Hawaii Produces Shortbill Spearfish on Fly

South Florida angler pursues a Billfish Royal Slam

martin arostegui with spearfish on northern lights
Dr. Martin Arostegui with his fly-caught spearfish on Northern Lights, fishing out of Kona, Hawaii. The fish was successfully released.Courtesy Martin Arostegui

Dr. Martin Arostegui is well known for his world-record accomplishments on both conventional and fly tackle. He’s recently shifted gears and is pursuing a Billfish Royal Slam on fly, perhaps one of sport fishing’s most difficult feats. This is Arostegui’s story of the catch.

Many years ago, I started fly-fishing for billfish in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Mexico and South Florida. Over time, I caught a few species of billfish but then changed my focus to world-record fishing for many different species all over the world. I recently decided to retire from my world record quest and needed a new goal. My friends Rufus Wakeman and Roy Cronacher started talking about the IGFA Royal Billfish Slam on fly and this got me thinking that this could be a worthwhile venture.

Last summer, I went to Costa Rica with Jake Jordan and my son Martini, and was able to release a very nice Pacific blue marlin on fly. My next step was to research where to try for the spearfish. I called Capt. Kevin Nakamaru in Kona, Hawaii. He is a great captain with extensive experience fishing for spearfish on fly, and so my wife Roberta and I spent a few days fishing with him on Northern Lights in Kona. The conditions were very bad for the first two days, but on the third day, we had a doubleheader of spearfish behind the teasers. Kevin and his mates Kyle and Greg did a great job of teasing the fish into casting range. I made my cast, the fish switched to the fly and in a split-second, the spearfish was on.

spearfish jumping off Kona, Hawaii
With Kona, Hawaii, in the background, Arostegui's spearfish takes to the air.Courtesy Martin Arostegui
spearfish jumping off Kona, Hawaii
Another shot of the spearfish as it jumps near the boat.Courtesy Martin Arostegui

The fight lasted only a few minutes as I worked the fish very carefully to avoid pulling the hooks. Soon, the spearfish was in the boat for a quick photo and release. I am heading to Australia next to try for the black marlin.

pacific shortbill spearfish caught by dr. martin arostegui
Arostegui's prize, a beautiful shortbill spearfish.Courtesy Martin Arostegui
martin arostegui and kevin nakamaru on northern lights
Martin Arostegui and Capt. Kevin Nakamaru celebrate the catch.Courtesy Martin Arostegui