Fishing floaters in Hawaii

DSCN6355Fishing “floaters” in Hawaii is our version of fishing the prized kelp paddy in Southern CA.  This time of year there are still some Pacific Blue Marlin around.  There are still some Ono too.  But honestly, if we can spot a floater this time of year, stand back because we will be in for a great episode of catching.  Heading offshore with a watchful eye, and really good binoculars, we encourage our guests to report anything that is NOT water.  We are looking for birds, trash and current lines.  Our guests really get into it.  This floater pictured to the left consisting of old nets and line was spotted about 10 miles offshore and proved to be loaded.  Our guests spent a couple of hours pulling in nice Mahi Mahi and a few Ono.  After several passes the fish tend to get wary.  Now we get the ballyhoo out and enjoy some light tackle fun!  Of course there is always the possibility that a predator is nearby.  These floaters are considered “refrigerators” for Marlin and other Prey fish.  We always make several passes just outside the area before we leave.  Bigger fish tend to hang just outside and know a meal is there when they are ready to eat.

Featured in the photo is the “Lucky Linda” Lure made by Bomboy Lures


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Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team.  You can go to and read their amazing story.

The Mighty Mellinger’s

Release Flag 02 The Mighty Mellinger’s in particular we are referring to John Mellinger.  Colin Mellinger and his two sons John and Bert boarded Fire Hatt for an afternoon of family fishing in Kona Hawaii having hopes of breaking the family big fish record.  After my crew,  Linda and Brett got the lines out and the deck ready, we had the guys gather for the “Chair Talk”.  As they were determining who the first angler would be, the Short Rigger line starts screaming!  We are hooked up!  After we got John in the chair and got him strapped in the fish was off… we looked at him and stated “And that’s how we do the chair talk!”    We worked the area for a while then headed south.  As the afternoon started to wind down we were hoping for another chance at what would be John’s first Marlin.  Then our wishes were answered with the same Short Rigger line getting hit.  John fought the fish for about 30 minutes before successfully tagging and releasing his first Pacific Blue Marlin estimated at about 200 lbs.    At age 16, from Houston, TX.   John Mellinger is the 2014 Texas Cycling Champion for his age group.  Now he is adding the  largest fish of the Mellinger Family to his list of accomplishments.



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Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team.  You can go to and read their amazing story.

Big Blue Marlin Fishing In Kona Hawaii

Bailey Release 600lb 2Big Blue Marlin Fishing In Kona Hawaii.  We probably should report this as Big Blue Marlin Catching in Kona Hawaii!  This has been a phenomenal month here in Kona with at least 11 Tag and Releases for Fire Hatt.  We only kept one Marlin as we could not revive him.  To top our scorecard, Brett Bailey from Saskatoon, has our boat record so far this year with an estimated 600+lb Pacific Blue Marlin release.  Bret and his co-workers chartered Fire Hatt while the other group chartered another boat.  They had a friendly wager on which group would produce the largest fish.  We started out with a Shortbill Spearfish bite that put them ahead of the game with angler Garry Fawcett landing the 50 pounder!  About an hour later we hooked the 600+ pounder.  Brett was the angler and after 45 minute fight we had the fish to the boat with a clean and healthy tag and release. I hear the wager was Infinity Drinks at the Four Seasons?



DSCN9817 Honeymoon couple John and Erica Heckathorn from Kansas City, MO had a banner day releasing two Pacific Blue Marlin.  Erica was “first up” bringing in an estimated 275lb trophy.  Now the competition is on!  We needed to get John a fish too.  We stayed true to the area as there were reports of more fish.  We worked for about two hours when finally we were hooked up with a fish for John.  John’s Blue Marlin was estimated at about 175lbs and was successfully tagged and released after a short 20 minute fight.  Nice going you guys!




Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

Never Underestimate The Will Of An Eight Year Old Boy

40lb Srearfish Sammy and Sultan June 2014Never Underestimate The Will Of An Eight Year Old Boy.  Sultan Linjawi, his wife Astrid and two young children, Sammy and Yasmine fished three days with us.  Their mission was for the children to catch fish!  Unless of course a Grander came on scene, then that one was going to be Sultan’s.  On Day one, shortly after leaving the harbor, we are hooked up to the perfect fish for Sammy  A 40+ lb Shortbill Spearfish.  Sammy is in the chair with the help of his Dad and we are able to land the fish for Sammy.  We  let the children pick the lures they wanted to run.  Sammy chose a Blue and Green Super Ninja lure that Bret put on the stinger.  It was the one that the Spearfish took…Carma?    It is Sammy’s first Billfish and his first “Flag Fish”.

On Day Two of their adventure, I spot birds and splashing just short of  town and we make a pass to see what might be biting.  Within seconds we are bit.  Astrid is in the chair and wastes no time bringing in a nice 140 lb tuna.   Again we let the family choose lures… This family is incredible.

