Kona Hawaii fishing report – December wrap-up.
Thanks for the emails I got wishing me a speedy recovery after wrist surgery. It’s still a little messed up, not totally done healing yet and may never end up being 100% but it’s better than it was.
Mahi mahi, ahi (mostly shibi size) and spearfish topped the catches for December. There’s very few marlin around right now but the stripes should be here soon.
The Mahi mahi season is coming to a close but we can have a run on these at any time of the year. The peak of what I call “the fall run” is actually more like an early winter run with the peak in November but I think the latter part of the run has been the most productive this year. It would be nice if they continue to bite for another month. The spearfish came in a little early this year and they have been the most common catch since the middle of the month. Spearfish is a real good eating fish and many of us fishermen here in Hawaii even prefer it over mahi mahi or ono. Spearfish are also known as the rarest billfish in the world so…. Hmmmm…. Release it or eat it? Kona skippers do a good job of policing themselves in this area. There are very few “kill all” captains anymore. The majority of spearfish are released. The disposition of fish caught in Kona is still a pretty big controversy compared to other deep sea fisheries. The most common rule in Hawaii is that the fish belong to the boat, not the anglers. The fish are sold and are part of the crew and boat income. Standard crew income is usually below minimum wage and the boat owner supplies the fishing tackle that is also pretty pricey. The anglers benefit by the low price (relative of course) to go fishing and the boat and crew make up for their low wages. Over the years, many of us in Kona have veered from the “norm.” and commonly cut up fish for our customers. If you’re staying in a house or condo and expect some fish to cook during your vacation, you need to do your homework. Almost every charter boat has a web site now and those of us that cut fish will openly tout that on our web sites. There are usually some restrictions and each boat (or company / or captain) will have their own policies. Mine are clearly stated on my site. If the fish ownership policy is not stated, you get what you get.
I mentioned “shibi size” ahi at the beginning of my report. Many of the fish species in Hawaii change names depending on the size of the fish. It’s a good way to differentiate juvenile size from adult size when were talking to each other about “the catch of the day”. Ahi, though it designates a tuna species is only considered an “ahi” (at least in Hawaii) if it’s 100 lbs. or better. Anything under that is called “shibi” here. There are plenty of shibi around right now but if you want any for the dinner table, again, do your homework. Shibi are a fantastic eating size but many of the boats won’t even target these little guys because in general, it’s not a very saleable product. Is your captain fishing for your dinner table of for his own fish sales profit?
Bottom fishing has been pretty productive but it’s been almost all sharks this month. Since this month’s report has a main theme of eating fish, I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know some shark facts. Most of them taste like piss! Not all, but most. On the East coast of the US, they really like to catch and eat Mako sharks. Those ones have a urinary tract. On the West coast, they really like to catch and eat Thresher sharks. They also have a urinary tract. The majority of sharks do not have a urinary tract and concentrate their urine in their blood and secrete it through their skin. The meat smells and tastes like urin. Not only that, like many fish, shark meat in general has a particular taste and texture that’s not very good and with so many good eating fish here in Hawaii, although we do get the occasional Mako and Thresher, the meat is hard to even give away. It’s best to let ‘em go. The most common shark I get while bottom fishing is called a sandbar shark with weights between 35 and 150 lbs. A good fight and though it can be eaten (I tried some… yuk!) I let ‘em all go. Plus, I catch some of the same ones over and over and over again so they provide a lot more entertainment alive than dead.
See ‘ya on the water soon,
Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
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