January 6, 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. Mahis continue to dominate the everyday catch but there have also been some billfish around. The striped marlin appear to be showing up and a few shortbill spearfish have been caught as well. These pelagic species have mostly been biting trolled lures. The bottom fish, in contrast, have preferred natural bait over artificial jigs. If there are 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]. The following report contains some of Start Me Up’s anglers and their catch from the end of 2011.

Jeff Becker and his son were proud of their 39 lb bull mahi. The Beckers joined in a team effort to land the fish when Jeff offered his assistance in finishing the grueling battle. Good going to the father and son team on a great fish!

Michelle and Steve Burwash had success bottom fishing. They drifted through an area with their baits on or near the bottom. The bite was pretty good so Michelle and Steve caught a variety of fish including nabeta, papio, and uku. The inedible bycatch was released.

The lines were in the water a mile and a half away from Lahaina Harbor when the long rigger came down hard. Line peeled off the reel before Chris Rasmussen stepped in and subdued the fish. Chris was pleasantly surprised to catch an ono during the winter.

Mike Braun posed with his mahi while the fish was still on the spring scale. After the photograph, Mike acted like a veteran fisherman and dropped his mahi on the scale. Doing so results in the scale giving a higher value than the true weight of the fish. That’s just another way to make the fish seem bigger than it really was.

Richard Spriet did not encounter any difficulty while bringing this small mahi to the boat. Although the fish was small, the fillets were delicious. One is certainly better than none.

Concentrating on bottom fish, Amy Spreitzer set the benchmark early with her uku. Amy’s snapper ate a strip of squid.

Not wanting to be outdone, Amy’s dad Frank hooked a yellow spot papio, which was tagged and released. The less prized bottom fish were simply caught and released.

This cow mahi struck a trolled lure in the blind. In other words, the fish bit without warning in an area that lacked visible fish, bird, or mammal activity. A surprisingly high number of fish are caught under such circumstances, probably due to the highly mobile nature of pelagic species.

This angler also caught his mahi in the blind. Fish caught in the blind truly are validation for the technique of trolling. Trolling allows for fish to be caught while simultaneously searching for areas that appear to have higher densities of fish.

Dan and Gary Tan took part in the controlled chaos that followed a triple striped marlin bite. One of the fish spit the hooks immediately while the other two were hooked more solidly. Both of those fish were caught and one was tagged and released. The striped marlin that ended up on the boat was critically injured by the hook rig and would not have survived the experience. Rather than release a fish that was sure to die, the crew kept the fish to make sure that the fillets went to good use.

Sam, a skilled soccer player, tried his hand at bottom fishing. After several live goatfish were ripped off the hook, Sam dropped down a whole squid. This bait change quickly resulted in a nice uku.

Sam spotted this needle fish casually swimming near the boat. Using palu, or chum, the fish was drawn closer to the boat and then hooked using a piece of squid that was allowed to sink with the chum. The circle hook snagged the corner of the needle fish’s mouth so its sharp teeth couldn’t cut through the line. Sam gave his dad the opportunity to fight the needle fish, which put on two exciting aerial displays.

The Wildermann group spent their afternoon working the coastal waters of Maui. In only 35 fathoms of water, they tagged and released a shortbill spearfish. The fish put up a strong fight against light tackle.

The Wildermann group took numerous photographs by which to remember their fish. After the photographs, the healthy shortbill spearfish was released.

The Rasmussen group endured some tough weather conditions but did not return to Lahaina Harbor without fish. Despite relatively strong winds, the anglers fished behind Lanai. They caught this ono while trolling through the area known as the slides. Not surprisingly, the landmark denoting the slides area is a pair of landslides.

Making every bite count is important because sometimes the number of opportunities is limited. This angler took advantage of the opportunity to catch a mahi and maintained his focus throughout the fight. The angler’s attention to detail ensured that the fish was caught.

Dragging opelus at LA buoy resulted in two mahis, which were actually part of a triple bite. The third mahi swallowed a tuna being used a teaser but somehow regurgitated the hook without being snagged. The other two mahis, in contrast, were not as lucky and had to pay a high price for eating the bait. A pair of skilled young anglers successfully fought the mahis to the boat. Way to go boys!

Amanda came across her mahi off Manele Bay, Lanai. The fish attacked a blue and silver funnel jet and then fought wildly. In the end, however, the size and strength of the nice bull mahi were no match for Amanda’s smooth and efficient angling technique.

Mason also caught a nice mahi. Similar to Amanda, Mason did a good job bringing his fish to the boat. If he hadn’t, the fish would have probably escaped. Mahis have a tendency to jump and shake the hooks, especially when the angler jerks their head out of the water.

Shane, Shad, Travis, and Bill started fishing at a FAD. In a window of just a few minutes, they caught three shibis that weighed in from 32 to 38 lbs. The anglers also missed two more shibis on natural bait. A little later, they caught some mahis on small lures. The most exciting part of their day occurred in a short period of time and quick work helped to put some of those fish on the boat.

Another winter ono attacked a lure behind Lanai. This one tipped the scales at 34 lbs, which is above the yearly average. Onos are usually caught during the summer; those caught out of season are typically better than average.

Many boats keep a purple softhead in the pattern at all times in order to entice any blue marlin that they might encounter. The smaller version of that lure, the Jr. Softhead, works great as well. This mahi bit a Jr. Softhead running on the long rigger for Harrison Newlands.

Dave Tietz found a current line and followed the highway of moving water. Soon after, Dave spotted a piece of debris. This nice mahi popped up and made contact with the general jet on the long corner as the lure moved past the flotsam. Dave’s enthusiasm gave him the necessary determination to land the nice bull mahi.

Returning Start Me Up anglers Ethan and Tim Pham put forth a solid effort and were rewarded with a few mahis. They have had more productive trips with Start Me Up but enjoyed their day anyway.

Mary Kay and Craig Mills always fish on their annual Maui vacation. Due to their experience, they know how to react when the fish bite. Mary Kay and Craig caught several mahis and had a few more fish shake the hooks despite good angling technique. Sometimes the fish just get lucky.

Cousins Thomas and Carson Little teamed up to catch a sunrise mahi while trolling along a current line just south of Lahaina Harbor. The boys were excited about their catch.

Thanks for looking through this Start Me Up fishing report. The first few days of 2012, to be included in the next report, have produced a surprising number of billfish including a big shortbill spearfish and some striped marlin. Until the next report, tight lines.