here un-tested. We still have a 14 day quarantine option for people who either didn't test or hopped on the plane before they got their test results. One or more of those could be infected and spread it to others on the plane.


    With that being said, "rules" are changing all the time. Here in the islands, each island is its own county, with its own mayor and its own "rules". Make sure you know the current rules before you even try to come here and please.... don't bring the Vid with you.


    Stay safe,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – October 2020 wrap-up.


    In a total change of pace for the governor of Hawaii, rather than extending the 14 day quarantine rule until November 1st like he said he would, the Covid 19 pre-testing program started on October 15th allowing visitors who test negative for the virus prior to arrival get to skip any quarantine.


    The very next day, they started allowing '6 pack' fishing charters to resume pretty much unrestricted on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai. Boats that are licensed for more than 6 passengers are restricted to 50% carrying capacity. Oahu is under stricter regulations because of a recent spike in Covid 19 there.


    Finding out what the latest regulations are can be near impossible. You can go the Department of Land and Natural Resources web site and you won't find anything there. OK, how about the Division of Aquatic Resources? Nope, dead end. One more place to try, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation but you will have a hard time finding any new rules there. Under "Most Current News", nothing! There is a link above that that says "VISIT DOBOR'S COVID-19 QUESTION AND ANSWER PAGE FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON HOW BOATING IN HAWAII IS BEING AFFECTED" (I'm not shouting, it's all in caps on the page like nearly everything else) and even when you get to that page it would appear that there's little to no updated information. It appears to be another dead end but if you keep scrolling down that fairly long page to about the half way mark, you will finally find the info you need. It's almost like they're hiding it but I'm sure it's just pure incompetence. The order that the information is laid out on the page is really stupid.


    So, while the latest "rules" are in place, we need the tourists. Locals rarely do charters because practically everyone who lives here also knows someone with a boat. Spikes in Covid 19 cases, as everyone across the country knows, means more sporadic "rule" changes. Our governor has been one of the most restrictive in the nation. The mayor of Hawaii Island has done such a poor job that he didn't even make it through the primary elections so we will soon have a new mayor. One candidate has political experience and the other has absolutely none and the two are polar opposites on most issues. Oh what a fun time we're living in.


    Stay safe,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – September 2020 wrap-up.


    The Hawaiian Islands had a huge surge of Covid 19 cases last month and shortly after my report last month, they shut down the charter fishing again. They didn't say we couldn't do any charters but the new ruling effectively did just that. The new rule limits us to no more than 2 people on a boat. For almost every operation here, that means captain and deckhand and no one else. I run single handed so the only way I can do a charter is if only one person wants to book the whole boat. I do a handful of trips just like that every year but they are far from the norm.


    Several times our Hawaii governor has said that he would implement a pre-travel testing program so people could come here without having to do a 14 day quarantine but each time he sets a date, he backs off and extends the quarantine. Currently the pre-testing travel option is set to start November 1st but we've heard that song before.


    No one in their right mind would make Hawaii vacation plans right now and who could blame them. We are getting some tourists but only the ones that take LONG vacations. Most tourist activities are shut down and you're not even allowed to sit on the beach.


    I know this is supposed to be a fishing report but since China accidentally released a lab created virus on the world, everyone's life has now changed and new options need to be considered. I'm debating with myself if I should suspend doing my monthly reports or not. I'll let you know in about a month.


    Stay safe,Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – August 2020 wrap-up.


    Most of Kona noticed that there were a bunch of charter boats out fishing this month even though we still have a 14 day quarantine for the tourists. So how does that compute? That's because the boats out fishing were the gamblers. 4 tournaments with 11 days of fishing with some pretty big money to be made for the winners. It's also some big money to even get in so that left me out.


    The Firecracker Tournament had the most boats and there were several small marlin tagged and released during the 2 day tournament but there were no big marlin seen and several boats saw no action at all. That all changed with the 3 day Kona Throw Down Tournament. Almost every boat in that tournament caught and there were 4 marlin that were big enough to qualify for a weigh in. 411 lbs., 642 lbs., 672.5 lbs., and 765.5 lbs.


    There was a lot of excitement for the 3 day Skins Marlin Derby now that the big girls showed up. Again there were several small marlin tagged and released but this time only one big one. 833.5 pounds! Then came the 3 day Big Island Marlin Tournament and again, several small marlin tagged and a 589 pounder was weighed in. There were a bunch of 100+ lb. ahi tunas caught in each tournament. Tagging a couple small marlin didn't put you into any money but every ahi caught was a bonus that might earn some tournament money but even if it didn't, you could sell 'em at the market or you and your friends can eat a lot of fresh sashimi.


    The state of Hawaii got slammed hard with a 10 fold surge in Covid 19 infections this month. Hawaii went from being one of the best prevention models to one of the worst in just a month. So that means no quarantine restrictions will be lifted any time soon. Most of the infections were on Oahu so that island is under Stay-at-Home orders. Maui had the 2nd most cases in the islands until recently. The Big Island has now surpassed Maui to be #2 in the islands. That sucks! For people here that have "underlying conditions", that's scary news.


    Stay safe,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – July 2020 wrap-up.


    Anyone with half a brain knew that once businesses opened up again and people started to congregate more that there would be an up tick in Covid 19 cases. We just didn't know how much of an up tick. Some states got hit hard while others had basically no change.


    Hawaii has had a 14 day quarantine for new arrivals to the state and that was due to be lifted for Covid 'pre-testers' on August 1st. My August fishing calendar schedule was filling up but as the Covid up tick happened, the Governor of Hawaii freaked out and moved the pre-testing date to September 1st. My fishing schedule quickly went to 0. With what he just did, anyone can now realize that even the September 1st date might get changed. We're in "wait and see" limbo.


