Oh So Close, It was a little painful, but worth every moment!

Oh So Close!  “It was a little painful, but worth every moment” says Julia and Jon Eichler who live in Eagle River, Alaska.   The Eichlers have been to the Islands five times since 2011. They have been to Kailua-Kona on 3 occasions including this last trip. The family fished with Chuck and I a few years ago, we did not get one bite, but it was a beautiful trip with some snorkeling at Captain Cook Monument.  They were then visiting the island because Julia had competed in the LavaMan Triathlon.

This time they wanted to dedicate the entire charter to fishing. “Captain Joe Schumaker and deckhand Captain Brian Schumaker did a great job of making this an enjoyable trip and did a wonderful job. Very professional.”  Were the comments relayed to Chuck and I from Julia and Jon.

We had great weather of course and several whale sightings. About 30 minutes before the fish hit, Joe mentioned that fish normally hit when all of the guests have fallen asleep. Jon’s  wife and daughter fell asleep and he tried to keep his eyes open, but found himself waking up to the sound of the reel screaming!  Hooked Up!  The Marlin came in on the long rigger line and ate a pearl head bullet.

This Pacific Blue Marlin is the biggest fish Jon has caught. Though he wasn’t sure why it was considered caught, but apparently knew a requirement was met that makes it reportable.

RELEASE: Once you get to leader it is considered Catch and Release whether you release it or it releases itself.  In a tournament situation, the fish would have to have been tagged for it to count.

Video courtesy of Jon and Julia Eichler.

Fire Hatt is a proud member of the AFTCO  Pro Fishing Team.  You can go to and AFTCO Logo 2read their amazing story.

Joshua Huehn’s First Pacific Blue Marlin

Joshua Huehn’s first Pacific Blue Marlin was released aboard Fire Hatt while visiting Kona, Hawaii on a family fishing trip.  Joshua and his family,  Stephanie, Jeff, and Madison, were visiting from Tsawwassen, BC.   We fished down to Captain Cook’s Bay, where the family snorkeled and saw dolphin.  On the way back up the line, just outside of Captain Cook the long rigger line started screaming…we are Hooked Up!  Joshua fought the fish for about 20 minutes before bringing the fish to the boat where Captains Joe and Brian Shumaker released the estimated 150 pound Marlin!  A nice note along with the photo was sent to us by the family stating this memory is one the family never forget!  We hope to see them again. (That fish will only get bigger….)

Featured in the photo are Joshua Huen and Captain Brian Schumaker.

Fire Hatt is a proud member of the AFTCO  Pro Fishing Team.  You can go to and AFTCO Logo 2read their amazing story.


Never Underestimate The Will Of An Eight Year Old Boy

40lb Srearfish Sammy and Sultan June 2014Never Underestimate The Will Of An Eight Year Old Boy.  Sultan Linjawi, his wife Astrid and two young children, Sammy and Yasmine fished three days with us.  Their mission was for the children to catch fish!  Unless of course a Grander came on scene, then that one was going to be Sultan’s.  On Day one, shortly after leaving the harbor, we are hooked up to the perfect fish for Sammy  A 40+ lb Shortbill Spearfish.  Sammy is in the chair with the help of his Dad and we are able to land the fish for Sammy.  We  let the children pick the lures they wanted to run.  Sammy chose a Blue and Green Super Ninja lure that Bret put on the stinger.  It was the one that the Spearfish took…Carma?    It is Sammy’s first Billfish and his first “Flag Fish”.

On Day Two of their adventure, I spot birds and splashing just short of  town and we make a pass to see what might be biting.  Within seconds we are bit.  Astrid is in the chair and wastes no time bringing in a nice 140 lb tuna.   Again we let the family choose lures… This family is incredible.

