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Fish Tales


Kona Adventure


The waters around Hawaii are some of the richest billfish grounds in the world. Capt. Ray Kelly recently returned from a "business" trip to Kona and was kind enough to file this report ...

This past May, I had an opportunity of a lifetime. As some of you already know, I am the producer of ADVENTURES IN FISHING WITH CAPT. RAY KELLY, a weekly television fishing show. This gives me the opportunity to film fishing in different parts of the world. We really expanded the show this year and traveled to some exotic places including Mexico and Hawaii. In this article I want to tell you about how fantastic the fishing is in Kona, Hawaii.

I was very excited about the trip. I had read and saw other TV shows about fishing in Hawaii and I knew the fishing would be great. I had contacted Jim Wood, the owner of the charter boat JANET B. I explained about producing a segment on board his charter boat and he agreed to the filming. He knew it would be great advertising. He also said that it would be prime time for marlin fishing - blue marlin fishing.

Although the flight was the longest I had ever experienced, it was worth every minute. We stayed at the Royal Kona Resort which is a beautiful hotel located right on the beach in Kona, Hawaii. Our suite overlooked Kona Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. The views were spectacular. The sunsets were the most beautiful I had ever seen. But let's get on to the fishing.

Jim picked me up at the hotel at 6:15 AM on a Tuesday morning. He drove to the Honokohau Harbor marina which is where the JANET B is docked. I met Captain Phil Bell and his mate, Clay. They had a half day charter with Paul Barnhart of Angier, NC. Paul brought along his wife and 5 year old son, Arthur. It was good to see that Paul has his son involved in fishing.

We left the dock and as soon as we left the harbor, the lines went in the water. They were using customized trolling lures along with a small wooden dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) colored teaser which attracts the fish. I also might add that Jim made it himself. In the water it looked like a real dolphin. Capt. Phil trolled along and within twenty minutes there was a fish on one the lines. Paul already had his fighting vest on and jumped into the fighting chair. Paul had a battle where I could see he was getting a good workout. Clay brought in the other lines. It really is a team effort when you are doing this type of fishing The fish did not jump and when it was about fifty feet from the boat you could see it was an ono. Wahoo are called ono in Hawaii. The fish came alive again at the boat and was not landed.

The lines went right back in the water and half hour later another one was hooked up. This fish was bigger than the first and Paul really struggled to get it to the boat. As soon as he did, Clay gaffed the fish and brought it aboard. It was about fifteen or twenty pounds. Paul said it was the biggest fish he had ever caught.

The lures were then changed to bigger trolling lures. The lures were about 12 inches long with the biggest hook that I had ever seen. I kept saying to myself I hope we get a blue marlin on film. The onos were good but we have never filmed blue marlin and that's why we were there.

We started trolling again and there was another hookup. This time you see the fish skyrocketing out of the water. At times it would dance on the surface. What a sight to see. It was a marlin. Paul was already tired from the two ono but immediately grabbed the rod and started fighting the fish. The fight lasted about an hour. Paul was exhausted. You could see the marlin when he finally reeled to the leader. The fish was lit up. The colors were spectacular. And guess what? It was a blue marlin. Clay and Capt. Phil gaffed the fish and then the fish was put on the swim platform for the ride back home. Paul could not believe it- he landed a blue marlin. Jim Wood offered Paul a free afternoon trip. Paul declined and I could see he was exhausted.

The JANET B returned to Honokohau Marina and docked, photographs were taken, and the fish were weighed and sold. Paul's blue marlin weighed 177 pounds. We dropped off Paul and his family and headed back out. Jim had decided to do a little fishing himself. We were trolling for about two hours and everyone was wondering if another blue marlin would hit. It already was a successful day. Just then the fish came up and hit the lure and was hooked up. Jim got into the fighting chair. It was another marlin. This marlin was bigger then the last. Jim fought the fish like a pro. The marlin came up jumping and dancing four times but it could not shake the hook. Jim is in great shape and made the fifty minute fight seem easy. It was another blue marlin about twice the size of the first one. Capt. Phil and Clay gaffed the monster and I could see Jim was happy and proud. All three grown men let out screams and congratulated each other. It was truly a team effort. There really is fantastic fishing on board the JANET B. Jim was not telling me a fish story when I spoke with him on the phone. We headed back to the dock and this time Jim had his photograph taken. The crowd at the dock was amazed at the size of the blue marlin. It weighed 395 pounds.

I hated that the day had to come to an end. Jim, Capt. Phil and Clay really know their fishing. We got that marlin show filmed and it is a great marlin show at that. There truly is great fishing in Kona, Hawaii. I will definitely go fishing there again and I'll be on board the JANET B. And remember - "Let's get kids hooked on Fishing...NOT on drugs!"

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