Fishing floaters in Hawaii

DSCN6355Fishing “floaters” in Hawaii is our version of fishing the prized kelp paddy in Southern CA.  This time of year there are still some Pacific Blue Marlin around.  There are still some Ono too.  But honestly, if we can spot a floater this time of year, stand back because we will be in for a great episode of catching.  Heading offshore with a watchful eye, and really good binoculars, we encourage our guests to report anything that is NOT water.  We are looking for birds, trash and current lines.  Our guests really get into it.  This floater pictured to the left consisting of old nets and line was spotted about 10 miles offshore and proved to be loaded.  Our guests spent a couple of hours pulling in nice Mahi Mahi and a few Ono.  After several passes the fish tend to get wary.  Now we get the ballyhoo out and enjoy some light tackle fun!  Of course there is always the possibility that a predator is nearby.  These floaters are considered “refrigerators” for Marlin and other Prey fish.  We always make several passes just outside the area before we leave.  Bigger fish tend to hang just outside and know a meal is there when they are ready to eat.

Featured in the photo is the “Lucky Linda” Lure made by Bomboy Lures


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

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.

Not a Bad Day of Fishing In Kona Hawaii

Not a Bad Day of Fishing In Kona Hawaii with this group visiting from across the country attending a Medical Conference.  Coincidently, the Wives won this trip and the guys got to catch the fish.  Marriages made in heaven!   The group boarded at 7:00 am with so much energy and excitement I knew this was going to be a great day.  Once we cleared the harbor and lines were set, Linda gave the chair talk.  Everyone was just settling in when the stinger line was bit.  The fish did not stick, I made a turn and worked the area for a while and then moved on.  Linda spotted a bird pile in the distance about five miles out so I turned and headed that way.  As we approached there was still a lot of bait and birds in the area.  I had a lot of activity the last few days out deep so we stayed outside and headed south.  Then the action started and kept going all day!  First, the stinger is bit, Jeff Jackson is in the chair and I am helping to clear lines and now the short rigger line is bit.  Double Hook Up!  Kurt Andresen was designated as the second angler and  is fighting his fish from the gunnell.  Talk about exciting!  And we got both fish.  Two Shortbill Spearfish about 35 to 40 lbs each.  With lines back out I stay deep and follow a current line.  After just a short distance, the Stinger line is bit….again.  Line is screaming and I can tell this one is NOT a Spearfish.   Mike Agema is in the chair and the fight begins.  Mike brings his fish to the boat in just under 15 minutes and has officially caught and released his first Pacific Blue Marlin estimated at about 125 pounds!  Nice Job!  Linda no sooner has lines back in the water and the stinger line is down again!  A nice Shortbill Spearfish is caught this time by Brad Browder, this one we tagged and released.  All the guys got to fight a fish today.  Now the ladies enter the rotation.  Erin Browder is first up and she is ready!  Reluctant at the start of the day, the ladies did not want to pull on any fish.  Now…. after seeing the unbeleivable action all day, they want their time in the chair!  Unfortunately the day ended with not more action and they are talking about coming back next year and getting their shot!  These Guests are part of a larger group and wondered if they could have some of the Spearfish to take back to their Hotel to have prepared for everyone?  I delivered the two Spearfish to the Hotel and was told by these guests that the Chef’s did a fabulous job preparing the fish a couple of different ways and it fed everyone.  It was the hit of the trip for them! They all agreed that is was”Not a Bad Day of Fishing In Kona Hawaii.”

I have been seeing large schools of bait, hundreds of acres, and a lot of birds in the past week mostly off shore to the southwest where our Pelagic fish migrate in to the Kona shores.  This is typical of the start of the season.  Bait arrives followed by the large predators.  While always watching for signs on the water,  and studying tides, currents and water temps,  there are signs that give you a better chance of finding fish such as, that Spearfish are a favorite food for big Blue Marlin and when you find them in numbers as we did today….hang on folks as this could get interesting in a hurry!

