big island things to do

Kona Sport Fishing

Rod and Reel – Fishing Tales From The Kona Coast, Big Island

Living To Fish

Young and living in Kona, I always put in my time on the job—but I lived to fish! One time, after a couple of 60-hour workweeks, I took a day off with my friend Kapena, boarded his boat and headed away from shore.

Rod and Reel
Waiting for the sound of a screaming reel

About the time the hum of the engine and the rocking of the boat conspired with the bright sunshine to drug me into a lazy doze, Kapena, who’d been grinding chum for ‘ahi (tuna), gave a great shout. There they were—six of them! Kapena dropped the chum-filled net and hook over the stern; it didn’t descend far before one of the ‘ahi grabbed the package. Sixty feet of line unwound with startling speed.

This fish was Kapena’s. He gripped the rod high and tested his weight against the ‘ahi, straining backward. His body jolted as if kicked from behind. He grunted and heaved, inhaled and hit the tuna again. The reel screamed, line evaporating from the spool. After another half hour of battling the fish, Kapena brought the ‘ahi in. Four hundred pounds of the finest eating imaginable lay on its side in utter defeat.

Kapena had his catch. And a few hours later, it was my turn.

The Next Strike… A Little Later

We were just taking it easy, cruising, when my strike came. It was a marlin or a’u. This great sea warrior came exploding out of the water, then crashed back in and disappeared below the surface. My reel whined, the line sizzled out and I knew he was going to jump again. He did. And then he jumped again.

Rod And Reel
The great sea warrior came exploding out of the water

The muscles of my arms and back felt shredded by the pain of exhaustion. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to lose this maniacal foe, when he unexpectedly turned and sped straight towards the boat, high dorsal fin dividing the surface in a show of fierce determination. I wound on the reel desperately, cursing and gasping. He never stopped.

The collision was jarring. Fortunately, the fish didn’t impact us straight on; the glancing blow had hit just below the counter.

The marlin circled around and leaped again, so close we felt the spray of its reentry. I was fatigued, but the a’u was more so. After an hour and a half, he conceded his defeat.

It was about nine feet in length and weighed more than 600 pounds. Kapena and I were in perfect agreement: We had been victorious.

Finally, we called it a day. And what a day it was!

Kona Fishing Trip 2018 by Byron Matthews