Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alain's Success Continues

Alain Perrin has been fishing with me on the L&H for a long time and it seems that no matter what we try to fish for we are always successful. Normally he fishes with his daughter, but she was expecting a baby this time so Alain took some other guests. Our plan was to fish on the edge of the reef to try for action and maybe some fish for dinner. As soon as we set the lines we began hooking up right away. At first it was bonitas and everyone had a fun time fighting these fish. After a while the kingfish began to bite and when they did it was one after the other. On two seperate occasions during the trip we hooked five fish at once and managed to land all of them. Then, in the middle of everything, we hooked a big sailfish. Normally sailfish are not found here in the summer, but we were happy to see it. The sail jumped and jumped and I backed the L&H in pursuit. We got the fish to the boat and took some photos and released it for another day. After a few more kings our anglers were too tired to fight anything else. We took it easy heading back to the marina where we took some photos of the catch and cleaned fish for the happy fishermen. It was another great day for Alain and I.

Hawaiian Victory Lap

As captain Kevin Nakamaru and I discussed the plans for our last day of fishing in Hawaii, he told me that now matter what happened it would be like a victory lap, since we already had such a successful trip. We decided to troll down south because there had been at least one big fish and some days as many as ten hooked down there for two weeks strait. Kevins mate Matt was on the other boat so it would be only the four of us joining Kevin on our final outing. James had fished on the Northern Lights for fifteen days so he knew the routine and had it down. As usual we left the harbour just after six in the morning. A couple hours into the day the was a big explosion on a small jet lure running behind a bird on the farthest line from the boat. James jumped in the chair as Laurel, Debbi, and I cleared the other lines. The fish didn't jump, and just continued to swim out to sea. After thirty minutes the big marlin made it's only jump and we knew James had a big one! For the next hour the fish never got more than a hundred feet from the boat. It would take some line against the heavy drag and then change directions and swim back toward us. It was an awesome sight to watch the fish swimming just below the cobalt blue Kona sea. Finally after two hours, the fish began to tire and Kevin stayed close with some unbelievable boat handling. With the big reel in low gear, James inched the fish closer until the leader was in reach. I have not pulled on something like this since the days when I used to fish for the giant bluefins and I didn't want to lose James' fish after such a long battle. I slowly pulled the marlin up as Kevin maneuvered the boat to keep up with the fish. A few seconds later Debbi placed the tag, but just before release the fish rolled over and went belly up. We had no choice but to take the fish. Kevin and I slid James' big blue marlin into the boat and with the measurements we knew it was over five hundred pounds! Father and son were exhausted and mom and sister were going crazy. We put the lures back out and a few minutes later we hooked another marlin. This time it was Laurel's turn and my eight year old angler did a great job on her second marlin of the trip. She did super in the chair and had the fish at the boat in fifteen minutes. We put a tag in the fish and released it. About thirty minutes after setting the lures back out, mom hooked another blue marlin. The fish jumped all over the place and then went down. Captain Kevin decided James was ready to wire his first blue marlin and what a better fish to do it on than his mom's. When the leader came up James reached out and took hold. He did a terrific job pulling up the 150 lb marlin. When James got the fish to the surface, I placed a satellite tag in the fish so we would be able to track its movements. Kevin yelled "You did it James"!!! I was so proud of my family! It was one of the best days of my life!!! An unbelievable ending to a great trip and a victory lap the I will never forget! Thank you so much to Captain Kevin Nakamaru for making this all possible and for everything you have done for my family and I. Thank you so much to my wonderful wife Debbi and my beautiful children Laurel and James for giving the memories that will be with me forever.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Marlin for Debbi

Last year on our trip to Hawaii, the biggest marlin (out of the 11 we caught) was with Captain Steve Epstein on the Huntress! The Huntress is a gorgeous forty-two foot Merritt with alot of history. It used to be called the "Black Bart" and was run by the famous Bart Miller. It is responsible for four grander blue marlin including a 1656 pounder that is the largest blue ever landed in Kona. When we found ourselves with an extra day to fish Kona, we decided to try our luck again on the Huntress. Just like last year, we had some great fishing. After about an hour of trolling down south we got a bite on the long rigger. The fish ate a jet lure that was designed to run below the surface so nobody was sure what we had. Deb jumped in the chair and went to work with the heavy tackle. She did a great job, and applied alot of pressure, but the fish refused to come up. After about twenty minutes we finally got a look and were happy to see that it was a nice size blue marlin. It is rare to catch a marlin that never jumps, but this one refused to, nevertheless we pulled it up, tagged it and released it to fight another day. Within seconds of setting the lures back out we hooked up again. Unfortunately the marlin pulled off some line and jumped off. About an hour later Debbi hooked yet another blue marlin on the short outrigger lure. This fish put on quite a show for us. At one point the fish jumped clear of the water, behind the boat and Gabby and Juliana Nakamaru (who joined us for the day) both yelled "That is a big fish"!! Again, Debbi (who is one of the best light tackle anglers I have ever seen) showed her skill with the heavy tackle and had the blue marlin at boatside very quickly. We pulled the fish up and James put a tag in and we set the fish free. We ended up missing a spearfish four different times later that afternoon, but it didn't matter at all, because we had a great trip. Thanks alot to Captain Steve and his mate Mitch for another wonderful day on the Huntress.

