Kona big game fishing 2016 off to great start

The year 2016 is already off to a fast start for Kona.  It was only 3 days old when Hula Girl boated a 625-pound marlin to lead the Big Fish List.  Last year, we didn’t see our first 600-pounder for over a month.  And less than a week had gone by this year when Capt. Russ Nitta caught a 227-pound tuna.  Last year, no ahi of that size showed up at the scales until May.  Spearfish and striped marlin have been regular catches, enabling several boats to report “triple-billfish slams.”  (The “slam” trio includes a shortbill, blue and stripe.)

Pbm625And the list goes on but let’s start at the top with the year’s biggest-to-date blue marlin.  When the 625-pound blue hit, Capt Kenny Fogarty was running the Hula Girl with his brother “Stretch” Fogarty along as crew. Not only did it top our blue marlin list, it was also the third fish of a triple slam for the day, Kenny said.

“We hooked a stripe and let that one go,” Kenny said. “Then we hooked a spear on a long-corner bite.  Then the big one hit a Haole Boyz bullet soon after we put the baits back in the water.”

All bites were in the same area (between “the elbow” and the harbor) with action lasting just over two hours right around the tide change.  What attracts one type of billfish attracts the others.  (Or maybe they attract each other.  More on that later.)

For the rest of the story

Big-Fish List for 2016. 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 2016 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 2016 by Jim Rizzuto). If we have overlooked you, give us a call (885-4208) or send an e-mail ([email protected]).

  • Blue marlin, 625, Sunny Water & Marc Hembrough, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Jan 3.
  • Black marlin, (vacant)
  • Ahi, 227, Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika. Jan 6.
  • Striped marlin, 101, Ric Palumbo, Capt. Kenny Llanes, Lehuanani, Jan 9.
  • Spearfish, 48.5, Andrew Bristow, Capt. Dale Leverone, Sea Strike. Jan 7.
  • Sailfish, (vacant)
  • Mahimahi, 36, Larry Peardon, El Jobean, Jan 2.
  • Ono, 28.5, Dominic, Capt. Trevor Child, High Noon, Jan 3.
  • Kaku, (barracuda), (vacant)
  • Kahala, 1(vacant)
  • Ulua (giant trevally), (vacant)
  • Omilu (bluefin trevally), (vacant)
  • Otaru (skipjack tuna), (vacant)
  • Broadbill swordfish, (vacant)
  • Ahipalaha (albacore), (vacant)
  • Kawakawa, (vacant)
  • Kamanu (rainbow runner), (vacant)
  • Opakapaka (pink snapper), (vacant)
  • Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), (vacant)
  • Uku (gray snapper), (vacant)
  • O`io (bonefish), (vacant)

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more).

January 3: Blue marlin (625) Sunny Water & Marc Hembrough, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl


January 3: Blue marlin (450) Gale Otare, Capt. James Dean, Blue Hawaii

January 4: Blue marlin (150) Julian Tooman, Capt. Trevor Child, Maverick

January 4: Blue marlin (60) Denny Marc, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious

January 4: Blue marlin (300) Nick Eaden, Capt. Bomboy Llanes, Bomboy’s Toy

January 5: Blue marlin (150) Polly Rasmussen, Capt. Lance Gelman, Medusa

January 6: Striped marlin (40) Jack O’Brien, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II

January 6: Spearfish (25) Robert Whitenberg, Capt. McGrew Rice, Ihu Nui

January 6: Blue marlin (275) Joe Pascoe, Capt. Kerwin Masunaga, Rod Bender

January 6: Blue marlin (175) Greg Garlagher, Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape

January 6: Spearfish (20) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor

January 7: Spearfish (20) Carol Herren, Capt. Bruce Herren, Raptor

January 7: Blue marlin (150) Greg Marsolais, Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II

January 7: Blue marlin (350) Ryan Heisen, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Makana Lani

January 7: Blue marlin (400) Bill Tarvek, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II

January 8: Blue marlin (400) Christina Wilson, Capt. Don Strutheit, Kona Spirit

January 8: Striped marlin (120) Scott Setniker, Capt. Trevor Child, Maverick

January 9: Blue marlin (100) Cheryl Hotchkiss-Loos, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II


January 3: Blue marlin (483) Paul and Keoni, Breezin II.

January 3: Ono (28.5), Dominic, Capt. Trevor Child, High Noon.

January 6: Striped marlin (100), Sierra Rathdon, Capt. Dale Leverone, Sea Strike

January 6: Ahi (227), Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika

January 7: Spearfish (48.5) Andrew Bristow, Capt. Dale Leverone, Sea Strike

January 8: Blue marlin (454) John Boyd, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner

January 9: Striped marlin (101) Ric Palumbo, Capt. Kenny Llanes, Lehuanani

January 9: Spearfish (43) Kevin Moe, Capt. Lisa Hubbard, Miss Veronica

January 9: Blue marlin (432) Li’i Purdy, Capt. Ryan Jarvill, Cloud Nine

January 9: Spearfish (24) Davin (age 4) and Mark Leong, Leilani.

  1. Jim Rizzuto

    Harvey Carlsmith: Reading your article about the bill fish tagging and releasing program is fantastic. I spend a lot of time tagging bull trout and other fish in addition to radio tagging and tracking. What a great thing to keep that fishery strong and healthy.