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ANGLERS TAKE AIM! The Pacific Islands Fisheries Group and Izuo Brothers are pleased to announce the 2008 Keiki Ta'ape Fishing Challenge. - FREE Starter Kits (First 300 anglers) - FREE for Kids 4-17 years of Age - Three Age Groups - Challenge runs from July 1 through August 31, 2008 - Hook & Line Only from Shore or Boat - WIN GREAT PRIZES!! Bi-Monthly Drawings Grand Prize Winner for Each Age Group RODS - REELS - TACKLE - FISHING TRIP WITH LETS GO FISHING HOST BEN WONG - Nintendo Wii! For more information, visit Phone: 808 265-4962 Email:


contents Premier Issue 2008



kimi’s corner [11] EVENTS [62]


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PHOTO: Allois Malfitani


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Message >

Lawai‘a Magazine Sterling Kaya > Publisher

Lawai‘a: Expert fishermen, craftsmen, scientist and sailors who understood and practiced fish conservation. Lawai‘a were solely responsible for taking care of their own fisheries, being sure there is an ample supply of fish for the generations to come. I hope everyone enjoys our new magazine created in the spirit of Lawai‘a. Our goal is to produce an attractive, informative and entertaining media resource which promotes responsibility and sustainability. Lawai‘a also strives to foster greater understanding of different fishing techniques and of the practitioners themselves. Lawai‘a magazine is a showcase of Hawaii’s unique fishing lifestyle. Please enjoy, Sterling Kaya

Green Valley Studios Darin H. Isobe > Art Director Director of Marketing + Sales Marc Inouye > Sales & Marketing VOICE Graphic + Environmental Design Clifford Cheng > Visual Consultant Contributing Writers John Clark, Brian Funai, Kevin Ishikawa, Kurt Kawamoto, Jeff Maehara, Mike Sakamoto, Daven Tong, Kimi Werner,

ON THE COVER: Lance Tanaka at Smoking Rock, Big Island of Hawaii

Letters and Comments Send to: Lawai‘a Magazine 1733 Dllingham Blvd. Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 Or email: Lawai‘a Magazine 1733 Dillingham Blvd. Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 T: 808.843.8182 > F: 808.848.5539 Every attempt is made to publish Lawai‘a 4 times a year. Printed by Lotus Printing Hong Kong.


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Eh, Howzit!

Q:What is your favorite fish to eat?

“Mahi sauteed in olive oil, garlic, butter, lemon pepper and capers.” Lois Brown, Kailua “Uhu Chinese style. Steamed with hot oil poured over it.” Kacie Caberto Eleele, Kauai “Kumu is definitely my favorite fish because of its sweet flesh that is firm yet delicate. Steamed, Chinese-style is the only way to go, with those mysterious Chinese herbs and special shoyu-oil sauce. Ono!”

“Menpachi deep fried.” Steven Tanaka Aiea, HI

Doug Lum, Kaimuki

“Uhu. I like to stuff my uhu with lots of mayo,  lup chong and tomatoes. I wrap the fish up in foil and make sure it’s sealed. Then I stick it on the grill for about an hour and it always turns out great!” James Ernst Pearl City, HI Premier Issue 2008


Andy, Dan, Dana Tako

Stuart Bailey Ulua

Blaine Shiraki 46 lb Ulua Chris Uyehara Baracuda



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Tail > send us your pics

Chris & Kellen Uhu and Kahala

Leinaala Uhu

Kekahi & Brandon Rainbow Runners

Stanley Aranita Mahi Mahi

John Nakajima 11 lb Ulua

Riki Yu 8.5 lb Mu

Todd Helenihi Flounder


Go Digital

Eric Imasaka 99 lb Ulua

Email digital phots as JPG files. Please take pics at your highest setting possible. Email JPG photos to Incude all info please. All pics sent become the property of Lawai‘a Magazine.

Clint Nahina Lai

Ben Forsyth Manini

Wayde Hayashi Uhu

Brad Marumoto 33.8 lb Ulua


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Shannon Funai


Tail >

Daniel Nakagawa Tako

Russ Inouye 10.2 lb Omilu

Pat Orden Ulua Reynolds Calma 73.6 lb Ulua

Stephanie Sakamoto


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Lane & Henry Ono

Kimi’s > Corner Mitch’s Sushi Bar 524 Ohohia St Airport Business Area, Honolulu Tel: 837-7774 Daily: 11:30am, last seating 7:30pm

B y K i m i We r n e r


hen it comes to good seafood, the first and most important quality I look for is the freshness, and if you’re like me, then look no further than Mitch’s Sushi Bar, located near the airport at 524 Ohohia Street, where freshness is the main ingredient. Mitch’s Sushi Bar is hosted by Douglas Mitchell, better known as “Mitch” and is owned by son Craig Mitchell. The small restaurant of only 15 chairs blends right into its industrial surroundings because it’s built into the warehouse of Dow Distribution, Craig’s fish importing company. Approaching this warehouse, with a 22’ Boston Whaler, trailored in the garage, first timers might not realize the unforgettable fine dining they are about to experience. Because the restaurant is part of the fish importing company, it just doesn’t get any fresher than this. “With all this fresh seafood on hand, what a perfect idea to open up a sushi restaurant,” Mitch explains. “I used to run a poke shop with my wife, but after she passed away, I closed it. I needed a break. But now I like the feel of running the restaurant because you get to sit and talk with the customers. The poke shop was a take out place so everyone was always in and out so quickly” Now for the food, ahh the food. I started by ordering the lobster sashimi and within seconds, restaurant manager Hiromi Hendrix headed out the door into the garage and returned to present our table with a live New Zealand lobster! As soon as I nodded with approval, the lobster was then darted off to the kitchen for preparation. Minutes later, a beautiful presentation of lobster sashimi, sliced and placed right back into the lobster tail, arrived on a plate with fresh ground wasabi root and a slice of lemon. I asked Mitch for instruction on the best way to eat this dish and he explained that there are two ways. Most of Hawaii’s locals like to mix the freshly grated wasabi, imported from Japan, into their shoyu and enjoy it as a dipping sauce for the raw lobster. However, Mitch’s Sushi Master Hideo Mitsui, and Chef Masa Murakami, feel that the best way is to place the wasabi directly onto the sashimi, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice, and eat it just like that, skipping any use of soy sauce. Naturally, I had to try both methods. First the chef’s recommendation- simply delicious, the flavorful and spicy wasabi along with the tart zest of the lemon hit my palette first and were immediately followed by the succulent sweetness of the delicate

lobster meat. These contrasting flavors did nothing but compliment each other and create a harmony of clean, pure, delight. “This way must be my favorite,” I thought to myself, but decided to give the good ol’ wasabi and shoyu method a try anyway. As I mixed my wasabi into my dish with shoyu, I immediately noticed the tiny minced pieces of the freshly ground radish separate and swirl around, unlike the pasty mixture you get from store bought wasabi. I squeezed a little lemon on my lobster meat, and then dipped it into the shoyu mixture. Although I thought I had made up my mind the first time, the minute that salty shoyu and sweet lobster meat hit my tongue, I felt the local girl within me wake up and smile. The shoyu, though a little strong for such delicate meat, sure did add a savory goodness that pleased my taste buds with pure, soul-satisfying comfort. Mitch then informed my party that the head and body of the lobster were being used to make a miso soup that would be presented to us at the end of the meal. He told us that the lobster tail, along with any leftover sashimi pieces would be taken back to the kitchen and added to our soup as well. How delightful;

