Catching up: Month marches on with plenty of feisty bites

Shawn Slattery getting ready to pick a hook out of a marlin's mouth before release on the EZ Pickens. (EZ Pickens/Courtesy photo)

Great offshore fishing continues off the beautiful coast of West Hawaii. Under the watchful eyes of Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Mauna Loa, busy anglers have been reeling in an assortment of local favorites like big blue marlin, mahimahi, spearfish, ahi and ono and even sailfish.

While I am disappointed the striped marlin bite has been off this season, I am happy to report angler John Neuens, fishing on the Huntress with Capt. Steve Epstein, tagged and released an estimated 125-pound stripey last Wednesday. For those who’ve never witnessed a striped marlin with its colorful illuminated stripes and fins “lit up” by the side of the boat, it’s a beautiful sight, especially with one that size.

As the month marches on, the ahi fishing will only get better. It was a pleasure to report Rick Reger’s 224-pounder in my last column. In Hawaii, ahi is a yellowfin tuna over 100-pounds, anything under 100-pounds is called a yellowfin tuna, and the smallest yellowfins are called shibi. Last week, Mike Young caught a nice 108-pound ahi fishing with Capt. Bomboy Llanes on the charter boat Bomboy’s Toy. As we head into spring, ahi, yellowfin and shibi fishing will be certainly be testing anglers more frequently.

Congrats also go out to angler Yuki Takatsuka for tagging and releasing an estimated 625-pound blue marlin fishing with Capt. Kai Hoover and deckhand Joe Thrasher on the charter boat Waiopai. The biggest blue of the week ate a Koya XL 861 lure fished on the short corner rod, the lure closest to the boat.

Believe me, when a monster blue marlin appears right behind the boat’s transom, it is tremendously exciting to see, and it will get your heart pumping.

After the marlin’s assault on the lure, the reel screamed as line peeled rapidly off, with the fish seemingly swimming hard and fast away from the boat. Hoover rushed down to the cockpit to help Thrasher clear lines so he could chase the fish down with the boat in reverse.

Thinking the large and feisty blue marlin was way behind the boat, the captain was suddenly surprised to see the fish jump 30 yards away from the side of the boat. The fish had made a huge turn creating a big belly in the line, which in turn will pull line fast off a reel.

Hoover hastily got back on the helm and used his expertise to quickly maneuver the boat and give Takatsuka the best chance of catching his dream fish. Takatsuka did an excellent job in the chair listening to his captain and crew and caught the big blue in 25 minutes. The quick catch allowed the fish to be tagged and released unharmed.

With that being said, always listen to your captain and crew.

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

These words are significant for many aspects of life, including fishing. Especially in Hawaii, where you never know what you’re going to catch on any given day. Actually listening to the captain and crew is the best way to have an enjoyable and successful fishing experience. One you may remember for a lifetime, so please listen to what the captain and crew have to say.

Happy Anniversary to Brad and Vicky Pickens

EZ Pickens owners Brad and Vicky Pickings celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in style, with Vicky tagging a releasing an estimated 450-pound plus blue marlin fishing on their 54-foot Hatteras on Saturday.

Fishing with their full-time captain Chuck Wigzell and deckhand Shawn Slattery, the savvy anglers must be warming up for tournament season as they continue to tag and release big blue marlin.

Over the weekend they tagged and released three big blue marlin, Vicky with her 450-plus on Saturday, followed by Brad catching an estimated 600-pound plus and Vicky catching another estimated 450-pounder on Sunday. Pretty nice weekend and a fun way to celebrate 39 years of marriage. Congrats!

Double header

sailfish two days

in a row

Congratulations to Capt. Jah Nogues on the High Noon for catching four sailfish in two days. While catching the feat may be commonplace in other parts of the world, in Kona, it is very impressive.

Nice ono

Angler Josh Hansen, fishing with Capt. Brian Phillips, caught a nice 42-pound ono fishing off Kona Paradise. Fishing on Phillips boat Addiction, the pair also caught two nice mahimahi in the 20-pound range down by the beautiful seaside fishing village of Miolii.

The Harbor

Market is back

The Hawaii Fishing and Boating Association is bringing back their popular Honokohau Harbor Market on April 21 at Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club at Honokohau Harbor from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be boat hardware and accessories, diving equipment, local arts and crafts, clothing, fishing gear as well as food and beverage. Also fishing tackle, including lures and lure making items from the Jim Rizzutto estate.

This is an event you don’t want to miss if you like to fish, like fish or like hanging out with fishermen/women; want to find something a little different for gifts or yourself or want to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning enjoying Kona’s small boat harbors. There is plenty of free parking.

The Market is held to support the Hawaii Fishing and Boating Association in their efforts to improve Honokohau Harbor and other small boat harbors across the state.

Memberships for Hawaii Fishing &Boating Association will be available as well as HFBA t-shirts. More information is on the website

Vendors are currently being sought, and anyone interested should contact Sylvie Madison at 430-5563, or meial to reserve a booth.

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