Six Species in Two Days for Joe Gunja aboard Fire Hatt

Six Species in Two Days for Joe Gunja aboard Fire Hatt.  Now and then a person enters your life and it is almost as if they were sent for a reason.  Joe Gunja called me and we discussed a two day fishing Charter on FIRE HATT, fishing for Blue Marlin in Kona Hawaii in November 2017.  A little history on our adventure, Joe is from Springfield Missouri.  I was born in Harrisonville about 90 miles away about the same time.  Joe is a retired high ranking Federal Bureau of Prisons Regional Supervisor, effectively making him the second in Command, supervising over 20 Wardens. Myself as a retired Chief Officer in the Fire Department we both had a lot of stories to share on our Public Service times and experiences.

Joe had fished many of the Lakes and rivers I had as a youth and he updated me on the new (40 year old) Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir that is in the middle of the Southern Missouri Fishing and Hunting Region.   Joe’s wife passed away suddenly this past year with no previous illnesses and he himself had suffered Leukemia and is now in remission.  Joe is a former Army Military Policemen and then rose through the ranks of the Federal Prison System including being the Warden at three prisons.  While a disciplined and structured Man, Joe has a love for adventure and fishing.

Joe, my backup Captain Joe Schumaker and I set out and started combing the waters off Kona Hawaii and shortly later caught a 40 pound Shortbilled Spearfish, a rare species World Wide and only found in the waters of the Central Pacific.  Many Anglers throughout the World come to Kona to try to capture this rarest of Billfish as they had caught most of the other Billfish Species that lived in their Ocean waters.  This turned out to be just openers as over the next two days Joe caught six different species of Gamefish that reside here in Kona Hawaii.  Finishing off our first day adventure was a 20 pound Skip Jack and later a 15 pound Barracuda.

Day two began with an early morning bite with the first species being an Ono, also called “Wahoo”, followed by a small Mahi Mahi and then came the Big Pacific Blue Marlin.  Estimated at 300 pounds while being released, it was by far Joe’s biggest fish of his life, so far.   Attached are some glimpses of the Blue Marlin as we hooked up brought it to the FIRE HATT.

Joe Gunja and I have become solid friends and we will share many more of these adventures as time goes by.  Thanks Joe for coming out to fish FIRE HATT in Kona Hawaii!

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

Banner Day Aboard Fire Hatt for Hank and Jinx

Hank and Jinx 46 lb Mahi Mahi Kona HawaiiBanner Day Aboard Fire Hatt for Hank and Jinx!  This is the third year Hank and Jinx have spent fishing in Kona Hawaii with us.  Every year the stakes get a little higher, actually a lot higher!  I don’t know what it is about these two, but they are fishy….this year Hank brought in our largest Mahi Mahi to date, a whopping 46 pounds.  That is considered a nice one for these waters.  As you can see in the photo it looks like we had assigned uniforms, it was just by luck that we arrived wearing what turned out to be a winning combination.  With that in mind, Hank and Jinx hand washed the lucky garments and wore them again the following day….gotta tell you, the luck was there!  On day one we had the Mahi along with a Blue Marlin Release, day two produced the nice Shortbill Spearfish  for Jinx while the 150 pound Yellowfin Tuna came on the last day with Hank on the rod. We are looking forward to your visit next June and landing the elusive Ono!

We love starting out each day with the greeting of Hi Hank, Hi Jinx!


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

Fellow Fire Fighter Releases His First Striped Marlin

Rod and Lisa 7Fellow Fire Fighter Releases His First Striped Marlin.  Rod Bieller and Lisa Yellowlees from Victoria BC  has been fishing in Kona, Hawaii on Fire Hatt for the last Six Years.  He and Lisa have been troopers when it comes to fishing.  Over the years our adventures with Rod and Lisa include many attempts at catching the elusive trophy blue Marlin.  We have not checked that one off his bucket list ….yet!  We left the harbor around 8:00 AM and headed north to where bait had been reported.  We were about about 1400 fa off “Pine Trees” when the stinger line started screaming off line.  We are Hooked Up!  Once lines were cleared, Angler Rod Bieller had the striped Marlin to the boat in just over five minutes.  Crewman Brett Lazenby had a tag in the fish and made a quick release.  Rod’s Stripey was caught on a “Silver Fox Bullet Lure” made by longtime luremaker Al Bento from Honolulu.  Rod and Lisa have caught several food fish here in Kona including Mahi Mahi, Ono and a nice dinner size Big Eye Tuna they took home for shashimi last night.  His real target yesterday was to land a Shortbill Spearfish.  The Spearfish and Striped Marlin are here in numbers now.  We did have a Spearfish come into the pattern and poke the stinger several times but did not take the lure.  this is quite comon with this species.  Sometimes you can tease them into taking the lure… however, not this time.  We look forward to continuing the adventure next year.

Featured in the photo is Lisa Yellowlees and Rod Bieller with their release flags.  Rod is a retired Fire Battalion Chief from Victoria,

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

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.

