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Old 11-25-2003, 10:51 AM
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Default Kona style heads...

[font color=navy blue]Through the time I've spent here on SCMO I've felt some reluctance and doubts from many about the use and performance of the traditional style Kona heads like this:


I would like to know who of you guys run them and who don't.
Also, what do you find wrong or good with this style lure head???

My personal experience, in all of the 12 years I have chasing marlin this type head has caught me a pretty good share, but... why it is not offered by many lure makers???

Let's get rid of the "myth" around Kona style heads.
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Old 11-25-2003, 02:57 PM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

Ola Paco,

Good thread! I confess I am one of those ones who rarely ever use traditional Kona heads, I have run the odd one in the past but have always gone back to other types of lures. I have heard them described as a lure that "annoys the hell out of both fish and angler", I guess because they are thought not to hook up as well as other lures? I would like to fish with someone who knows what they are doing with the big ones (Steve Coggins Tado, Bomboy McGilla, Bart Miller Breakfast that sort of thing), they do have quite a reputation. Paco what sort of size traditional Kona head are you fishing and what position in your wake and how rigged?

cheers - Dustin
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Old 11-25-2003, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

[font color=navy blue]Hi Dustin, thank you for coming back on this one.

I'll tell you my experience with Kona heads... I was first introduced to marlin fishing in the early 90's by an American friend who used to work at the U.S. Embassy here in El Salvador, Mr. Stan Koller. The lures we pulled behind my 23' Bayliner were mostly Williamson and we ran the 16" Kona heads, what Williamson call the "Marlin Exciter" on the two corners, but I've tested them in every position including the stinger position where they have also produced rigged with a 6" Boone bird a few feet in front. I don't really remember having a poor hook-up ratio with these lures, in fact the corners were the positions that used to draw most of the strikes.

We used to buy our Williamson lures at "Fisherman's Paradise" in Miami but then they stop offering them and I was left with just a few of those heads which were lost one by one over the years. About 4 years ago I was able to contact Williamson again and learned that the company had been sold, they were still making the Marlin Exciter so I ordered some but they just are not the same... I don't know if its the balance or the weight but they don't catch fish or swim half as nice as they used to.

On my trip to Hawaii, my bruddah Akana Banana took me to POP and between the hundreds of lure heads that they had my eye caught a Kona head made by Joe Yee, I grabbed it immediately and started to pick the skirts to dress it... I don't know what type of baitfish we have swimming our ocean here but the skirt colors that have always worked for me with this type head has been pink over white so I dressed my baby accordingly and brought home. The following weekend after my arrival we had a tournament out of the southern border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I rigged my JY Kona head with 18' of 500 lbs. test Momoi leader and double 12/0 Mustad, 7731SS on the front hook and 7691SS on the trailer hook at 180º and out it went to the short corner. During that tournament this lure caught us three marlin which we released because of them being smaller than the 200 lbs. limit and it also brought to the boat a hefty enough mahi to win us second place on the Dolphin division. When I saw how nice it worked I immediately told my mates "that lure will not swim again until the tournament in El Salvador".

I rigged it with a brand new leader and the first day of the tournament I put my dear JY Kona head in the water, after 2 hrs. of pulling it caught us the second place Dolphin for this tournament and one hour later an estimated 500 lbs. blue swam away with it :'( I felt terrible and thought to myself this will not happen again... so as soon as I got back to my office I called POP and ordered 3 of them, they did not have any so they called Joe Yee and had him make the three I wanted... :)

I run my Kona heads in calm waters, they are not for rough seas, they were developed for Kona style water and in Kona the water is flat 95% of the time. I fish them on the short corner from a tag line on the 4th. or 5th. wave and what I do is I adjust my trolling speed to have my Kona head swimming the way I want it... side to side with a beautiful bubble trail then diving a couple of feet only to explode with a nice spray and so on... so if my Kona head is swimming nice the other lures should swim nice too because they are head types much easier to run.

This type heads I believe to be some of the first styles ever developed, also, I do not think there is any lure maker that can claim property of the design and besides Joe Yee who makes it not regularly I feel there is no other good quality lure maker that makes it... WHY???
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Old 11-25-2003, 05:30 PM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...






