If you want to learn about chasing big blue marlin, Kona, Hawaii, is a good place to start. Those historic waters are home to some of the best big marlin fishing in the world, with giants landed in every month of the calendar. The next bite could be a 200-pounder or a 1,200-pounder.
Capt. Bryan Toney has a passion for big fish; he’s caught blue marlin over 1,000 pounds in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and has 25 years of experience fishing out of Kona. He’s not about to put anything in the water that won’t give him the best possible chance of landing the marlin of a lifetime.
Start with the Hook
His strategy is a simple one: Pull lures on heavy tackle and make every connection between the point of the hook and the reel as bulletproof as possible. His lure hook-sets are constructed for brute strength as well as durability.
A: The preferred hook is a Dozer needle-eye style. The connection to the hook-set is also covered with heat-shrink tubing. B: The hook-set is 900-pound cable, coated with heat-shrink tubing for stiffness and abrasion protection. C: All connections are double-crimped, then wrapped with yellow tape for added visibility.
And it starts with the hook. “We’ve used a few different styles over the years, but the Dozer needle eye that we get from Melton’s Tackle is the best one right now in terms of strength,” Toney says. “I rig almost all my lures on 10/0 and 11/0 hooks, even the smaller bullets. With a larger hook, big marlin can torque it with their jaws and straighten or break it, but this is the best…