El nino effect on Kona fishing?

 

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Jada Holt with 657-pound blue in BIMT

In the months ahead we may finally learn the  answer to our most frequently asked question about the effect of weather on fishing in Hawaii.  Meterologists are predicting what might be the strongest El Nino on record.  It comes during a year when we have seen better than average fishing for blue marlin and yellowfin tuna.  The as-yet-unanswered question, “What does an El Nino do to fishing on the Big Island?”

Fishing records from the past don’t really give a definitive answer even though El Nino conditions happen on a regular cycle every 3 or 4 years.  The term refers to periodic warming of sea water along the Pacific coast.  The warm waters are pushed westward toward Hawaii and then change sea temperatures around the islands.  Marlin, tuna, mahimahi and ono are known to favor certain sea temperatures and avoid waters that are too cold or too warm.

In theory, sea temperature changes could be very bad for fishing.  But fish regularly fool us.  Who is to say that the good fishing over the last few months hasn’t already been influenced by the beginnings of the 2015 El Nino?

For the rest of today’s report, we’ll take note of what the fishing is like now so we have more than a hunch to go on.

Last Tuesday, the charter boat Northern Lights II boated a 1,075-pound Pacific blue marlin to record Kona’s fourth grander of 2015. It was the 5th for the Big Island and 6th for the state.  Catching just one more here over the remaining third of the year will surpass all but one previous year.  Two more will tie the Kona all-time record of 6 grander blues in 1978.

In last Monday’s report, we wondered if the 112 blue marlin tagged and released during HIBT-week was a Kona record.  The 112 total included fish caught by boats in the tournament and others not entered.  Capt. Jody Bright offered additional exciting data from the Kona Marlin Tournament Series.

“We had 116 tags between the Firecracker Open, Kona Throw Down and Skins tournaments, which ran consecutively with one day-off from July 4 through July 12,” Jody reported  “Does that count?”

The matter of comparing 9 days versus 7 days is beside the point. The 116 tags are more great data supporting both the growing interest in tag and release and the above-average numbers of blue marlin being caught this year.

The numbers for the year are up whether we are talking about “big fish” like the 4 Kona granders so far in 2015 or last week’s 800-pound release on Kona Spirit, 700-pound release on Marlin Magic II, 657.2 -pound catch on Luna or the estimated 750-pounder lost by Bite Me when the hook pulled free after an hour and 40 minutes.  The numbers are also up when we are considering a “many fish” criterion (the 112 during HIBT week, the 116 during the three Kona Marlin Series Tournaments, or the 59 last week).   And maybe even when we consider oddities like the 12 sailfish the charterboat Night Runner caught this year, which is undoubtedly a sailfish record for charterboats.  Powerboats rarely catch even one per year here.

And those are some bench marks to use as the El Nino of 2015/16 progresses and we consider its effects.

25th ANNIVERSARY TART SETS RECORDS

Staying with our “great Kona fishing in 2015” theme, the 25th anniversary TART set a new record of 5,800 total points for the five teams selected to compete.  The previous record of 4,400 was swept away by a cascade of release points plus the 1,075 points per pound of the Northern Light II grander.

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TV mogul Ken Corday hosts the annual TART competition.

Though the big fish made the difference for the record, it did not give the Northern Lights the victory.  Capt. B. C. Crawford’s team on Kona Blue took first with the points from 5 tagged fish and two captures weighing 484- and 358-pounds.

The Northern Lights II finished second.  Its grander was its only bite of the event other than two non-qualifying barracuda.  But its big fish snatched a special record for Kona lure-maker Eric Koyanagi. Eric’s “Koya” brand lures have caught two granders this year, making his the only lures to catch two granders in one year.  His granders came up on February 18 and August 18, just six months apart.  There is still time for the Koya brand to add to the record with 3 or more in 2015.

For Capt. Kevin Nakamaru, the 1,075-pounder in the TART completed his second “Triple Grander Slam.” The Kona born veteran fisherman was the first to catch a trio consisting of an Atlantic blue, Pacific blue and black marlin weighing 1,000 pounds or more.  And with this grander he has done it again.

TV executive Ken Corday is compiling the footage of the TART to be broadcast under the title “Hawaii Marlin Challenge.”  Expect to see a lot of Kona Coast action when the show eventually airs.  Kevin says there were no fewer than 8 cameras going during the 2-hour fight, including one taking overhead scenes from a drone.

Ken caught two Atlantic blue marlin granders while fishing with Kevin off Madeira in the Eastern Atlantic.  They combined to catch the first on February 26, 1996 and the second exactly one year later on February 26, 1997.