James Gets Back to Back Blues

My son James caught two blue marlin in two days of fishing. Catching a single blue marlin is often a feat accomplished only once in a lifetime by some of the best anglers. Catching a blue marlin two days in a row is something to be proud of. Quite possibly the only thing better than that is to be a father watching his son catch these beautiful blue marlin! Debbi, James, Laurel, and I joined Captain Kevin Nakamaru on the forty foot gamefisheman "Northern Lights" for two days of fishing, as a trade for taking Kevin fishing two days in Florida on our L&H. We had a great time fishing with Kevin and he is without a doubt one of the best I have ever fished with. The first day in Kona we raised a nice blue marlin on the short outrigger lure and after several attempts the fish finally got hooked. James jumped in the chair as the fish jumped almost thirty times! It was a quick fight and Laurel placed the tag in the fish. The following day the acton was good for some other boats but we could not get bit. Finally late in the afternoon we raised a fish on the short bait. The marlin snapped the lure out of the clip, but did not get hooked. Then a few seconds later the fish showed up on the short rigger lure ( the same one James caught the fish on the day before) and got hooked up solid. This fish was tougher than the one we caught the day before, but James hung in there and did a great job. We finally got the fish to the boat, put a tag in, and released it to fight another day. It was a great two days of fishing and Captain Kevin proved to us why he is one of the best there is!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Laurel's First Blue Marlin

As most everyone who is reading this knows, my son James, who is only eleven years old, is a fisherman with the skills and experience well beyond his years. On this day, however, it was my daughter Laurel who is only eight, who showed she can more than just hold her own!
Debbi, James, Laurel, and I met Matt early in the morning and jumped on the classy 37 Merritt Northern Lights, eager to begin another day of fishing in Kona. We left the harbor and ran for less than five minutes until the water depths plummeted to over three-thousand feet. James and I quickly set the lures. As I glanced at the mountain, waiting for the sun to rise, I couldn't help but to feel so lucky to be fishing in such a beautiful spot. When I focused on the lures dancing behind the boat, I could not believe what I saw. The dorsal fin of a nice size blue marlin was racing toward the short outrigger lure. "Marlin!" I yelled just seconds before the fish ambushed the lure and became hooked up solid. As everyone frantically cleared the remaining lines I couldn't help but think, could this really be happening? Laurel was in the chair and we were in hot pursuit as the fish jumped repeatedly away from the boat. Laurel kept tight and gained back some line as the fish headed for the depths. We switched the reel to low gear as my eight year old angler slowly pumped the fish back to the surface. With a look of sheer determination, she inched the fish closer and closer. A short while later, the leader was within reach. As soon as the marlin felt the additional pressure I applied to the leader it threw itself into the air and charged directly at the boat. Then the fish changed its coarse and jumped away from us, with an awesome display of both power and grace. Again Laurel inched the fish closer as I thought to myself that if I was able to get a hold of the leader again I would not let go. A few minutes later when the fish came up again. This time it was much easier to handle and we slid Laurels prize into the boat. I was soooooo proud of my girl and it was a moment I will never forget. We pulled into the weigh station at 6:45 am. Laurel's blue marlin weighed in at 165 lbs and it made me the proudest father on earth!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Firsts For My Girls

Kevin Nakamaru had a three day charter on his boat so he offered to let his mate Matt take us out on the 37 Merritt "Northern Lights". Debbi, James, Laurel, Matt, and I loaded up early one morning and headed out to the flat calm Kona waters to see what we could find. The fishing had been steadily improving so we were eager with anticipation as we watched the lures splash along the surface. Around noon there was a splash behind one of the lures, but the fish missed the target. Everyone watched and hoped the fish would come back and try the lure again. Then a few seconds later the fish came back, this time devouring the lure and getting hooked up solid. Laurel grabbed the rod, jumped in the chair and held on as the fish took line. The rest of us cleared the other lines and watched in amazement as a beautiful spearfish (the rarest of all the billfish) jumped completely out of the water. Laurel did a great job, reeling the fish to the boat and a couple minutes later the leader was within reach. As I gently pulled the fish closer, the rare spearfish displayed some of the most brilliant colors one could ever hope to see. James pulled the fish in the boat and everyone celebrated Laurels catch! After everything settled down we began trolling again and a short time later there was a big splash on the exact same lure. Again, the fish missed and nothing, we watched and waited. Then the fish came back, got hooked up and this time Debbi jumped in the chair. This fish acted entirely different than any fish we had encountered so far on this trip. Line peeled off the reel but the line angle went strait down. After we got everything cleared and organized and the fish settled down we began to see the thump, thump, thump of the rod tip, a tell tale sign of a tuna. Could Debbi be hooked up to her first big ahi? A few minutes later our suspicions were confirmed when deep down into the clear, blue pacific waters we could all see the big yellowfin tuna sporting it's long yellow streamers. My wife had applied maximum pressure with the heavy tackle, thus wearing the tuna down and making my job on the leader an easy one. I pulled the 130lb ahi within range and Matt and James quickly gaffed and hauled our catch onboard. This was Deb's first yellowfin and one to be proud of! It was another great day of fishing under the Kona sun and two great fish that my girls can now check off their lists. Great going Laurel and Debbi today was your day to shine.

