Team Maggie Joe wins Lahaina Jackpot for the fourth time
LAHAINA — What if you held a fishing tournament and Mother Nature didn’t want to play? That’s what happened during the 33rd Wahine Jackpot Tournament on Oct. 28.
With high winds and moderate gale force warnings blowing a few days before, only 14 boats entered the one-day event.
With the weather keeping most boats inside the Kealaikahiki Channel triangle, no qualifying fish were brought to the scales. Qualifying fish are a 100-pound minimum for marlin, and 30 pounds for mahi, ono and ahi. This is the first time that the wahine tournament had no qualifying fish.
The 34th Lahaina Jackpot Tournament was held on Oct. 29-30 with 20 boats entered. The weather and fishing was still crappy on the first day, with no qualifying fish showing up at the scales. The second day was almost a carbon copy of the first, until the last two boats brought in qualifying fish.
Capt. Mike DeRego aboard the Maggie Joe from Oahu, last year’s Jackpot Tournament winner, weighed in a 30.9-pound mahi by Mitch Tanaka to take first place worth $10,000. That’s $324 per pound.
After no bites on the backside of Lanai on the first day, the team took a vote and decided to try the backside of Kaho’olawe. The weather was a lot better the next morning. Mike headed out to the HS-Buoy located between South Maui and Kaho’olawe, hit the 500-fathom ledge and turned right toward a spot he liked to fish. As they worked the backside, they saw a couple of iwa birds and followed them. As one crossed their pattern, there it was. “We got lucky,” mentioned Mike.
The mahi grabbed a newly designed Steve Coggin bullet jet lure. It was the first time Steve had run that lure, and it paid off big time for the team.
The Maggie Joe, with DeRego at the helm, is the first boat/captain to win the Lahaina Jackpot four times (2001, 2007, 2009 and 2010). Mitch Tanaka is the first angler to win the tournament three times (2007, ’09 and ’10).
The last boat to bring in fish was the Die Hard out of Lahaina Harbor, also with a qualifying mahi. Michelle Kobayashi caught a 30.7-pound fish with Capt. Fuzzy Alboro. The second place Jackpot was worth $6,000 to the team.
Both tournaments saw a record low number of boats and qualifying fish during the three days of fishing. It is the first time a mahi has won Jackpot money. It is the second time — in back to back years — that a marlin has not won the Jackpot Tournament.
The Lahaina Jackpot is a biggest fish tournament, not a marlin tournament, but only in the last two years has a marlin not won the Jackpot.