Ray Pendleton Water Ways

Ray Pendleton

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Rizzuto comes up
with another classic

Whether you are new to Hawaii or a kamaaina, if you love fishing you'll love Jim Rizzuto's latest book, The Kona Fishing Chronicles 2003/2004.

Once again, Rizzuto has compiled a year's worth of fishing facts, stories and photos from his weekly columns in a Big Island newspaper, along with various magazine articles, into a tightly written paperback.

To quote from his forward, he has "combined history, how-to, whodunit (who made the great catches of the year, that is), and a bit of humor whenever possible."

Rizzuto gratefully acknowledges that much of his data and photos were collected by the "dedicated dock workers who help anglers and captains throughout the day" at the Kona Marina in Honokohau harbor, to whom he has dedicated his book.

The book's chapters are divided into the months of the year, which allows Rizzuto to slowly build a catch record for 2003 as each species of gamefish is first caught or a record is set.

For instance, a story in the first chapter describes how 11-year-old Jada Van Mols, fishing on her dad's charter boat Rod Bender, boated the first "beast" of 2003.

The fish was a 514-pound Pacific blue marlin that not only won the New Year's Day tournament and was the biggest blue caught in January, but it beat the world record for junior girls.

In the chapter for March, readers find the young angler's catch was eclipsed by an 865-pounder, then that fish was outweighed by a 1,014-pound "grander" in May, which later lost out to an even larger 1,258.5-pound grander in July.

That monster fish, landed by Texas angler Miguel Koenig aboard Bomboy Llanes' charter boat On The Fly, was "the biggest blue marlin ever caught in a fishing tournament anywhere in the world. And it was the heaviest marlin caught in Kona since June 6, 1992."

It was also the biggest Pacific blue marlin to be recorded in Kailua-Kona in 2003.

But record fish and fishing stories are just a part of Rizzuto's Chronicles. There are numerous pages explaining how the best anglers in Hawaii --and perhaps the world -- turn fishing into catching.

Big Island shore-caster Bernie Llanes caught a 137.5-pound ulua (giant trevally) last March that set a record and "may well be impossible to beat."

He made the catch on a half-glass, half-bamboo pole, 100-pound-test line and a No. 52 hook baited with a whole 3-pound tako (octopus) still half frozen from the freezer, Rizzuto tells us.

As a math teacher for 40 years, Rizzuto also enjoys explaining such physical phenomenon as the speed and jumping ability of fish.

By measuring the ability of fish to break free of the water by the laws of gravity, rather than anecdotal evidence, Rizzuto debunks some common beliefs.

Rizzuto writes that according to one fishing encyclopedia, sailfish "reportedly swim at speeds approaching 68 mph, making them the swiftest short-distance gamefish."

If this were true, he points out, "A sailfish swimming at 68 mph (an escape velocity of 100 feet per second) when it took off from the surface, could go over 150 feet straight up. Chances are you never saw a sailfish do that, even for fun."

The Kona Fishing Chronicles should be available in most bookstores soon, or you can order it on Rizzuto's Web site at

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at


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