Kona Fishing Grounds
The West coast of Hawaii is thought by many to be the greatest fishing grounds God ever created on Earth. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean where the winds can be gusty and the seas large stands an island with enormous mountains and incredibly deep, calm, indigo colored water right offshore. During times when the rest of the state is landlocked by gale force winds from the East which build seas to thirty feet, the fleet of boats at Honokohau, in the lee of mighty Mauna Kea, stands ready to fish as though they were oblivious to the storm.
Some even say the red flags used to depict small craft advisories and hurricanes have never been removed from the package, but the flags used to display the fish that were caught by each boat on a given day fly until the rays of the sun tear them apart. Then they’re replaced.
Heading out of the harbor and out to the grounds for Marlin on the United States East Coast or the Gulf of Mexico means spending an hour or two planing on the flats first, thus adding to fuel and engine maintenance costs. Not Kona.The water is 100 fathoms less than a mile and a half from the harbor entrance and 1000 fathoms only three and a half miles from shore, meaning carbon build-up in the engines is more likely a problem. Combine this with a sunny day and a flat sea filled with thousand pound fish, and it becomes difficult to argue just how perfect a fishing environment this area is. The term "legendary" cannot be overused when describing Kona waters.
As you venture out into this area where legend stands before you as ominous as the mountains to the East and the open sea to the West, you can’t help but feel you are trespassing among the land of the giants. As a humble human, you can’t help but feel the presence; as a fisherman you can’t help but feel the power. Your focus is sharp and your hearing enhanced. Your eyes become hawk-like as you constantly scan the surface for signs of activity, and your muscles stay itchy with anticipation of the next strike.
The scenery is gorgeous, so take along your camera. View the lava flows that have poured down these slopes for years, and you’ll suddenly realize why it felt like you had landed on the moon when you flew in. Kona is growing, but this island hasn’t suffered from the urban sprawl of many cities. In fact, the old landmarks used by the early anglers are still used today, but more have been added thanks to development.
Fishing areas such as "the grounds" and "the trail" still ring out on the radio as much as when the pioneers of the sport first worked the area. But now, with the onset of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADS), hotels and resorts, newer landmarks such as "OTEC," "The Hilton," and "VV" further define the mystique of this amazing fishery.
The general fishing area is roughly seventy miles long, with Honokohau right in the middle, and about twenty-five miles out. A very large Marlin has been caught in almost every inch of this 1,700 square-mile stretch of playground. Some lucky folks return in short order with a huge fish caught just outside the harbor, while others need the full day and a good sized piece of the grounds to rally their fare.
A quick scan of this chart shows why we suggest a full day’s commitment to fishing. It simply needs to be witnessed to be experienced.