[font color=navy] Aloha Paco,
There is no myth attached to what you call Kona Heads, they were actually referred to as "Conventional Heads. This design was popular on all the Islands of Hawaii and is still used by some, mostly in the smaller sizes. I still offer them in five sizes only modified to fit modern times. My lure Breakfast is angled, dished out nose, two jets, center hole is centered front and rear. Older conventional designs were below center in the nose and centered in the rear.

The great Kona Captain Henry Chee trolled four lures, his short corner baits were various size tubes, long corner flat a Japanese feather jig which located bait fish, caught Mahi Mahi etc. his short out rigger was a conventional head or Kona Head if you prefer, his choice of conventional lures was one that did not travel a lot laterally, it would dive, streak & splash in a fairly tight pattern. Capt. Chee's long rigger was usually a medium to small tube these four lures completed Captain Henry Chee's basic pattern.

Just for fun please permit me to analyze this great Captains pattern.

1. His short bait larger tube some times wearing a slight taper caught a lot of his big fish.

2. The Japanese feather showed him where bait fish were feeding and it caught a lot of small fish for his tourist clients.

3. The short out rigger Conventional lure was by far the most active lure in his pattern, providing a hot teaser exploding with action in the short rigger position wave four. I don't believe that this lure produced as many fish as did the two tubes but it was invaluable when it came to sparking up the pattern, peaking the prey drive of predators, it also caught some big fish, later came assorted sizes of Plungers which replaced the Conventional head.

4. The long rigger tube was the work horse catching small-medium-large-& extra large Marlin. Good tubes are unique, they are easy targets all the while still being showy noisy pushers or straight runners as they were referred to in those days.

So what did other Hawaiian Captains troll in their pattern, the answer is most trolled a variety of different size Conventional heads.

Ah then why did they change if the Kona Head Conventional lure had served its purpose for such a long a time?

1. Conventional lures needed to be trolled slower, by that I mean they were not as the modern lure is today 8 knots or even faster.

2. They frequently caused fouled lines in a hurried turn or difficult sea conditions.

3. The hook up ratio simply wasn't in the same league as that of the tube-- jets -- bullets -- plungers -- cupped-- or center holed conventional lures.

4. Loss of control, Conventional had a mind of their own, besides it was very difficult to get a really good one, most of these lures worked only part time, a knowing eye could make that kind of judgement call.

When they were right then it was a sight to behold four Conventional lures all trolling at their best, very fishy, very exciting. Very much leaving the angler not in control, modern fishing could easily be titled the period of control, the elimination of as many problems or negatives as could be brought down still allowing you to catch more fish, larger fish. Modern equipment was flooding the market place at this time, stronger gaffs--- better rods ---better line & leader --- better reels --- better everything especially electronics.

Paco all of us in the know remember the good and the bad when choosing to troll Conventional lures, I'll tell you what I am going to do, I will contact Capt. Bobby Brown --- Capt. Bomboy Llanes --- Capt. Gene Vander Hoeck and ask them to add a little history in regards to the demise and popularity of the Kona Head Conventional lure. All three are experts master trollers and should be able to add on where I left off. I'll make a side bet with you Paco and that is they will agree with me some what & that is no myth.

O.k. I just got off the phone with Capt. Bobby Brown here is his input
exactly.

1. The Conventional lure was mostly designed for the old slow Hawaiian Sampan boats, top speed was about 8 knots.

2. Lousy hook up ratio, good teaser.

3. Chafe the leader because of radical lateral movement, very few would troll correctly, too much variation.

Capt Gene Vander Hoeck

1.Too much lateral movement period, poor hook up ratio, loss of control, we were forced into a more positive way to get bites and hold on to them.

Capt. BomBoy Llanes

1. Conventional lures had their day, modern lures let me fish the way I want, not the way I would have to if I used the old style lure, they tangle my lines, and have a poor hook up, good teasers, for me I don't like them.

There you go Paco it is as I had believed it to be, one word says it all for all those I asked it was a matter of "CONTROL" the lack of it!!!!

Not for one minute am I saying don't fish Kona Heads, Conventional lures, all I am doing is confirming why we don't fish them today. There is still some popularity on the windward Islands using conventional lures. My five models of Breakfast lures incorporate all that is good about Conventional lures with out any of the bad.

1. explosive action.

