Kona Fish Spotlight Part Two: Ten Cool Facts About Sailfish

At Kona Fishing Charters, you will get to see all sorts of amazing fish from the Pacific Sailfish to the Mahi Mahi fish. We thought our readers might enjoy 10 cool facts about each of these spectacular Kona fish that you’ll see with us at Kona Fishing Charters. Today’s blog article is dedicated to the Sailfish, which you will hopefully see when you fish with us!


Ten Cool Facts about Pacific Sailfish:

  1. The sailfish are related to the marlin and swordfish, as they belong to the Istiophoridae family of fish. They are also classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes. This means that much of their appearance, and sometimes their behavior, can be similar to the marlin and swordfish.
  2. The sailfish is considered a saltwater fish, and the sailfish is typically found in warm and temperate waters, in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The sailfish usually stay near the surface as they prefer water temperatures that range from 70 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. The sailfish grows to be this length and weight. Their range is from 6 feet to 11 feet long, the longer ones are typically found in the Pacific. In the Atlantic, sailfish average out at a mere 60 pounds, while in the Pacific, the sailfish’s average weight is 100 pounds. Another reason to fish for sailfish in the Pacific!
  4. The sailfish was named for its looks, as it has a wide, high dorsal fin, that is almost the length of its entire body. They also have a second, smaller dorsal fin and two anal fins. The fin is deep blue with black spots. The rest of its body’s colors vary from dark blue to gray, with a silver or white underbelly. Since they are a member of the Istiophoridae family, they, like many of the Istiophoridae family members, have an upper jaw that juts out well beyond their lower jaw and forms a distinctive spear, in order to stab its prey. It also has small scales embedded in its skin.
  5. The average lifespan of a sailfish is 4 years long. When they first hatch, sailfish larvae are only 0.125 inches long, but grow to be about 4 to 5 feet long in their first year alone!
  6. Sailfish, as stated earlier, are typically found near the surface of the ocean, far from land, feeding on schools of smaller fish like sardines and anchovies (in the Atlantic). In the Pacific, jacks, anchovies, sardines, triggerfish and ribbonfish are the sailfish’s typical meal.They also feast on squid and octopus.
  7. The Atlantic sailfish is Florida’s State Saltwater Fish and has often been featured in different documentaries, typically alongside the swordfish and marlin, its close relatives. This is because Florida loves sport fishing and knows that the sailfish is one of the best fish for fishing.
  8. The sailfish is not fished for its meat – the sailfish is considered a tough meat so it’s not widely eaten. However, while human beings find the sailfish meat too tough and undesirable, that does not mean other fish do not find the sailfish quite delectable. In fact the dolphinfish, otherwise known as the mahi-mahi (which will be covered in another blog post at a later date), is one of the sailfish’s primary predators. Other larger predatory fish and seabirds also feed on sailfish, regularly.
  9. The sailfish are good game, they will fight against the hook, leaping and diving repeatedly, hoping to tire out the fisherman they’re fighting against. They’re powerful and it will often take hours for the sailfish to be caught.
  10. Not only is the sailfish powerful enough to keep the fight going for hours, the sailfish is also the fastest fish that science knows of in all of the seven seas, according to National Geographic. Sailfish have been seen and recorded leaping out of the water at 68 miles an hour and it’s quite possible that they move faster than this. This makes fishing for them some of the best sportfishing possible.

There are even more cool facts about the sailfish, that you can read about on National Geographic and other websites. Or, when you book a trip for a day of Kona fishing with us out on the open sea at Kona Fishing Charters, we’ll answer your questions as best we can! There’s nothing like seeing the sailfish for yourself, especially if you get to see it close up after you catch one!
Next time in our series of fish facts, we’ll give you some interesting facts about the Wahoo (Ono) fish, another fish you will quite possibly see when you come out to fish with us at Kona Fishing Charters! Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing trip!

Kona Fish Spotlight Part One: Ten Awesome Blue Marlin Facts

At Kona Fishing Charters, you will get to see and experience all sorts of amazing fish when you go fishing with us – from the Pacific Sailfish to the Mahi Mahi fish. We thought our readers might enjoy ten cool facts about each of these different Kona fish. Today’s blog article is dedicated to the Pacific Blue Marlin.


Ten Awesome Facts about the Pacific Blue Marlin:

  1. The Pacific Blue Marlin is part of the Istiophoridae family which includes over 10 species of fish. These 10 different species of fish are mostly made up of varieties of sailfish and marlin species (blue and white marlin). They are also considered a continental shelf species.
  2. The Blue Marlin’s Hawaiian name is A`u but the Blue Marlin is called kajiki in the Hawaiian marketplace. So if you see kajiki at a fish market when you visit us in Hawaii, now you know what you’ll be buying – a beautiful Blue Marlin.
  3. They can reach up to a weight of 1800 pounds (or up to 1985 pounds according to National Geographic) although that’s fairly rare and female Blue Marlins are more likely to reach this weight than male Blue Marlins, as females typically are 3 to 4 times larger than males of the species. Females also can reach lengths of 14 feet. However, many Blue Marlin don’t reach even 1000 pounds – only a fraction reach this mark. Despite this, Blue Marlin are still very large though, the average weight ranges from 200 to 400 pounds. They also are usually about 11 feet long. Because of these large weights and long heights, the blue marlin is considered the largest game billfish.
  4. In the Pacific, Blue Marlin are found as north as Japan and as south as New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty.  In Japan, Blue Marlin are considered a delicious delicacy and are served, raw,  as sashimi and they have been fishing blue marlin for centuries. However, so have Hawaiians, as the Blue Marlin has been making its trek across the oceans for a very long time.
  5. They not only live in the Pacific, but the Blue Marlin can travel to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.  They’ve been found as south as Cape Town, South Africa and Perth, Australia. The Blue Marlin is a migratory wanderer, it likes traveling from ocean to ocean following the current, it especially likes warm oceans, but you happen to be going fishing at one of the best spots that the Blue Marlin wanders to!
  6. Blue Marlins prefer the higher temperatures which is why you’ll see them swimming in the surface rather than deep in the sea. They are carnivores, who feed on mackerel and tuna (especially yellowfin tuna), but will abandon the warm surface water to feed on squid, who are deep below the the surface water.
  7. Blue Marlin’s are fairly distinctive looking, although they do look similar to the black marlin. Blue Marlins are cobalt blue on top and silvery white below, with a pronounced, pointed dorsal fin and a long, lethal, spear-shaped upper jaw. The Blue Marlin uses its spear-shaped jaw to injure its prey, eventually catching it after inflicting enough injuries. Black marlin, on the other hand, have a shorter bill and a rounder (and lower) dorsal fin. Their pectoral fins are also more rigid than its counterparts.
  8. Blue Marlins rely on its eyesight to hunt, which is why the Blue Marlin hunts during the day (which means it is a diurnal animal). They can also reach speeds of 50 miles an hour making it easier for them to catch their prey… and avoid being prey themselves.
  9. In the novel, The Old Man and the Sea, written by Ernest Hemingway, the fish the old, Cuban fisherman is trying to catch is a Blue Marlin. He has a difficult time doing so, battling the fish for a large portion of the novel, and you’ll have to read (or Google if you’d rather just be spoiled) to find out if he succeeded in catching the fish.
  10. Blue Marlin are known to put up a fight when they’re caught, making the fishing experience fun and exciting, something you’ll experience with us at Kona Fishing Charters.

These are only some awesome facts about the Blue Marlin, there are even more cool facts about the Blue Marlin that you can look up on National Geographic. And, of course, we’ll tell you some more fun facts when you come out on the ocean with us at Kona Fishing Charters! There’s nothing like seeing the Blue Marlin for yourself, especially if you get to see it close up after you catch one!

Next time we’ll connect you to some awesome facts about the Blue Marlin’s close relative, the sailfish, which is another fish you’ll see when you fish with us at Kona Fishing Charters. Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing trip!



Aloha Kona Fishing Charters supporters

It probably would not surprise you that team Kona Fishing Charters is not just your plain vanilla fishing operation. In fact we have a celebrity, Captain McGrew Rice. McGrew serves as a member of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. This is an important council that meets regularly and is part of the world wide effort to make sure our waters and fish are properly taken care of . He is unique in that he represents those that are on the water every day with first hand knowledge that influences decision makers. McGrew was asked to apply for this position and then was immediately chosen for the council. A smart move by the Western Pacific Fishery Council. For those not familiar with this effort here are the guiding principles for the council.

1. Support quality research and obtain the most complete

scientific information available to assess and manage


  1. Promote an ecosystem approach in fisheries

management, including reducing waste in fisheries

and minimizing impacts on marine habitat and

impacts on protected species.

  1. Conduct education and outreach to foster good

stewardship principles.

  1. Recognize the importance of island cultures and

and traditional fishing practices in managing

fishery resources.

  1. Promote environmentally responsible fishing and the

utilization of sustainable fisheries that provide long

term economic growth and stability.

  1. Promote regional cooperation to manage domestic

and international fisheries.

  1. Encourage development of technologies and methods

to achieve the most effective level of monitoring control

and surveillance and to ensure safety at sea.

We could not be prouder to have Captain McGrew represent us in this endeavor. Just to prove we are not the only ones that are proud of McGrew he has been elected to be the vice chair of their team. What a nice compliment for his efforts.

As always we appreciate your continued enthusiasm for team Kona Fishing Charters and look forward to your next visit to the big island with a day on the beautiful calm blue waters of Kona.


Good weather, calm beautiful pristine waters, and year around sunshine wait for your next visit.