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Kimi’s > Corner 12

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however, at our table there were no leftovers of sashimi, so we just sent back the empty tail. Next up, fresh Tasmanian abalone! Mitch’s Sushi Bar always offers the abalone sashimi style, but after glancing at the chalkboard on the wall with the nightly specials listed, we decided to try the awa bi kimo yaki. This dish is a combination of the broiled outer edges of the abalone and the abalone liver. This time, it was the chef’s apprentice Shingo who headed out to the garage and returned with a fresh abalone to present to the table. This thing was huge! At about five inches in diameter, it sort of resembled a giant opihi. We all “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” in delight over the magnificent shellfish, and when we were finally done admiring it, Shingo delivered it to the kitchen. It was then that that I realized what a fun and magical dining experience we were all sharing, moment by moment at Mitch’s. When the abalone returned, it was cut into irregular shaped, bite sized pieces that were sitting in a savory, buttery sauce. We looked at the pieces in amazement, as we tried to distinguish which ones were liver and which ones were parts of the abalone’s outer edges. Even though I’ve never enjoyed liver as a kid or an adult, I bravely picked up the biggest piece on the plate and put the whole thing in my mouth. I tasted the silky, buttery sauce first and then the intriguing flavor of the abalone itself. As I chewed, the flavors got more and more pungent, and before I knew it, I was reminded that sure enough, I still haven’t acquired the taste for liver. Mitch smiled and chuckled as he watched my facial expressions change. “You wanna hold my hand?” he teased, as I swallowed my bite and quickly chased it with some green tea. The others at my table then began to dig in, and absolutely loved the liver. I realized that in this particular case, I became one of those people who just didn’t know what

they were missing. The broiled outer edges of the abalone however, were just my style. I could still taste a little bit of the liver flavor on them since everything was cooked together, but in much smaller dosages, that I could enjoy. It brought a deep hearty flavor to the dish, which was complimented perfectly by the tantalizing butter sauce. The flesh itself was absolutely succulent. When slightly broiled, the fresh abalone became tender and extremely juicy. The flavors were perfect. The rest of our night was spent eating seafood delicacies from around the world. We tried the toro, a highly prized and well-marbled cut of ahi (from Spain), sake salmon (from New Zealand), uni sea urchin (from Alaska), hotate scallops (from Japan) and much more. Then right when we were all getting stuffed, Mitch reminded us to save some room because the best was yet to come. The waitress Jennifer (Hiromi’s daughter) brought bowls of luscious lobster miso soup to our table. The lobster’s head and tail were sticking out of our individual soup bowls, and now cooked, the shell glowed a vibrant red, making an astonishing presentation. We broke through the legs of the lobster and sucked out the moist sweet meat and then took long sips of the soothing miso flavored broth. What a way to finish a feast. Every sip made my taste buds dance as I savored the salty, sweet, and even creamy flavor of the broth. We all ate it slowly, because as full as we were, we still wanted this heavenly taste to last forever. Mitch then got up and did his rounds, checking in on everyone in the restaurant

as they thanked him genuinely and looked just as content and satisfied as we were. He explained to us that although 80% of his customers are local, he gets guests from Japan, New York, New Zealand, and all over the world. “We never advertise,” he said, “So we don’t know how they find out about us. But if you serve good food, people will find you. All of our customers always come back”. I highly recommend Mitch’s Sushi bar for an adventurous fine dining experience at its freshest. Although Mitch’s is a “come as you are” restaurant, reservations are a must.

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International Pacific Underwater Fishing Championships 14

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< 2008 Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winner: Team Australia

After competing as guests for 3 consecutive years Hawaii became eligible to host this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event. Premier Issue 2008


International Pacific Underwater Fishing Championships


he core members of this competition are Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Tahiti. After competing as guests for 3 consecutive years Hawaii became eligible to host this year’s event. On April 23, 2008 the Women’s event was held in Kona, Hawaii, with teams from Hawaii and New Zealand competing. The following 2 days were designated for the Men’s Competition with teams from Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Guam, KonaHawaii, and North Shore Oahu competing.  The competition was fierce. There were even some recognizable faces from the last World Championships in Portugal. For example, Ian Puckeridge from Australia and Frank Tsiou Fouc of Tahiti were competing.

It became apparent the visiting teams were topcaliber spearfishermen, and that Hawaii could not simply rely on the home field advantage.

< 2008 Women’s winner: Team Hawaii

Team North Shore Oahu>

 Hawaii’s Women’s Team, consisting of Kimi Werner and Tanya Bierne, pulled off a decisive victory. However, the Hawaii Men’s teams did not fair quite as well. Australia and Tahiti enjoyed a seemingly insurmountable lead after the first day of competition, with the Kona Team in a distant third. It became apparent the visiting teams were top-caliber spearfishermen, and that Hawaii could not simply rely on the home field advantage.  The next day would require double the effort and a change of strategy by the Hawaii teams. However, in the end, Australia and Tahiti were able to hold on to their lead despite a strong first place finish by the North Shore Spearfishers Team on Day 2. Although, the Oahu team, consisting of Mark Healy, Marnie Balubar, Kapono Zukevich and Dave Wassel, were able to jump up to third place overall. This was quite an accomplishment considering the ground they needed to make up and the last minute illness of Dave Wassel. Event coordinators were scrambling until the final moments prior to the start of the tournament to find a replacement. Luckily Kona Diver Bruce Ayau was able to save the day.  Congratulations to all the participants!  Note: Next years event will be held in Australia.


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Team Tahiti>

<Team New Zealand

International Pacific Underwater Fishing Championships

<Team New Zealand

<Team Kona Hawaii


<Team Guam

1 Australia (day one 100 + day two 88.98)-------------- Total 188.98 2 Tahiti (day one 95.11 + day two 78.2)-------------------- Total 173.31 3 North Shore Oahu (day one 57.23 + day two 100)--- Total 157.23 4 New Zealand (day one 61.01 + day two 89.13)--------- Total 150.14 5 Kona Hawaii (day one 69.44 + day two 68.85)-------- Total 138.29 6 Guam (day one 46.83 + day two 52.6)--------------------- Total 99.43