Day three explodes right out of the harbor with a Tuna strike.  Sammy is in the chair again and with the help of his dad and my crew, a nice 114lb Tuna is on deck!  Yes, Sammy chose the lure…this time a blue Super Ninja lure.  With lines back in the water, we head offshore and south towards Captain Cook.  Linda spots splashing and birds on the horizon and we go to check it out.  We have the whole area to ourselves as Tuna start boiling around us.  We are Hooked Up!  This time the explosion on the long rigger tells us this is a big fish.  After a lengthy tug of war with the fish, we are able to land Sammy’s biggest fish  A nice 180lb Ahi Tuna!  Amazing…. I think Dad set the bar kind of high now for this young man.  The family has a 38 ft Bertram in Australia and are avid fishermen.  Now we have to work on Sammy’s first Blue Marlin…hopefully we will get it for him next time when the family returns to fish in Kona Hawaii.  No Pressure!

Fish Of A Lifetime for Alberta Canada Family

Fish Of A Lifetime for Alberta Canada Family.  On January 14 Kyle Moodie, his wife Sue, along with his Father Doug and Mother, Verna spent a full day on a family fishing trip aboard Fire Hatt. The waters were dead, silky calm and the sun was hot. We ran lines from 7 am to noon with no action, but knew “it” could happen at any time. As we worked our way south to Captain Cook Bay for a little afternoon snorkel we were pleasantly surprised the spinner dolphin were there.  I put our guests in the water and let them swim with the dolphin.  Turns out this was definitely on their bucket list.  Let’s check that one off.  Once they were back in the boat, we put lines in the water and headed out.  After finding a pod of dolphins offshore we cruised through them with no luck. Then on our way out of the pod it happened. Wham! We are Hooked Up!  Kyle is in the chair and let me tell you, as a fly fisherman from southern Alberta, Canada I’m sure he had never experienced anything like this. With over 1500 feet of line off the reel, he cranked and cranked.  We thought it was a Blue Marlin at first.  The fish tracked the lure and exploded on it.  After an intense 40 minute fight, Kyle has the fish to the boat only to have the hook pop out within in a few feet from landing it. Ouch!   A nice Yellowfin Tuna estimated at about 180 pounds… Kyle has landed hundreds of fish in his days but had never experienced a fight like this.  Truly a Fish Of A Lifetime.  As a catch and release fisherman he had no problem with the popped hook. It was a landed fish in his books.  As Captain, it is just deflating to see a trophy come undone.  Brett and I appreciated the understanding from Kyle and he knows “That’s Fishing.”  There is one way fish get hooked and a thousand ways they come off.  We hope Kyle and his family leave our beautiful Island with a lifetime of memories and come back again to claim their trophy.  That fish is only getting bigger.

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

Marlin Double Feature

One of the two marlin released today.

First Mate Adam Ludwig releasing one of the two marlin caught today.

Marlin Double Feature!  On Saturday, first mate Adam Ludwig and I found ourselves in a very wild battle with more than 1,200 pounds of Blue Marlin.  We had a Father-and-son party from Australia aboard.  Peter Dalle-Nagare  and his son, Kyle along with their family boarded Fire Hatt  and we headed off shore and then out to “C Buoy” .  It was an uneventful ride up to this point so we headed back up the line inside.  At around noon, we were trolling off Captain Cook in around 500 fathoms.  The water was glassy calm, which would be a help in the battle to come.  I had just reassured my anglers that there was a lot of good trolling water around them when the stinger line started screaming and took over the dialogue.  A 500-pound marlin had grabbed a John Lau lure on the stinger line and then took to the air in an almost continuous tail-walk for nearly two minutes.  Peter is in the chair just starting his battle when I slowed the boat so Adam could start clearing the lines so we could chase the fish.  As Adam reeled in the Aloha Smash Bait lure on the short outrigger, an even bigger marlin charged it.  We were almost in idle when the marlin showed. The lure was back at about the third wave so we could easily see its big bill, big head and big shoulders.  Then, wham, we were now hooked up to two big fish at once.  The second marlin screamed off about 500 yards of line, which caused a great predicament.  Which fish do we follow and try to get first (if at all)?  Fortunately, the first two minutes of intense acrobatic effort had taken a lot of steam out of the first marlin.  The second fish, estimated at 725 or more pounds, had headed off in a different direction so there was no present danger of getting the lines crossed and tangled. By then, we had gotten all of our gear out of the way by raising the outriggers and transferring all of their rods into the cabin. While Peter fought his fish from the chair, Kyle fought his fish from a rod holder on the gunwale.  Depending on which fish was giving the most trouble at the time, I eased the pressure on the anglers by crabbing the boat sideways in one direction and then the other.  The tactic was to keep one fish at 4 o’clock and the other at 8 o’clock to avoid crossed and cut off lines.  With smaller fish in mind through the coming months, I had downshifted to 50-class Matsuura reels but they held more than enough of the thin strong braid to keep from running out even if the fish got a half mile apart.  The crabbing tactic got the first fish to the boat successfully for a quick tag and safe release.  Soon after we got Kyle into the chair and started working exclusively on the second fish, he got it to the boat for another release.  The whole unbelievable event was over by a little more than an hour after the first strike.

