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Big Game Fishing Tips Archive II
Wahoo Are Ono To Eat
Ono are one of my favorite fish to catch. Here in Hawaii, they are a great target for all the "mosquito fleet" of smaller boats (including kayaks) that venture offshore when the conditions are just right. The efforts can pay off, with a screaming run that is always...
impressive as the line comes spooling off at an alarming rate! Once landed, the angler is rewarded with some prime meat. The firm, light colored fillets have a very mild flavor, and can really be prepared any way (including sahimi or poke) for anyone to enjoy. But there are some drawbacks of fishing for them, they are hard on your lures and skirts & they can be dangerous in your boat (alive and even dead too)... the taste of a fresh ono off the grill however, makes it worth it.
Here's some of the tricks that I have learned: You will often here that for ono your boat speed should be faster, up to 12 knots if possible. While that may work fine on some boats, I always tell folks that anwhere from 7 to 10 knots is fine, depending on the sea conditions and lure spread. Run the ledge during Ono season mid April through September, July being the hottest month (info courtesy of Fishing Hawaii Style Vol 2). Depth of the ledge is important, 240 feet or 40 fathoms for most places, certain places may be shallower, like 180 feet or much less. They can surprise you with a blind strike in the off shore waters, going to and from bouys or favorite areas as well. You should always be ready for ono since you can find them around floaters offshore or at the FAD bouys.
Recommended lures to run? Thats a good question, most fishermen will say Ono will bite anything with a hook on it. Every one has their own favorite lures and their favorite colors, so the only thing that I will say is that Ono seem to prefer heavy, chrome jetted lures, and weighted resin heads of all shapes. Here are a few good ono lures you can try, they all run well in the short/ long corner positions :
Matsu Fish Head 9 Inch
Chrome One Pound Bullet 9 Inch
Yozuri Bonita 8 and 3/8 Inch
Chrome Tuna Packer 9 Inch
Special fishing tactics in getting the fish in the boat: Have your gloves ready: Aftco makes a variety of fishing gloves that work pretty well. While you don't have to wear them all the time it is easy to put them on after a strike. When the ono is in the boat, if it does not make it clean into the ice box, the gloves really come in handy in holding on. Ono have a layer of slime over their smooth skin. Also the gloves will help the razor sharp tooth factor a bit as well. Ono will tire out reasonably easy after that impressive first run, they swim almost straight in after their first run almost coming right back to the boat when you crank the reel. The problem is that they are not completely tired out. This is when these high speed swimmers will use their saved energy and make 1 or 2 last ditch runs when trying to leader. They have a good chance of surging foward under the boat, or into the props. Just to help take some of the pressure off the line, I try to lesson the drag setting when they are in that close. It lets them pull a little drag out to help them tire out, while keeping less pressure on the short amount of line at the same time.
Others like to "surf" the ono up to the gaff, which means to increase your throttle speed so your boat tows the Ono on the surface, giving you control at the leader. Just be ready, the ono run can be "like gangbusters" as Jim Rizzuto would say! On these days, everything will come down (usually on the shorter corner lures first), again and again. After gaffing the fish, some like to kill the fish with a custom Kage, its a Japaneese style kill stick with a spike on the end. This can be fashioned by sharpening a stainless bolt that is screwed thru the wood. Ono will die with a spike on the top of the head between the eyes. Sometimes it takes 2 cracks, the fish will straighten up, stop kicking, and die. This makes it safer for you to handle. Also, I like the tapered handle gaffs for their light weight and quickness in the water. Always respect the teeth of an Ono, the business end has many horror stories behind it, lots of old timers will have some stories to tell about Ono and what they can do.
Aloha! Thanks for visiting our Big Game Tips page. Read up on some great offshore fishing tips from our family and friends. Also look for information on how to use some of our most productive lures!
For more tips on Ono, (including the easiest way to clean your catch) check out the Hawaii Offshore Hunters
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