The little boats have been rocking the Big-Fish list this past week. Seventeen seems to be the magic number too, as in 17 feet long.
The largest ahi and the largest black marlin to date, both fell to folks fishing on 17-foot skiffs. Each was caught on Jan. 21, as well. This was the day of the full moon, often called the “wolf moon” of January. It was also a day after the lunar eclipse and the “blood moon.” To top it off, the moon was unusually close to earth, appearing bigger and brighter, making it a so called “super moon.”
A wolf blood super moon — that explains everything.
Logan Achay was out meditating over live opelu, up on The Grounds on Jan. 21. His wife had given him a hall pass to take a break from helping with their baby, and he was basking in the peace and tranquility of the ocean. Only problem was, ono kept breaking his reverie.
He caught some opelu in about 30 fathoms and noted how big they were, compared to the “usual” sized ones. He walked a few as live baits out to the 200 fathom line, but ono kept cutting them in half.
“I didn’t have a stinger setup so I ran inside to the catch a few more opelu for the freezer and then head home. When I got to the opelu pile I caught a few but noticed they were really nervous swimming around the boat. So, I threw a live one back in and started walking it in the area hoping for a mahi or shibi.”
Achay said that when he put the opelu out, he thought to himself, “This thing is big enough for a marlin to eat.” Within 5 minutes time, that is exactly what happened.
With no one else on board to lend a hand, he fought the fish until it was pretty worn out, rather than try and take it too quick and risk breaking off a hot one. When he finally got it up he noticed that the shape was odd and that the belly was a weird white, but he passed it off as just being really “lit up” and “a funny looking blue.”
It wasn’t until he got it back to the scale at the fuel dock that Amber Hudnell told him he was the proud owner of a 213-pound black marlin — the first black he had ever seen, much less caught — which explains why it was so funny looing.
On top of that, he is now the proud owner of the largest black marlin on the Big Fish List. Nice one, Logan!
Down at the other end of island, the crew on another 17-foot boat was taking a leisurely approach to the fishing day. Maile Brown and her boyfriend Ronald Tai See are avid fisher folks, and are usually up and at ‘em. But not on this Monday.
They did not say if they were up late the night before, howling at the wolf blood super moon?
“My boyfriend and I live and fish out of Miloli’i. Most days he launches before sunrise. The funny thing about Jan. 21 was we decided to launch late around 9 a.m., a rarity.
“We were trolling in the deep about 15 miles offshore of Ka’ohe with three lures in a spread, in a porpoise school. On our first pass we had a double-strike on my side of the boat. These fish were super challenging to land because the bigger fish hooked up to the shorter line and ran like crazy. As we were taking turns reeling in the shorter line on a penn international gold reel 130 setup, we realized the two lines were tangled. The other ahi was hooked up to Miya Epoch electric reel setup with a very thin braided 250-lb test line. Tai was worried the thin braided line was going to cut the other line and we would lose both fish.”
When fishing big rods and reels on small boats, the rigs are usually left in the rod holder while doing battle. Small boats are not as stable as big boats, and carrying a rod and reel that can weigh more than fifteen pounds is hard enough, but when a huge fish is pulling on it too, removing a rig from the rod holder can be disastrous. One slip and the whole rig — worth over $1,000 — can go over the side along with the fish. You could easily end up in the drink as well.
Tai trusts his fishing partner Maile, and instructed her to pull one rod out to try and unwrap the two lines.
“Tense moments when I pulled the pole out of the pole holder to uncross the lines and reposition the pole on the opposite side of the boat under his direction,” Maile said. “Now we could fight the two fish from opposite sides of his boat. We got the first ahi to the leader and on the gaff and it was our first look at the monstrous size of the fish. We tried to get what ended up being a 241-pound ahi inside our boat over the side and there was no way. So we maneuvered it to the back of the boat and brought it onboard through the transom.”
Maile reports that the ahi took up one whole side of his 17-foot boat.
“Both of us were panting and exhausted from fighting the big ahi. Now we had to fight the second ahi. We’ve never been so thankful for an electric reel,” she said. “The second ahi had taken out 1000-foot line so the electric reel assisted in taking line back. When the ahi was almost to the boat, the line went slack. Tai thought the fish had spit the hook. But the ahi was swimming up and we ended up landing our second ahi weighing in at 117 pounds.”
Not bad for a late departure!
“We still can’t believe we were able to untangle that mess and get so lucky in January for our first holoholo trip of the year,” Maile said. “All told, it took us 25 minutes from strike to landing both fish in the boat. Now we’re always joking the late launcher is the way to go, after this score!”
And score they did, at 241 pounds, their big one now holds the lead on the Big-Fish List. Thanks for writing in, Maile!
The larger charter boats did well in January too. Capt. McGrew Rice and Carlton Arai on “Ihu Nui” took the lead of the Blue Marlin category of the Big-Fish list with a 713-pound lunker. They caught this fish on Jan. 20, the day before the wolf blood super moon. “Camelot” moves into the lead in the Striped Marlin department with a 112 pounder.
Capt. Chuck Wigzell fished twelve days during the first month of the year. He and Capt. Chip Van Mols reported catching 16 blue marlin and on two days, they caught Hawaiian grand slams — at least one blue marlin, striped marlin and spearfish, all on the same day. Chip mentioned that the blues and stripes were easier to find than spearfish these days.
Capt. Chuck said they did not catch a blue in the final week of the month. Maybe after the wolf blood super moon the fish needed a rest too.
The Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club has been around a long time. In fact, the Club was founding in 1914, making it the second oldest big game club in the USA!
For years, the Club was bustling, prestigious and robust. At the very first Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, eleven out of twenty four teams were HBGFC teams. The club even sent teams to a tournament in Sydney, Australia one year.
During the recession, the club fell on hard times, but recently a group of devoted loyalists banded together, paid membership fees, elected a board and officers, signed up a bunch more members, and are renovating the club, re-establishing programs and tidying up the legal structure.
With most of the tedium behind, they are now going on a membership drive. In honor of entering the Club’s 105th year, the first 105 folks purchasing memberships will receive a special “Aloha and Welcome” package. The package includes a limited edition commemorative truckers cap with the original logo – vintage 1914 – embroidered on the front. Also included are an official club membership card, a freshly printed club bumper sticker and an Eagle Claw fish hook shaped tie/cap clasp.
Memberships will also enjoy reciprocal admission at other clubs – and – advance, discounted tickets to shows at the club, such as the recent performances by Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band.
The annual Rock N Reel tournament will continue, and dates for this year are June 7-9. Other tournaments are on the drawing board.
There are already about sixty memberships sold, so getting to 105 should not take much time. Act fast to get your goodies and enjoy the revamped programs and tournaments that the Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club has planned for 2019!
Go to this link to join: hbgfc.org/hbgfc_membership_NEW_4-1_Final.pdf
The Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series is looking for a new “Official Artist.” Tournament artists create tournament logos and T-shirt designs for The Series. The artist gets to showcase and display their work to the discerning anglers at the tournaments, and on the website. Some pieces are auctioned off to raise funds for non-profits with the artist receiving their share from the upset price minimum.
Interested artists should check out the various designs existing on the website, and submit some examples of their work via email for consideration.
Go to konatournaments.com for more information or email Jody@konatournaments.com.