Catching Up: Monster mahimahi catch make a huge splash

  • Angler Sophia Benacquista, left, poses with the biggest mahimahi of the year (Courtesy photo/Charter Desk)

Anglers fishing off the beautiful coast of West Hawaii this past week were kept busy reeling in a plethora of delectable delights such as ahi, mahimahi, spearfish, ono, and shibi. Blue marlin and a few striped marlin and sailfish also offered anglers exciting action too.

Two boats caught enormous mahimahi weighing over 50 pounds, and for those of you who don’t know, those are huge.


Capt. Shawn Palmer and Capt. Jah Nogues continue to catch sailfish, and for a fishery usually not known for sailfish, these two captains are turning Kona into the sailfish capital of Hawaii.

Even though two blue marlin over 500 pounds were tagged and released, some could say the blue marlin bite slowed down a little bit. But it’s all about perspective. What may be viewed as a slow week in Kona would be considered an amazing week in other parts of the world.

Amazingly, since Dec. 30th, Kona captains have either caught or tagged and released ten blue marlin over 500 pounds, thirteen blue marlin over 600 pounds and two blues over 700 pounds. That’s pretty tough to beat, and sooner or later, a grander blue marlin is going to show up on the Big-Fish List.

With the new moon this Saturday and a full moon at the end of the month, I have a feeling I will be writing about some lucky angler in the fighting chair doing battle with a giant blue over 800 pounds in the very near future.

Two Monster Mahimahi

Holo holo fishing with Capt. Keoni Llanes and crewmember Kyle Philips on the 44-foot private boat Holiday, angler Sophia Benacquista caught the biggest mahimahi of the year when she landed a 53.5-pound bull.

Llanes was ono fishing off of Honaunau when the aggressive big bull ate a root beer colored ono lure made by Keoni’s cousin, the late Randy Llanes.

To the enjoyment of everyone onboard, the vibrantly colored green, yellow and iridescent blue mahimahi put on an acrobatic display jumping all over the ocean before being captured. Jokingly, Llanes said of Benacquista: “she did a great job, but that mahi kicked her butt good.”

Honorable mention goes to an unknown charter client who caught a 51-pound mahimahi fishing on the well-known Keauhou charter boat Capt. Jack with Capt. Mark Schubert and Shawn Bebeau.

Congratulations to the anglers, captains, crews, and all involved for the two best mahimahi catches of the year.

Marlin Magic II and Fire Hatt share the biggest fish of the week honors

Chris Howat tagged and released a 500-pound plus blue marlin fishing with Capt. Marlin Parker on the 54-foot Allied Marlin Magic II, and Darcy Quam fishing with Capt. Chuck Wilson on the 43-foot Hatteras Fire Hatt tagged and released a 500-pound plus, too. Nice going to both anglers, captains, and crew.

Beautiful photos of Howat’s fish taken by Marlin Magic II crewmember Carol Lynne can be seen on our Facebook page Kona Fish Report.

Nice Ahi

As mentioned previously, it looks like the ahi are starting to make their annual appearance with big fish being weighed this month. Last week, two ahi over 200 pounds were caught. A commercial boat caught a 235-pound ahi and angler Jim Hartje fishing with Capt. Bobby Cherry on the charter boat Cherry Pit caught an ahi weighing 204 pounds. Richard Anderson also caught a 109-pound ahi fishing with Capt. Keoni Llanes on the Holiday.

The upcoming spring ahi bite will be exciting. Pretty soon boats will be getting what is known as “blind” ahi strikes, meaning ahi bites while simply trolling in the open ocean away from the porpoise school and buoys. When a big ahi hits, it’s an adrenaline rush and by the sound of the reel screaming, you’ll be thinking big blue marlin at first.

Serious rod

bending on the Miss Mojo

On Sunday, the charter boat Miss Mojo seemed to live up to its name, by having the power to control natural forces through supernatural means.

Captain Shawn Rotella provided an amazing outing for his clients by catching a banquet of fish resembling a restaurant menu. Six mahimahi up to 40 pounds, four ono up to 30 pounds, a half-dozen nice sized kawakawa and a half-dozen or more shibi.

Fishing a full day charter on the 41-foot G&S with deckhand Rick Reger, the fishing was so good the captain had to come into Honokohau before noon to offload fish and get more ice. After making room in his fish box, the captain headed right back out and continued what he started, catching more kawakawa and shibi.

Rotella and the Miss Mojo had something special going on Sunday because other boats were fishing the same area and not having the same kind of luck. Check out the first half of their awesome catch on Kona Fish Report.

The Sailfish Kings of Kona

Not to be outdone by Capt. Jah Nogues – who caught two doubleheader sailfish on the High Noon on back to back days, followed by a single the next day, for a total of five sailfish in three days – Capt. Shawn Rotella, who runs both the Miss Mojo and the Night Runner, caught a doubleheader sailfish on March 6, followed by a single the next day.


I’m going to dub these two excellent captains as the “Sailfish Kings of Kona,” as they are both on fire catching Pacific sailfish off Kona.

See for yourself what the local boats are catching by visiting or following our Facebook page “Kona Fish Report” and if you think you have an interesting offshore, bottom or shore fishing story, please email: or