Deb Gets A Blue

Our friend Captain Kevin Nakamaru had a full day charter and it got cut short, so Kev invited our family to join his family for an afternoon of fishing. We met Kevin's wife, Elizabete, and their two girls, Gabby and Juliana, at the marina and headed out to try our luck. James had been fishing on the Northern Lights for six days strait so he quickly showed me the set up. As soon as we set the lines we hooked a big mahi mahi. Debbi made quick work of the fish on the heavy tackle and James gaffed the lively dolphin and threw it in the fish box. With dinner out of the way we resumed trolling and a short time later there was a big explosion on the left long lure. The line came tight and we were hooked up! Everyone sprung into action, clearing the remaining lines and Deb got strapped into the fighting chair. The fish was taking a lot of line so Captain Kevin turned the Northern Lights and began to chase the fish. Then a few hundred yards away a big blue marlin rocketed out of the water. Debbi began gaining line back and the fish started swimming out to sea. Captain Kevin spun the boat around and started backing up fast. Deb continued to fill the reel back up with all the line the marlin had taken from us. A short time later we could see the leader and everyone was impressed with the fishes size. A few seconds later I had the leader in hand. I wired the 300lb blue marlin alongside the boat and James placed the tag. We took a few photos and released the fish. It was a great afternoon of fishing for both families and a fun time was had by all! Thanks so much to the Nakamaru family and way to go Debbi!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hawaii International Billfish Tournament

My son James and I fished the HIBT on two of Kona, Hawaii's top boats, Captain Kevin Nakamaru's Northern Lights and the Marlin Magic with Captain Jason Holtz. James got off to a great start with a blue marlin double header, releasing a 250 pound blue, and boating a 392 lber. The second day was my turn and around 10:00 am a big fish ate a purple lure on the closest line to the boat. Captain Jason did a great job chasing the fish and we had the leader in just over a half hour. When the other mate, Brian Tomey grabbed the leader, the unthinkable happened. The line got wrapped around the top of the rod and our angler (a small man from Japan who spoke no english) had no idea what happened. If Brian were to let go of the leader and the fish ran off our angler would have been pulled overboard. Instead Brian took several wraps on the leader and pulled the big marlin closer as Captain Jason backed down hard to get the fish within gaff range. I reached out as far as I could and gaffed the big Pacific blue marlin in the shoulder. As soon as I sunk the gaff the marlin, it jumped out of the water all the way to the other side of the boat. The gaff rope came tight and again the big marlin jumped out of the water, but this time Jason sunk another gaff while the marlin was in mid air. We quickly secured our prize and slid the fish into the boat. Back at the scales the fish would weigh 531 lbs and on only fifty pound tackle it was a catch I will not soon forget. We finished the day with the tag and release of a shortbill spearfish (my first ever) and ended up winning the daily for that day. James also released a nice blue that day and we were both on our way to a strong finish. James and the Northern Lights team tagged and released a shortbill spearfish the following day. On the final day of the tournament we hooked a nice blue marlin after a spectacular bite on the short outrigger lure. After a tough battle the hook pulled just a few feet from the boat, but thats marlin fishing. It was a great tournament and an unbelievable experience for my son James and I. We will be here in Kona for a couple more weeks and I am sure there is a lot more exciting fishing to come. (1st pic is James with the tag stick, 2nd is the 531lber)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Great Summer Fishing

Debbi, James, Laurel and I are on our annual trip to Kona, Hawaii, but it seems we are missing some red hot summertime action. Captain Neil Orange is filling in while we are gone and with Wes and Greg running the cockpit the L&H is not missing a beat. The guys fished a bunch of days so far and each and every trip has had a lot of action and plenty of eating fish. One great surprise for this summer is the sailfish action. The L&H team landed at least one sailfish six trips in a row. The kingfish action has been very consistent and as usual the bonitas are biting fast and furious. Captain Neil and the boys also have managed three big wahoos by either trolling or fishing with live bait. There have also been a lot of nice size mutton snappers biting live baits fished on the deep line. I am very proud of Neil, Wes, and Greg not only for the consistency they are having with great catches day after day, but also for all of their hard work keeping the L&H in tip top shape. Thanks a lot guys and keep up the great work.