    Summer time is fishing tournament time in Kona and we were shocked when the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series decided to go ahead with the several tournaments that they do each year. There were 3 tournaments in July. 4 more scheduled for August and the last one scheduled in September. While not many boats participated this month, there were enough teams to make it worth their while. Some of the boats here are owned by very rich people so putting out several thousand dollars for a tournament and boat expenses is just pocket change. I'm definitely not in that category.


    Hawaii's main employment engine is tourism and with so few tourists willing to do a 14 day quarantine, the state of Hawaii ranks #8 out of 51 (don't forget D.C.) for the most unemployment per capita. Many of the tourist shops in Kona along the waterfront in town have closed permanently. There are a lot of empty store fronts. The place where my wife worked is among them.


    For those thinking that I can just go fishing and sell my catch to make some money, think again. Even when there was a good market for fresh fish, the expense of running a luxury charter fishing boat costs a lot more on average than you can make selling fish. The most common commercial fishermen use small tailored boats and even those guys have a hard time covering their expenses. Maybe it's time to try a kayak?


    Stay safe,


    Capt. Jeff Rogers


    http://FISHinKONA.com


    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – June 2020 wrap-up.


    I know I have more than 10,000 monthly readers on the web and one or more of those readers work for the Department of Aquatic Resources. Just 3 days after posting last months report where I complained about not being able to charter fish, along with that and an influential phone call, the charter fishing ban was lifted. I wasn't the only one working toward lifting the restriction but hope I had something to do with that.


    But we're not out of the woods yet. I also wrote about how the 14 day quarantine is killing the charter fishing business and how to get around it with pre-flight testing. Pre-flight testing wasn't my idea; I stole that idea from Alaska. Just a few days ago, Hawaii adopted a similar policy and is scheduled to implement it starting August 1st. Yea!


    I instantly started emailing people about the rule change from the mainland who wanted to fish with me but couldn't (or wouldn't) because of the Covid 19 rules. Some bookings are coming in now but some others are still waiting to see what's going to happen due to infection surges happening around the country. I can't blame anyone for wanting to be cautious.


    It doesn't look like July will be any good for charters but August is already starting to fill with people from the mainland. I'm not expecting things to get back to normal any time soon. Not even by the end of the year. Then winter comes and so does the flu season and most likely, more Covid 19. I don't think vacation travel will be the same for quite a while.


    Hope to see 'ya in Hawaii,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – May 2020 wrap-up.

    We still have no idea when charter fishing will be allowed to resume in Hawaii. Even if they did allow it right now there wouldn't be much business because of the current 14 day quarantine mandate.

    If you fly to Hawaii, you cannot leave your hotel, condo, house except to obtain medical services. You can't even leave to get food. You need to have your food delivered. When this first went into effect, many tourists just ignored it and did what they wanted to but now it's being strictly enforced. Not too many people are willing to jump through that hoop to be in Hawaii and I can't blame them.

    Moving forward, the state is looking at Covid 19 testing in order to stop the 14 day quarantine. That seems like the smartest way to do it. Pre-testing before you can even get on a plane is needed. Not after arrival and exposing everyone on the airplane.

    I plan on staying in business and I'm finding that I have a pretty big advantage over many to stay financially healthy. The charter fishing business is largely a cash business and because of that, many fishermen hide most or even all of their charter income. I've been called a fool by several of them when I tell them that I pay my taxes on my charter income. Now that programs like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) are around, I was able to prove my income (schedule C – business income) so now I'm getting sizable weekly checks. It's not as much as I would make fishing but it's enough to keep me financially afloat 'til things get back to normal. The cheaters are having a harder time.

    Aloha,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
    http//FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – April 2020 wrap-up.


    You would think that during this pandemic that the ever changing rules concerning fishing in Hawaii would be easily found but they're not.


    In last months report I provided information to help navigate industry wide USCG "charter" laws and I was quickly (and "officially") reported on for violating the law. Even for days that I wasn't out. I got a phone call from the local authorities on the accusation(s) and I asked if he had read my latest fishing report. Yes, he did. And yes, I know I put a target on my back when I wrote it but that doesn't make the law any less valid. I stood by the law and won.


    This month there were several local rule changes but how are you suppose to know what they are? One source is the official 'Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation' (DBOR) web site but that hasn't been updated since April 14th. I found out through an email that there were some even newer rules that weren't on the DBOR web site. In writing this report I tried searching Google for any new rule changes but came up empty. The email I got gave me a hint though so I went to the 'Division of Aquatic Resources' (DAR) website and found even newer rules dated April 16th.


    The local fishing and boating rules went from "it's OK to go fishing but no charters" to "no more than 2 people on a boat" with the exception of commercial fishing as long as everyone on the boat has a Hawaii commercial fishing permit. Six foot social distancing. That's a good one for the small boats to try :) Many big boats are only operated from the flying bridge so one person driving and only one person on the deck to do all the angling, leadering and gaffing. That's OK with small fish but not very easy and even dangerous with the big ones. I'm actually set up for the 2 man scenario and do it often but most big boats are not set up that way.


    At one point this month, the harbor was blocked off by the state to anyone who didn't have "legitimate business" for being there. As I understand it, after the first day of this, it was stopped. There are several businesses inside the harbor entrance that are open daily. We still need parts, repairs, supplies and fuel for fishing and they're staying open for us. As long as our overlords allow them to stay open.


    This coming month will be one of the most interesting in my lifetime. As some states give people their freedom back, there is also a risk that the virus will have a resurgence. It could be big deal or it could be minor. That's the biggest question right now and we will know the answer soon.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – March 2020 wrap-up.


    I know you're tired of hearing about Coronavirus already and you're looking forward to reading about fishing and I'm going to get to that but first I want to tell you about Hawaii's over reaction to the virus. On March 20th, the State "suspended" all "commercial permits" for charter fishing, sailing, kayaking, surfing, whale watching, diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding ..... ANY ocean activity that charges money to do it.


