Ahi Central Page 2

Sportfishing Digest - Ahi Central
Sportfishing Digest — By Capt. Dave Lear

Ahi Central
Part 2: Ahi Scouts Appear

 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Ahi Central
• Part 2: Ahi Central continued

 Related Resources
• Sportfishing Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Ahi Fever Tournament
• Ko Olina Marina
• Legend Charters
• World Billfish Series
• World Billfish Challenge Hawaii

According to folklore, the ahi scouts appear whenever the mango trees start blooming or once the termites come out at night and gather under streetlights. That's usually around May, when the water warms up into the upper 70-degree range. Once the big schools arrive, all manner of craft, from sportfishermen like Legend to small, outboard-powered center consoles and runabouts, zip offshore in search of sashimi on the fin. Obviously, this is the time you want to be here.

Besides birds and bait, the other leading indicators for ahi are porpoise schools. The friendly mammals typically eat the same food as the yellowfins, so when you find one, you'll often find the other. Deep-running lures like chrome jet heads trolled around the edge of the porpoise entice the tuna; another popular method is to chum and soak cut bait down deep among the tidbits.

Since the ahi can easily top 200 pounds (and there's always the chance for a monster blue), tackle runs heavy. Legend uses Penn International 80- and 130-pound bent-butt outfits (two flat, two riggers) that are fished from the fighting chair. Small lures for spearfish are run "way back" on a 50.

"We'll often get blind strikes once the ahi arrive," Pruner says. "You'll be trolling along and bam, both rods will go off with a double. Then you've got your hands full."

Unfortunately, I'll have to take him at his word. In spite of finding expansive schools of porpoise, the ahi scouts eluded us during my two early-season days aboard Legend. I did break the ice with a spirited 35-pound mahi mahi and briefly had on a blue marlin that we estimated at 275 pounds. Still, I saw enough to realize Ko Olina's potential. Apparently so does the local sportfishing community--the state's first in-water boat show and ocean expo was held there in late May, and the World Billfish Challenge Tournament was slated for August 16 to 20, all of which makes Pruner excited about his role as a Ko Olina pioneer.

"This area has it all," he explains. "You're minutes away from a very fishy area, plus you have all the benefits of a world-class resort right next door. Golf, spa, tennis, plus big-game sportfishing--what more could you want?" Sounds like someone with a bad case of ahi fever, doesn't it? The only known cure is salt spray and a bent rod.

Ko Olina Marina Phone: (808) 679-1050. Fax: (808) 679-1055. www.koolinamarina.com.

Legend Charters Phone: (808) 989-2340 or (808) 325-5043. Fax: (808) 325-0653. www.hawaii-bnb.com/legend.html.

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This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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