Billfisheries: BUY/SELL/HOLD

Some interesting times lately in the billfish world, with some fisheries seeing some unusually weak results, some seeing huge numbers but no boats, and others continuing the patterns they’ve historically seen.  As a result we’re having a go on whether you should buy, sell, or hold a billfishery stock…

HOLD

Kona.  Fishery had a slow June/July, but has picked up the pace later in the summer.  And year after year it has its runs of males, not to mention consistent looks at huge fish almost any month of the year – to wit, a 954 last week.

Great Barrier Reef.  Might’ve been a buy before last season on the reef, but the extraordinary season – some 40 granders – and a good start to this season says you should expect this fishery to continue to perform at a high level.

Panama.  This fishery just continues to produce – and is very predictable in its return, even if the variety of fish (blue/black/sail, with occasional stripeds) is unpredictable.

St. Thomas. Like clockwork, for 5-6 months each year, in two-week intervals, this fishery produces not just what might be the most reliable blue marlin bite in the world, but does so in some crazy numbers.

BUY

US East Coast. The ridiculous late summer white marlin bite – coupled with the granders and other large females this fishery’s seen – each of the last two years makes us think this fishery might have a lot more to offer.

Costa Rica.  A well-known fishery but there might just be bites that are completely unexplored or unnoticed – for example, Capt Jason Coffrin’s pioneering work on bait and switch fishing for black marlin there.

South Florida.  This is already the best swordfishery on earth, and amongst the best Atlantic sail fisheries as well.  But the marlin bite consistently goes unexplored – and we think there are a lot more bills there than people think.

Kenya/Mozambique. Making up our own rules here in combining these two fisheries (if the East Coast can be a fishery, so can Kenya/Mozambique), but these two fisheries sport very different characteristics: Mozambique has fantastic fish of size, while Kenya has amazing variety – one of the best places in the world for a Slam.  Yet too few boats are in these fisheries for the rest of the world to know it.

SELL

Bermuda.  Hard to offer a SELL rating on a fishery that produced three granders in the month of July alone – and a number of other very large fish, including last year’s World Cup winner on James Robinson’s Wound Up – but the numbers have been significantly down for two straight seasons, and we’re hoping we’re wrong on this stock.

Cabo.  If you ignore the black marlin bite for the last few months, with of course some blues mixed in, the striped marlin bite has been very disappointing for almost the last two years…as has been the black/blue bite.  This is doubtless a world-class fishery, one of the world’s most reliable, but it has been cold for a while.  Sometimes it’s smart to sell even the best of stocks.

Clearly a debatable topic on any number of levels – let us know your perspective!

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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