1 Hawaii------------ Total 100 2 New Zealand--- Total 41.7

Women Hawaii> Kimi Werner, Tanya Beirne New Zealand Jessica Whiddett, Shirl Dryden â&#x20AC;Ż Men Guam> James Borja, Ronald Laguana, Gerald Cuyler Perry, Jamie Sternadel, Captain: James Borja Kona> Shay Motonaga, Mike Hatcher, Calvin Lai, Hanalei Adric, Captain: Calvin Lai Sr. Oahu> Mark Healy, Kapono Zukevich, Marnie Balubar, Dave Wassel, replacement Bruce Ayau, Captain: Al Lagunte Tahiti> Joel Drollet, Dell Lamartniere, Cyril Vignole, Edgar Tahahe, reserve Frank Tsiou Fouc, Captain: Romuald Montagnon Australia> Ian Puckeridge, Paul Roso, Drew Fenney, Adam Smith, reserve- Ryan Schulter, Captain: Alastair MacNeil New Zealand> Dwane Herbert, Peter Herbert, Ian Warnock, Colin Smith, reserve Jeff Cookson, Captain Ed Aaron Premier Issue 2008


Live Bait Crew

Captain Shannon Frazier, Deckhand Ali‘i Ainoa, Deckhand “Mah” Frazier, Angler Jeff Maehara, Angler Mark Adaro


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By Jeff Maehara his Ahi Fever tournament was marked by the same early excitement as last year. Lines of boats were waiting to be launched and hundreds of ice bags were being carted to anxious crew members. Everything seemed so similar to last year, but I think most serious fishermen knew it was going to be tougher fishing this year. Just a few weeks ago ahi were jumping into boats, but during the past week, the fishing had slowed to a trickle. As usual, we showed up early, making sure everything was in order. We spent most of the morning searching for the 200 lb fluorocarbon leader I had dropped off to Captain Shannon 2 weeks prior. I had asked him to run lures with J-Line clear fluoro alongside the Yozuri “pink” fluoro. I just wasn’t convinced the pink color was invisible and wanted a pre-tournament trial. The new deckhand, Mah, was taking heat from the Captain for poor organization – the fluoro spools were nowhere to be found. Luckily, some of the lures were previously fitted with the fluorocarbon and they still looked in good condition. As the start fishing call rang out, our main deckhand Ali’i was nowhere to be found. This 19 year-old kid is one of the best deep sea fishermen I know, so we were going to give him a few more minutes. Meanwhile, I told Shannon how a friend and I had decided to buy him a real fighting chair. The solid steel backless stool with gimbal currently on the boat offered an angler no advantages over a big fish. We

discussed how footrests can give anglers the edge on big fish. I reminded Shannon that he had never hunted “noses” with me, and I had no intention of fighting a “big blue” in his current chair. I’m thinking it’s a good thing this is primarily an ahi tournament. By 6:20, we left the harbor without Ali‘i. We knew most boats turned (right) out of the harbor toward Ka‘ena point. Captain Shannon had no intention of joining the weekend boat show, so we, unlike most competitors, turned left out of the harbor. Questions about the Captain’s decision weren’t warranted. Shannon has been running the Live Bait Charter boat out of Wai‘anae for 12 years and fishing all his life. He breathes and sleeps fishing. His wife is a marine biologist and his dog, fishing with us today, is appropriately named “Otaru.” Shannon always brings me to the fish, and I expected no less this time around. Just two months ago we caught over 500 pounds of Shibi by early morning and, in January, I pulled a 190 lb Bigeye onto his deck – my first Bigeye ever.

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About a mile out of the harbor, Ali‘i’s dad called Shannon’s cell phone. Fishing on another boat, Ali‘i’s dad had gone back to the harbor and picked up the late-waking deckhand. After catching up to us, he pulled up alongside our boat and jumped on board. I had never seen anything like it. Taxi service… Wai‘anae style. The captain’s plan was to find bird piles and Aku schools outside Nanakuli. Among the schools, we would hope a large ahi or two was hiding beneath. We promptly passed through a few piles and snagged a few aku for the cooler. We briefly contemplated walking a live aku through the piles, but decided trolling would allow us to cover more ground. And since the fishing was slow, more ground covered increased our chances. Sometime around 11am, the look of things changed. Birds were sitting in fairly large groups on the water, and the ocean suddenly looked promising. Ali‘i calls the area “donkey land,” since giant marlin roam the area. Soon thereafter, we spotted a marlin on the short center. I saw his bill lift clear out of the water as he opened wide for the lure. He took it for a few seconds, and then came off. He re-appeared a few seconds later on the right outrigger. This time, Ali‘i was ready and cranked as fast as he could to set the hook. The fish released again. A few seconds later, he hit the same line. This time Ali‘i dropped the drag lever to free spool. He smiled at us for a few seconds before throwing the


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lever up. The rod immediately curled and the spool screamed… Hana Pa‘a! I jumped into the Hawaiian fighting chair, a.k.a. “one stool,” as Ali‘i passed the rod off to me. Ironically, I briefly recalled our earlier conversation about the chair as I settled in for battle. The second deckhand slid a cooler against the back rail. My legs could reach the cooler which I could now use as a footrest and press. After taking a few hundred yards, the marlin acknowledged our hook-up with a quick head thrash through the ocean’s surface. We fought in traditional form. I recovered hundreds of yards of line only to give it right back. It was as

if the marlin could sense the danger, and would run out repeatedly, just as I recovered the rubber band marker on the line. At one point, we got him up on the right side of the boat. This was our first good glance. I heard Captain Shannon yell “he’s big, guys, he’s big.” My fellow angler, Mark (a talented skin diver), was hooting and hollering in the background in true Waipahu fashion. Two gaffs were ready, but he darted across the back of the boat to the opposite side, just out of reach, and then shot straight out toward an observing boat. He tore about 50 yards of line out, then violently erupted through the surface and launched into the air, dancing on his tail fin. He performed four sequential breeches for the on-looking boat before stealing more line. As an hour approached, I once again recovered the rubber band marker, and saw the large flash of blue beneath the surface – he was turning sideways and finally submitting. We got him along side the rail and the gaffs were in. Ali‘i tied off his nose and we contemplated towing him back to the harbor. Shannon called it in, “Ahi Fever base, boat 125, marlin, 400 pounds.” For obvious reasons, we then had a change of heart and decided to bring him onto the deck. The width of his head stopped him from passing the door. We angled him 45 degrees and hauled him through. We were in awe of his full size. Shannon and I looked at each other for a second - acknowledging the fish’s grandeur. After seeing the marlin sprawled across the deck, we realized 400 pounds was grossly inaccurate. Shannon called in a correction with a new estimate of 600 pounds. My last marlin was in 1995 at just under 600 pounds. This one was bigger, that much I knew. Back at the harbor, it took several raises at the scale to keep his nose off the floor, but the officials were eventually able to weigh him in at 755.6 pounds. The remainder of our tournament time was filled with Heineken and relaxation. We hoped for ahi on Sunday, but it never happened. We couldn’t put much effort into it – letting the lines out after our big catch was more of a gesture than anything else. I kept it quiet, but my body was aching. We spent some of the day reliving the spectacular air show put on by Mr. Marlin. At the same time, a true fisherman must also have some remorse about removing one of these great beasts from the sea. They don’t run in schools, they aren’t very common, and they don’t taste as good as ahi. Shannon mentioned how he’s clearly noticed the decrease in hookups over the years. I’m thinking that’s all the more reason to have the right chair if you ever do get lucky.