    They also shut down All state parks so there is no beach access to any state beach. That's almost all of them. But, here's the kicker, the "stay at home" order still allows people to go fishing, hunting, kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling and so on. The problem is, if you don't have your own equipment, you can't rent any! All of the companies that rent equipment are also required to have the same commercial permits that have been suspended. There are some ways around it though and I'll wrap up this months report with that.


    March is always one of my favorite months to fish. Things really start to change for the better weather wise, sea condition wise and fish abundance wise. The marlin bite was pretty hot for blue marlin but the striped marlin bite looks like it will continue to be another slow, not so good season. Last month I said that I was hoping the spearfish bite was just running late and it turned out that it was. When March started, all of the sudden there were spearfish flags flying everywhere. We're about mid season on spearfish.


    Mahi mahi season started this month and so far it's looking good. The peak of the spring time run is just starting and runs through June. Ono season starts in May and really kicks into gear in June. Add that to spearfish season and there's plenty of white meat fish to be had. If you're looking for red meat fish, the otaru tuna bite is pretty good right now even though the season isn't suppose to start until May. Pretty much like clockwork, the ahi tuna bite will be picking up. Especially when May comes.


    The bottom fishing conditions finally got better and so did the bite. I was out last Sunday and it was hard to drift fish my favorite spot because there were so many other boats drift fishing the same area. "Social distancing" is a lot more difficult with drifting boats and fishing lines.


    I'm going to limit the wrap up to my particular charter fishing situation but I would think that the same would apply to the rest of the businesses that are required to have a commercial permit. I'm going to give you the gist of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993: Any "consideration" for going out on someone else's boat in the form of cash, gas, food or ANYTHING in "trade" constituted a "charter", so all of the required licenses and permits are required. In 1999 the definition of "consideration" was changed to differentiate between "voluntary" and "mandatory". So, if I "require" you to compensate me for gas, ice, beer...whatever. By law, that's a charter. If you "volunteer" to help me out with any of those, we're all good. That's the Federal law anyway. So who's going fishing?


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – February 2020 wrap-up.


    February is always a tough month for the Hawaiian Islands because that's the month that we get the worst weather. Not at all bad weather compared to most places but we're spoiled here so when the temperature gets down near 60, we complain. When we get too much rain, we complain. When the winds are too strong, we complain. Here in Kona we are even more spoiled than other island spots because we are the dry side of the island and the huge mountains here protect us from the trade winds. Right now, the other side of the island is being pounded by 20 to 30 mph winds and it's been going on for most of the month. In Kona, we get the 'wrap around' wind effect that can be quite unpredictable. Fishing while trying to stay out of the rain squalls and away from the rough seas created by strong winds really has an affect on where you can go and what kind of fishing you can do. March is here and it will soon be flat waters and sunshine.


    The blue marlin bite has been quite good for winter. We expect to have striped marlin around in the winter but the blue marlin bite has been outpacing the striped marlin bite. It's also spearfish season but they really haven't been around much. They are usually thick around Kona at this time of the year so I'm hoping they're just running a little late and it's not an indicator of a poor season for them.


    Mahi mahi season is just starting and we're seeing a few come in here and there. The ahi tuna bite has been pretty good while working the porpoise schools. Those are the 100 lb. + size tunas. I was in a school yesterday for hours but couldn't get a bite. I think more than 1/2 the boats working it didn't catch. The smaller ahi tunas have been around the ledges and buoys. The offshore fish farm has had rough tooth dolphins hanging around it so every tuna you hook up there is quickly eaten off of your line.


    I did get some bottom fishing in this month and some days went quite well but there were several days that the bottom fishing grounds were just unfishable or the currents were all messed up so the fish had moved out to somewhere else. I always look forward to the arrival of March when the humpback whales are most active, flatter seas, more sunshine and pretty much always, better fishing.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – January 2020 wrap-up.


    I said in last months report that the striped marlin bite was pretty good and that the peak season starts in January so the striped marlin bite should pick up and it did. So you might be thinking, Duh.... no brainer because it's the season. But, it doesn't always work out that way. If you're a regular reader of my monthly reports you know that sometimes the season for ahi, mahi mahi, ono and other fish can start off like it's going to be a good and then it dies a sudden death early in the season. In the past decade we've have more bad striped marlin winters than good ones. It's a big ocean and there are many places they can be other than the tiny dot that makes up the Kona coast. I'm going to make a prediction that this winter will remain a good one for striped marlin.


    The blue marlin bite has been doing well too. Not too many big ones are being caught but the quantity is pretty good. It's a new year and more years than not, Hawaii brings in the first "grander" (1000 +) marlin of the year so Happy New Year....Game On! Spearfish season is just starting with the peak season starting right now. I can't remember ever have a "bad" spearfish season, only ones that weren't as good as others.


    Last winter we were catching mahi mahi even though it wasn't the season for them. This winter they are vacationing somewhere else. Ono is another rare winter catch for the most part but not always. Currently they are also a rare catch. Even the small ahi and bigeye tunas are pretty sparse so far this winter so all of these really good eating fish are hard to come by right now. Good thing there's a spearfish bite.


    I usually finish up my reports with the bottom bite but last month I didn't. It was quite depressing to have such little bottom fish action even though I was putting a lot of effort into it. This month the bite was only slightly better. Winter is supposed to be the top season for bottom fishing but Duh..... It doesn't always work out that way.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – December 2019 wrap-up.


    The striped marlin have arrived! The number of blue marlin caught is still out-pacing the stripes but not by much. The top months for striped marlin are January, February and March so it's looking pretty good so far. Spearfish season is also just starting and there were several caught this month. The top months for spearfish are February, March and April.


