Crews targeting sailfish and marlin with natural bait have raised their game to a whole new level as dredges have become a staple in the spread. But if you want to target blue marlin, you better be ready to pull lures — and there are some incredible custom lure makers today creating works of art that produce even more fish than before. There is little doubt that lure-fishing is a more effective way to target blue marlin, especially big blue marlin. But fishing lures properly also takes a keen eye and some experimentation.
From lure-fishing’s early beginnings, skippers from Kona — starting with Henry Chee — experimented with and developed lure shapes to attract blue marlin. And today, the backyard shops and garages of Hawaiian fishermen are still turning out deadly accurate, handmade, fish-catching lures.
The Kona influence on lure-fishing is unmatched historically, and some of the finest custom lures, shapes and rigging tricks come from Hawaiian fishermen. Capt. Kevin Nakamaru is one of Kona’s top skippers and has fished the Pacific and Atlantic, winning tournaments and weighing grander blue marlin in both.
I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the art of lure-fishing with Nakamaru. He believes fishing with custom lures makes a difference because the lure maker builds each lure individually, not part of a mass-produced run. The custom lure maker is not building them for big business; they create lures that take time and effort to build right, and they put that into every lure, with the sole goal of helping captains catch more fish. The better the craftsmanship, the better the lure.