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Fishing Tournament


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weighed in a 210.4 pounder. The largest fishes of Day 2 were each caught on small boats which returned to Waianae Boat Harbor well before the 4pm stop fish time. Capt. Shane De La Cruz was unable to boat his 688.5 lb. marlin so he had to tow it alongside his 18’ Force, the “Miki D”. Capt. Randy Iwane on the “Amazin Grace”, returned early to weigh his 222.8 lb. tuna capturing the Largest Ahi of the Day. The ahi was also large enough to earn him the Largest Ahi of the Tournament award. That one fish earned Randy a total of $10,000 and his name on the perpetual trophy. The Total Weight Ahi was awarded to Capt. Neal Adachi on the “Anela Kay” with a total weight of 365.4 lbs. The “Anela Kay” had a great showing, also taking second place on Day 2 with a 213.4 lb. ahi and forth place with a 330.6 lb. marlin on Day 1. Congratulations to all!

Dennis Sato – Photoworks Hawaii

Waianae Boat Fishing Club’s 10th Annual Ahi Fever event was held on Father’s Day Weekend – June 14 & 15, 2008 at Waianae Harbor. The great popularity of this event was evident as all 200 entries were filled within just 17 days! Of the 200 entries, 24 boats entered for the very first time and an amazing 38 boats had fished the event for all of 10 years. Fishing was slower this year with only 22 ahi caught, as opposed to 114 last year. However, a few very large marlin were weighed-in. On day 1, Capt. Shannon Frazier of the “Live Bait” weighed in early with a 755.6 lb. marlin. It seemed they had a lock on the marlin category until another large marlin was brought to the scales by Capt. Brian Kalei on the “Kaiona”. This marlin appeared to be shorter and much thicker, but it looked equally as big. The marlin weighed in at 703 lb. for a nail-biting second. Seemingly, the large marlins stole the show, but the big money was still in the ahi category. The largest ahi of day one was caught by Capt. Kalei Luuwai on the “Pualele”. It weighed in at 213.8 lb. In a close second, Capt. Kayne Sumida

Amazin Grace Crew:

Capt. Randy Iwane, Ken Higa, Terrence Texeira, Kevin Mokuahi It was Sunday, June 15, the second day of the 2008 Ahi Fever Fishing Tournament. “Start Fish” was at 6 am. As the majority of the boats raced toward Haleiwa we steered our 18’ Force out toward R buoy. The first day of the event had been pretty uneventful. We did take a double otaru strike, managing to land a 15 pounder. Unfortunately, we lost a 20+ pounder at the back of the boat. (This would have won the “Largest Otaru over 20 lb.” category”). Plus, I had yet to catch an ahi this year. “Wouldn’t it be great to get the monkey off my back during the tournament?” I thought. We made a few passes on R buoy. Nothing. “Run the 1000 fathom to CO buoy,” I told Ken Higa as I went to sit at the back of the boat….. Hana Pa‘a! Our Shimano 80 began screaming! I knew it was a big fish as three quarters of the line was stripped off the reel. We slowed down and cleared the lines. I glanced at my watch… 7:15am. With Ken on the reel and me handlining we managed to boat the fish by 8am. We were surprised at how big the fish was. Terrence

called in the fish at 195# as we reset our lines. We continued to fish until about 1:30 with no strikes, so we headed in. We were back in by 2pm. We weighed in the fish at 222.8 lbs. and headed home to wash the boat. Friends were calling with updates throughout the day saying, “you guys are looking good!”, until the “Anela Kay” came to the scales. They had called in their ahi at 180lbs. but it appeared to be much larger. It was going to be close! The Anela Kay’s ahi weighed in at 213.4lbs. Their second ahi weighed in at 152 lbs. They ended up winning Second Place Largest Ahi of the Day and Total Weight Ahi for the Tournament. Our 222.8# ahi was enough to win the Largest Ahi of the Day and Largest Ahi of the Tournament! It was perfect timing to catch my first ahi of the year on this day. I got the monkey off my back and won the tournament. I had dreamed of catching the largest fish, but I had never even imagined winning the entire tournament. We got really lucky. Randy Iwane Premier Issue 2008


Of the 200 entries, 24 boats entered for the very first time and an amazing 38 boats had fished the event for all of 10 years.


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Lawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a Magazine



largest ahi 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

213.8//Pualele//Kalei Luuwai 210.4//Alexis Gail//Kayne Sumida 178.4//Lauren K //Chris Komegay 159.4//Dana//Brendt Chang 158//Paâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ina//Jon Lui-Kwan 152.6//Janie Maru//Charles H. Escue Jr. 146.8//Kaipii//Dan Holt 133.2//Blue Diamond//Rick Abile

Largest marlin 1 2 3 4

755.6//Live Bait//Shannon Frazier 703//Kaiona//Brian Kalei 373//Brittney Lei//Edward Freitas 330.6//Anela Kay//Neal Adachi

Largest mahi 1 31.4//Tammy Y//Craig Yamada 2 29.4//Merleen T//John H. Tanaka

Largest ono 1 35.8//Colleen//Walter Okuma 2 32.2//My Favorite II//Moses Rodrigues Jr.


largest ahi 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

222.8//Amazin Grace//Randy Iwane 213.4//Anela Kay//Neal Adachi 206.6//Kahikina O Kala//Dennis Kim 203.4//Konakini//Dean Takahashi 178.8//Tripple A//Billy Ogami 174.2//Kole Kai//Allen Evans 159//3/4 Time//Lee Walters 155.2//Jennifer Marie//Ryan Herolaga

Largest marlin 1 2 3 4

688.5//Miki D//Shane De La Cruz 148.5//Elsa T//Mike A Taclan 138.5//Brittney Lei//Edward Freitas 135//Anykine//Ronald Pickering