    Blue marlin are caught here every month and I remember that many years ago, we didn't usually catch a whole lot of blues in the winter but one big thing changed back in 2012. The Billfish Conservation Act pretty much wiped out the U.S. commercial fishing market for billfish. Hawaii was exempted from the act for historical and traditional practices and swordfish were also exempted from the act. Hawaii started conserving billfish on its own several years prior to that when Kona went from a 'kill all' fishery to a (mostly) 'release all' fishery for blue and striped marlin. Right now I would say it's about 50/50 with striped marlin being killed more often than blues because the quality of the meat is better. Spearfish were also included in the Billfish Conservation Act but the majority of them are killed because they're one of the best eating fish we have. Personally, I try to release as many spearfish as I can but I give my customers the say so on that because many of the people I take out are looking for fish to eat.


    Winter is also bigeye tuna season but we've never had a real good fishery for those. The big ones are a rare catch but the smaller ones can be caught around the fish aggregation buoys along with small yellowfin tunas. In the winter, in order to catch a big yellowfin (ahi) tuna, you need to work a porpoise school. I worked several this month but couldn't even get a bite. I didn't see anyone else catch one either. Ono and mahi mahi are somewhat rare in the winter but an even more rare catch in Hawaii is pompano dolphin.


    Few people in Hawaii even know what a pompano dolphin is. They look so similar to a mahi mahi that it's just assumed that it is one. In fact, if you Google Image for pompano dolphin, many of those photos are actually mahi mahi. Much like the differences between an amberjack and an almaco jack, if you don't know the fine details, they are easily misidentified. The big give-away on the pompano dolphin is that when you first catch it, the blue dots have a white 'snowflake' or 'fireworks' pattern around them. Soon after they die, those almost entirely disappear. The body shape is shorter length wise but taller height wise than a mahi mahi. There is a difference in the dorsal fin shape, size and how far it will lift forward. The photo that goes along with this months report is one of each that I hooked at the same time. I never knew that mahi mahi and pompano dolphin schooled together. With that, I'm sure there's some crossbreeding going on too. The female mahi mahi (top) is a little longer and more slender than the average and the pompano dolphin is shorter with a taller body than average but seeing these two next to each other sure shows the difference.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November 2019 wrap-up.


    There really hasn't been any change since last month. Tourism is still in a big slump and the charter fishing industry is taking a big hit. I actually did pretty well in November for number of days out but on some of those days, I didn't see any other charter boats all day. The ocean current direction and speed has always played the biggest role in fish abundance here and the current did get fickle for a while but with hardly any boats out, it was hard to tell what effect it had on the numbers of marlin biting.


    November was peak mahi mahi month. The season started off in October like it was going to be an OK season so I was looking forward to the peak. When the current switched, the mahi mahi pretty much disappeared. A couple of other fish did pick up the slack though. Ever hear of a rainbow runner? Another common name for the fish is "Hawaiian Salmon". It's actually a member of the 'Jack' family but is the only member in its genus. The meat is a pinkish color and light tasting with a nice texture. It's always been one of my favorites but the catch is rare and the size is usually small. Some good size ones are around right now. There is no fish flag for that fish so the catch of those is by word-of-mouth and watching the fillet tables. The other fish (I did say a couple) that took up the mahi mahi slack was otaru tunas.


    Some days the bottom bite was hot and some days not. Even with less than 18 hours in between hitting the same spot. Real fishermen know this scenario all too well. Recently I found out about some new technology that I think is going to really change bottom fishing for me and possibly you for you too.


    Smartphone (and tablet) apps are doing more and more. Although 'Sonar Chart Live' has been out for a few years, I just recently found out about it and got it. New chart plotters come with this ability built in but who can afford to go out and buy new boat electronics every time something new comes out? The smartphone version starts with the Navionics app. Then I bought a gizmo for $200 that sends my sonar MNEA 0183 depth data via WiFi to my smartphone. Now I'm able to "draw" the actual bottom terrain in detail to my smartphone chart plotter. The chart plotter that I have on my boat doesn't show me much detail at all but the Sonar Chart Live app gives me amazing detail. You can finally know the exact shape of that panicle or ledge that you always find fish on. I was able to access the detailed maps on my desktop computer by going to the Navionics web site, and then Chart Viewer. But those detailed lines are really just a computers guess. With Sonar Chart Live, your smartphone (or tablet) will change that map to what's actually down there! YouTube it and take a look.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – October 2019 wrap-up.


    There certainly would have been more marlin caught in October if there had been more boats out. We expect the tourism to be slow in September but it should have picked up in October. It picked up a little but not like it should have. The State of Hawaii keeps tabs on tourism numbers and even the amount of money they spend. Tourism has actually increased this year compared to last year but at the same time, spending has been down. That makes the more expensive activities like charter fishing hard to compete with the ever growing list of cheaper activities that are available. I would seriously consider guided kayaking fishing trips if I thought there would be enough people interested in doing that. It would definitely be cheaper to do but I doubt that enough people would be interested in doing that to warrant turning it into a full time business. I know kayak fishing is becoming a big thing all over the US so maybe sometime in the future. Catching a marlin from a kayak certainly would be a challenge!


    Peak mahi mahi season is in November and there were some around this month but not many. We get a spring run and a fall run. Usually the fall run brings in the big ones but so far, most have been medium to small size. There are also some spearfish and ono stragglers coming in. In the winter we get small bigeye and yellowfin tunas around the FAD's and the fish farm. They're here! A friend of mine called me and said he was a C buoy all by himself and loading up with mahi mahi and small tunas. He was wondering why there were no other boats around? He later caught a marlin at the buoy too.


