Captain Rob Ellyn
Lightspeed, 47-foot Cabo
Homeport: Honokohau Harbor, Kona
1,250 points include: Kona Throw Down, 1st Place; Firecracker Open, Heaviest Marlin, 667.5-pounds; Hawaiian Tournament Series, 1st Place.
Congratulations to Captain Rob Ellyn for winning the 2018 Hawaiian Division Captain of the Year award. Ellyn, running the 47-foot Cabo Lightspeed out of Honokohau Harbor in Kona, is no stranger to the Captain of the Year (COTY) award or the winner’s circle. In the five-year history of the COTY in Hawaii, the captain has won the award twice, winning it in 2014 and 2108. The two-time COTY champion fished against a field of renowned Hawaiian captains. Winning the accolade twice, when fishing against notable captains such as Kerwin Masunaga, Marlin Parker, McGrew Rice, Stymie Epstein, Kevin Nakamaru, Carlton Taniyama, Gene Vanderhoek, Shane O’Brien, Teddy Hoogs and Jeff Kahl just to name a few, is quite an accomplishment.
In 2018, InTheBite sanctioned 11 major tournaments in the calm, marlin-rich waters of Kona, Hawaii. Using the COTY scoring system, Ellyn won the honor by earning 1,250 total points. He racked up 500-points with the heaviest blue marlin, a 667.5-pounder, in the two-day Firecracker Open. He then won 500 first-place points by winning the Kona Throw Down, a three-day event that coincides with the World and Kona Cups, when his angler Rick Shedore tagged and released eight blue marlin.
The day the tournament season ended, Ellyn had 1,000 COTY points and was tied with two other excellent Kona captains. Veteran Capt. Carlton Taniyama, on the Five Star, who won first-place in the Rock and Reel and the Lure Maker Challenge. Shane O’Brien on the Strong Persuader, a young captain who has been on fire in both Kona and Cabo the past couple of years. O’Brien won first-place points in Hawaii by winning the Skins Marlin Derby and the Big Island Marlin Tournament.
When the points were tallied for Jody Bright’s Hawaiian Tournament Series, a total of seven major tournaments, Ellyn won the Series top boat award, and Lightspeed angler Rick Shedore won the Series top angler. The 250-points for winning a tournament series put Ellyn over the top to win the COTY with 1,250 points. It is worth noting that Rick Shedore was the defending 2017 Series Champion angler as well.
Congratulations to both Capt. Carlton Taniyama, on the Five Star and Shane O’Brien on the Strong Persuader. I would consider them in a second-place tie. Capt. Teddy Hoogs on the Bwana takes the third-place position with 900-points.
The Lightspeed is armed with two great anglers, owner/angler Rob McCarthy and Rick Shedore. McCarthy and Shedore have only been fishing in Kona together for the past two years, but they have great chemistry. Ellyn has known Shedore for a long time. The two were good friends when Ellyn used to fish in Mexico. Ellyn says, “Communication is the key,” for the good juju onboard the Lightspeed. Congratulations also goes to the 2018 Lightspeed crew members, Travis Ota, Scott “Scooter” Fuller, and Chris Storrs.
I asked the humble, salty captain – who immediately went elk hunting in Idaho after the tournament season was over – about his thoughts on winning the COTY for the second time. He said, “I would like to thank Rick and Rob for the opportunity to fish the tournaments. Without them it wouldn’t be possible. Again, a big thanks to Rob McCarthy for giving us the opportunity to fish in such an awesome fishery. If you haven’t fished Kona, you should.”
Like I always say whenever anyone asks, “When is the best time to fish Kona?” The answer is simple – “Anytime you can.” Nice going Rob! – by Mark Johnston