Kusler Yachts Fishing Chronicles, Volume II - Hawaii Bound - Captain's Review Cabo 44HTX
Recently I got the opportunity to head West to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu (Ko Olina) to shake down a brand new Cabo Yachts 44HTX sold by Kusler Yachts. I can't say enough about the great people of Hawaii and breathtaking scenery of the Islands. I was very excited to get offshore and see what this battle-wagon could do! Seas were a bit challenging for the first day's outing but with a superior hull design and 49,700lbs displacement, it was clear we would have the upper hand. Powered by 1150HP C-18 Caterpillars we motored out of the harbor gracefully and in style at ~26+ knots.
Sea's were a bit mixed with a decent swell and winds seem to never quit. The beauty of the hardtop express (HTX) was that not only did you have the full tower for viewing and open air at the helm, she also features a full hard-enclosure equipped with air-conditioning to stay out of the sun/rain elements. The cockpit on the Cabo 44HTX is massive (16'6" Beam), which includes a mezzanine level that is great for watching the jigs or bait while staying out of the sun. A great addition to the cockpit was Release Marine's new "battle-saddle" which is kind of a hybrid fighting chair rocket launcher. We opted to add the cockpit controls to the rocket launcher tackle center for easy of fighting the fish.
With my job I am more than fortunate to be able to fish in many places the world has to offer but It did not take me to long to figure out the Hawaiian style "jig" fishing was slightly different than the live-bait fishing I am used to. "What we want to find out here is is 'rubbish', any form of structure in the water we can find, even a Turtle.", said Captain Joe. You do see the occasional birds, terns, frigate, black-footed albatross, blue-footed boobies etc. but in general the offshore waters seemed relatively lifeless. We dragged jigs for a while but with the help of a few pairs of keen eyes and stabilized binoculars we found what we were looking for. Structure anywhere from loose rope, scattered debris to even a sea turtle produced quality Mahi-Mahi for hours.
Fishing in different parts of the Country and World I am always fascinated with the various fishing techniques. Now the style used for catching the Mahi/Dorado in Hawaii was new to me. Basically it was a form of hand-lining and bait and switch. The brief version is 1) strip out a bunch of line off the corner (reel in free-spool) 2) pin a chunk or whole Mackeral on a #8 J-hook 3) hold the main-line while stripping back more line from the rod-tip (important note not to strip line from the reel in case of strike (clicker engaged) 4) Wait for the bite and release the "loop" of suspended line in the water 5) Engage the lever drag and you're on! The idea here is that if you were straight trolling dead-bait, typically with the reel engaged, the bait most likely would strip off (as apposed to bump-trolling live-bait etc). With the "loop" of free line suspended it gives the predator time to inhale the bait and enough time to allow for a proper hook set. The tactic worked wonders probably landing 27+ Mahi-Mahi. These guys were obvious pro's and have been doing this style of fishing seemingly since they were born. The only issue or caution I have with the technique is make sure to watch out for tangles or free line when you get the strike, with larger Mahi, Tuna and Marlin around you don't want to get "caught-up".
The Mahi fishing continued to impress up until the point I proceeded to loose a nice Bull Dorado at the corner and the bite shut off. We were off again looking for more life on the water.
Trolling aboard the "Laura Lynn" was beyond comfortable. The tower fabricated by Steve DeGroote was beefy and extremely fisherman friendly. In addition to an amazing platform and tower, we hired Shelter Island Marine Electronics based out of San Diego (Ed Hanscom and Crew) to outfit her with the latest and greatest electronics from FURUNO TZ Touch Glass Bridge displays, CHIRP Transducer, Raymarine Night Thermal Night Vision Cameras, Open Array Radar etc. Electronics these days blow my mind. In my opinion, the electronics offer almost too much information and options, and seems as though you need to be a software engineer to truly take advantage to all that is offered. That being said, I am sure like everything else regarding technology the more time you spend on it the better off you will be (not to mention reading the novel of a electronics manual or countless You-Tube video's by Furuno). I must say fishing in 2014 sometimes doesn't seem fair to the fish.
Heading on a path back to Ko Olina, we came across a nice pod of spotted dolphins (almost reminded you of the spinner dolphins seen in Cabo etc). "It just smells fishy", Captain Joe says to me. We dropped in the jigs and in a matter of minutes the Shimano-Tiagra is screaming bloody murder. "We're bit!" Joe yells (cackling like Paulie from Wicked Tuna), "Get on the rod!" I ask Joe if we should put the rod in the new "battle-saddle" and he laughs, this is "Wicked-Hawaii" leave her in the rod holder. After a decent fight and few more laughs we had a few gaffs in a beautiful Yellowfin Tuna.
Come to find out from my co-worker Peter Giacalone who used to fish these waters as well, "it's actually a Yellowfin/Allison tuna" (kind of hybrid Yellowfin / Bigeye). "The Allison's have larger Sickle fins and pectoral fins" Pete tells me. The fish was absolutely a beauty and a great way to cap off another epic day fishing in Hawaii with great friends and client aboard his new Cabo Yachts 44HTX beauty "Laura Lynn".
I can't thank my client's, Les and Laura, and the crew aboard the "Laura Lynn" for the opportunity to come out and share the new boat break-in process, not to mention the hospitality. I can only wait and hope for an invite back some day! Until the next adventure...
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