Tenatious Fight by 9 Year Old Aidan Hunter Lands Blue Marlin

Justin and Lenora Hunter are completing a full year of traveling around the world with their two sons.  Fishing in Kona Hawaii is one of their last trips before heading to Alaska.   9 year old Aidan and 12 year old Zach are experiencing opportunities of a life time while getting to fish in places like South Africa and various other destinations in the South Pacific.  Having caught some impressive fish along the way, they could only dream about hooking a Pacific Blue Marlin.  They Did!  We left the harbor at 7:00 am for a 3/4 day charter and headed South towards Captain Cook.  They enjoyed a beautiful snorkel in the bay and anxiously got back to the boat to continue the quest.  So far we did not even get a bite.  The boys are begining to look at Me and Adam and Mom and Dad giving the “Where’s the fish?” look. No pressure there… On our way back up the line just after noon, the long rigger line is bit and line is screaming!  The Ice Blue Lucky Linda Lure comes through for us again, we are Hooked Up!  It is a Blue Marlin and 9 year old Aidan is in the chair.  With lines cleared and Adam at his side, the battle begins.  I was so amazed at the tenacity of this young man!  He fought sooo hard.  After about fifteen minutes Aidan gave his older brother Zach an opportunity in the chair.  Knowing this was Aidan’s fish, Zach lets Aidan back in the chair to finish the fight.  This fish was to the boat quickly, we had it to leader two times and had to let go. On the third try we were able to successfully get the hook out and release a nice healthy fiesty Pacific Blue Marlin.  We estimated Aidan’s fish to be about 400 pounds.  This crushes the family record Marlin held by Aidan’s Grandfather, a 300+ pounder.  I think the bar has been set quite high for Zach now!

Featured in photo above is Adam Ludwig with Aidan’s Pacific Blue Marlin to leader wearing AFTCO Release Gloves.  The Lucky Linda Lure is by Bomboy Lures.

Family Fishing Adventure Aboard Fire Hatt

Family Adventure Aboard Fire Hatt.  Mark Nikkel from Chicago, his father John and his father in law Wilber, both from Michigan joined us last week for a day of family fishing.  Mark has fished with us in the past and he landed a nice 450 pound Blue Marlin.  Now returning with his family, he wanted to give it another try…maybe something bigger?  With that said, we head out.  Reports from the few days prior told us that it was lumpy up north on the “grounds” so I headed south.  It was a pretty quiet morning with no action.  Then mid day, just off Captain Cook  about 1:30 in the afternoon one of the rigger lines came down.  Nothing forcefull, it acted like a rubber band failure.  While Adam was putting that line back up, the stinger came down pretty hard.  I could see a fish still tracking the lure and Adam immediately started to tease it.  We are Hooked Up!  The Marlin took the absolute smallest lure in the pattern.  A small slender bullet made by Al Bento.  The fish was fought on a Ken Matsuura 50 with 130 lb Amalon mono.   With lines cleared and his Father the chair, the battle is on!  John fought the fish for about 45 minutes and then turned the fight over to Wilber.  Wilber fought the fish to the end.  Total fight time was 1 hour 40 minutes.  Both of these fishermen are 75 years old!  Until now, the largest fish for these men was a 40 pound Salmon.  Once Adam got the fish to leader, we gave Mark the honor of setting the first gaff shot.  I placed the second gaff and the three of us pulled the trophy on board.

