December 22, 2011 Lahaina Harbor, Maui, Hawaii


Official Sponsor of Bloodydecks
Dec 9, 2008
Lahaina, Hawaii, USA
Start Me Up Sportfishing
Aloha from Lahaina Harbor, Maui, Hawaii. The past two weeks have produced some good catches. These catches include a few marlin, a number of pretty big mahis, and several nice overall catches. Pelagic species comprise the bulk of the catch while the rest is composed of bottom fish. Bottom fishing seems to be increasing in popularity due to the relative ease of finding action. Nonetheless, many anglers still prefer to search for the larger and more widely dispersed pelagic species. If there are any questions about the fishing, feel free to call Deli in Start Me Up’s Lahaina Harbor booth at 808-667-7879. Deli can also be contacted via email at [email protected]. The following report contains some of Start Me Up’s anglers and their catch through the middle of December.

The day became very interesting for Shane Smoot and his family in a single second. In that fateful second, a big blue marlin grabbed the purple softhead running on the short corner. Shane got in the fighting chair and strapped himself to the rod for what turned out to be a 45 minute battle. The fight would have been longer, but a display of great boat handling helped to subdue the fish. The blue marlin tipped the scales at 559 lbs so, in accordance with Start Me Up’s policy for fish over 500 lbs, Shane and his family got their trip for free and Start Me Up made a 300 dollar donation to a local charity. Congratulations to Shane on what will most likely be the catch of a lifetime.

Brett and Jack Campbell, Chuck Berrie, Paul Klucsar, and Dean Oknick opted to do a combination of trolling and bottom fishing. The anglers trolled for a little while without any action so they converted from trolling gear to far lighter bottom fishing tackle. Bouncing bait off the bottom resulted in some nice papios as well as some delicious nabeta.

December is not known as the best month for blue marlin, but in Hawaii there is a chance of catching any species of game fish during all 12 months of the year. As Daren Newell found out, anything can happen while fishing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Daren was trolling off the twin sands of Kahoolawe when a blue marlin popped up and demolished a purple softhead. The fish took out a lot of line and then Daren successfully completed the challenge of bringing all that line back onto the reel. Daren’s blue marlin ended up weighing in at 237 lbs.

The great day continued for Daren and his fellow anglers Brock and Bruce Carlson, Scott Mertlich, Greg McNeilly, and Dave Hoglund. With the marlin onboard, the anglers got a few mahi bites and realized that they had found a hot spot. The hot spot turned out to be a large piece of floating debris that had attracted a number of fish. The anglers took advantage of the opportunity to catch an ono and an assortment of mahis, including a pair of nice bulls.

Boyan Uzunov diligently worked a FAD with natural bait and was able to come away with a few mahis in exchange for his efforts.

Colt Beem provided dinner by catching this mahi. The fish came streaking in on the long rigger and bit the nine inch jet-head lure without any hesitation.

These anglers knew that they would prefer steady action over size so they went bottom fishing. They fished an area with a sandy bottom and caught a variety of fish. Their most prized catches were these two nabeta, which are considered excellent to eat.

Putting natural bait in the water near a FAD resulted in a mahi almost immediately. The action slowed after the lone mahi, so the anglers caught a couple of shibis to use as bait. Switching from live opelus to live shibis did not entice any more bites, so the shibis were kept for sashimi.

This nice cow mahi made fatal contact with a trolled lure. Hitting a lure is not always fatal, but this fish met its match after tangling with a skilled angler.

David and Jennifer Swaney found some fish while trolling off the island of Lanai. Jennifer was up first and caught a very nice aku, or skipjack tuna. An aku that weighs 20 lbs or more is a real prize in Hawaii and is known as an otaru. Jennifer’s aku fell just short of that benchmark but still weighed in at an impressive 18 lbs. David was up next to catch a 27 lb bull mahi which, similar to most mahis of that size, put up a great fight. David and Jennifer had fun on their trip and are looking forward to going fishing again in the future.

After finding a current line that was producing some action, Bob Milton and Ross Craddeck were lucky enough to catch a mahi apiece. Some other fish bit yet they somehow managed to get off the hook. Catching every fish that bites is phenomenal but unfortunately fishing often does not work out that way.

While working an area in which birds and bait were clearly visible, this mahi fell for a lure running on the long rigger. Perry Smith capitalized on the opportunity and brought his fish to the boat. In an area with so much life and surface activity, everyone onboard was surprised that more fish did not bite.

