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.

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

Family Fishing in Kona Hawaii at its Best

DSC_0262Family Fishing in Kona Hawaii at its Best. The Dean Family from Eldorado Hills and Clear Lake California should purchase Lotto Tickets when they return home. Thats the kind of luck they had fishing the beautiful silky calm waters of Kona.  As we left the harbor we headed south.  The day started with the first bite, a nice Mahi Mahi just fifteen minutes out of the harbor.  Mike Dean is in the chair and although the fish came undone, it set the mood and pace for the rest of the day.  About forty five minutes later as we are headed farther south, we  have two lines come down, we are hooked up!  A double on Ono!  This time Mike Dean and Mike Dean Sr. are on the mark.  They each landed their fish.  Dinner for the family! Now just off Keahou Bay, we are patroling the area  and twenty minutes later the stinger line comes down,  and then wham, the long rigger line comes down.   We are hooked up again! A double on what turned out to be Blue Marlin.  Once again Mike and Mike Sr.  were the anglers.  The blue marlin were estimated at about 100 lbs and 40 lbs.  We are not done yet… as we were leaving the Captain Cook area we had anoher bite.  This one escaped, we think it was a Shortbill Spearfish.  And finally, after a two hour lull in activity, the stinger line is ripped down again, we are hooked up!  With Gina in the chair, she lands a Striped Marlin!  We sucessfully release it and we are now on our way back to the harbor. This is a banner day of fishing in Kona!  Going to need taller outriggers to hang this many flags.  A good problem to have.

Featured in the top photo is Fire Hatt First Mate Brett Lasenby with Gina Dean and her Shortbill Spearfish along with her husband Mike Dean and Mike Dean Sr. after landing their 20+ lb Onos.  The photo above is one of the Marlin that were sucessfully released.
Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

Spearfish Are Here and They Are Hungry.

Sreve Dahl SpearfishSpearfish Are Here and They Are Hungry.  With fishing or should I say “catching” having been slow for a few weeks, the bite finally turned on.  There have been reports of Striped Marlin and Spearfish in numbers showing up daily.  We have had nice bites on Mahi Mahi too. Recently, on a half day afternoon family fishing trip,  Ken Shaw from Edmonton Alberta landed this impressive 35+ lb Shortbill Spearfish.  The past few days we have had multiple hookups.  We’ve had a good couple of days landing two nice Spearfish and a Mahi Mahi and an Ono.


Featured in the photo representing AFTCO as one of their Pro Teams is  First Mate Brett Lasenby with angler Ken Shaw.

Newlywed Couple Enjoy Two Days of Fishing and Catching

This Newlywed Couple Enjoyed Two Days of Fishing and Catching!  Sharon and Andrew Woodruff, both engineers from the Philadelphia, PA area spent a little over two weeks on the Islands.  First stop was Maui where they spent a week touring and enjoying a little down time.  Then here to Kona for more adventure and a little deep sea  fishing.  The first day out we found the jackpot.  We had heard of bait holding at C Buoy and headed there.  Not to be disappointed!  We picked up several on the troll and then changed over and did several deep drops. We had a wonderful day pulling in 11 small Tunas. The largest tuna was brought in by Sharon and was about 15 pounds.  Adam was happy to fillet the tunas and send them home with Sharon and Andrew to enjoy.  The next day they called back and having decided that was the most fun they’d had on their trip so far, they wanted to go out again.  Later in the week we went out on another trip.  Today we headed offshore to an area where we had some activity the previous day.   The first part of the day was a little slow and we commented that we just want a bite!  Soon after that the bite turned on!  Sharon is on the first fish of the day!  We have a nice Mahi Mahi to the boat .   With lines back in the water we stay in the area and make a few more passes and we soon have another bite!  Andrew is in the chair and lands the Mahi Mahi in just minutes.  His is not as big as Sharon’s….see a pattern here?  I go with Lady Luck every day of the week!   As we were leaving the area and heading back to the harbor we had yet another chance.  We are Hooked Up again!  Sharon brings in the last fish of the day and she holds the record for the largest fish each day!  Their hopes were to catch the prized pacific Blue Marlin. I’m thinking there may have been a challenge proposed for the next time they come to Kona.  They sent us a nice message before leaving the Island headed home to PA and told us they had a great time and it was definitely one of the highlights of their honeymoon.  We hope to see them for many Anniversaries to come…

Featured in the photo is Sharon and Andrew Woodruff along with our deckhand Adam Ludwig, Kona Family Fishing at its finest!

