January 17, 2012 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 fishing has definitely improved since the last report. The striped marlin and shortbill spearfish are still biting and the FADs are starting to produce more fish. Overall, the fishing is good right now as fish are being caught both on artificial lures and natural bait. If there any questions about the fishing, feel free to contact Deli in Start Me Up’s Lahaina Harbor booth at 808-667-7879 or [email protected]. This fishing report includes some of Start Me Up’s anglers and their catch from the beginning of January. The catches not featured in this report are mostly striped marlin that were tagged and released.

Howard Versteeg caught a big shortbill spearfish on a purple softhead running in the long rigger position. The fish hit the lure four times before finally getting hooked. The fourth bite resulted in a solid hookup and Howard was able to battle the fish to the back of the boat. His shortbill spearfish weighed in at 59 lbs and became the 6th largest shortbill spearfish brought into Lahaina Harbor since 1984. The two mahis were simply a nice bonus. Way to go Howard!

John and Spence were thrilled about tagging and releasing a striped marlin in the waters near Lanai. The striped marlin was Spence’s first billfish. Good going Spence!

With the striped marlin beginning to show up, many boats have been anticipating multiple billfish hookups. Juli Phagan found herself in the middle of a striped marlin flurry off the coast of Lanai and capitalized on the opportunity. Of the three fish that grabbed lures, Juli’s striped marlin was the only one that made solid contact with the hooks.

The Pitts family from Alabama spent their morning fishing off the island of Lanai, where the striped marlin have been coming up. The striped marlin were elusive that morning but the Pitts family did catch a mahi instead.

Jordan Thibault had a little more luck finding the striped marlin. His fish bit a 7-inch KK Pono Peanut while the lure was running in the long gone position behind a bird. As is typical, Jordan’s striped marlin went for a small lure far running far behind the boat. Striped marlin are aggressive fish, but for some reason they tend to avoid large lures running close to the boat.

Not surprisingly, Hank and Tanya Graham fished Lanai in hopes of running across some striped marlin. Hank and Tanya thought they hooked one when the long gone Ahi P took off near the Lanai lighthouse. The fish turned out to be a mahi, which was fine with Hank and Tanya.

While trolling along the coast of Maui, Jeremy Cook hooked a nice kawakawa. The inshore tuna put up an entertaining fight on light tackle.

This mahi almost shook the hooks after going aerial on the strike. Robert Vanbavel, however, did a great job keeping the line tight. Tension on the line kept the hooks firmly in place and Robert’s mahi wound up on the boat.

Mike Gardner and Waleed Ahsam were kept busy while fishing the north shore of Maui on an early departure trip. Mike and Waleed took advantage of the sunrise bite to catch some tunas and a few mahis.

Karen Grant made the most of her opportunity to catch a fish when this mahi darted behind the boat and hit the long rigger lure.

Erald and Gena Kikenny had a fun trip along with their companion dog Nace. Nace helped by barking encouragement while the mahi and tuna were on the line.

This mahi was intent on eating and tried to swallow the lure running on the long corner. The tables were turned when Andy Geres brought the mahi to the boat and immediately iced his catch so that the meat would stay fresh.

Nathan, Tyler, and Mike Martin headed for the horizon and fished behind Lanai. They caught a pair of mahis while trolling in the slides area on the backside of Lanai.

Father and son John and John Murphy were joined by Chris Miller and Wayne Lee for an exciting day of fishing. The anglers started their day at a FAD where they caught some tunas. The Johns also caught a 38 lb bull mahi at the buoy. Trolling yielded a shortbill spearfish for Wayne and Chris caught a striped marlin after a double bite. The anglers were just one ono away from completing the clean sweep.

Seth caught the missing ono while trolling over Maui’s inside ledges and pinnacles. The underwater structures attract bait fish which in turn attract predatory fish that are targeted by fishermen.

Andrew Huffman was also fortunate enough to catch an ono during the winter. Andrew’s fish, as is normal for winter onos, was a nice one and tipped the scales at 32 lbs.

These anglers put forth a lot of effort and finished the day with a mixed bag of fish. They caught a few nice mahis and an ono. They also caught a small tuna for sashimi.

As anyone can see, Devin Burke became quite attached to his shortbill spearfish. Devin should be proud of catching an elusive shortbill spearfish. The species is strictly oceanic and is not commonly found near continents. Hawaii’s isolated location makes the islands an ideal location for shortbill spearfish. In fact, Hawaii is regarded as a premier location for targeting the species. Devin caught his shortbill spearfish in deep water outside the K buoy coordinates after the fish hit a Jr. Softhead on the short rigger.

Another shortbill spearfish was caught while trolling. Crossing paths with a shortbill spearfish is not common and hooking the fish is difficult as well. All billfish have bony mouths that are difficult to penetrate with a hook. Shortbill spearfish, only about 30 lbs on average, have small mouths in comparison to other billfish. Additionally, the bill of shortbill spearfish, as the name suggests, is undersized. All of these characteristics mean that the hooks have to snag shortbill spearfish in a very small area if the fish are to be caught. The difficulty associated with catching this species makes shortbill spearfish great trophies.

Travis Wilson made short work of this mahi, which he hooked while working the area around LA buoy.

As her smile indicates, this mahi made the trip for Melissa Barnes.

The shortbill spearfish continue to surface behind boats. Brooke Khezri’s shortbill spearfish popped up behind a lure as Brooke was trolling through an area known as the box, which is in the vicinity of LA buoy.

The Kallis group fished hard and returned to Lahaina Harbor with a couple of mahis for their efforts.

Versatility translated into fish for Bill Kirchner and Ryan Blum. One fish struck an artificial lure while the other was hooked on a dead opelu. When one technique stops working, having another option is always nice.

Dylan McKee sprung into action when this mahi came streaking in on the Ahi P lure running in the short rigger position. Dylan’s quick reaction helped put the mahi in the fish bag.

There have been some onos biting out in the deep water. Calvin Dycks got in on the action when his ono pounced on the lure running furthest behind the boat.

Dave Dabruzzi and Mike, Daniel, and Connor Jost ventured to the north shore of Maui. Their journey paid off as they caught some tunas at a FAD, including one that got bit by a shark while being reeled to the boat. They got a single mahi bite while trolling and managed to get three more mahis by dropping back natural baits. Upon resuming the troll they immediately hooked an ono. The ono and the mahis indicated that a piece of floating debris was in the water nearby, but trolling and searching for the flotsam did not produce any more bites.

Thanks for checking out this Start Me Up fishing report. Any questions can be directed towards Deli at 808-667-7879 or [email protected]. There are already some nice catches that will be included in the next report and hopefully there will be an abundance of nice fish caught in the near future. Good luck and tight lines to everyone out there in pursuit of the fish.



Registered User
Sep 20, 2007
32' Blackfin "Kai Nana"
Jonny and the entire SMU Team,

Way to go on the smiling customers; nice variety of catchin' going on behind the boat(s).