2. Minimal lateral movement.

3. High hook up ratio.

4.Control, no chafe.

5. Mix well in a pattern of modern heads & spreads.

No one is saying that Conventional Kona Head lures don't draw bites, that they aren't hot teasers, but most do agree with how I have described them.[/font] papa

P.S. You go Paco, what ever works for you, is that photo the lure model you caught your winning fish on during the recent tournament you won in El Salvdor?
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Old 11-25-2003, 09:56 PM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

Aloha Papa and mahalo for such a detailed post.

Believe it or not Kona conventional heads just caught me another big one... that is you my friend :) when I started writting this thread you were one of my targets ;) I wanted to hear what you have to say about them because you know a whole lot of the history and may even show us pictures of the very early stages of lure fishing.

The picture of the lure I posted above is a Williamson, the ones that do not swim half as good as the old ones. The one that caught me the winnig fish on the recent tournament is this one:

http://doc.e-commedia.com/meltontack...ll_Bog_Eye.jpg
[font size=1]Marlin Magic's Bog Eye[font size=2]

Please Papa, I would like to ask a couple of things about conventional heads...

Reading your post I read a lot about poor hook up ratio... what is it really meant by that? a fish raising to a lure windshield wiping and not getting hooked? or a fish taking a lure for a ride and then letting it go? why it could not be the hook arragement the reason for the poor hook-up ratio? Did Capt. Bobby Brown or Capt. Bomboy Llanes or Capt. Gene Vander Hoeck tell you what hook arrangement they used on conventional style heads?

I also see the word "control" repeats quite a bit, but... how can a lure head take control of the angler? or how a captain cannot control a lure he's pulling? I personally have never had a conventional head get tangled with the lure next door... they run in different waves, one thing it's true though, some special care has to be taken when bringing in or putting out a lure on the short rigger since the conventional head running on the short corner may catch it, but once the spread is set there are no problems. I always set my shotgun lure first, my rigger lures second and my corner lures last and when I bring them in I do the same process reversed to avoid having tangles.

What I think causes the lateral action on conventional heads is the off centered nose hole acting together with the scoop nose, that to me is one of the nice thing about their action, the leader chafe can be prevented by placing a piece of tubbing through the hole as all Black Bart lures have.

I own the whole range of Breakfast lures and they work beautiful... I run them and get hit consistently, they will always ride in my boat since they have always have a spot on my spread but those are Breakfast. I poped out the question about the "original" design because as you say it is very difficult to find a real good one and wondered why you and others do not make one.

You know how to make lures, the balance on your lures is perfect and I know there are other people out there like me that would appreciate a perfectly balanced and very well made Black Bart conventional head... A good conventional head when pulled correctly and under the correct water conditions looks as if it is alive. I would be the first in line ordering half a dozen Black Bart traditional conventional heads.

We'll talk about the tubes later because that is one style head that has never produced me a fish.

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Old 11-26-2003, 06:57 AM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

Aloha Paco

I hope this link gives you more of an idea of the past.
http://www.hawaiifishinglures.com/antique.html

This is a link to Lyles site. Lyle has sold me several cut face lures that work great. I got one from him that looks like the blue one on the top. The one he gave me has nicer skirts that fit.Surf his sight for deals and information. I run that lure with tandum offset hooks and found that as the fish approaches it, it comes back and wacks um in the head. I hooked one in the cheek and bill wrapped one. A couple others got away after a few minutes. Sloppy way to fish I know. I think the side to side action and the fact that mono was prized in the old days is why the oldtimers used wire on these babies. lots of not so perfect hookups. The ones made that you mentioned are toned way down compaired to this one. Another one is the Cutty Sark by Charlie. This one needs plenty of room to roam! I have several others and have to say the blue one does the best. I kinda think the blue coloring in the resin helps. But it doesn't look pretty.

I bought an Abry from Malolotackle.com. I'm sure you recognize that name. Blast from the past. Cought the largest marlin on rod and reel of all time. I haven't run it yet. I'm scared to get the naugahide skirts dirty, they look so perfect the way they are. It is really a beautiful BIG LURE.$75 was well worth the price. Really cool slant, scoop on this one. John sent me the story of the lure in an e-mail with the lure. It is supposedly from the same molds.