    The best bottom fishing grounds are North of the harbor and I've been noticing the same thing, that there's no boats around. OK, more fish for me. In fact, the bottom bite has been HOT but catching bait fish has been a problem up North so I've been picking up small tunas for bait around the fish farm that's South of the harbor and then trolling up North to my bottom spots. The trevally bite has been really good this season and the season for them is just getting started. There are several species of trevally but one type that I haven't caught in over a decade is the black trevally. I got a real nice one recently and it even had one of my old tags in it. The tag was so old it was all blown out with no readable numbers. It would have been interesting to see how long ago I tagged it and how much bigger it had grown. We also caught a huge (~ 140 lbs.) amberjack on a jig and it was the same thing. An old tag of mine that was totally unreadable. I've been tagging bottom fish for as long as I've been doing these monthly fishing reports. A little over 2 decades. Hey, after more than 2 decades, I think I might actually be getting the hang of this fishing and writing thing.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – September 2019 wrap-up.


    The marlin bite remained good at the beginning of the month but as the month progressed, the bite slowed down. Most of the marlin around are small males under 200 lbs. with only a smattering of bigger females. It's the end of the peak season for blue marlin and soon the striped marlin will be showing up. There was a surprising number of striped marlin caught throughout the summer. That's fairly unusual so I'm hoping that's an indicator that the winter striped marlin run will be better than the pitiful showing we had last year. Spearfish season is officially over but there is still the occasional straggler around in the off season.


    Right on time, the mahi mahi are showing up. We're still a month away from the peak of the fall run for them. We're at the end of ono season but there's still some around. It's also the end of ahi season but only for the big ones. The smaller ahi along with bigeye tuna will start being caught with more abundance around the ledges and buoys. As I've stated before, the offshore fish farm is the exception to the norm with ahi of all sizes present most of the time. The resident ahi are very smart and line shy. The dumb ones have already been caught. The otaru tunas are around in abundance even though it's late in the season for them. Most are running 15 to 20 lbs.


    Rough seas kept me out of the good bottom fishing grounds way too often this month but when I did get to fish the area, the bite was really good. Mostly I caught and released sharks ranging from 50 to 200 lbs. along with some amberjack, almaco jack and even a bluefin trevally. Those are usually in shallower water.


    The breaking big news is that 'The Charter Desk' has gone out of business. It's been an institution in Kona fishing for decades and used to be the main hub of activity at the harbor. When the boats came in and weighed their fish, it was The Charter Desk that operated the scales. They also offered professional photos and were also the largest charter booking agency. It's been going down hill for a long time due to their failure to adjust with the times. In recent years they mostly just became a small T shirt sales shop and "the operators of the scale" and there's little money in that. So now the big question is, how are you going to weigh a big fish? That's the only scale in the whole harbor. I'm sure someone is figuring out the next step on that one. There was also an electric hoist to get the fish from the scale and into your truck but for now, you better have some strong friends around to help you lift it in. A bunch of friends if you bring in one of those big female blues like last months 1,035 pounder.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – August 2019 wrap-up. - Very late -


    I had a regular reader of mine out fishing with me this week and he said he missed not reading my August report. I had put it up on my web site, facebook and other places before the end of the month but for some reason, I missed putting it on several fishing web sites so here it is, better late than never.


    In sharp contrast to last months report, the big marlin moved into Kona. I said in last months report that it was possible that no "keeper" marlin would be caught during the 5 day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament but the same day I wrote and published that report, a keeper was weighed in at 429 lbs. That was the only keeper for the whole tournament. But things got better from there as August started. The big ones started being caught on a more regular basis and in the middle of the month during the 3 day Big Island Marlin Tournament, "keepers" were caught every day and on day three, that keeper weighed in at 1035 lbs! That's the first "grander" that Kona has seen since 2015. In 2015, there were 4 granders caught in Kona. I have to do a disclaimer here though for the people who don't know what it takes to land a really big marlin. Most big marlin win the fight! It's not like no granders have been here and hooked up in the past few years, it's just that the fish just won the fight. Most of the marlin around right now are between 100 and 200 lbs. and there's been plenty of them. Some spearfish have been caught also.


    The tuna bite remained pretty much the same as last month with the blind strike ahi still happening. The smaller ones, below 20 lbs. are getting more frequent around the ledges. Out at the fish farm, any size is possible. It's the biggest FAD Kona has. Just to mention, FAD VV broke loose so don't bother looking for it. The otaru tuna bite is doing OK as is the ono bite. Even with the trolling bite doing pretty good, I still like to mix it up during the day with some bottom fishing when I can.


    Even when the trolling bite is pretty good, you can still come home without a single bite (that happened to me this month) but the bottom bite is almost a guarantee to catch. Amberjack, almaco jack, giant trevally and sharks are my main target. I know these are all sport fish to be released rather than the many kinds of snapper we have here but most of the customers I take out have never caught a big fish. Yes, small snapper are good eating but going back home with "the biggest fish I ever caught in my whole life!" story seems much more rewarding.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – July wrap-up.


    We're right in the middle of the famous Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and this is their 60th anniversary. It's been an interesting tournament so far. If you've been a regular reader of mine, you would know that the big marlin have been quite scarce so far this year. The minimum "keeper" weight for the tournament is 300 lbs. Anything under that needs to be tagged and released. It's possible that there won't be any keepers this year but the interesting part is the variety of billfish being caught. Pacific blue marlin are the main catch while offshore fishing in the summer months along with some spearfish so of course, both of those have been caught and released. In the winter, the striped marlin are around but as of yesterday, two striped marlin were tagged and released. To top that off, two sailfish were tagged and released. Sailfish are pretty rare here in Hawaii. Some are saying that it's because of the approaching hurricanes (Erick and Flossie) but I'm not buying into that one. They're just too far away to be an influence right now and both are expected to loose power and just become tropical storms. The first one, Erick won't be coming until late Friday, at the end of the tournament. We also had the World Cup tournament at the beginning of the month but with no big fish around, we never even saw a (500+ lb.) qualifier.


    The "blind strike" ahi bite has remained strong and is the best I've seen in a few years. The same can be said for the ono bite. The last two ono seasons were awful but this year is going strong! There lots of otaru tunas around but hard to catch.


