Kona Marlin Fishing with Sea Strike on Hawaii Island's Kona Coast
The island of Hawaii is one of the world's best marlin and big-game fishing destinations. The Big Island's Kona Coast is uniquely situated on the sheltered, leeward side of the island. This coast is protected from heavy seas and Pacific trade winds by mountains nearly 14,000 feet tall. (Click here for a map.)
Nowhere else in the world is such successful big-game fishing found in such calm waters. Sea conditions off the Kona coast are typically calm and sunny, and the island's steep bottom puts big-game fishing just 1/4-mile offshore. Most of Kona's 1,000-pound marlin have been caught only 2 to 5 miles from shore!
Six species of billfish roam the Kona coast: pacific blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, shortnose spearfish, Pacific sailfish, and broadbill swordfish.
Fishing styles vary depending on target fish and season. Marlin are caught on trolled lures or on live bait -- typically using aku (skipjack tuna) between 2 and 20 pounds. Boat speed, rigging techniques, depth of bait, and skirt color are some of the variables that we employ.
The Pacific blue marlin is our most prized and abundant game fish. Marlin season runs all year -- summer is best, but striped marlin and spearfish make strong appearances throughout the year, along with black marlin and Pacific sailfish in other seasons.
Any time of the year is a great time to come to the Hawaiian islands, especially for those people living in the north. When you think you've had just about enough of winter, folks come to Kona to golf, hang out at the beach, watch the humpback whales breaching just off-shore, and fish.
Kailua Kona is on the leeward side of the Big Island, and while the other islands (especially the windward sides) are getting more than their share of rough winter seas, the Kona Coast is provided protection in the lee of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the highest mountain peaks in the Pacific.
The photo at bottom right was taken during the Hawaiian International Billfish/ Pro Am Tournament in 1993. The same fish is pictured above as a full-body mount. Mr. Ray Hawkes, the angler who caught this massive fish aboard the Sea Strike, thereby winning the Pro Am that year, is pictured with his lovely wife Barbara. The pacific blue marlin weighed 1,166 pounds, and was caught on 50 pound test.
This IGFA world record has yet to be broken, and the mount continues to be displayed in the lobby of the King Kamhehameha Hotel in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
The biggest marlin caught in Kona was 1,656 pounds and 17' long, caught by angler Gary Merriman and legendary captain Bart Miller in 1984. The beast is the 2nd largest marlin ever caught on rod and reel. The biggest marlin ever caught on rod and reel was out of Oahu, Hawaii, weighing in at 1,820 pounds.
There are many marlin fishing stories like this in this small fishing port in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Huge fish roam these waters and provide some of the best sport fishing action in the world. There is a wall at Waterfront Row in Kona that is dedicated to displaying photos of granders (marlin over 1,000 pounds) caught here.