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team


Big Sky Big Ocean

Big Sky Big Ocean for this family from Big Sky, Montana.  John and Laura Michel were here on the Big island visiting our neighbors Bruce and Kathy Wilson.  The four of them, long tme friends and business partners were hoping for a little action and maybe a food fish to take home.  For John, his biggest fish until now had been a Trout.  Not just any trout, but a 22″ Rainbow caught in Yellowstone Lake.  There was not a lot of action early in the day.  Linda was in the glasses looking for a floater that was reported earlier that morning around the area where “F” Buoy used to be.  On the horizon, we could see about six boats in that area and assumed they got the same information.  On the way to check it out we came through an area with a little life and birds.  Jackpot!  The long rigger line is bit.  John takes position in the chair and the fight is on.  There is a little weight there and we are thinking small tuna?  Then the fish shows itself and we see it’s a nice Shortbill Spearfish!  John has the fish to the boat in just a few minutes and Adam skillfully gaffs it and in the boat it comes.  We have the food fish they wanted.  With lines back in the water we are on our way to check out the area we were headed to.  As we approach we can see porpoise.  We made several passes and did not get any action.  With that, we left the area and tried to find the reported floater.  As we headed back north towards the harbor, the short rigger is bit, we are hooked up again!  This time Bruce was supposed to be in the chair.  The line was screaming and Bruce was not in the chair yet.  Soooo, John jumps in the chair and begins to fight the fish thinking he will give up the rod when Bruce get there.  Not so much!  John lands the nice Mahi Mahi and now has two of the biggest fish of his life, his first two Flag Fish and alot of memories to take home.  There was some mention of a new nickname for John…something like “Rod Hog”.  It was all in good fun and it turns out, Bruce did not want to bring in a fish, he wanted his friend to enjoy the opportunity to fish the beautiful Kona waters.  Truly a Family Fishing experience.

Featured in the photos above are Bruce and Kathy Wilson from Kona, Hawaii and Laura and John Michel from Big Sky, Momtana

Fire Hatt is a member of the AFTCO Pro Fishing Team

The Honeymooner’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii

The Honeymooner’s Fishing in Kona Hawaii!  Yet another story about wedded bliss and the lucky Bride!  Linda thinks there is something about a newlywed couple and luck on the water.  I am beginning to agree with her… Rob and Kendra from Southern California boarded Fire Hatt with the anticipation of getting in a little snorkeling at Captain Cook Bay and a little fishing that hopefully will include some catching.  Adam had just completed the chair talk and they had settled in on the bridge when I was telling them how we “look with our brain” for any activity or floaters on the water.  I wasn’t even finished telling them when Kendra spotted a floater.  Turns out to be a nice net.  Perfect!  On our first pass, we are hooked up!  Rob is in the chair and he lands a nice 31 pound Bull Mahi Mahi.  Nice way to start the day.   A couple more boats showed up and after making several more passes without another bite, we moved on.  Off to Captain Cook to snorkel now.   The water was absolutely calm and clear while we were greeted by porpoise at the bay.  Having finished a wonderful swim, we are headed back out.  With lines back in the water we are about 10 minutes straight out from Cook when BAM!  The short rigger line is screaming!  We are hooked up again!  Did I mention it was the very Lucky Linda Lure….Kendra is in the chair fighting her fish of a lifetime!  She is a petite little thing and fights the Blue Marlin literally standing in the fighting chair.  After a  35 minute fight, we are able to release her approximately 225 pound Pacific Blue Marlin.  She did such a great job!  To summarize the event, I go back to Honeymooners, Lady Luck and the Lucky Linda Lure!

BIG Surprise for Tucson Family Fishing in Kona

BIG Surprise for Tucson Family Fishing in Kona.  All the Roddy family wanted was some small fish for their children to pull on…. That’s how it goes in Kona, Hawaii.  The family from Tucson, AZ boarded Fire Hatt for a half day charter with the anticipation of entertaining the kids and letting them pull on some small fish.  We were headed offshore to “F” Buoy where there were some reports of bait holding.  With the idea we might catch something a little bigger for Mike (Dad) we had out a nice assortment of lures that might snag a nice Shortbill Spearfish or Mahi Mahi along the way.  Shortly after giving the family the “Chair Talk”  we settled in for the ride to the buoy.  At 8:15 Adam saw a dorsal fin slide up behind the short corner lure.  Adam quickly started teasing the fish by dropping the lure back and retreiving it a few times, finally after just a few seconds the fish opened his mouth and Adam dropped it right into its mouth.  GAME ON!  We are hooked up!  Mike is in the chair fighting the fish of a life time.  After a 55 minute fight, we have the Pacific Blue Marlin to the boat.  The fish is weak and not responding to the efforts to revive it.  It is evident we are not going to be able to save the fish, so we are boarding it and headed to the scales.  The Pacific Blue Marlin weighed in at 697.5 pounds and was 125 inches long.  Caught on a Bomboy Lure,  this is the biggest marlin for Fire Hatt this year.  The bittersweet of the story…it is two days before the start of the H.I.B.T (Hawaii International Billfish Tournament) and we would really love to have had this fish next week!  It was a good warm up.