Day three explodes right out of the harbor with a Tuna strike.  Sammy is in the chair again and with the help of his dad and my crew, a nice 114lb Tuna is on deck!  Yes, Sammy chose the lure…this time a blue Super Ninja lure.  With lines back in the water, we head offshore and south towards Captain Cook.  Linda spots splashing and birds on the horizon and we go to check it out.  We have the whole area to ourselves as Tuna start boiling around us.  We are Hooked Up!  This time the explosion on the long rigger tells us this is a big fish.  After a lengthy tug of war with the fish, we are able to land Sammy’s biggest fish  A nice 180lb Ahi Tuna!  Amazing…. I think Dad set the bar kind of high now for this young man.  The family has a 38 ft Bertram in Australia and are avid fishermen.  Now we have to work on Sammy’s first Blue Marlin…hopefully we will get it for him next time when the family returns to fish in Kona Hawaii.  No Pressure!

On the Fly

Hawaii Jan.2014 027 1On The Fly.  This is a review we received from a group we took out on January 31, 2014  We are always humbled and appreciate the wonderful notes we get from our Charter Guests fishing in Kona Hawaii.

“We took Fire Hatt out on a full day charter Jan 31. It was a Trip I bought that Chuck had donated to the IGFA auction.Three of us headed out Todd, Tom & Jack (Tom’s 81 yr old dad). All of us had a great day on the water. Fire Hatt is an excellent operation. The boat and equip is top notch & very well maintained. Chuck is very personable and knows what he is doing. He was able to get me hooked up to a tuna fairly early. A pod of porpoise took it though.I was on a fly rod and just couldn’t wind fast enough. We saw 3 kinds of whales & the beauty of a Volcano topped in snow from quite calm seas. First mate’s can make or break a day. Brett and Rob are some of the best. They took care of everyone. Both are entertaining and genuinely excited to get you on a fish. The Crew used all their resources and found a current line. This led to finding a Log that held a small school of Mahi Mahi. We got 3 in amazing colors off of this log. Another Mahi Mahi hit on the troll closer to the harbor. It was a great day on the water. I would recommend Fire Hatt to everyone.”

Thank You Todd, Tom and Jack

Featured in the above photo is 81 year old Tom

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

First Spearfish for Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta

DSCN4694First Spearfish for Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta.  Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta along with close friend Steve Dahl and their families enjoyed a day fishing the silky calm waters of Kona Hawaii with myself and crewman Brett Lasenby.  We were on a half day afternoon charter and did not waste any time getting lines in the water as we are leaving the harbor mouth.  These guys want a fish!  Their wishes were answered with this impressive 35+ pound Shortbill Spearfish.  FYI,  Short-billed spearfish are a pelagic tropical species found offshore or near volcanic islands surrounded by deep water along current lines, drop-offs and ledges. Hawaii offers unquestionably the best shot at productive short-bill spearfishing because of the combination of underwater structures and cold currents. Hawaii consistently produces more short-nosed spearfish than any other known area, with them returning to Hawaii’s waters each spring to spawn. The best months for a shot at this species are February through June. Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

When a Woman Loves her Man, She Takes Him Fishing in Kona Hawaii

20140109_124322 1 When a Woman Loves her Man, She Takes Him Fishing in Kona Hawaii.  That is what Lisa Yellowlees from Victoria, BC did for her sweetheart, Rod Bieller.  Rod loves to fish, especially in Kona Hawaii, so for a “milestone birthday”, Lisa called us months in advance and arranged the surprise fishing trip for him.  There was a good prpbability that he would be calling to book a trip anyway, so we had to steer him to the date already planned for him.  This was so much fun to be a part of.  Rod and Lisa have fished with us several times in the past and we were looking forward to going again.  Rod is a retired Fire Battalion Chief  from Victoria so we have a lot in common.  So now we have a surprise charter for Rod, we are out almost all day before we finally get a bite.  This nice Ono (Wahoo) was just what we needed.  You don’t want to get skunked on your birthday.

January and February into March are excellent months for Shortbill Spearfish, Ono and Striped Marlin.  There are some nice Ahi Tuna around too.  These months transition into the famed Pacific Blue Marlin months ahead.  Although Pacific Blue Marlin are caught here year around, they show up in numbers in the summer months.

Featured in the photo above is Rod Bieler and Lisa Yellowlees proudly showing off the nice Ono.

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

Kona Hawaii and Captain Chuck Wilson Number 1 for Largest Weighed Blue Marlin

Grander of the Year Kona PhotoKona Hawaii and Captain Chuck Wilson Number 1 for Largest Weighed Blue Marlin.

