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Statistics show 2010 was a slow year for billfish

By Staff | Jan 20, 2011

2010 saw the lowest number of total billfish caught since I started keeping statistics in 1988. There were only 135 fish totaling 28,878 pounds among the 17 Lahaina Harbor charter fishing boats that caught a billfish, as well as a few private boats. It was also the lowest number of billfish weighed at 117 totaling 24,903 pounds, and the fourth lowest tagged or released with 18 totaling 3,975 pounds.

It was the lowest total for blue marlin weighed at 75 totaling 23,127.9 pounds, fourth lowest total tagged or released at 18 totaling 3,975 pounds, and lowest total blue marlin captured with 93 totaling 27,102.9 pounds.

The striped marlin were almost nonexistent with only five being weighed, making 2010 the lowest yearly total since 1988. The shortnose spearfish numbers were better than 2009 with 35 weighed. It was still the third lowest yearly total since 1988. There were two sailfish weighed at 76.2 and 50.1 pounds.

It was an okay summertime billfish bite with 13 in July, 26 in August and 17 in September. Surprisingly, February was the second best billfish month of the year with 19. February also tied for the second best month for blue marlin with 14.

The best month for all billfish was August with 26 totaling 3,925.4 pounds. Fifteen of those were blue marlin totaling 2,967.3 pounds. Another four blue marlin were tagged or released totaling 675 pounds, bringing the 19 blue marlin captured to 3,642.3 pounds. Two striped marlin and five spearfish were also weighed.

There were some nice-size blue marlin brought to the scales. There were two 700-pounders (725.2, 706.3), three 600-pounders (688.1, 675.2, 641.0), five 500-pounders (596.5, 519.7, 519.4, 514.6, 511.6) and 12 400-pounders (491.6, 485.1, 476.6, 471.3, 470.7, 469.6, 455.2, 452.2, 432.0, 431.8, 422.6). This brought the total to 22 over 400 pounds for the year, totaling 10,569.8 pounds.

I would like to thank Start Me Up Sportfishing for the use of their digital scale.

The best month for big blue marlin was July with five (455.2, 470.7, 452.2, 641.0 and 432.0). February was next with four (422.6, 431.8, 511.6 and 485.1).

Out of those 22 blue marlin, three were on 80-test line (largest 596.5), 11 on 100-test line (largest 725.2), and seven using 130 test line (largest 706.3). One was caught using 200-test line (469.6).

The favorite positions for the blues was the short corner with eight fish caught (largest 706.3). Next was the short rigger position with seven fish (largest 725.2.). The long rigger had two fish (largest 641.0), long gone with two fish (largest 469.6), with the long corner with one (596.5). Two were on bait.

The best time of day to catch a big blue marlin was between 8 and 10 a.m. with ten hooked up (largest 722.5). Next was between 10 a.m. and noon with seven hooked up (largest 706.3). From noon ’til 6 p.m., there were only four fish hooked. The best time of day favors the early morning hours, because the morning charters run from 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. for the six-hour trips and to 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. for the eight-hour trips.

The fighting times to land these blue marlin were: five between 30-60 minutes (largest 688.1 pounds at 50 minutes). Fourteen between 60-90 minutes (largest 725.2 at 60 minutes). Eight of those were listed as just 60 minutes. Only three fish took longer than 90 minutes to land (largest 485.1 at one-hour-and-50 minutes).

The popular lure of choice was the standard purple softhead, with six fish liking what they saw. Three fish liked aku.