    I had some successful bottom fishing drops at the beginning of the month but because of the good trolling bite, I spent most of my time trolling. Then came a double whammy! I had problems with my email server so almost everyone that I emailed back about charter availability didn't get my emails. Most went to spam and others weren't being delivered at all. I got the problem fixed just recently but it cost me a week with no charters. Then, the boat breaks. A coolant fitting on an oil cooler broke so now I'm waiting for parts to arrive. That takes a while when you're on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I've been trying to enjoy the extra time off and trying really hard not to worry about the loss of income. Worry never helps any situation and costs some sleepless nights but on the bright side, my "to-do" list got real short.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – June wrap-up.


    The summer marlin tournaments have started and the bite for them has been good but by no means could it be called a hot bite. That's in part because of the current speed and direction as I mentioned in last months report. It still hasn't formed up very well but when it does, the bite will get good. Most of the marlin that are being caught right now are only about 150 lbs. with very few of the bigger females around. Last weekend was a 2 day tournament and a "keeper" had to be 400+ lbs. A bunch of small ones were tagged and released and only one keeper was brought in to the scales and it barely made the cut off weight. There's tournaments this weekend and the next weekend also but the one that is the real prize for Kona is the World Cup on the 4th of July. A world wide marlin tournament that Kona usually wins. The cut off for that is 500 lbs. but the way things are going right now, it doesn't look like Kona will get it this year. I hope I'm wrong.


    The "blind strike" ahi tuna bite starts in May and got off to a slow start but it's been picking up. There was also an otaru tuna bite happening at the beginning of the month but I haven't seen any in the past couple of weeks. The bite on those picks up as the summer moves forward. There's basically no mahi mahi around and it's not quite the end of their season. The spearfish bite remains slower that it has for the past few years but the good ono bite is making up for it. The last 2 summers, the ono came in early but by the end of June, the bite pretty much disappeared. This summer has been a lot better and looks like it will (fingers crossed) continue.


    The wacky current and some high winds has made the bottom fishing almost impossible. When conditions were good this month, so was the bite but only for sharks. The most common shark I catch is called a sandbar shark and they average 50 to 150 lbs. They fight real hard at the first part of the fight and again when they get near the boat. I'm fishing about 450 feet down so by the time they're near the boat, the anglers are usually tired. Those sharks try everything they can to stay away from the boat and that really puts the anglers to the test. Good fun along with a well deserved sense of accomplishment.
    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – May wrap-up.


    The Kona marlin bite remains good but the "HOT" bite from last month has cooled just slightly. Considering that it's the current speed and direction that turns the bite on and off here, the current did get wishy-washy this month and the bite could have really turned off but it didn't. It just slowed a little for part of the month but the current seems to be getting more stable now so June should be really good. Several guys have told me that to get out of the influence of the island, they have been going way off shore. Finding the marlin way out there has been successful for many and there's been some really big ones both brought in and released. As a side note, by this time of the year there's usually been at least one marlin over 1000 lbs. (aka grander) caught somewhere in Hawaii. Most years, Hawaii gets the first one or one of the first ones of the year but this year, not a single grander has been reported anywhere in the world. Kona hasn't seen a "grander" weighed in since 2015 where we had the first of the year and the third. Maui had the 2nd. Both Kauai and Oahu caught granders last year. It's not that granders haven't been hooked up, it's just that a lot has to go right to actually land one. Most big marlin win the fight.


    Close to shore, the marlin bite hasn't been so good but if you're looking for some eating fish instead of a trophy fish, the ono run (fished very close to shore) has been really good. Mahi mahi are in season right now but few are being caught. There's been both ahi and otaru tunas coming in and the spearfish bite is on. In the past couple of years, I did really well (better than anyone some people said) at catching the spearfish but this year, not so much. Maybe if I went further off shore? But, here's why I don't. No bottom fishing out there.


    The bottom bite is almost a guaranteed way to catch fish. No matter what the current is doing, they don't leave the nearshore ledge, they just find different spots to hang out depending on where the current is favorable for finding food. The worst situation is no current at all. I've been running into that this month and that's highly unusual for Kona but with a little travel time, I usually find out where they're hiding. That travel time is still fishing time and that's where I'm finding most of the tunas. Tuna chunks make good bottom bait but sometimes, you're better off keeping your tuna for the dinner table instead of feeding it to the sharks, giant trevally, amberjack and almoco jacks.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    THE BITE IS ON! Yes, I shouted that. I haven't seen so many fish flags flying in the harbor in quite some time. For those who don't know, the boats get to brag about their catches by flying fish flags (aka brag flags). There is a different colored flag with a fish silhouette for each type of fish so you can even see from a distance what kind of fish were caught. Marlin flags (dark blue) are flying all around the harbor right now and many boats are flying multiple marlin flags.


    There is a known flag flying etiquette. There's no written rules and the standard practices have actually changed a little over the years. There was a time when there was no such thing as a spearfish flag so the standard practice was to fly the marlin flag upside down. The spearfish flag (light blue) came out over a decade ago but to this day, using the upside down marlin flag is still acceptable. If you released your billfish, the red triangle flag with a T on it shows that you let it go. With marlin (blue, black or striped) and spearfish, you put up a flag for each one caught. This is where things can get interesting. It's also a little hard to explain but here I go. Let's say you caught and released two blue marlin. There's two ways to represent that. One way is to put up a marlin flag with two release flags under it but if you really want to brag, you can put up two marlin flags with a release flag under each one. Some boats will use the later method to represent the release of a blue marlin and a striped marlin, distinguishing the two different kinds. With the billfish bite being so good right now with blue marlin and spearfish and some striped marlin still around, some of the flag configurations can be a little hard to decipher. Let's say a boat had a really good day and caught two blue marlin. They kept one and released one. They also caught two striped marlin. Kept one and released one. The simplest flag arrangement would be three marlin flags with two release flags underneath. Kept 2 released 2. The other arrangement might be two marlin flags with a single release flag underneath and then two more marlin flags with a single release flag underneath. That one could be a head scratcher to most people in the harbor. Throw in some upside down marlin flags and you can see how things could get confusing.


