2009 Billfisheries of the Year – #5…Kona

The Billfish Report is counting down the top billfisheries of 2009 – and coming in at #5 is Kona.

Tim O'Halloran standing next to his grander and his son Ryan, who wired the the fish on Capt Chip Van Mols's Monkey Biz II.

Kona’s widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, billfishery on the planet.  Nowhere else can you catch a grander marlin any month of the year.  It is the best fishery in the Pacific for blue marlin.  It is the best fishery in the world for spearfish, and one of the best for striped marlin.  And black marlin and sailfish make cameo appearances as well.

2009 had some highs and some lows in Kona.  There were definitely slow periods – caused in part by fewer boats out, unfavorable currents, and other factors.  Yet there was some fantastic fishing there during parts of the year as well, including some record days.  Captain Chip Van Mols, one of the most consistent captains in the fishery, who also caught Kona’s only grander of the year, summed up the summer: “Not that many big ones really, July was really herky jerky, tough to be consistent.”  A huge run of small blues in August enabled Kona to post some huge numbers on fish however, and the remainder of the year was fair – which made the fishing outstanding for almost any other fishery’s standards.

Here are some highlights from Kona’s year:

–          Largest fish caught, by species: blue marlin – 1,064 (Capt Chip Van Mols, June); black marlin – 180.5 (Capt Brian Wargo, April); striped marlin – 118 (Capt Dee Bradford, June); spearfish – 58 (Capt Brian Wargo, January); sailfish – 69.5 (angler Warren Reaves, in a kayak, March).

–          Extraordinary run of blue marlin in late July and August.  Boats were regularly seeing multiple shots a day, with plenty of four, five, six marlin release days.  Two highlights – on July 28, the Five Star caught a harbor record seven blues in one day…only to see that record broken by the Northern Lights, with EIGHT blues in a day, all in the 200-pound class, four days later.

–          Typically nice variety to species. Still good numbers of striped marlin, some black marlin caught, the odd Hawaiian sailfish in the spread, in addition to a steady flow of blues and spears.

Should be noted that a sister fishery of Kona’s, Honolulu, caught a 1,245 blue in September…the largest fish weighed in 2009.

So Kona is the Billfish Report’s #5 Billfishery of the Year.  Stay tuned for #4, coming next week.  Merry Christmas!

About John

John Harmeling is the co-founder of billfishreport.com and granderwatch.com. Having traveled to and fished the major billfisheries across the globe, he counts Kona and Cairns as his favorites, and the black marlin to be the ocean's supreme pelagic specimen. He believes the very best and most enjoyable place to find tuna is in a marlin's stomach.

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