Largest mahi 1 27.8//Alice L//Daniel Lee

Largest ono 1 47.5//Lisa M II//Jason Hepa 2 45.5//Lurker//Lane Nogawa

Largest otaru over 20lbs. 1 23//Kiko Pulu Elua//Danford Hong

Largest ahi of the tournament 1 222.8//Amazin Grace//Randy Iwane

total weight ahi 1 365.4//Anela Kay//Neal Adachi Premier Issue 2008


Too Little, Too Late Na Wahine O Keehi Tournament By Traci Shintaku


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was so excited about the Na Wahine O Keehi Tournament held on 10/21/2007. Our team won 1st place in 2005 catching the largest fish ever in the Keehi Boat Club Wahine Tournament with a 529 lb. Marlin. In 2006 we didn’t enter because I was hapai. The morning of the tournament couldn’t have been more beautiful with sunny skies and flat waters. Our crew included myself Traci, Captain Reid Yamashita, Rodney Yoshikawa and Ryna Ordinado. As we and the 19 other boats headed toward the starting buoy at 6:30 am, we were discussing our game plan, Reid said hold on tight and soon we were blitzing to the spot where they caught 3 large tuna the day before. They were still disappointed from the previous day’s Open Competition. Although they had a nice 3 ahi catch, it was a largest fish tournament and they were edged out by a 180.1# ahi, their largest being 161#. It took us about 4 hours to get to the spot. When we finally got there it was so amazing with all the porpoise swimming all around us, it was the first time in my life I had experienced something like that. As Reid and Rodney were setting the lines Reid said to me “which lure do you want to run on your pole?” (I had a pole made for me just for the tournament; it was pink). As we drove thru the porpoise pile the corner pole started screaming….HANA PA‘A! After about a minute the fish came off, 10 minutes later we got another bite, it too came off. How disappointing. We had no bites for the next 3 hours, so we decided it was time to start heading back. With Reid in the driver’s seat and Ryna in the passenger seat, Rod and I were in the back of the boat enviously viewing the previous day’s video of Reid, Larren Tang and Sean Okano catching the 3 Ahi. Suddenly, I happened to glance up and saw a Marlin’s bill come out of the water. It was trying to bite the corner lure, I yelled “FISH”, “FISH!” For some reason “Marlin!” didn’t come out of my mouth, I guess it was easier to yell “Fish!” Anyway Reid and Ryna turned around to see what I was yelling about, Rod said, “yeah I see the fish.” He thought I was referring to the fish on the video we had been watching.

The Marlin had missed the corner lure and went for the middle lure which was on my pole, I was soooooo happy, as the pole started to scream Rod put down the video camera and ran toward the pole, Ryna and I started to clear the other poles as the Marlin jumped in the air I thought OMG the Marlin looked bigger than the one we caught in 2005. It was 4:00. At first we thought we could make it to the 5:00 weight-in so Reid and Rod tried desperately to horse the fish in, but after 20 minutes the boys realized there was no way we were going to make it back to the weigh station in time. We were still 12 miles out, so now it was the girls turn. As Ryna and I took turns fighting the fish it took us about 45 minutes to an hour, it really gave a good fight, to get the fish to where Reid could hit it with a .357 bang stick. Now it was time to bring it into the boat. Reid and Rod struggled but eventually got the Marlin in the boat, although it took them another 15 to 20 minutes. Unfortunately when we reached the pier it was so late the scales where already

gone. We couldn’t weigh the fish, but after measuring the length and the girth, the approximate weight was 570 lb., too bad the fish didn’t bite earlier in the day….. What an awesome day of fishing, one to remember for the rest of my life, I had a natural high for a few days. For the two day Tournament, the Hana Pa‘a crew’s spectacular catches did not have a single award to show for it. The catch was too little on Day 1 and too late on Day two….. Thank you to the Keehi Boat Club for putting on a great tournament and to all those who helped make it a success. Much mahalo to our sponsor Mabel & Sterling Kaya of Hana Pa‘a Fishing Co. Mahalo to our captain Reid Yamashita crew Rodney Yoshikawa & Ryna Ordinado. Thank you Larren Tang & Bryson Iwane for the creation of my special pink pole, Uncle Larry Tang & Jon Corrales for the lures, Lance Ohara for letting me borrow his camera and underwater housing, to our family and friends for all your love and support.

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5th Annual Eastside Invitational Tournament

AHI ON THE ROCKS 5th Annual Eastside Invitational Tournament

By Daven Tong & Kevin M. Ishikawa

S. Bailey >

Reed Ikegami > Lesley Lee >


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riday, 11:00 a.m., I felt the heat of the sun as I walked from my truck toward the fishing spot loaded with gear. Earlier that morning, I dove the waters of Punalu’u and was fortunate to bag enough pieces of tako to share as bait. I had entered the Eastside Invitational Shoreline Tournament, this shore fishing event would officially start in an hour. My tournament fishing friends Bryce Iwai and Brent Kamiya were here, and had begun setting-up their ulua casting rods and reels. The view up above was of beautiful clear blue skies. I looked down onto the water’s surface which was nearly ten feet below our pahoehoe casting area. The ocean surged gently up and down along the lava formed coastline. The tourney soon began and we took turns casting. Each of our wire leads flew out toward the horizon pulling stop ring and line with them. Once the lines were set and rods secured with wedges and safety lines, assorted baits were slid. We worked the rods throughout the day and evening, reeling lines in then recasting. That night, around 11:00 p.m. my Jeff Andrews rod took a hit. With Bryce’s kokua with the barrel gaff, I landed a 19.4 pound white ulua which took a tako baited slide. After the fish had been iced, I could finally get some rest. As my eyes closed, I wondered what tomorrow would bring. On Saturday, action came early with a rachet screaming wake-up at 2:25 a.m. As the ulua neared the front ledge, lines converged and my runner cut. Lost ‘um. . . Oh well, that’s fishing. We spent the morning catching bait and hooked Moana, Joe Louis, Enenue, Wahanui, Po‘opa‘a and Opelu. The fish were kept alive in a plastic tub with aerators and also frequent changes of fresh seawater. I told Bryce to use my spinning rod to try for the opelu. I returned from putting a fish in the tarai (tub) and saw that Bryce had landed one. He jacked-up his Talon CY062 rod with 4/0 Penn 113 HLW reel, to recast and slide the opelu. I handed him one of my pre-made opelu slides. This rig is a six-foot plus length of 130 lb. test Shogun line with a slide pigtail on one end, and a 26 Maruto hook, crimped

<Daven Tong

On Saturday, action came early with a rachet screaming wake-up at 2:25 a.m. at the other. The length of the mono. allows the hooked opelu to swim, which helps to keep it alive. Bryce turned the pigtail onto his mainline, as I set the point of the 26 Maruto into the opelu’s nose then tossed it into the water. The bait had been down for one and a half hours. STRIKE!! It was noon; the opelu instantly became lunch for some big fish. The rachet sounded out a steady four second run as the 80 lb. Big game line stripped off the Penn 4/0. Bryce could feel a lot of “head shakes” and kept a tight line as he cranked his reel and lifted his Talon rod. After a few minutes, I could see color, suddenly, a large uku appeared at the surface. I pole gaffed the huge uku, then Brent and I congratulated Bryce on his great catch. The following day, this fish would weigh in at 31 pounds on the official tournament scale. At 5:00 p.m., I caught a Kahala (15.6 pounds) using a dead opelu for

Guy Takamura >

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5th Annual Eastside Invitational Tournament

bait. Brent did a great job landing this fish using the pole gaff. As we had our Saturday evening dinner, I thought of how lucky we were to have a small ulua, kahala, and big uku in the ice cooler. Brent and I were happy for Bryce, with his uku, he would have a good chance of placing in the tournament standings. I took my Talon CY048 rod matched with a Newell 550 4.6 reel (P-spool loaded with Trilene’s Big Game 80 lb. Test – clear) and tied my slide bait leader. I knot the 80 lb. mainline directly to 30 feet of 150 lb. test Proline leader line using a uni-to-uni knot join. I make a flemish-eye to the top 3/0 swivel and crimp the leader to the dead end/stopper rig (3/0 swivel – Malin 15 wire – 3/0 swivel w/lock washer stop ring); it’s five inches long. I cast a 10.5 ounce wire lead tied to the stop ring with six feet of waxed line. I decided to play the point shot. Satisfied with the cast, it got even better

My rod bounced and bent downward as line ripped out of the Newell 550 reel.

