Kona Hawaii Fishing Report – November wrap-up.
There’s a good bite going on right now. It started early in the month with a good blue marlin bite and just past mid month, an ono run completely out of season and mahi mahi close to shore swimming with them. There would have been a whole lot more fish caught this month overall but there were very few charter fishing boats going out to get them.
So why aren’t there more boats going out? One of the reasons is that November isn’t a hot month for tourism anyway but even more so, we are experiencing the slow death of the Kona charter fishing industry. Maybe “death” is too harsh of a word to use but the number of charter fishing patrons have been on a slow decline for a long time now. Kona charter fishing will probably never die here because there will always be some people who want to go out and try their luck but there was a time when tourists visiting Kona had very few choices for tourist related activities. Go see the volcano a must. Helicopter ride to see the volcano or the whole island, expensive but what else was there? Scuba diving if you were certified, and then there was fishing charters. Also pretty pricy but other than the botanical gardens, the coffee farm and macadamia nut farm tours, not a whole lot of choices for things to do other than hang out on the beach or by the pool.
Then came things like Atlantis submarine, the zip lines. 1, 2 then 3 and now 4 of them. ATV rides. Mountain bike tours. And also that pesky dive certification requirement? A thing of the past with the “introductory dive” allowing pretty much anyone to take a short class and then go scuba diving. Kayak rentals and now stand-up paddle boards and surf lessons too. Swim with the dolphins. Night time manta snorkel and/or dive. In fact, unlike it was just a decade ago, there are now more snorkel and dive boats going out per day than there are fishing boats. Most of those snorkel and dive boat operators are guys who use to be charter fishing captains. The “activities” list could go on and on but the fact of the matter is there’s just a whole lot more competition for the tourist dollar than there was a couple of decades ago.
All that being said, I’m not about to give up on charter fishing. I came to the Big Island in 1985 and worked in the air tour business with both helicopters and airplanes. I did charter fishing with my dad off and on. Then I went scuba diving for over 5 years until I got tired of being wet for a living. I came back to charter fishing 23 years ago and I just can’t picture myself doing anything else. Catching big sea monsters and/or delicious table fare for my customers is something I enjoy doing and I’m good at it. My December calendar is filling up quite nicely so I’m happy about that. With only 7 days out charter fishing this month, the fewest since the economy crash of 2008, I can’t wait for this month to be a distant memory.
See ‘ya on the water soon ,
Capt. Jeff Rogers ,
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