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First Grander of the Millennium

By Mike House, Sportfish Hawaii

Capt. John Rooney, a part-time skipper on the charter vessel Renegade, thrilled the fishing community by landing the first grander of the new Millennium and earning a spot on Kona’s famous Wall of Granders.

Renegade took out a party of Japanese tourists on January 30, 2000, including a guest, Daisuke Yamazaki, that was to be married the following day. The waters were cold in Kona that week, and the fishing hadn’t been too productive. Everyone on board was eager to catch a Marlin, but after several hours with no action, the group decided to do some bottom fishing.

As the trip wore on, a couple of smaller fish came on board, and it was soon time to head for home. Always thinking optimisticly, good anglers usually troll on the way back just to see what might happen. Renegade did exactly this and worked their way up the coast toward Honokohau Harbor. Just as they passed VV-buoy a little after three o’clock, the crew noticed a fish in the pattern. The fish came and went rather quickly, and at first the crew thought it wasn’t too big.

Shortly afterward, the reel exploded and the fight was on. After a quick charge toward the boat, the Marlin spun and took off on an aerial display of jumps and tailwalks for about 700 yards, giving everyone on board a spectacular view of just how enormous a thousand pound fish is.

The fight carried on until just before 5:00 pm, and with the head on board and the rest of the fish hanging off the stern, they ran the boat back as fast as possible to the harbor.

Dockside, the weights and measurements took place. The great fish was 15’ 3" long and weighed in at 1,213 pounds, despite a small piece of the chest removed by sharks during battle.

Renegade’s fish was actually the largest caught in Hawaii for several years. 1999 saw two granders in Kona, Kauai and Kona had one each in 1998, and Maui had two fish over 1,100 pounds in the 1997 Lahaina Jackpot. The last few fish over 1,200 pounds included the 1993 capture of a 1,201 on the Cormorant in the Lahaina Jackpot, and Al Bento’s 1,207 caught off the North shore of Molokai in 1995. The last fish over 1,300 pounds was caught in 1992 on Spellbound with Captain Mike Rand, and weighed in at 1,356 pounds.

The current IGFA record for a Pacific Blue Marlin remains at 1,376 pounds, a 1982 fish caught in Kona with Captain Bobby Brown. The state record is still 1,805 pounds, thought to be the largest ever landed on rod and reel, and was caught on Oahu by the late Captain Cornelius Choy in 1970. It did not qualify for the official IGFA record because more than person angled it.

Sportfish Hawaii congratulates Renegade and Captain John Rooney for their magnificent catch.

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