26 May '14


Posted by admin
As you all know I have been slightly obsessed with the prized Hawaiian game fish known as AHI for some years now. So you can imagine how I was feeling on Saturday when I was finally privy to a successful AHI hunt. Fucking happy. So I get the call midweek from Capt. Jeff, and he has some reliable intel about where the fish have been coming up. He is going rain or shine Saturday morning, and he had a space saved for me on his 22ft Force. I'm game. Met Jeff, his brother Brad, and Jesse boy at the ramp at 5am. Under menacing gray skies we launched. Motoring straight out at full speed to the numbers, we veer right to avoid the rapidly developing storm and the 20 other boats working the area. Intel travels fast on the coconut wireless. The crew and I began the ever tedious task of looking for birds and keeping our Cuzzo Light cans cold and in hand. After 6 hours of constantly scanning the horizon and the cooler, we get a strike just as we approach a decent looking bird pile. The Penn 130 begins to dump line like crazy, and if you know what a Penn 130 is you know that only something of significant size and strength can pull drag on that crank. We all jump into position and luck has me on the reel...oh boy. 1 minute later the line goes slack and with it our hopes and dreams for the day. Shit. The crew comforts me with "Oh, no worries..it happens", but I can't help feeling somewhat responsible for losing the fish even though we never even saw it. My guilt motivates me even more to keep a sharp eye out for even the smallest indicator that will lead us to the fire fish. Capt. Jeff seems equally motivated by the incident and shows no sign of throwing in the towel...the guy is a die-hard hunter for sure. With 10 hours of trolling now under our belts I spot a few straggler birds working an area a couple miles off. I nod the direction to brother Brad who was manning the helm, and he immediately points the boat that way. Jeff and I are silently praying deckside as Jesse boy naps on the fish box when the center rigger slams down and again the Penn 130 begins to scream that sweet sound. OK, lets try this again! Jesse hops up from sleepy time straight onto the reel. Brad kept the boat in gear as Jeff and I clear lines, but not before cracking a ice cold Cuzzo Light to calm our nerves. Jesse begins to earn his keep with crank after crank and grunt after grunt, as Jeff and I keep him on track. 20 minutes later we begin to see color, and I glove up and grab the gaff. Jeff orders Brad to kill the engines and lift them out of the water before he grabs the leader. The tension on the line is almost as tight as our sphincters as none of us wants to lose the fish at this point. Jeff leaders, I gaff, Brad comes in with a second secure gaff, Jesse grabs the meat hook and it is a wrap. This fish is ours. With the AHI on deck, we explode into a raucous celebration that was surely heard 12 miles away at the harbor!! Jeff grabs the knife and gills and guts the beast of a fish, but not before cutting out the beating heart and handing it to me for a taste. I'm not one to mess with tradition, so I take a bloody bite and hand it back to Jeff. Many mahalos to Capt. Jeff and crew for the most epic day on the water. At last I can move on with my life. - RM