KONA IKI TROLLERS KEIKI TOURNAMENT

The KIT Keiki Tournament was a great success “and the kids had a lot of fun,” Capt Butch Chee, tournament spokesperson, said. “We adjusted the tournament a bit this year in efforts to encourage conservation, by having the kids weigh their 10 biggest fish of each species caught which worked out very well.”

Place                Boat                Angler/Crew                        Captain

1st                    Nora K            Manuia Vole                        Manuia Vole/Aaron Mori

Ku’uanela Kalananui-Mori

Jason Alani Jr

Jerome Alani

Pumehana Kalananui

2nd                   Puamana II     Zachary Vermwelen            Miles Nakahara

Elijah Hartmann

3rd                    Kaila               Kaila Salmo                        Ben Salmo

Kahane Salmo

Ko’ele Salmo

Tehani Tan

4th                    Rosey K         Deighton Bell                      Deighton Bell/Teddy Bell

Neighton Bell

Ho’omalu Phillips

Whitley Francisco

5th                    Darriene M     Darriene Marks                   Darriene Marks/Steve Marks

Kamryn Marks

Paityn Marks

Largest Aku     Nora K             Manuia Vole                         Manuia Vole/Aaron Mori

15 pounds

Largest Ahi     Keiki Auana      Pomaikai Nahuina                David Nahuina

35 pounds                               Maluhia Nahuina

Largest           Rosy K              Deighton Bell                       Deighton Bell/Teddy Bell

Mahimahi                                Neighton Bell

12 pounds                               Ho’omalu Phillips

Whitley Francisco

Largest          Puamana II       Zachary Vermwelen            Miles Nakahara

Ono                                        Elijah Hartmann

40 pounds

 

The Kona Iki Trollers Fellowship Tournament is set for September 12, 2015 from 6am to 3pm.

 

Big-Fish List for 2015. The list recognizes the biggest fish caught on rod and reel (except opakapaka and onaga, for which we’ll accept hand line catches) in West Hawaii waters for 2015 in each of 22 categories. They are listed by species, weight, angler, skipper, boat, and date. The list is updated every Sunday throughout the year (copyright 2015 by Jim Rizzuto). If we have overlooked you, give us a call (885-4208) or send an e-mail (rizzutojim1@gmail.com).

  • Blue marlin, 1,226.5, Dean Lemman, Capt. Chip Van Mols, Luna. May 27.

(1,368*, Guy Kitaoka, Darrell Omori, Rayna. July 28, *electric reel).

  • Black marlin, (vacant)
  • Ahi, 233, Ken Smith, Capt. Bobby Cherry. Cherry Pit II, May 1.
  • Bigeye tuna, 189, Meg Stern, Capt. Tracy Epstein, Last Chance. Feb. 19.
  • Striped marlin (tie), 141.5, Capt. Rocky Guaron, Hooked Up, March 26 and 142, Jody Pintar, Capt Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV.  April 8.
  • Spearfish, (tie) 52.9, Floyd Pansano, Capt. Dale Leverone, Sea Strike, March 10; and 52.7, Kasey Buising, Capt. Mark Schubert, Captain Jack, March 6.
  • Sailfish, 101, Craig Cugnit, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan. 31
  • Mahimahi, 53, Ray Mohammed, Capt. Jim Wigzell, Go Get Em. March 15.
  • Ono, 58.5, Asa Sugitan, Crazy Ann. Jan. 31
  • Kaku, (barracuda), 49, Ben Bermoro, from shore. Aug. 14
  • Kahala, 44.5, Todd Shiraki, Treeny 2. July 8.
  • Ulua (giant trevally), 104.5, Adam Hodgson, Kayak.  March 31.
  • Omilu (bluefin trevally), 13.5, Bruce Lentz, caught from shore.  April 2.
  • Otaru (skipjack tuna), 29, Unknown, Capt. Chad Contessa, Bite Me. June 2.
  • Broadbill swordfish, 50.5, Tony Clark, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui. June 6.
  • Ahipalaha (albacore), (vacant)
  • Kawakawa, 17.5, Todd Shiraki, Treeny 2, June 20.
  • Kamanu (rainbow runner), 21, Adam Hodgson, kayak.  May 28.
  • Opakapaka (pink snapper),  (vacant)
  • Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), (vacant)
  • Uku (gray snapper), 16, Todd Shiraki, Treeny 2, June 20.
  • O`io (bonefish), 5.4, James Cintas (6 years old), Shoreline.