<Robert Carvalho

Bryson Imasaka >

Des Matsuno >

when my wire lead grabbed and took hold on the sandy ocean bottom. My partners also recast their ulua rods, we hustled to make the most of our tournament fishing time. The sun had set and the first stars became visible. I would “drop my first set” of fresh tako baits soon. (slide hardware: 3 oz. Weighted pigtail - #15 Malin wire – 16/0 VMC hook) It was an uneventful Saturday night, I had sent down three slides per rod throughout the night and early morning. It was 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning and I wasn’t asleep, but had my eyes closed. Brent and Bryce were both actively reeling in their lines to change bait. Suddenly, I heard a bell ring, then a rachet going off. I heard my name being called along with the words, STRIKE! YOUR POLE! As I moved to my rod, I quickly fixed my rubber slipper and grabbed my headlight. My rod bounced and bent downward as line ripped out of the Newell 550 reel. I first turned the reel handle to keep line tension, removed the bell, then disengaged the rachet’s clicker and safety line. I moved my rod into fighting position and leaned back as the rod arched over. Whatever this was, it had weight. I pulled back and it didn’t come. I heard one of the guys mention that I had a quarter spool of line left. This fish? It seemed to be fighting

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yards to the right and Bryce pole gaffed the fish up. My first ahi caught from shore and during a tournament. I couldn’t have done it without my fishing friends, Bryce Iwai and Brent Kamiya. I bled the shibi and carried it over my shoulder to the truck and 150 quart cooler. At the weigh in for the Eastside Invitational Shoreline Tournament, the shibi weighed in at 41.5 pounds and took the Other Game category. I honestly thought that Bryce’s big uku would have won, so I was surprised. Bryce’s uku took Honorable Mention in the


high, at mid-water depth. I thought, is this JAWS? This fight, it felt weird, could it be a double? I once had been fortunate to land two ulua’s on one line. Minutes passed, I kept a bend on the rod, continued to crank my reel and slowly recover some line. I started to feel signs of fish, my line and rod top “pulsed” indicating possible head shaking or tail movement of a struggling fish. I briefly saw movement and color under the surface at around thirty yards out. It was a fish! I kept yankin’ and crankin’ and as it neared the front, the fish made a strong run to the left heading to an underwater reef. If the fish made the dropoff, my line would cut over the ledge, game over. I pulled the rod above waist level to my right, while thumbing down hard on the spool. The rod tip pulled forward as the fish struggled to head left, but I kept line from leaving the spool. A few more cranks and I slowly stepped back to allow Bryce room to gaff. Bryce said, “Shibi”! I said, “Yeah Right”! to which Bryce responded, “I see Yellow, It’s a Shibi”! After some drama with the barrel gaff, we moved a few

1st Place Ulua 2nd Place Ulua 3rd Place Ulua 4th Place Ulua 5th Place Ulua 6th Place Ulua 7th Place Ulua

same category, which was well deserved and I was very happy for him. I would like to acknowledge and thank my teammates Bryce and Brent, my fiancée Shirley, my family for their support, the Eastside Invitational Shoreline Tournament committee & sponsors, Brian’s Fishing Supply, and Mahalo to the regulars who kindly allowed us tournament play at their spot. Thanks for allowing me to share my fishing story with you.

Lesley Lee------------------------ 61.5 lbs Robert Carvalho---------------- 38.2 lbs Guy Takamura------------------- 37.4 lbs Bryson Imasaka----------------- 36.6 lbs Des Matsuno-------------------- 35.9 lbs Miles Kaneshiro----------------- 25.1 lbs Reed Ikegami--------------------- 24.9 lbs

Largest Other Game fish Daven Tong------- 41.5 Ahi

Join Cindy, Dave and Margot as they bring you a full hour of the best in local fishing each week. Premier Issue 2008


Day of Fishing with the Spalding House Boys & Girls Club

Fishing For The



or the second year in a row, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG) sponsored a “Day of Fishing” with the “Spalding House” Boys & Girls Club. This annual event brings together fishermen and children for a day of fun, learning and fishing. Ronald Chang, Branch President of the B&G Club joined the thirty kids this year stating that “It’s (Day of Fishing) a great program for our kids to have hands on fishing experience. The Boys and Girls club is very appreciative of this partnership with PIFG.” The B&G Club Waterman’s Program teaches kids all about water safety, surfing, canoe paddling, kayaking, but until last year, did not include fishing! A Waterman’s Program in Hawaii without fishing is incomplete. Through the B&G Club and PIFG partnership, kids are now able to learn about safe and responsible fishing in addition to experiencing handson fishing. Thanks to the Division of Aquatic Resources, PIFG is able to host


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This annual event brings together fishermen and children for a day of fun, learning and fishing.

the day of fishing for 30 kids from the B& G club along with their chaperones. PIFG members and volunteers assured the day was a success. The morning began with mini workshops on fishing safety, knot tying, fishing gear demonstration, fishing regulations and proper fish handling and measuring techniques. On display was an assortment of gear ranging from diving gear, throw netting, spin casting and even ulua slide-bait rigs. The kids really jumped in to test their skills with the throw net. After a short lunch break, everyone headed toward the water for spin casting lessons and tilapia fishing. Everyone received a bamboo pole and tackle box filled with assorted fishing tackle and related materials. For many kids it was their very first fishing experience. Just about all kids caught a tilapia or at least have fish story about how the big one got away. Two boys got really lucky and landed a couple of catfish. Because this was a special event all catfish caught were released which was easy since everyone was using barbless hooks. It was fantastic to see the excitement and smiles on everyone’s face! “The day brought back great childhood memories of growing up fishing” noted Kendall Wong, PIFG member. The next time you have a chance, take a child fishing, it can be a very rewarding experience. A Big Mahalo to the Boys & Girls club, their chaperones, DLNR and the PIFG volunteers for sharing a terrific day of fun and fishing. Premier Issue 2008


Photos Worth

By Brian Funai

> 36

This group of photos came to the author purely out of chance and via the goodwill of a fellow history buff. The subjects are believed to be members of the Honolulu Japanese Casting Club, active in the late 1920s and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;30s.

