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Big ulua an easy catch for crew on holo holo trip

By Staff | Jul 19, 2012

Capt. Bob Schnoor (left) and crew James Blanton with their 94.1-pound ulua.

LAHAINA – The adage, “It’s better to be lucky than good,” seems to fit this situation. The Genesis, with owner/Capt. Bob Schnoor and crew James Blanton, were on a holo holo trip with some friends. They headed south down the coast toward Olowalu looking for ono.

James was driving and spotted something on the surface ahead. As he got closer, they could see that it was moving a little bit. As they continued watching, they could see that it was a fish. Bob’s first thought when he saw the shiny white bottom was ahi.

They went by it, because they still had lures in the water. James turned the boat around and headed back toward the fish. Bob took over on the helm and tried to “nose” up to it, still having a few lures in the water.

The fish was moving away from them on its side, “floundering” on the surface. Bob had to make another circle around, getting a couple more lures in, enough so he could maneuver the boat to the fish.

Louie Martin went up to the bow of the boat and lay down, leaning out over the water. He reached down and stuck the ulua with a stick gaff to secure it, with Malama Cabagua getting a second stick gaff in it. The fish was just twitching at this point.

The ulua was too heavy to pull up, so they hauled it up high enough out of the water that they could get a fly-gaff head, with rope, through the lower jaw. They lowered it back into the water, pulled it down the side of the boat and hauled it over the rail.

Their lucky ulua weighed in at 94.1 pounds. Bob was in a state of shock almost, he said, to see a big fish that alive on the surface. It was probably some nighttime ulua fisherman’s “fish that got away.”

Their fish was a white ulua (giant trevally). The white ulua derives its name from the almost dead-white color of the lower half of the body. The snout and frontal region are elevated somewhat, as in the bull mahi.

The giant trevally is one of the largest and most powerful and aggressive members of the jack family of fishes. Known in Hawaii as “ulua aukea,” it is a large, top predator found on coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific region. The giant trevally is considered one of the top gamefish in the Indo-Pacific, having outstanding strength, speed and endurance once hooked. It is highly sought-after as a food fish.

The Genesis’ ulua is the third-largest recorded for Lahaina Harbor since 1991. The harbor record is 150 pounds. The current 80-pound test IGFA record is held by Russell Mori: a 145-pound, eight-ounce fish caught in 1991 off Makena Beach on Maui. The IGFA world all tackle record giant trevally was caught off the coast of Japan in 2006 and weighed in at a mighty 160 pounds, seven ounces. The largest giant trevally of them all – a 191-pound monster – was speared by Al Gadow from Lahaina on Jan. 14, 1980.