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more).  Note also the estimated 800-pounder on Kona Spirit and 700 on Marlin Magic II. In the listing, BIMT represents the Big Island Marlin Tournament and TART the 25th annual Tag and Release Tournament

August 16: Blue marlin (542) Ryan Accomazzo, Capt. Mike Muldoon, Bite Me 4

August 18: Blue marlin (1075) Brent Nelson, Capt. Kevin Nakamaru, Northern Lights (TART)

August 21: Blue marlin (657.2) Jada Holt, Capt. Chip Van Mols, Luna (BIMT)

Tag and Release

August 16: Blue marlin (800) Brody Waters, Capt. Don Stutheit, Kona Spirit

August 16: Blue marlin (150) Darryl Hammond, Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress

August 16: Blue marlin (150 and 200) Jeff Adamik, Capt. Bryan Toney, Marlin Magic

August 16: Blue marlin (120) Bob Odea, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier

August 17: Blue marlin (400) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor

August 17: Blue marlin (200) Rebecca Haldeman, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky

August 17: Blue marlin (130 and 175) Bob Odea, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier

August 17: Blue marlin (110) Lynn Moorhouse, (120) Todd Shier, Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika

August 17: Blue marlin (170) John Patterson, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

August 17: Blue marlin (150) Ken Corday, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui (TART)

August 17: Blue marlin (120) Spencer Johns, Capt. Lance Gelman, Medusa

August 17: Blue marlin (160 and 700) John Patterson, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

August 17: Blue marlin (180) Dan Doerr, Capt. Bill Casey, Marlin Grando (TART)

August 17: Blue marlin (175) Rick Fitz, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui (TART)

August 17: Blue marlin (150) Ed Benson, Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress

August 18: Blue marlin (130 and 200) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor

August 18: Blue marlin (180) Chris Matsko, Capt. Andrew Peterson, High Noon

August 18: Blue marlin (120) Danny Smith, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II

August 18: Blue marlin (150 and 300) Unknown, Capt. Brian Schumaker, Anxious

August 19: Blue marlin (160) Lewis Smith, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl

August 19: Blue marlin (225) Fred Jacobson, Capt. Tim Hicks, Illusions

August 19: Blue marlin (125) Sam Braish, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape

August 19: Blue marlin (250 and 450) Michelle Amador, Capt. Tony Clark, Ihu Nui II

August 20: Blue marlin (125) Andrew Lane, (400) Max Wall, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl

August 20: Blue marlin (200) Dan Doerr, Capt. Jeff Fay, Humdinger (TART

August 20: Blue marlin (250) Rick Fitz, Capt. Bill Casey, Marlin Grando (TART)

August 20: Blue marlin (150) Don Brandt, Capt. Bill Crawford, Kona Blue (TART)

August 20: Blue marlin (150, 150, 300, and 400), spearfish (35) Unknown, Capt. Trevor Child, Maverick

August 21: Blue marlin (185) Glenn Heitmann, Capt. Mike Derego, Maggie Joe (BIMT)

August 21: Blue marlin (125 and 250) Pat Tooley, Capt. Bryan Toney, Marlin Magic

August 21: Blue marlin (150) Jada Holt, Capt. Chip Van Mols, Luna (BIMT)

August 21: Blue marlin (200) Bob Russell, Capt. Jason, Holtz, Pursuit (BIMT)

August 21: Blue marlin (200) John Bowers, Capt. Brian Wargo, Kila Kila (BIMT)

August 21: Blue marlin (200) Mike Shimamoto, Capt. Carlton Taniyama, Five Star (BIMT)

August 22: Blue marlin (180 and 200) JJ Humphries, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier (BIMT)

August 22: Blue marlin (175) Lindsey Johnson, Capt. Paul Carlton, Go Big (BIMT)

August 22: Blue marlin (375) Steve Spina, Capt. Kerwin Masunaga, Rod Bender (BIMT)

August 22: Blue marlin (150) Jada Holt, Capt. Chip Van Mols, Luna (BIMT)

Notable

August 17: Blue marlin (444), ahi (159) Ken Corday, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui (TART)

August 18: Blue marlin (300) Jim Kong, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier.

August 18: Blue marlin (358) Ken Corday, Capt. Bill Crawford, Kona Blue (TART)

August 19: Blue marlin (484) Rick Fitz, Capt. Bill Crawford, Kona Blue (TART)

August 21: Blue marlin (428.8) JJ Humphries, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier (BIMT)

August 21: Sailfish (84) Keoru Erger, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner

August 18: Blue marlin (300) Jim Kong, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier.

August 18: Blue marlin (358) Ken Corday, Capt. Bill Crawford, Kona Blue (TART)

August 19: Blue marlin (484) Rick Fitz, Capt. Bill Crawford, Kona Blue (TART)

August 21: Blue marlin (428.8) JJ Humphries, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier (BIMT)

August 21: Sailfish (84) Keoru Erger, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner

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