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The Togashi family of Hilo shared these photos of Torao Togashi (2nd from right) and friends during early days of the Hilo Casting Club.

loha! What an exciting experience to be part of this great effort to perpetuate and celebrate our lifestyle and culture of fishing here in Hawaii! And I could not think of a better way to help than to celebrate our past! One thing I hope to do with future contributions here is to connect readers with some of our fishing history and offer a glimpse into days gone by. Most of the focus will be on the modern era of fishing in Hawaii, the origin of which is generally perceived to coincide with the start of the 20th century. While I am not in any way knowledgeable about fishing history and techniques of the ancient Hawaiians, they are still the foundation of our modern day fishing and I hope to include some input from those that are more qualified. Ironically, there is a lot more historical information documented on the ancient or traditional fishing in Hawaii than contemporary fishing between 1900

and 1970s. This gap became really evident after talking with fishermen of the two generations before ours and this is what originally got me interested in recording our more recent fishing history. Fortunately for me, research in this area means that I get to do a lot of interviews and talking story with some truly nice people. My hobbies have shifted and evolved over the years but talking to older fishermen is the one thing that I still do and have always enjoyed the most. While some may take a little sensitivity to hearing the term “older fishermen”, I use it with great respect, knowing that there is much to learn for the fishermen of today from the experiences and wisdom of the old timers. I never get tired of hearing an experienced fisherman describe their life adventures pursuing the Hawaii shorecaster’s trophy of all game fish, the ulua. And as others will relate to this experience as I did with my late grandfather, I would often hear the stories more than once. You also get some interesting perspectives listening to these stories. My

grandfather mentioned that he hung up his fishing rods in 1949 because, at that time, he felt there were just too many other fishermen. He came to that conclusion one day when, after a hard day at work and long drive out of the city, he couldn’t find a spot to fish because the entire length of Nanakuli beach was lined with rods. Today, the sport is just as, if not more, popular and I cannot help but wonder what he would have thought of fishing in 2007. Any time I talk to people, I make sure to always ask if they have old fishing pictures to share as I love coming across old photos and never pass up the chance to study them. And since the average working person took photos on the spur of the moment with their personal camera and their home as a backdrop, the images tell a lot about what everyday life was like at a particular time period. For an antique tackle collector like me, these photos tell a lot about what types of gear were popular or affordable for the fishing community at the time. But often times most frustrating of all, they tell just enough about the people Premier Issue 2008


Photos Worth

> in them to make me ask more questions! The printed photographic image is a fantastic invention. I often wonder if Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, the inventor of modern practical photographic reproduction, realized what he had done in the early 1800s upon gazing at that very first lifelike captured moment in time. When I look at old photos, it just baffles my mind to realize that I am able to look into the past with such detail. It seems as though the people in them could just walk out of the image and come to life. This is especially true with the older black and white or sepia images that endure years and years. Unfortunately, many of the later color photos of the 60s, 70s and even 80s have not held up so well since they were taken with cheap cameras designed for the “instant” lifestyle we have become


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accustomed to. Yet even with as much detail that has been captured in these old images, all too often I come across photos of fishermen where I don’t know a single thing about the person or the story behind the picture. In these instances it is sometimes sad, considering the circumstances around how I find them. In the case of family photos, many times the photo subject has passed on and family members don’t know much. I also look through antique stores a lot but while I rarely find any fishing photos, I do see many family albums that sometimes date back to the 1930s. I often wonder how they end up for sale and can’t help but think that some family member should have been able to keep them. So on those rare occasions when I have come across a Hawaii fishing photo this way, emotions

Honolulu Japanese Casting Club members gather at the 1939 dedication of the Jizo statue at Bamboo Ridge, Oahu. The owner of this photo may have had some otherworldly help in re-discovering it. and questions are even more compelling. On more than one occasion, I have had the feeling that I was guided to or somehow assisted in finding particular photos that I otherwise would not have ever come across. Now I’m not generally a superstitious person but it’s happened more frequently than what I would call coincidental. I do believe that our ancestors remain with us on this Earth in some manner, giving us a hand in ever so gentle and subtle ways. One friend had let me copy his grandfather’s collection of photos which were important records of early fishing clubs in Hawaii. Included were group photos of his grandfather and some fellow Honolulu Japanese Casting Club members taken during some of their activities. He said he tried for weeks to find a particular photo, that of a statue


The author was browsing a collection of old photos in an antique shop & came across these of a 1933 memorial ceremony at Hanauma Bay for a Honolulu Japanese Casting Club member. A Buddhist priest performs the blessing of a new warning marker installed where the club member had drowned.

of the Buddhist guardian god, Jizo, erected by the club at Bamboo Ridge on the island of Oahu. He had all but given up and then, one day, it appeared on top of a stack of papers, as if someone had placed it there for him to find. The odd thing was that he was sure he had checked that stack several times over and no one else in his family (at least in this world) had anything to do with it. Another collection of photos came to me rather mysteriously and out of the blue, with the previous owner saying he acquired them at the old Waialae Drive-In swap meet during the 1970s. They were loose photos and clearly from the 1930s but they lacked any information that people sometimes jot down on the reverse side. They were a great addition to my growing library of old photos but I was resigned to the fact

that I may never learn anything more about them. Over a year or so, I often pulled them out to study and the more I looked at them the more something kept telling me to look closer. Enlarging them with the wonders of modern day home computers, I suddenly realized that I had seen some of the faces in these mystery photos somewhere else before. I pulled out my friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grandfatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collection and, to my shock, the same men were staring back at me from those group photos. Unfortunately, to this day I have learned little about who these men were or anything more about the photos. Sometimes my adventures do have happier endings. One of the very first photos that I found was in a Kailua antique shop and it recorded a man with his trophy sized oio. What struck me was that this fisherman was unusually well dressed for

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Photos Worth a fish photo and looked quite spiffy in his dress shirt and hat. I had that photo for about 2 years and often wondered about the man and his fish story. About that same time, I was doing research on fishing clubs that had come and gone and was contacting any one who might be able to help with information. I was making cold calls to people and many were surprised that I knew of their club since they had been inactive for so long. Despite that, people were always more than helpful. One fellow I contacted about the Surfspinners of Hawaii had a wealth of information and photos of their club activities during the 1950s and 60s. I arranged to meet this fisherman at a Burger King restaurant where he and a few friends gathered for morning coffee. About mid-way of flipping through the pages of his photo album and marveling at the club’s impressive catches, my eyes were immediately drawn to a picture that looked all too familiar. It was the very same photo of the dapper looking young fisherman in his fedora. I blurted out with amazement that I had a copy of the same photo and the fellow looked at me rather puzzled. I naively asked him if he knew who the person in the picture was and his reply shot “chicken skin” across my whole body. “It’s me”, he said. I don’t have too many experiences like that but I believe these two examples show just how small the islands are and how tight the fishing community is. That, fortunately, is often good for my research. Many times I’ve come to meet people after learning about them through other fishermen who give me names and information of the people in old photos that I’ve acquired. With pictures in hand first, I am able to learn of different events in these fellows lives, their interests and association with other fishermen, and understand a little bit about them before meeting in the present day. Those instances are a unique experience, where oftentimes I get to see their life experiences in sort of a time elapsed photography. When I have an image of what these fishermen looked like in their younger days, their fishing


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A late 1950s photo of Roy Ohira popped up in a batch of old pictures found in a Kailua antique shop. His impressive oio catch was made with spinning rod and reel, gear that was a then brand new fad in sportfishing technology. Roy identified himself in the photo during an interview with the author years later.