Rick Chapin found a piece of floating debris and quickly put natural bait in the water. Soon enough, a mahi took the bait and Rick took care of the rest, making sure that the fish ended up on the boat.

Sisters Emme and Tessa Fontainewere were each able to catch a kawakawa while working the 40 fathom ledge in hopes of running across some of the mahis that had been showing up on the inside. Although the mahis were nowhere to be found, the kawakawas were fun to catch on light tackle.

Darby and Dylan Guido concentrated on the bottom and brought up an uku and a papio. They caught a number of other bottom fish that they did not want for consumption. Because they weren’t going to be eaten, those fish were released.

Todd and Charlene Gift, Kevin Mittelsteadt, and Travis Zaldan had an exciting morning of fishing. They took advantage of light winds and headed to a FAD on the north shore of Maui, where they used an assortment of live bait and lures to catch several species of fish. Catching the fish on light tackle was a fun experience for the anglers, who later enjoyed the option of eating their fish raw or cooked.

After hearing about the good catch from the day before, Pete and Lauri Kettler, Torry and Holly Johnson, and Rick Arellano wanted to fish the north shore of Maui despite some blustery conditions. Their decision paid off as they effectively utilized live opelus to finish the day with a stringer of mahis and a pair of shibis.

The Rogers family spent their morning bottom fishing. Bouncing squid and curly-tailed jigs off the bottom resulted in a trio of uku, or grey snapper, and a pair of nabeta. With enough fish to eat, the Rogers released the rest of their catch.

As can be expected, Doug Sahm and Anne Nguyen were slightly disappointed when a 150 lb blue marlin shook the hooks during an aerial display. After two consolation mahis, however, Doug and Anne were all smiles.

This kawakawa was caught while trolling the inside ledges and pinnacles. The tuna ate a relatively small lure running in the long gone position, which is typical for that type of fish.

This pair of mahis wound up on the boat as a result of a double strike. The nice bull and the nice cow bit simultaneously and used their considerable strength to take out quite a bit of line. The other lines were cleared in order to prevent tangles and the anglers orchestrated the task of bringing their two nice mahis to the boat. The anglers did a good job of staggering the arrival of the fish so that the crew only had to deal with one mahi at a time. Overall, the situation was kept in control and the optimal result was achieved as both fish were successfully caught.

The Lagore family did not return to Lahaina Harbor with an empty fish bag. Their cow mahi attacked the lure running in the short rigger position as they trolled past some flotsam.

The Sherwoods had a morning with no wind or swells, which was perfect for bottom fishing. They headed north out of Lahaina Harbor and went to Kaanapali, where they made a slow drift over a sandy spot and caught a bunch of nabeta. The anglers, captain, crew, family, and friends ate well that night. The Sherwoods also tagged and released two papios.

Kaanapali was the bottom fishing destination of choice in the afternoon as well. Daniel, Jenacey, and John went to the nabeta grounds to catch their dinner. John was the luckiest and caught a monster nabeta.

Brandon Davis was in deep water behind Lanai when the purple softhead on the long corner took off and line started peeling off the reel. The initial thought was that a marlin might have just bit, but Brandon quickly realized that he was fighting a nice mahi. Brandon’s cow mahi tipped the scales at a hefty 28 lbs.

Nick Lynch, a relatively young big game angler of 14 years old, caught a very nice bull mahi. The purple softhead struck yet again as the mahi pounced on the lure near the newly redeployed LA buoy. Nick won the battle against a tough fish and proved that determination is far more important than age when fighting a big fish.

Nick knew that his fish pulled hard and he also found out that the fish was heavy and difficult to hold as a result of its weight and slime. The bull mahi officially weighed in at 38 lbs.

Given the opportunity, many game fish will attack the weakest link. This 257 lb blue marlin exhibited that behavior, striking the smallest lure running at the back of the pattern. Bill McKinney had to refrain from putting too much pressure on the fish due to the fact that he was using 50 lb class tackle. Nevertheless, Bill was up to the challenge and fought his fish to the boat in just under an hour. Bill’s son Adam also got in on the action by catching a nice mahi, which put the exclamation point on a great day.

Thanks for taking a look at this Start Me Up fishing report. Any questions can be directed towards Deli at 808-667-7879 or [email protected]. Hopefully the year will come to a strong finish in regard to fishing. Until the next report, tight lines.