History: Like Papa says the old boats were slow 6 knots was full out, so the guys liked a lure that would swim back and forth, in and out of the prop wash, with plenty of action. As the boats got faster, and the captains wheel got higher up where he could see the spread and outriggers came along to widen things, the lure that cought fish changed with the boat.The angle of the cut decreased. Lead weights were added and now one of the most popular jetted lures in Hawaii is based on the the old kona head design.

I have about a dozen cut face jets from Shiroma, Futa, Odigari, Charlie...etc, etc There are lots of them available. I run them with a stiff rig with little drag. Oh yah that Hot Breakfast runs with the pack too.

I hope others share their love/hate of these bad boys.

Cheers
Mikey
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:33 AM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

One point that Cpt Bart brought up that is worth a thought is that the term Kona style head suggests a uniformity that is perhaps not totally accurate, there were all sorts of variations and sizes on this theme, with different size of nose, angle slant and whether the leader hole was centered or not. On the one hand you had the 7 Strand Kona Clone type heads with quite a small face and modest scoop and then you have the really radical ones with flare lips and offset leader holes etc. Do you guys that run them prefer the more radical ones? I did notice that Williamson Marlin Exciter is definitely different to how they used to look. (Interesting.) Paco, what's your Joe Yee head like - size, type of face, weighted?, center leader hole?

The question I would really like to ask is how should one of these lures actually look like in the water, what should it do? If you find the action too erratic, how desirable is it to try and tame the action with heavier leader, heavier/longer skirts, bigger hooks etc? Or should one go to a less active head?

cheers - dustin
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:45 AM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...


Aloha Papa and mahalo for such a detailed post. [font color=teal] Not a problem, I clearly remember and still own some of the lures you speak of.[/font]
Believe it or not Kona conventional heads just caught me another big one... that is you my friend when I started writting this thread you were one of my targets I wanted to hear what you have to say about them because you know a whole lot of the history and may even show us pictures of the very early stages of lure fishing. [font color=teal] How did I know that, oh Paco you are such a fisherman through & through.[/font]

The picture of the lure I posted above is a Williamson, the ones that do not swim half as good as the old ones. The one that caught me the winnig fish on the recent tournament is this one: [font color=teal] The Bog Eye is one of those lures that replaced the Conventional lures.[/font]



Marlin Magic's Bog Eye
Please Papa, I would like to ask a couple of things about conventional heads...

Reading your post I read a lot about poor hook up ratio... what is it really meant by that? a fish raising to a lure windshield wiping and not getting hooked? or a fish taking a lure for a ride and then letting it go? why it could not be the hook arragement the reason for the poor hook-up ratio? Did Capt. Bobby Brown or Capt. Bomboy Llanes or Capt. Gene Vander Hoeck tell you what hook arrangement they used on conventional style heads? [font color=teal] The answer to your question about hook up ratio would apply to all of the above, hook up ratio means ie. if you had 10 strikes and 5 of them hooked up you would then have a 50 % hook up ratio. I have never had the pleasure of fishing a Conventional lure that had a 50 % hook up ratio or higher over the long haul they have a substandard hook up ratio. Capt. Gene Vander Hoeck uses stainless steel 7691 double hooks set at 180 degrees. Capt. BomBoy Llanes I will need to check on, his father used 180 degree double hooks. Capt. Bobby Brown uses the single hook rig as I do, in the early days we bothed used double hook rigs 180 degrees.[/font]

I also see the word "control" repeats quite a bit, but... how can a lure head take control of the angler? [font color=teal] It sounds funny when reading the question, o.k. I will try to explain, you have chosen to fish a Conventional lure flat soon after deploying this lure a marlin shows in your wake her little pea brain decides to go for it just as she opens her mouth your Kona Head Conventional ZIZGS WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE ZAGGED causing a poor take on your bait. There is a balance one must decide on in order to maintain high hook up ratios, this balance I speak of probably means you have to take some of the fire out of the hole, tame her down, gain control with out over doing it and defeating the entire purpose you are there in the first place, to catch fish.[/font]or how a captain cannot control a lure he's pulling? [font color=teal]by selecting models that are not compatible, too wild, too much on the surface, staying down too long, too big, too small, not right for the weather or trolling speed.[/font]I personally have never had a conventional head get tangled with the lure next door... they run in different waves, one thing it's true though, some special care has to be taken when bringing in or putting out a lure on the short rigger since the conventional head running on the short corner may catch it, but once the spread is set there are no problems. I always set my shotgun lure first, my rigger lures second and my corner lures last and when I bring them in I do the same process reversed to avoid having tangles. [font color=teal] Modern lures allow you total freedom, turn tight, great range of trolling speeds, appeal to a greater variety of fish, tangle less, hook up ratio is good, easy to tease fish, taking away, dropping back, they stay in visual range throughout the bite, you can set them in any order you wish etc..[/font]