    With all that being said, the blue marlin bite has been good with the majority being under 200 lbs. but there were also several big ones caught this month. I said last month that the spearfish bite was really lacking but that's all changed now. Yes, the bite is on!


    There's some ahi coming out of the porpoise schools so now let's go to ahi flag (white) etiquette. An ahi flag is flown if the ahi is over 100 lbs. Sometimes if it's close, it's close enough to brag. There was a time when a separate flag was flown for each ahi caught but that practice went away some years ago. Only one ahi flag flown even if you caught more than one. In fact, that's the way it is done with all the rest of the flags. One mahi mahi flag (yellow) even if you caught several and the same with the ono flag (orange). There's also a flag for skipjack tuna but only flown for the otaru size ones. All of the flags are arranged top to bottom in order of importance. An ono flag would never be flown above a marlin flag or an ahi flag. Usually a mahi mahi flag flies above the ono flag but let's say you caught a 6 lb. mahi mahi and an 80 lb. ono. I know I would certainly fly the ono flag above the mahi mahi flag. With that said, the ono bite is still going strong. Mahi mahi and tunas, not so much.


    Bottom fishing has been hot too. Since most charters don't bottom fish at all and I do it more often than any charter in Kona, the bottom fish flags are a specialty of mine. I actually helped design the giant trevally flag (purple). That one usually goes on top but never above a marlin or ahi flag. The shark flag (red) also goes high up in the pecking order. Since the sharks are so much bigger in size than spearfish, I usually put the spearfish flag underneath a shark but some think that's disrespectful. IMHO, I think a 150 lb. shark is always a more respectful catch than a 30 lb. spearfish. Then there's the amberjack and almaco jack flag (white with a yellow fish) and there's the even lesser known flags for both snapper and barracuda.


    I hope I did a decent job explaining the fish flags. Like I said, there's no written rules so I'm sure some will disagree with what I explained here but as a general rule, this is how it's done. Just to complicate matters even further, the flags should only be flown on the starboard outrigger. There are a lot of different flags, colors and possible combos but one thing is for certain, a lot of flags flying on your outrigger represents a very good day fishing. We have a term for coming into the harbor with no flags flying. Bald headed. You might just have a boat load of ahi between 10 and 30 lbs. (called shibi here) on board and no one would know. You might be flying an ono flag so we figure you caught one but you could have more than a dozen on board. We wouldn't know. You only find out those kinds of details by word of mouth and sometimes from posts by your Facebook friends.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – March wrap-up.


    If you read last month's report you already know that the seas have calmed down to normal but it didn't happen until about mid March. The calm seas allow the boats to fish a much wider area and the catches show it. More marlin are coming is and some of them are big ones. We haven't seen many "beast" marlin (marlin weighing over 500 lbs.) in a while but they're showing up now. There are some striped marlin around too but the spearfish bite is really lacking. They're swimming around out there somewhere, just not many of them happen to be swimming here right now. We're in the peak season for them so hopefully the numbers will pick up over the next couple of months.


    Mahi mahi season is here. Some are showing up but the peak of the season is just starting. One fish that's not in season is ono but there's been a good bite on those recently. I've always said that fish don't know how to read calendars so we can get a run on any fish at any time of the year. Some boats have been doing really well working the porpoise schools for big ahi. I spent a little time trying myself but I don't really have the patience to work the school all day and usually, that's what it takes to get one. The small ahi have been around the fish farm but not with any consistency. Same with the FAD's. Otaru tunas have recently been on "The Grounds" but hard to catch.


    With the rough waters causing me to tuck into shore for the first half of the month, most of my fish were caught while jigging the bottom. I actually had to go further South than I have in a long time to find favorable sea conditions and the fish. While jigging, the most common catch is almaco jack. If you're a sushi fan at all, you would know this fish as Kampachi. I found myself j jigging in shallower waters than I normally do and picked up a few odd ball fish that I don't see in the deeper waters. Not very big but as you can see, they're colorful enough to make a good photo.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – Febuary wrap-up.


    Kona has one of the most stable fishing environments on the planet. Calm seas and sunshine is the norm. Getting rained on while out fishing is almost unheard of. The common wind pattern is that the strong winds (trade winds) hit the other side of the island making the Kona side as calm as a lake on most days. If you're a regular reader of mine you may have noticed that I sometimes complain that I couldn't fish up North too much because of the high winds (choppy seas) but that's only a small area of the Kona fishery. January and February are the two months of the year where we expect to have some days (very few) that aren't fishable. I mentioned last month that I had to cancel a couple of charters because of high winds across the whole Kona coast. This month I had to cancel three charters because of high winds or rain and had to cut a couple charters cut short due to the rain that I could see coming. I'm glad January and February are over because March brings back the beautiful weather that us Kona fishermen are so use to. The humpback whales really put on a good show this time of the year also.


    The February fish bite started off a little slow at the beginning of the month but later the bite really kicked in. There has been a very hot marlin bite for both blues and stripes. The spearfish bite is in high gear too. The billfish really seem to be in concentrated pockets right now so if you find where a pocket is, multiple catches can be expected.


    Winter isn't mahi mahi season but the winter bite on those was pretty good. March is the beginning of the season for them and we're already started seeing more of those come in. Tuna on the buoys and ledges were a little scarce for me this month but that offshore fish farm has been a real money maker for the small trailer boats that are fishing it daily. Tunas are the common catch and there's even mahi mahi and the occasional ono being caught at the farm.


