Catching up: The blue marlin bug

Blustery winds and stormy winter weather cooled the previous week’s red-hot bite, but good offshore fishing prevailed as the winds subsided. Once again, blue marlin fishing took center stage followed by a good shortbill spearfish bite that kept Kona anglers busy. Striped marlin catches slowed down a little, but it should pick back up very soon.

With the right currents, mahimahi fishing should improve soon too. Usually, after a big blow and high surf in the northern region of the state, floating debris enters the sea.


In magnet-like fashion, the drifting flotsam eventually acts as a fish attracting device, providing shelter for smaller baitfish that mahimahi, ono and tuna prey upon for food. The captains who find the flotsam usually have a very productive day and very satisfied customers.

Sea Wife II gets the biggest fish of the week honors

Congratulations to angler Tim Conzachi, Capt. Kent Mongreig and rookie crewmember Austin Toth for catching a 709-pound blue marlin last Saturday on the charter boat Sea Wife II.

Toth, crewing for only his third day in Kona, probably didn’t realize what he was in for when he left the harbor on a half-day charter fishing with longtime Kona captain Mongreig.

Fishing on the 1,000-fathom line between Red Hill and the Caves, the giant marlin crashed a big Aloha lure fished closest to the boat on the short corner rod.

Toth’s jaw probably dropped as much as the clients when he witnessed firsthand his first big blue marlin performance. After attacking the lure, whitewater exploded everywhere as the giant billfish leaped high into the air and crashed back into the sea. In awe-inspiring fashion, the big blue jumped two more times and then disappeared beneath the waves.

It was angler Tim Conzachi’s birthday, so he jumped into the fighting chair with the opportunity of catching a fish of a lifetime. The big blue reminded Conzachi of its enormous size when it erupted again from the sea, putting on another aerial display, powerfully leaping away from the boat two or three more times before it dove back into the deep.

Mongreig knew the fish was heading into a death dive and was concerned Conzachi would have trouble bringing up a fish of that size. He suggested possibly placing another angler in the chair but it was Conzachi’s birthday, and like Santiago in Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, he was determined to catch the big marlin.

As expected, the fish expired down deep, and a difficult tug-of-war battle began. It didn’t take long before Toth and Conzachi had to work together bringing the fish up.

Getting real first-hand experience, Toth spent 50 minutes hand lining the 709-pound fish to the surface. He would pull in line with his hands and Conzachi would reel in unison with Toth. After an hour and five minutes, Conzachi’s birthday fish was in the boat. Rest assured none of the meat on the mighty fish went to waste.

I asked Mongreig if the experience gave Toth the blue marlin bug also known as the fever? He smiled and said, “he’s hooked for sure now, you could see it in his eyes!”

Congrats to all involved, and especially to Toth, he’s not so new anymore.

Honorable mention blue

Two other 600-pound blue marlin were caught last week that are certainly worthy of attention.

Congrats to angler Peter Kinchla for catching a 611-pound blue marlin fishing with Capt. Rey Rubalcava on the Miss Mojo last Thursday. And to angler Vicky Pickings who remains on a hot streak fishing with fill-in Capt. Chip Van Mols. Pickings tagged and released an estimated 600-pound blue marlin fishing with her husband Brad on their boat EZ Pickens last Wednesday.

Monster Sailfish

Last week I somehow missed an impressive sailfish catch by angler Mike Brandon fishing with Capt. Al Gustavson on the Topshape on Feb. 2. Brandon tagged and released a whooper of a sailfish estimated at 125-pounds. That is a huge sailfish and a rare catch by Kona standards. That same day Brandon also released a 170-pound blue marlin.

Biggest ahi

Bryant and Brandon Roberts must have tagged teamed a big 174-pound ahi. They caught the biggest ahi to date fishing with Capt. Chris Kam on the Illusions on Feb. 4th.


Speaking of big fish

There are still a lot of vacancies on our big fish list. Please contact us if you have a qualifier that could go on the board.