Featured in the photo above is Erin Browder “Tending the Bat”,  Jeff Jackson (boated Spearfish), Brad Browder (tagged Spearfish), Mike Agema (tagged Blue Marlin),  Amy Agema (with gaff ready) and  Kurt Andresen (first boated Spearfish)

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

Big Kahuna nets a Big Ka-tuna Kona Fishing

Chet Chiara, a retired Fire Captain from Anchorage Alaska, spends many days a year here in Kona fishing, hoping for the Big One.  On this day, we decided to head off shore.  Armed with two pair if Gyros, we scanned the horizon for a Porpoise School or a “Floater”.  With just Linda and I on board today, we were quite excited about what this day might bring.  Then, I heard those three words from Linda that get me going!  “I got something!”  I then look to see what direction she is viewing and turn the boat.   She gives me an estimate on distance and tells me what she sees.  This time she sees splashing about three miles out.  A porpoise shcool with no one around!  We changed out lures to smaller ones and made our first pass.  We are Hooked Up!  The Short Rigger line is bit!  Oh, and it is the “Lucky Linda Lure”.  Chet is in the chair and the battle begins.  After a twenty minute fight, Chet has his prize to the boat.  A 97 pound Yellowfin Tuna!  His biggest tuna to date.  Chet, an avid hunter and fisherman, will definately add this trophy to his collection.  Chet has been Kona fishing for 20 years and always anticipates capturing a new personal record.  Chet was on Fire Hatt when we got the 978.5 pound Pacific Blue Marlin in 2011.  We consider him a good luck charm.


Jeffrey’s Fish of a Lifetime is Caught in Kona Hawaii

Jeffrey’s Fish of a Lifetime is caught in Kona Hawaii. Jeffrey and Katie Fogel along with Katie’s parents, Greg and Bernadette Zemenick boarded Fire Hatt hoping for a fun trip and a wonderful experience. Since it was Jeffrey’s first fishing trip, the family all agreed that he would be first in the chair.  The water was flat and calm so we headed north to the “grounds”.   After trolling for about an hour we had our first strike. The long rigger line is screaming!  We are hooked up! Jeffrey quickly made his way down from the bridge and began reeling in his first fish, after a short fight, he has a 40lb Shortbill Spearfish to the boat!  By the way, the hit was on one of the boats favorite lures, the “Lucky Linda” on a Ken Matsuura reel spooled with 50lb test line.   This was Jeffrey’s first fish…ever!  How exciting.  Crewman Chet Chiara from Anchorage, AK was on board today and did an awesome job subduing the fish.  Jeffrey grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, spent his undergrad years at Harvard and then pursued a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Michigan. Now he is a management consultant at a firm in Princeton, NJ.  As you can imagine he didn’t have a great deal of free time for fishing while growing up.

Not long after Jeffrey landed the spearfish we had another strike.  This time it is Katie in the chair. The fish hit the short rigger line and then moved on to take the stinger line.  We are hooked up again!  This time it is a Pacific Blue Marlin.   Katie got in the chair, snapped herself in and began reeling.   Although Katie wanted to catch the Marlin she didn’t want to injure it.   She also began lamenting the fact that she didn’t want the fish to have a heart attack or be injured.  Sooo, not too long after she voiced her concerns the Marlin opted for self-preservation and spit the hook.  Needless to say she was disappointed but at the same time relieved that the fish did get away.  Katie, who is a Pediatric Orthopedic Physician Assistant in Neptune, NJ has been fishing since she was a child and has a special love of deep sea fishing.  It has always been Katie’s dream to catch a marlin and there it was.   As for Greg and Bernadette, they enjoyed the show, loved watching their daughter and son-inlaw fight fish and making lasting memories of their family fishing trip in Kona Hawaii.  I think we will see them again soon.

Hawaiian Fishing Lures, Do They Make A Difference?

Hawaiian Fishing Lures, Do They Make A Difference?.  Is there a difference in them and other lures used around the world?  I think so.  While keeping in mind, when a fish is ready to bite, it will bite what ever is drug in front of it.  However, I do think there is a science to consider when deciding your pattern for the day.  You want to pull lures that are going to atract a fish into your pattern.  What are the fish eating?  Where are the fish eating?  Local lure makers know this information.  They know what months certain bait fish are here and the depths they are hanging.  Local Hawaiian lure makers mimic these characteristics when making their lures.  They are not concerned with what is being bit in Mexico, Southern California or New Zealand.  They are interested in making lures that look like and swim like our local bait fish.  When I look back at our largest fish caught here in Hawaii, they have been caught on local lures.  We have caught our share on other favorites from our vast arsenal too.   Sometimes you just have to throw something out there to “mix things up”.  I also beleive that when new batches of fish show up in our waters, they have been eating baits we don’t have.  This is when putting out something a little different than the normal proves to be productive.  The fish then settle in and begin to look for the local bait.  Thus the reason for “local lures”.  Look back at your lures from the past twenty or so years and notice little has changed color wise.  Shapes change, size change and weight changes but the colors remain consistent.  The materials today are so much more advanced and the result is amazing.  Another thing to consider….look at the fishermen that are bringing in the trophy fish.  Many of whom are luremakers.  They are using their own lures.  You don’t really need more proof than that.  There have been many times that our guests will bring Lucky Lures from their own collections.  Their lures have won tournaments for them in their own waters and  are excited to give them a try here.  (Many times they prove to be productive…)  Who Knows! Just get out there and try them.


