Mahi Mahi Makes Memories for Six Year Old Gavin Kelln

Beautiful Morning Sunrise aboard Fire Hatt with the Kelln and Dwyer Families, Waiting for the Mahi Mahi bite!

Mahi Mahi Makes Memories for Six Year Old Gavin Kelln.

Serena and Steven Kelln, Steven’s dad, Elton, and their (soon to be 6 year old) son, Gavin along with  brother in law, David Dwyer and his daughter, Sarah spent the day on a family fishing trip here in Kona Hawaii and had the privilege and wonderful experience of heading out on the water with Captain Joe Shumaker and Captain Brian Shumaker on a gorgeous morning in March.  Sightings of dolphins on the way out of the harbor were amazing and the beautiful blue sky and calm water made for a relaxing and wonderful experience.  The first couple hours of their trip passed uneventfully without a nibble but the newness of being on a boat kept 5 year old Gavin entertained and excited to be out.  They all just enjoyed the beauty of the water and the friendly company of the Captains.  This was an extended family fishing trip but also the unique opportunity to fulfill the exceptionally special birthday request of Gavin’s, to be able to fish for the very first time for his upcoming 6th birthday.  Then, within the last half hour of their trip, we had two strikes! We are Hooked Up!  Gavin and his Dad had the thrill of a lifetime hauling in a beautiful Mahi Mahi together.  Gavin had a bout of shyness and didn’t get a picture with the Mahi Mahi but Steven happily stepped in and took his place.  Although there was little action on the first part of the trip it was absolutely chalked full of firsts and amazing memories that they will all look back on with such incredible fondness.  Thank you Kelln’s and Dwyer’s for your great spirit and friendliness, we are looking forward to seeing you folks again in the future!    #familyfishinginkonahawaii 

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.


Encounter with Baby Whale Shark in Kona Hawaii

IMG_2192 (1)Baby Whale Shark IMG_2190Amazing Encounter with Baby Whale Shark in Kona Hawaii as the Crew and guests aboard Fire Hatt were on a family fishing trip this past week.  Captain Joe Shoemaker spotted this beauty and was able to pull in all the lines and drift along with this Baby Whale Shark.  This is only the second time in our history that we were able to witness this wonder.  At one point the baby actually kissed the bow of the boat.  We are constantly amazed at the wonders of the mighty Pacific Ocean!  Whale Sharks are the largest fish species in the ocean, but the majestic gliding motion of the whale shark is, scientists argue, an astonishing feat of mathematics and energy conservation.  Data shows that whale sharks are able to glide without investing energy into movement when descending, but they had to beat their tails when they ascended. This occurs because sharks, unlike many fish, have negative buoyancy.


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



Barks Family Trophy in Kona Hawaii

Barks FamilyThe Barks Family have a Trophy Shortbill Spearfish,  compliments of Kona Hawaii.  Fifteen year old Dillon Barks along with his parents Gary and Susan Barks and his sister Reagan fish aboard Fire Hatt for two days with lots of action.  Day one started with Susan and Reagan both landing a couple of Mahi Mahi followed by the very nice Shortbill Spearfish being boated by Dillon.  The Spearfish weighed in at 45 pounds.  Not bad for this young man!  Day two was a little slower in action but Dad did release a small Spearfish.  The weather was not picture perfect for Kona during their visit, there was some light rain, swells and some clouds….but the fish didn’t seem to mind at all.  This Fort Worth family proved to be troopers!  A perfect Family Fishing Trip!

Featured in the top photo is Fire Hatt Crewman, Brett Lazenby along with Dillon and Gary Barks.  

Featured in the lower photo is the Barks Family; Gary, Dillon, Susan and Reagan from Fort Worth, TX.  

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

The Bucket List

Richard BattoBatton 1n and his wife Joy from
Macon, Georgia came to Kona late in the season to try their luck at catching a Pacific Blue Marlin and to enjoy a family fishing trip.   They had never caught a fish larger than 20 pounds.   They baitfish in Georgia and I believe it was their wedding anniversary.   They are a very cute and very gracious Southern couple.  When they met, Joy was 15 he Richard was 16.  (She said no,  you were 17.)  Not to mention this was on their “Bucket List”.  We left the harbor and had been fishing for about 2 1/2 hours and got our first bite!  The fish was on and taking line for about five minutes and then shook the hook.  As the day was coming to an end and the thrill of the first fish was merely a memory, we were headed back towards town when the long rigger line came down.  We are Hooked Up!  Richard is in the chair and the battle begins.  It is such a thrill for me to look at an angler make their way to the chair, get locked in and hear the screaming reel and feel the weight of the fish!  As we clear the deck and start backing down we are at a standoff. Richard gets into rhythm and we start collecting line back.  After a half hour fight, we have the fish beside the boat and Brett holds it until Richard can get out of the chair and touch the beautiful estimated 225 lb Pacific Blue Marlin before we release it.   Check this off the Bucket List!

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

The Mighty Mellinger’s

Release Flag 02 The Mighty Mellinger’s in particular we are referring to John Mellinger.  Colin Mellinger and his two sons John and Bert boarded Fire Hatt for an afternoon of family fishing in Kona Hawaii having hopes of breaking the family big fish record.  After my crew,  Linda and Brett got the lines out and the deck ready, we had the guys gather for the “Chair Talk”.  As they were determining who the first angler would be, the Short Rigger line starts screaming!  We are hooked up!  After we got John in the chair and got him strapped in the fish was off… we looked at him and stated “And that’s how we do the chair talk!”    We worked the area for a while then headed south.  As the afternoon started to wind down we were hoping for another chance at what would be John’s first Marlin.  Then our wishes were answered with the same Short Rigger line getting hit.  John fought the fish for about 30 minutes before successfully tagging and releasing his first Pacific Blue Marlin estimated at about 200 lbs.    At age 16, from Houston, TX.   John Mellinger is the 2014 Texas Cycling Champion for his age group.  Now he is adding the  largest fish of the Mellinger Family to his list of accomplishments.