I think they will be back to try for the small fish they promised the children.

Family Fishing In Kona

Family Fishing In Kona.  I want you to meet the Hamilton family from MA.   I dare you find anyone in this family without a smile.  All day long the smiles were contagious.  From the time we met them on the dock until we brought them back to the harbor,  the enthusiasm and camaraderie in this family never faltered.  We started out inshore with the Ono lures in the pattern.  We are headed to Captain Cook to do a little snorkeling.  On the way down the coastline Linda spotted something floating off in the distance.  Knowing this family really wanted food fish, I quickly headed a little offshore to check it out.  There it was, a nice big coiled rope.  Not only that, we had no other boat in sight and it was holding Mahi Mahi.  One pass and we are hooked up!  Dad (Jim) is in the chair.  He lands the first Mahi Mahi effortlessly!  High fives all around and Adam and Linda get the lines back in for another pass at the floater.  Hooked up again!  Caitlin is in the chair fighting her Mahi Mahi.  She too brings her fish in with little effort.  At this point, Dad’s fish is biggest.  Lines back in again and we are making another pass to try for something for Sarah.  One pass, nothing.  Second pass, nothing.  We try several more passes without a bite and then decide to leave it and head back inshore to “Ono Lane” and on to Captain Cook.  When we arrived at Captain Cook, there were Spinner Dolphin in the bay entertaining several kayakers.  We approached with the family on the bow filming the action.  It was awesome!  Later after we finished our snorkel the Dolphin were still in the bay and I was able to put Caitlin and Sarah in the water to swim with them.   What a thrill.  The girls are both Rowers and are very strong swimmers, they had no trouble swimming with the graceful animals.  Now as we are headed back up the coast to the harbor, we have the Ono lures back in the water and as planned…..we are hooked up!  The Ono we have been waiting for.  Now Sarah is in the chair and this is a much stronger fish than the Mahi Mahi.  Sarah buckles down and starts cranking.  She has landed the largest fish of the day!  With that, we decided to head back offshore and try for a Pacific Blue Marlin for Jim.  This is just one of those days… we are hooked up again!  A Pacific Blue Marlin!  Jim is getting to the chair, the stinger line is screaming , the Marlin makes a few jumps and it is off.  AAARRRGG!  Still the excitement was thrilling.  This is one of those perfect Family Fishing in Kona days.  Something for everyone!

Not Always Bigger in Texas

Not Always Bigger in Texas.  When Chris, Jana, Nick and Tyler boarded FIRE HATT they were all smiles and full of anticipation for what the day might bring.  The 14 year old brothers, Nick and Tyler had just finished a Scouting trip at BSA Sea Base out of Marsh Harbor, Abacoa Island, the Bahamas. They lived and crewed on a 65′ catch for a week where they ate, slept, etc on boat. They got to snorkel, fish and visit the cays. Their boat caught 2 mackerel, 4 mutton snapper and 4 barracuda.  Until then the largest fish Tyler had ever caught was a Perch.  Now here they are, fishing in Kona Hawaii where we are home to some of the largest Blue Marlin, Ono, Spearfish, Tuna and Mahi Mahi in the world.  They have no idea what is about to happen.  (We don’t either)  Adam has given the chair talk to everyone.  Each having had a “lesson” in the chair it is determined that Dad will go first.  We are a couple of hours into the trip listening to the activity on the radio from a local tournament.  There are a few hook ups, and a few boated fish.  Nothing for us yet.  Then, the stinger line comes down screaming and we are Hooked Up!  Chris is in the chair and has the fish to the boat almost as fast as we can get the other lines cleared.  A nice Ono about 25 pounds.  Out in the deep!  Normally we are pounding the 40 fathom line close to shore hoping to get one.  With the fish subdued and put on ice, we are off for another fish.  This time Nick will be the angler.  Sure enough, about an hour later the long rigger is bit.  Nick is in the chair and the fight begins.  We aren’t sure what it is.  A blind strike on the 1000 fathom line.  As Nick gives all he has to bring in the fish, it is a Shortbill Spearfish!  A nice 30 pounder!  Not a bad day on the water for this Texas family.