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!

Trucker’s Chucker aka Shortbill Spearfish

Trucker’s Chucker aka Shortbill Spearfish.  Trucker and his buddies, fellow horticulturists from Northern California just wanted to do some fishing in Kona Hawaii.  The group boarded Fire Hatt and we headed for the “Grounds”.  What started out to be a three quarter day quickly turned into a full day as the bites started coming.  Final count two Shortbill Spearfish and four bites. Not a bad day on the water.  Credit being given to a small lure from Adam’s collection by an unknown maker…. we could not keep the fish off of it!  I’m thinking it could be the follow-up for the lost Lucky Linda Lure.  We are now on the hunt to try to find more of the hot little number before we loose it! Having had such good luck, the group will be returning later this week for another chance at what they hope will be a Blue Marlin.  Once back to the dock, Crewman Adam Ludwig cleaned and packaged the fish for the group to take home with them.  If you have never tasted our local Spearfish, you are missing out.  Commonly seen on local menus as Hebe, the flaky white meat is almost sweet to the taste.  Prepared on a cedar plank, grilled or pan seared you should try it while you are here.

Lucky Lady Hooked Up and Lucky Linda Lure is Lost

Lucky Lady Hooked Up and Lucky Linda Lure is Lost!  This is true.  Katherine and Mark from Lincolnshire, IL boarded Fire Hatt for a day of snorkeling at Captain Cook Bay and an afternoon of fishing.  After trolling to Captain Cook and enjoying some snorkeling, which by the way had two Humpback Whales just yards from shore.  What a sight to see.  The two whales leisurely hung in the bay for hours.  Several kayakers and many boats got to  hover a safe distance and watch them.  Truly a remarkable sight.  Spinner Dolphin joined up later as we were leaving the cove.  Now with lines back in the water and lunches being eaten, we are headed out to the deep.  Not many boats out today and not many reports of fish except a few Mahi Mahi, it didn’t look too promising.  We were headed back to the harbor and had just started to put things away and start to bring in the lines when Linda saw a fish coming in straight for the “Lucky Linda” on the short rigger.  One strike, then another and the fish was on. A nice Pacific Blue Marlin!  Kathy was the designated angler and was in the chair in seconds after the hook up.  The Marlin came up jumping and running, we could clearly see it was a nice fish.  After about 15 minutes the line goes slack, the fish is off.  Ouch!  And the Lure is gone too.  Not to fear though, Bomboy (Bomboy Lures) made the lure for me and will have another one (or five) to me as soon as possible.  Kathy hooked up to a marlin a few years ago in the Bahamas and it came off after about an hour of fighting it.  Looks like third times a charm for this Lucky Lady Angler.

Mahi Mahi Surprise for New York Brothers

Mahi Mahi Surprise for New York Brothers.  As 14 year old brothers Max and Dillon were boarding the Fire Hatt along with their parents David and Dawn for an afternoon family fishing trip, we were told that  Dillon was the lucky one.  Sure enough!  Just moments after the chair talk, we were talking and laughing when the short rigger went off.  As luck would have it, the “Lucky Linda Lure” was the choice for the Mahi.  Dillon is in the chair and the fight is on!  The Mahi Mahi fought hard and Dillon fought harder.  A short 10 minutes later he has his nice 20+ pound Mahi Mahi to the boat.  Crewman Adam Ludwig leadered and gaffed the prize and the fight was finished.  Now the family is trying to determine where to take the beauty to have it prepared for dinner.  There are several restaurants that will prepare your catch.  Have your crew make sure the fish is properly chilled and keep it cold until you get it to the chef.  It is always good to call ahead and let the restaurant know you are coming.

Look at these faces….that tells it all!