    Bottom fishing for me was all sharks this month. Big amberjacks are a hard fight. Pound for pound, there's no harder fighting fish than a giant trevally but sharks will usually test an anglers strength. Most fish, as they get higher up in the water column, their swim bladders make it hard for them to make a hard dive run. Sharks don't have swim bladders so usually the hardest part of the fight is when they get near the boat. That's also when the anglers are already tired and running out of steam. The sense of accomplishment after the fight is over on any hard fish fight, shark, marlin, tuna or any fish that humbles you is one of the reasons we love to fish.


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – January wrap-up.


    Finally I can stop complaining about the lack of tourism due to the volcano eruption last May through July. I guess the word finally got out that Kona hasn't been covered by lava. This was a busy January and my 2019 calendar is filling fast.


    The fish are here too! The striped marlin bite has been better than it has been for the past several winters. The blue marlin bite is also going strong even though it's not anywhere near a peak season for them. Spearfish season has just started but getting off to a slow start. The next few months are the peak season for them and it seems like every year, the amount of spearfish catches increase. I don't have the statistical data on that but prior to 1975, there were no spearfish in Hawaiian waters and now they're as common of a catch in the peak season as mahi mahi, ono or marlin.


    The unseasonal "chunk Light" tuna bite stopped but the ahi tuna bite seems to be on the rise. In the winter months, the smaller ahi and bigeye tuna tend to congregate on the FADs and the recently replaced offshore fish farm acts as a MEGA FAD. The small trailer boats are camped out on it almost daily. They're just drifting by it with cut bait down deep so trolling in between them mostly can't be done although sometimes there's a hole big enough to get through. The more boats that are fishing it, the less the tunas bite. I guess they get a little freaked out by all the boats. Everyone is trying their specialty tricks to make a catch and I have a few of my own. No matter how you fish "The Farm", it's tactical warfare not just for the fish but also the competition.


    Last month I reported that the high winds kept me from the best bottom fishing spots but for a while this month, the winds calmed down and the North bottom bite was HOT! The high North winds came back recently and actually shut the fishing off on the whole Kona coast. There was no where to hide from the wind and rough seas so I had to cancel my last 2 charters because of it. There were a few boats that went out anyway and they got POUNDED! The wind will calm down to the South later today and by Friday, I should be able to fish back up North again. January and February are our rough water months. The rest of the year, Kona is usually as flat as a lake.
    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers,
    http://FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – December wrap-up.


    The week between Christmas and the New Year is typically the busiest tourist season in Hawaii but tourism is still way down here on the Big Island because of the volcano. It shut off five months ago so you might figure that the effect on tourism would have been over by now but it's not. The volcano smoke is gone and we're seeing clearer skies than we've seen in a decade. The view of the island from the ocean has been nothing less than spectacular! On to the fishing....


    The striped marlin have moved in but there were more blue marlin caught this month than stripes. In fact, the blue marlin bite has been really good for this time of year. Spearfish season is just starting and we're seeing more of those coming in too.


    The fall mahi mahi run is about over. There's still some being caught but not many. The tunas have more than made up for that though. All of the FAD buoys have been holding small yellowfin and bigeye tunas. The small ones are actually better eating (mild flavor) than the big ones. With the skipjack tuna (AKA 'chunk light tuna') the opposite is true. The bigger they are the better tasting. It's totally NOT the season for them to be here but just like last month, I found them hiding along the ledge North of the airport. High winds kept me from fishing there for most of the month but the winds calmed down lately and it was surprising to find them still there. There have been some yellowfin tunas mixed in with them also.


    Shark fishing was pretty good this month. Like I just said, the winds were too high to fish up North for most of the month and that's where the best bottom fishing is. The bottom fishing spots to the South are far apart from each other and generally not as productive but earlier this year I found a good shark hole down South that has been providing a good shark catch about 50% of the time. It's peak giant trevally season right now but I didn't catch a single on this month. Possibly all of those sharks are making them nervous.


    Happy New Year,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    Jeff@FISHinKONA.com

    Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November wrap-up.


    The blue marlin bite remains pretty good for it being the off season. We've even had some BIG ones showing up. Even more in numbers than we had during the peak summer blue marlin season. The striped marlin should have started showing up in October but they didn't but they're starting to show up now. Last year was one of the worse striped marlin seasons I could remember so I'm really hoping that this year will be better. Orange striped marlin meat makes the best sushi, sashimi and poke! Most of the time the meat is more of a pink color so getting an orange meat striped marlin is very special.


    November is supposed to be the peak month for the fall mahi mahi run and while there have been some around; the bite certainly hasn't been hot. What was a hot bite this month was the otaru tunas. It's way late for them to still be here so maybe the mahi mahi are just running late also. There's been some spearfish and ono trickling in and some big ahi caught in the porpoise schools so it's really been a mixed bag bite. I always tell people that "every trip is its own adventure" and I have no idea what the day will bring us. One thing I can say though is that if you go with me, we'll catch something.


    Catching 'something' is what the bottom bite is all about. Most people that come out fishing with me have never caught a fish over 50 lbs. The sharks that I catch and release average 50 to 150 lbs. They're hard fighters so getting one to the boat sure gives the angler a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention some awesome photos. Another hard fighting fish that's supposed to be in its peak season right now is giant trevally. I got one last month but not this month. Late? One can only hope. Yet another hard fighting bottom fish is amberjack. Almost every year we'll catch and release one or two that tip the scales at over 100 lbs. This month we caught two 100+ pounders back-to-back. In all my years of bottom fishing, that was a first! That's why I can safely say with confidence, "every trip is its own adventure".


    See 'ya on the water,
    Capt. Jeff Rogers
    http://FISHinKONA.com

Big-Game Partner

GT-Fishing.com


PecheXtreme


Getawaytours


Jigabite



Jupiter Sunrise Lodge


Big Game Fischen Kroatien