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

A Family Affair

DSCN9796 1A Family Affair.  When Howard and Deb Tieden from Wasilla, AK booked their Charter they stated that they only wanted food fish.  Any food fish.  They see many trophies in their business and cater to guests in the same manner we do.  The couple own and operate Arrowhead Outfitters in both Alaska and Texas.  Howard is a Brush Pilot and Air Taxi, transporting guests to hunting and fishing camps in the two states.  You name it, Moose, Texas Deer Wild Boar,Caribou, Bear, Sheep Fish and more.  This trip was a Family Affair.  Their Daughter Stephanie was getting married.  As a wedding gift they booked the charter.  Deb shared a story with me about carrying Stephanie in a backpack while hunting and fishing….so fishing is in Stephanie’s genes.   With over a dozen family members wanting to fish, we had to have two boats available.  Fire Hatt had the privilege of taking the Bride and Groom, the Tiedens along with the Grooms Father Leo Gunderson and Grandson Jason Gunderson.   Captain Bill Casey aboard Pacific Blue took half of the group including Deb’s parents, Snooks and Kenny Moore .  We had a mini tournament between the two boats to make it interesting.  Game On! We started out in what we refer to as “Ono Lane” hoping to bag a food fish.  After several hours of no bites, birds or life we decided to move offshore to the pens and see if we could catch a few tunas.  As we approached, we could see the Steno Dolphin there and knew our efforts would be wasted.  So we moved off to “F Buoy”.   Bingo,  the first line in the water is bit.  Jason Gunderson is on the rod and pulls in the first fish!  Nice!  We stayed for several more passes and the Stenos found us.  We couldn’t get any more fish to the boat without having them bit off.  We head further offshore and put out the lures and hope for a tuna.  After about an hour of trolling, the group decided they wanted to go back and take their chances with the Stenos and try for a few more small tunas.  This paid off!  The Stenos had moved on and we were able to pull in several more small tunas.  With time running out, we had to leave and head back to the harbor.  With lures back in the water we head in.  About half way there, the long rigger line is bit!  The line comes down and the fish comes off.  We are able to tease the fish and keep it interested.  He takes a few more strikes at the long rigger bait and then switches to the stinger line.  We are hooked up!  Larry Gunderson  (AKA “The Groom”) is in the chair and makes for a short fight bringing in this 40 pound Short Bill Spearfish.  Talk about a perfect finish for a day!  Oh…we won this little competition.  All in good fun!

Featured in the photo above is Howard Tieden. Stephanie Gunderson, Deb Tieden, Jason Gunderson and Larry Gunderson.

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

First Spearfish for Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta

DSCN4694First Spearfish for Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta.  Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta along with close friend Steve Dahl and their families enjoyed a day fishing the silky calm waters of Kona Hawaii with myself and crewman Brett Lasenby.  We were on a half day afternoon charter and did not waste any time getting lines in the water as we are leaving the harbor mouth.  These guys want a fish!  Their wishes were answered with this impressive 35+ pound Shortbill Spearfish.  FYI,  Short-billed spearfish are a pelagic tropical species found offshore or near volcanic islands surrounded by deep water along current lines, drop-offs and ledges. Hawaii offers unquestionably the best shot at productive short-bill spearfishing because of the combination of underwater structures and cold currents. Hawaii consistently produces more short-nosed spearfish than any other known area, with them returning to Hawaii’s waters each spring to spawn. The best months for a shot at this species are February through June. Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

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

Family Fishing in Kona Hawaii at its Best

DSC_0262Family Fishing in Kona Hawaii at its Best. The Dean Family from Eldorado Hills and Clear Lake California should purchase Lotto Tickets when they return home. Thats the kind of luck they had fishing the beautiful silky calm waters of Kona.  As we left the harbor we headed south.  The day started with the first bite, a nice Mahi Mahi just fifteen minutes out of the harbor.  Mike Dean is in the chair and although the fish came undone, it set the mood and pace for the rest of the day.  About forty five minutes later as we are headed farther south, we  have two lines come down, we are hooked up!  A double on Ono!  This time Mike Dean and Mike Dean Sr. are on the mark.  They each landed their fish.  Dinner for the family! Now just off Keahou Bay, we are patroling the area  and twenty minutes later the stinger line comes down,  and then wham, the long rigger line comes down.   We are hooked up again! A double on what turned out to be Blue Marlin.  Once again Mike and Mike Sr.  were the anglers.  The blue marlin were estimated at about 100 lbs and 40 lbs.  We are not done yet… as we were leaving the Captain Cook area we had anoher bite.  This one escaped, we think it was a Shortbill Spearfish.  And finally, after a two hour lull in activity, the stinger line is ripped down again, we are hooked up!  With Gina in the chair, she lands a Striped Marlin!  We sucessfully release it and we are now on our way back to the harbor. This is a banner day of fishing in Kona!  Going to need taller outriggers to hang this many flags.  A good problem to have.

Featured in the top photo is Fire Hatt First Mate Brett Lasenby with Gina Dean and her Shortbill Spearfish along with her husband Mike Dean and Mike Dean Sr. after landing their 20+ lb Onos.  The photo above is one of the Marlin that were sucessfully released.
Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team