Year round Big Blue Marlin, fishing in calm sapphire blue waters with a volcano back-drop and less than half a mile offshore. Does it get any better than that? Well, we don’t think so. This is the third straight year Kona, Hawaii has made the Top 10 Billfishery List. This may not be a numbers fishery, but it is a Blue Marlin powerhouse. Kona recorded three (3) Grander Blue Marlin, with Captain Chuck Wilson on FIRE HATT, a 43’ Hatteras weighing the heaviest Blue Marlin in Hawaii this year at 1,058 lbs. Chuck also has the second largest Blue Marlin weighed in the world in 2013.   Chuck’s fish was caught on a Ken Matsuura Custom 50 lb Reel with a 130 lb Amilon mono topshot.  The heaviest Marlin weighed in the world came from Ascension Island , the famed big blue marlin fishery. Capt. Olaf Grimkowksi put angler Kevin Gardener on an absolute beast of a Blue Marlin, weighing 1,320 lbs

Captain Kerwin Masunaga on Rod Bender weighed the second heaviest Blue Marlin in Kona at 1,043 lbs with Captain Doug Pattengill on Holo Holo weighing in a 1,008 lb Blue Marlin. Kona is No.1 in the World with ninety-four (94) Blue Marlin over 500 lbs in 2013 which is also No. 1 in the World. From the ninety-four (94) there were four (4) weighed over 900 lbs and fourteen over 700 lbs

While the crews in Kona may not want to claim it, Kona is absolutely the best fishery in the world to catch a Shortbill Spearfish. While they don’t pack the punch of a Blue Marlin, they can be targeted reliably here on light tackle. In addition to the Shortbill Spearfish, the winter time brings a good run of smaller Striped Marlin and when the bite is on, catching 3+ in a day is not out of the question.

While adding some species variety makes it interesting, anglers continue to return here in search of that “special” Blue Marlin. Kona remains King of the Pacific when it comes to getting a shot at a Grander. Kona has weighed eight (8) Grander Blue Marlin over the past three years. Once again, No.1 in the World.

*For Statistics and Information on all Granders weighed and released in 2013 and prior years, visit  GRANDERWATCH .

Blue Marlin Release for Romania Family

August Marlin

Blue Marlin Release for Romania Family fishing in Kona.  When Octavian Mardarasevici and his family boarded Fire Hatt today they had hopes of just catching anything.  What happened next turned into a true Family Fishing Adventure in Kona.  We went almost the whole day without a single bite.  Octavian being the angler today, paced the deck, got in and out of the fighting chair a few times and helped scan the horizon all day just looking for a sign.  Then finally, the Blue Marlin bite we had been waiting for came.  The fish came in on the long corner and devoured a Crampton lure.  We are Hooked Up!  The fish went straight down and did not surface until a lot of line was retrieved.  We thought maybe a tuna?  Then as the line started to come to the surface the marlin came exploding out of the water and put on quite a show!  Octavian fought the fish on a 50lb Matsuura reel for just under 40 minutes.  Once the fish was leadered, tagged and secured beside the boat, Mike Fir and Linda was able to get Octavian out of the fighting chair and encouraged him to take the Marlin by the bill and start to revive it.  In just a short time the fish was kicking and Octavian released it.  Just watching the expression on Octavian’s face when it was over reminds me of what we take for granted in this sport.  Having reeled in a fish and then putting your hands on it to revive and release it is the most satisfying experience a fisherman can participate in.  A true Kona Family Fishing Experience.

Octavian MardarasevicFeatured in the photo wearing AFTCO release gloves.

Record Ahi for Gary Nardi Aboard the Fire Hatt

Gary Nardi's 235 Pound Yellowfin tunaRecord Ahi for Gary Nardi Aboard the Fire Hatt.  Gary Nardi and his Father In-Law, Bill Chase from Northern CA have been fishing the Kona Hawaii Tournaments for years going back to the 70’s.  Having been aboard many boats over the years, we were delighted to have them as team mates for the World Cup Marlin Tournament and the Fire Cracker Open this year.  They brought along a nice collection of old stand by proven lures from their arsenal to pull.   The World Cup left us with out a Marlin.  We had one nice strike and the fish did not stick….  This did not phase our team.  Gary and Bill returned two days later with the same enthusiasim and the game was on!  With lures set, including a favorite chrome jet of theirs on the stinger.  (A friend of theirs caught an 1100 pound Marlin on one just like it, so they have complete faith in it.)  Sure enough,  our first bite of the day…on the stinger, on their chrome jet!  Gary fights the fish to the boat and knowing the feel of the fish, he knows it is probably an Ahi.  A beautiful 111 pound Yellowfin Tuna is boated and we are on the board for day one.  With spirits high, we are now on day two of the Tournament.  We set our pattern and wait.  We had an early bite that did not stick.  Then just after 3:00pm the long rigger line is bit. We are Hooked Up!  The fish took an old Joe Yee Mini Plunger.  Line is screaming off and Gary once again is in the chair.  It is a much heavier fish than the day before and in just a short 20 minute fight the fish is to the boat.  With Adam at leader and Linda at gaff, we have boated what is clearly a tournament contender and a new boat record for Yellowfin Tuna.  The Ahi weighs in at 235 pounds taking the Dailies for day two in the Ahi division.  The biggest Ahi of the tournament was caught by Team Maui Jim weighing in at 236.5 pounds.  So close!

Featured in the photo representing AFTCO as one of their Pro Teams is Captain Chuck Wilson, First Mate Adam Ludwig and Second Mate Linda Wilson along with team mates Gary Nardi and Bill Chase.