IHU NUI Boat blessing-9

Aloha Team Kona Fishing Charters fans,

This has been a great start of the year for team Kona Fishing Charters. Not only are the new boats performing well the catching of big fish is the talk of the town. Captain McGrew Rice his sidekick Carlton Arai have been setting a torrid pace for the Kona harbor. By now you have all heard of the 1058 pound Blue Marlin that was landed several weeks ago. Kudos to the captain and crew but special kudos to Kai who was the angler. What a special treat to have a competent 16 year old in the chair for the grander. Little did we know that the news of the great catch would go viral and be viewed all over the world. If you are interested in seeing more about the Blue Marlin catch view the Kona Fishing Charters website as well as our facebook. There are videos posted from our Go Pro cameras that show you how exciting the day was. What has not been talked about as much is the crew’s catching prowess since the first of the year. Our Kona Fishing Charters fleet has landed a 996 pound Blue Marlin, a 741 pound Blue Marlin, a 550 pound Blue Marlin, and several others in the 450 pound range. In addition we have been able to continue catching Spearfish, Mahi Mahi and an occasional Ono. The yellow fin tuna have been more elusive but if any are caught on the charter boats you can be assured McGrew and Carlton will land more than their fair share.

We thought you would be interested in the following email put out by our harbor tournament organizer Jody.

“Some like to say that the recent ahi run is responsible and some say

that spearfish are granders favorite food, and when they come in, so do
the big blues.

People say a lot of things in fishing, but one thing when said is
noncontroversial – when it is hanging on the scales and weighs 1,058
pounds – its a Grander.

Yesterday was an epic “All Kona” kind of day when Capt. McGrew Rice and
Carlton Arai took out famous Big Island author, lure maker and McGrew’s
high school math teacher – Jim Rizzuto – and his grandson Kai and after
a well executed 30 minute battle, returned to the scale with the third
career grander of the dynamic duo team career of Rice and Arai.”

We hope your year has started as well as ours! Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. When your travels bring you to the Big Island please look us up. We will always keep the lights on for you. Good weather, calm beautiful pristine waters, and year around sunshine wait for your next visit.

Much Mahalo,

Team Kona Fishing Charters


Hollywood could not have written a Grander Story this well!


The stars were aligned last week in Kona when we invited the famous fishing chronicle author Jim Rizzuto and his 16 year old grandson Kai Rizzuto visiting from New York on his winter break. Just the day before we had released a 550 lb. blue marlin and a 100 lb. striped marlin so we knew we had our work cut out for us to top that one.

We were trolling outside of Kahaluu at about 1000 fathoms around 1 pm looking for that elusive grander. Then the fish struck the Eric Koya lure. An explosion of white water erupted and a 13 foot long marlin leaped out of the water in it’s place. Our deckhand Carlton yelled, “Big Fish! Get in the chair, Kai.”

McGrew likes to keep the fight short by maneuvering the  boat to stay close. A short fight is always easier on a fish you plan to release but it is much tougher on the angler, who has to fight the fish with the heaviest drag he can stand. The marlin jumped in about three large circles clear out of the water while McGrew kept the line tight, followed the fish and backed down hard. Because of the tight drag and the amount of energy that the fish put out at the beginning of the fight, it exhausted quickly and came belly up after about 30 minutes. No amount of resuscitation would revive it, which ended any possibility of release. They pulled the fish in and it’s tail stuck out of the doorway unable to close. Carlton measured out the “short length” (tip of the lower jaw to fork of the tail) at 139″ and the tail stump at 20″. Those lengths told us the fish would “go” over 1000 lbs. With a cast of congratulatory fishing friends to help, the fish was weighed and the scales tipped at “1058” lbs. The fish was then given to a few local families where over 100 people enjoyed this fish for many meals.

This gives McGrew & Carlton their third career “Grander” equivalent to a Hollywood Academy Award.

Usually the story ends here, however, the hype created by this amazing catch from a 16 year old quickly went viral and was all over the news around the word on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX News, ESPN, fishtrack.com and other media outlets. Kai is now back in class in Manhattan, NY where he has already done many local interviews with the New York daily news  and TV stations. Kai will be telling his “Big Fish that didn’t get away” story for many year to come.

Aloha Nui Loa,

Jennifer & McGrew Rice


Spearfish Season is upon us here in Kona!

photo 1

We are in the middle of our usual Spearfish Run in full force here in Kona. We seem to be hooking up with them almost everyday now. The Spearfish run starts around the end of December through the beginning of May. The larger Blue Marlin follow the spearfish in and we have a good chance of hooking a Big One at this time also.

The history of the SHORTBILL SPEARFISH OR (HEBI) as we call it in Hawaii.

Its dorsal fin is shorter than that of other billfish species and its bill is very short in comparison. Hebe caught in Hawaiian waters are usually between 20 and 40 lbs. in weight.

Hebi has a white to pink colored flesh that is somewhat softer than a striped marlin or kajiki. Its flavor is mild. It is one of the several species of billfish which are suitable for grilled or broiled catch of the day menu items in restaurants.


The Hawaiian spearfish is an excellent source of healthy extra lean protein. It is also low in saturated fat and sodium. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B-12, phosphorus and selenium. Hawaii spearfish is a good source of vitamin B6 and iodine. Hawaii spearfish also provides about 350 mg. of omega-3’s per 4 ounce serving of fresh fish.

Please go to our facebook page to see all of the recent spearfish and other catches aboard the IHU NUI fleet at https://www.facebook.com/ihunui.