One of My favorite Family Fishing Stories

One of My favorite Family Fishing Stories.  This family of six including two young Sons and their Grandmother from Canada wanted to snorkel and fish.  So, we headed out to do just that.  On the way down to Captain Cook Bay to Snorkel we saw Pilot Whales and Porpoise.  Everyone aboard marveled and took photos of the spectacular sight.  even though we are on our way to snorkel, we do have have five lines in the water hoping for a bite.  However, not a single nibble was had on the way down.  With all the guests in the water enjoying a mid morning snorkel and swim in the pristine bay, Adam and I are planning our strategy for the return trip back to the harbor.  I decide to head out to the 1000 fathom line and try our luck on the outside.  As I approached the area, I turned north and headed up the coast.  Then as anticipated, the long corner line is bit.  We are hooked up!  In the chair is Grandma, 63 year old Donna Stewart is now fighting her fish of a lifetime!  With help and encouragement from her son Eian, they sucessfully land the beautiful Pacific Blue Marlin.  I tagged the fish and as we are attempting to release it when we see that it is not going to live.   As we get the marlin secure in the cockpit of the boat,  Eian’s wife yells out SHARK!   With cameras snapping shots of the shark, we realize that would have been the Marlins fate in the end if we had released it injured.   We bring Donna’s fish to the scale and are pleased with the 444 pound weight.  What a memorable day.


Featured in the photo is the Stewart Family with Donna’s 444 Pound Pacific Blue Marlin

That’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii

That’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii.  Dave Greathouse and his wife Barbara from Wisconsin enjoyed a leisurely morning aboard Fire Hatt waiting for a bite.  A real leisurely morning.  Nothing, not even a rubber band failure.  Originally, the couple intended to do a little snorkeling at Captain Cook Bay but someone forgot to pack their swimsuit.  Then it was discovered that their underwater camera was dead and they did not have the power cord to recharge it.  However, these slight misshaps gave them more time with hooks in the water.  This is their first time to fish in Kona Hawaii and the anticipation was contagious.  After several hours of no action, Dave broke out a prize cigar and ask if there was any way he could smoke it….. we closed up the Salon and let him light up on the back deck.  Once he finished the cigar and noted it had not brought him the luck he anticipated, he donated the remaining stub to mother ocean.  Within seconds the stinger line is bit and line is screaming off.  We are hooked up!  It’s a Marlin!  Dave did a wonderful job bringing in his first Pacific Blue Marlin.  It took him all of 25 minutes.  The Marlin was released unharmed and took off jumping and putting on a great show.  When our guests asks me if I ever get tired of this, I always tell them “Are you kidding?  Fishing here is like driving through a mine field…you never know when one of the lines are going to explode!”

The Honeymooner’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii

The Honeymooner’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii!  Yet another story about wedded bliss and the lucky Bride!  Linda thinks there is something about a newlywed couple and luck on the water.  I am beginning to agree with her… Rob and Kendra from Southern California boarded Fire Hatt with the anticipation of getting in a little snorkeling at Captain Cook Bay and a little fishing that hopefully will include some catching.  Adam had just completed the chair talk and they had settled in on the bridge when I was telling them how we “look with our brain” for any activity or floaters on the water.  I wasn’t even finished telling them when Kendra spotted a floater.  Turns out to be a nice net.  Perfect!  On our first pass, we are hooked up!  Rob is in the chair and he lands a nice 31 pound Bull Mahi Mahi.  Nice way to start the day.   A couple more boats showed up and after making several more passes without another bite, we moved on.  Off to Captain Cook to snorkel now.   The water was absolutely calm and clear while we were greeted by porpoise at the bay.  Having finished a wonderful swim, we are headed back out.  With lines back in the water we are about 10 minutes straight out from Cook when BAM!  The short rigger line is screaming!  We are hooked up again!  Did I mention it was the very Lucky Linda Lure….Kendra is in the chair fighting her fish of a lifetime!  She is a petite little thing and fights the Blue Marlin literally standing in the fighting chair.  After a  35 minute fight, we are able to release her approximately 225 pound Pacific Blue Marlin.  She did such a great job!  To summarize the event, I go back to Honeymooners, Lady Luck and the Lucky Linda Lure!