What I think causes the lateral action on conventional heads is the off centered nose hole acting together with the scoop nose, that to me is one of the nice thing about their action, the leader chafe can be prevented by placing a piece of tubbing through the hole as all Black Bart lures have.[font color=teal] BINGO!!!![/font]

I own the whole range of Breakfast lures and they work beautiful... I run them and get hit consistently, they will always ride in my boat since they have always have a spot on my spread but those are Breakfast. I poped out the question about the "original" design because as you say it is very difficult to find a real good one and wondered why you and others do not make one.[font color=teal]Why do we not ride any longer in a horse and carriage? Breakfast models are my answer to merging the old and the new together for the best of the past & present, finally a conventional lure with out the negatives. Breakfast comes in five sizes from Tuna to Mamouth Teaser.[/font]

You know how to make lures, the balance on your lures is perfect and I know there are other people out there like me that would appreciate a perfectly balanced and very well made Black Bart conventional head...[font color=teal]BREAKFAST[/font] A good conventional head when pulled correctly and under the correct water conditions looks as if it is alive. [font color=teal] BREAKFAST.[/font]I would be the first in line ordering half a dozen Black Bart traditional conventional heads.[font color=teal]BREAKFAST-BREAKFAST-BREAKFAST-BREAKFAST-BREAKFAST-BREAKFAST.[/font] papa

We'll talk about the tubes later because that is one style head that has never produced me a fish. [font color=teal] Tubes are amazing tools for Marlin fishing, they will always reign high and be the choice of champions who know and trust them. Bring on the questions Paco, you make me smile with your passion to learn..Learning is not always doing it is as much about testing, "DARE TO COMPARE"[/font]


..... Paco Saca
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Old 11-26-2003, 08:28 AM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

Guys,

My point on this issue is an "economics" one...

Increasing or diminishing marginal return?

I'll be the first to admit (hope) that lure pulling is an almost artisanal - zen-like - way of covering water. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had in preparing a good spread and watching it work. Add to that a soccer simile: when the "coach" makes a substitution to better respond to the context, the game is always interesting.

So...IMR or DMR?

One very active scoopy lure head will draw down the boat's speed - to the detriment of other lures that are indispensable in order to present a varied and spicy spread. Or not?

If you must add on or take away stuff from the "BIG SCOOP" to make it work, is it still the big scoop? Is it worth the trouble? Is it trouble, or pleasure?

The bottom line - in my opinion - rests with the fisherman's taste: if one really likes to mess with lures, the wierd (erratic) lures are fabulous; if you really like to mess with fish, it's better to have less erratic lures in your wake.

So, for me...it's DMR.

I like to fish.

Paco will spring forth and correctly and emphatically say, "Aha! Most of my fish have been on this lure in the past three months!!!"

To which I would also quickly reply, "Paco, you are one lucky son of a gun, in more aspects than that one!!!"

:D

Marco

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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Old 11-26-2003, 09:02 AM
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Default RE: Kona style heads...

I guess I should also have asked what speeds these traditional Kona heads work best. I would assume they get hard to manage after about 8 knots but certainly don't know for sure.

Personally I'm quite happy to tootle along at 7 1/2 to 8 knots which may be slow for some, but I'm kinda cool with it. I'm not such a fan of faster than about 8 1/2 knots myself, but plenty who know better are, I'm sure. I think speed is one of the less discussed but still important factors in number of fish and species raised and successful hookups, on the one hand one might argue how could a measly 2 to 2 1/2 knots make any difference, but my own belief is that given how dramatically lure action can change over this speed band, the fish are probably responding to the change in lure action rather than pure speed of the bait.

cheers - Dustin
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