The Billfish Report is counting down its Top 10 Billfisheries of the Year, and our #3 Billfishery goes to Kona, Hawaii. Criteria for our Top 10 include fish numbers, variety of billfish species, average size of fish, length of season and number of boats fishing. With over 11,000 Billfish Reports submitted to us in 2015 from around the World, to even be considered for our Top 10 makes a fishery one of the best!
It was a special year in Kona, but not necessarily for what you may think. Sure, they saw plenty of large Blue Marlin, but it was the extremes that made this year special. This was the best season in this fishery for extra large Blue Marlin in their History and one of the most prolific for numbers. I don’t think people want to admit it, as we all want to think about the good ole days, but these are the good ole days.
The Big Island produced six (6) Grander Blue Marlin, making it one of the finest seasons, with only 1985 boasting the same amount. But, 2015 will go down as the finest do the XL versions of Blue Marlin this year with a 1,226 on the Luna, a 1,309 on Northern Lights and a 1,368 on Dayna. Dayna’s Blue Marlin is the 8th Largest caught in Hawaiian Waters, Northern Lights fish was the 12th Largest and Luna’s was the 25th. It has been since 1986 that this fishery could boast two Blue Marlin over 1,200 lbs and in 2015, they got three (3). The last time this fishery weighed a Blue Marlin over 1,300 lbs was in 1992 on the Spellbound. The last time this fishery could claim two Blue Marlin over 1,300 lbs in a single season was…..never.
The other extremes of 2015 were the length of the season and the numbers of fish. While Blue Marlin can be caught here year round, this year was truly year round. Rather than stumbling across a Blue Marlin while trolling in an “off month” boats were seeing 2-3 Blue Marlin a day all the way up to the end of the year. While Kona will probably never be known as a numbers fishery, this was a great year for numbers with a much larger wave of small fish around. We had more 2-3 fish days we have seen in this fishery in 20-Years. The best days as far as releases and bites came off the Marlin Magic and Marlin Magic II, both of which had 5-8 outings on Blue Marlin. They were joined by the Luna who had two five-flag days as well a Northern Lights and Topshape, also with 5 Blue Marlin.
This was actually a down year for Kona on the “tweener” fish, those from 500 to 999 lbs. The fleet caught fifty-six (56) Blue Marlin over 500 lbs, still making it 3rd Best in the World for 2015. By comparison, 2014 produced eighty-eight (88) Blue Marlin over 500 lbs.
When it comes to variety, these boats may not want to claim it, but Spearfish are the second most caught Billfish in these waters. They can be thick from times as well with Bwana going 9-16 on “chuckers” over 3-Days. Striped Marlin are present year round, usually peaking in the winter months. They never really appeared in good numbers though, but they did aid in getting two Kona Grand Slams, one on the Luna and the other on Last Chance (Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin and Spearfish).
Congratulations to Kona our #3 Billfishery of the Year!
Marlin Magic went 5-8 on Blue Marlin and got a Spearfish as well.
Topshape released 5 Blue Marlin.
Luna caught a Grand Slam with a Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin and a Spearfish.
Luna went 5-6 on Blue Marlin.
Marlin Magic II went 5-8 on Blue Marlin.
Foxy Lady went 4-5 on Blue Marlin and caught a Spearfish as well.
High Flier released 15 Blue Marlin over a week.
Ihu Nui released 4 Blue Marlin.
Northern Lights released 5 Blue Marlin.