When a Woman Loves her Man, She Takes Him Fishing in Kona Hawaii

20140109_124322 1 When a Woman Loves her Man, She Takes Him Fishing in Kona Hawaii.  That is what Lisa Yellowlees from Victoria, BC did for her sweetheart, Rod Bieller.  Rod loves to fish, especially in Kona Hawaii, so for a “milestone birthday”, Lisa called us months in advance and arranged the surprise fishing trip for him.  There was a good prpbability that he would be calling to book a trip anyway, so we had to steer him to the date already planned for him.  This was so much fun to be a part of.  Rod and Lisa have fished with us several times in the past and we were looking forward to going again.  Rod is a retired Fire Battalion Chief  from Victoria so we have a lot in common.  So now we have a surprise charter for Rod, we are out almost all day before we finally get a bite.  This nice Ono (Wahoo) was just what we needed.  You don’t want to get skunked on your birthday.

January and February into March are excellent months for Shortbill Spearfish, Ono and Striped Marlin.  There are some nice Ahi Tuna around too.  These months transition into the famed Pacific Blue Marlin months ahead.  Although Pacific Blue Marlin are caught here year around, they show up in numbers in the summer months.

Featured in the photo above is Rod Bieler and Lisa Yellowlees proudly showing off the nice Ono.

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

Spearfish Are Here and They Are Hungry.

Sreve Dahl SpearfishSpearfish Are Here and They Are Hungry.  With fishing or should I say “catching” having been slow for a few weeks, the bite finally turned on.  There have been reports of Striped Marlin and Spearfish in numbers showing up daily.  We have had nice bites on Mahi Mahi too. Recently, on a half day afternoon family fishing trip,  Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta landed this impressive 35+ lb Shortbill Spearfish.  The past few days we have had multiple hookups.  We’ve had a good couple of days landing two nice Spearfish and a Mahi Mahi and an Ono.


Featured in the photo representing AFTCO as one of their Pro Teams is  First Mate Brett Lasenby with angler Ken Shaw.

Ono Day is a “Good Day”

Ono Day with Rob Dawson 1Ono Day is a “Good Day”.    Ono (OH-no). Actual Hawaiian word, meaning good or delicious.  Ono in Hawaii is Wahoo in other parts of the country.  Linda Shive and her husband visiting from South Bend, Indiana were attending a conference on the Big Island and took a day to enjoy some fun family fishing.  We headed out early and had a bite right out of the gates!  Having just finished putting the lures in the water and rounding the point headed south, the short rigger line came down! We are hooked up!  Linda gets in the chair and quickly brings the 16+ pound Ono to the boat and proudly announces this is her biggest fish ever.  I am certain it was her that got hooked for life…  We cleaned and packaged the fish for the couple to take back with them to the Four Seasons Resort where they were staying during their trip to the Island.

Featured in the photo is Linda Shive along with Fire Hatt Crewman Rob Dawson from Kamloops, Brittish Columbia

Fishing in KONA HAWAII – The Anglers Paradise

Fishing in KONA HAWAII – The Anglers Paradise, I wonder which October will show up in 2012? We have not had our usual warm water yet in 2012 and just like the last two years, October may bring us the warmest water of the year, or not.  Funny about that Mother Nature thing, and the more you think you can predict future pattern, the more it seems you get fooled.  Today in mid-September, we had 81 degree Ocean water temps, almost two degrees cooler than last year at this time.  If our last two years pattern holds, we should see 83 degree water temps and an increase in big Blue Marlin hook-ups so come on over to Hawaii and get in on thelate season bite.  Several big Blue Marlin were caught over the last two days with a couple over 600 and three over 400 so the big ones are still here.  There are still Ono (Wahoo) around and even a 100 pound Striped Marlin was caught two days ago.  It is a mixed bag and I sure hope the numbers of bites rise with some warm water.   In October, we can expect, barring Mother Nature’s curve balls, to see great fishing since all this warmth and bait are here.  There should also be lot’s of 50 plus into 200 pound Ahi here.  There have been some Ono (Wahoo) also taken on the ledges.  You just gotta love the year round big game fishing in KONA – The Anglers Paradise.

Expect mid 80 degree highs and just plain wonderful weather in October.  Give us a call, we would look forward to taking you out on a great Hawaiian Ocean adventure.   See this story and many others in COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE

Good Luck for the Soon to Be Groom

A guys day out before the Big Day proves to be very lucky for the groom and his soon to be brother in law.  Danny and Anthony along with their Dads  John and Tony boarded Fire Hatt for a day of family fishing just like every one of our guests…hoping for a little action!  Let me tell you about how much action…  Shortly after the chair talk while I was headed to an area where I had been seeing fish and had a few bites the day before, the long rigger is bit.  We are hooked up! Considered to be Good Luck for the Soon to Be Groom, Danny is in the chair first.  He should after all have the first fish.   The bite turns out to be an Ono.  A rouge Ono in the deep!  Danny brings the fish to the boat in just minutes and the lines are put back out.  We continue to scout the area until we are bit again.  This time the short corner is bit.  Hooked Up again!  This time it is the real thing!  A nice Blue Marlin took Linda’s favorite Hi-5 lure.  As Tony is getting in the chair the fish is screaming off line.  After a 30 minute fight, the fish is to the boat and is tail wrapped in the line.  We are able to quickly get the fish turned around and remove the hooks.  With determined effort, the 200 pound Marlin is revived and swims away healthy.  The Ono was Danny’s first and the Blue Marlin was Tony’s first.  The group were experienced fishermen from Florida and this was their first time fishing in Kona Hawaii.  I don’t think it will be their last…..   The Groom was able to bring fresh Ono to the family that evening.