stories and the personal stories that they share come to life even more. One man, whom I sought out after noticing him in a fishing club banquet photo, agreed to meet and talk about his experiences as a 20 something year old fisherman of the early 1950s. As we approached each other from a distance upon meeting and I recalled the image of him in the club photo, a smile broke out on my face. There in front of me was not the 77 year old man of today but the 20 something that was full of energy and fight to go after an ulua. We had a conversation over lunch where he explained how he and his gang fished extensively along the east coast of Oahu and the subject of Rabbit Island came up. I told him how my father explained to me when I was a young boy that the island was made off limits after

the war because of unexploded ordnance and how some fishermen had been killed there. My heart sank as my new friend replied that it was his group on that trip and it was his younger brother that was killed in 1947. As he recounted the tragedy of that fateful day, I couldn’t help but see the image of that 20 – something year old fisherman again and how, as a young man, my new friend had to deal with the loss of a very close sibling. My new friend had lost much of his personal photos and keepsakes of his brother throughout the years and hearing him talk about it left me with a sense of sadness. Memories are strong but they diminish little by little with each generation. It always seems a shame when things just fade away into history but that is, unfortunately, just part of life. The other


After doing some detective work, many of the men in these late 1950s photos of the Pacific and Capitol Casting Club banquets were interviewed for the author’s research on shorecasting history.

day I was talking with a woman who was cleaning up some of her father’s personal belongings after he had passed and she was in the midst of deciding their fate. Having gone through something similar with my own grandparents, we talked about our common experiences. There are so many things that “should be saved” or “a family member should keep” but the reality is that we simply have only so much time and room to

keep track of the material things in our lives today. When I look into these old photos, windows that reach back into time, I find myself reminded that they captured special moments in the lives of the people in them. And then I eventually remember important thing is that what we do today and in the present makes our own special moments that need to be captured.

Some things to remember to help record your own fishing history: Remember to bring a camera on your fishing trips. If you are like me and life demands make you shift priorities, good times tend to last only so long because people and places change. It really is important to capture these moments to remember. Take informative photos too. I have a friend that took photos of all the places he’s gone to fish. While some trips were definitely once-in-a-lifetime events, he foresaw that he would one day put it all behind him. As part of the information you should record, make sure your photos show your tackle. Much as things don’t change in fishing, you’d be amazed at how much of a kick it is to look back and see how you used “antiques”. Those photos of “antiques” may also serve to document critical information for future historians. As part of taking more informative photos, write down or record information on or along with your photos. Hand write them on hard copies if you still like paper or use one of the many options available today in photo editing and management software for digital images. Names and other information, like locations, date, and subject matter, all disappear from memory with the passing of each generation if not recorded. Lastly, don’t forget to back up your photos and information. If you print hard copies, keep them in an environment that will aid in their preservation and not let them deteriorate over time (ie. store them in archival safe materials located in a cool, dry place, free of insects). In the past, the only worries were physical disasters like fire, flooding and bugs but if you are flowing with the current wave of technology and have digital photos, it is easy to forget that they need protection too. Computer crashes and virus attacks are the reality of the 21st century. Make sure you have multiple copies of files and store them on various types of media to be safe (ie. CDs, back up hard drives or computers, online servers, etc.). Now get out, catch some fish and take some nice photos that perpetuate our lifestyle and culture of fishing in Hawaii!


Premier Issue 2008



S t o r y, A r t a n d P h o t o g r a p h y b y M i k e S a k a m o t o


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t was 6:00pm and the water in Hilo Bay was relatively calm. We were on my 19-foot Olympic boat called the Yokomaru and it was a perfect evening. The anchor was out and my daughter; Stefanie Sakamoto and I were situated between the two green buoys in the bay and in about 50-feet of water. Previously, as we were cruising out, we could see “nervous”, or “jittery” water between the buoys which either meant opelu(mackerel), akule (big eyed scad) or the hagatsu (striped bonito) were feeding and driving up schools of nehu and iao to the surface. So the outlook for that night looked good. In minutes we had four ultra-light spinning rods rigged up, baited with shrimp and down about two-thirds of the way from the bottom. We sat back and started to eat our dinner when the first rod heaved over like it was going to break in the rod holder. The small Penn 4200SS spinning reel’s drag screamed, but Stef was on it and soon holding on for dear life. Whatever had taken the bait wasn’t in the mood to do any preliminary just grabbed the bait and ran straight for the open ocean. Soon the run stopped and Stef fought the fish back to the boat before it screamed off in another determined run. This fish was stronger than an akule or opelu and the fight wasn’t over yet. The fish would stop and in seconds run again, but this time they were shorter but still dogged.

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After about 6-7 strong runs Stef worked the fish close. I looked over the side and into the greenish water and could see some slight shining of the fish. A couple more cranks & lifts and the fish was up on the surface and thrashing about. I reached down and grabbed the leader and lifted the fish up and on to the deck. About 2-3 pounds; it was a striped bonito, (sarda orientalis) or as the local Japanese would call it...hagatsu. Looking very much like a dogged-tooth tuna because of all the long and sharp teeth in its mouth, it has caused its share of confusion at the local tackle shops. Some anglers also thought the bonito was a kawakawa cause of the seven, dark, longitudinal, black stripes on the back, but the hagatsu doesn’t have any black spots on the belly like the kawakawa. Claimed to reach up to 30 inches, the majority of them in Hilo Bay were 2-3 pounds in size. Distribution is world-wide in warm waters, and they seem to really like Hilo Bay. A powerful fish when taken on ultra-light to light spinning tackle, the hagatsu lived in big schools and migrated in and out of Hilo bay for months and months. We would strip and dry many of them and they were great eaten that way or simply fried. A little too soft for sashimi, or poki, it proved to be best cooked and eaten with a hot bowl of rice and some takuan. The leader system we were using was a simple but effective one, and one that I’d used for years. It consisted of a small halfounce egg sinker, a swivel, fluorocarbon line about 20” long and a small number eleven Maruto MZ hook. The mainline is pushed through the hole in the egg sinker and then tied to a small barrel swivel. To the barrel swivel is connected the six pound test fluorocarbon leader and then to the hook. Once the hook is baited it is simply lowered straight down from the boat to the bottom some 50 feet below. Once the lead hits the bottom the reel is engaged and the lead is cranked up two to four cranks. Then Stefanie simply held on to the rod or placed it in the rod holder. As for the bait or baits we’d be using, it varied from bits of shrimp, chunks of opelu, strips of cuttle fish to strips of aku belly. All worked, but the strip of aku belly worked the best and the striped bonito seemed to be unable to resist it.


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The leader system we were using was a simple but effective one, and one that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d used for years.

But the cheaper bait, cuttlefish, worked too. I had stripped it the night before and then put all the strips in a small discarded butter container. Then I tossed in a big handful of rock salt and let it sit in the frig. In the morning, I poured out the fluid that had accumulated on the bottom of the container and it was ready. The salt would help preserve the strips of cuttlefish and make it leather-tough. The opelu could also be salted like the cuttlefish and made tough and more effective. But it was tougher to get although it was probably the best bait of all. Some other fishermen slow trolled just

outside of Hilo Bay for the hagatsu during the day and proved to be most successful and made for a fun day. Small, plastic, glitter-strips...curly tails, or small feathered streamers worked on the bonito, but swimming lures like the crystal minnows proved to be deadly when the school was hunting and on the prowl for the small nehu. As the evening fell, the bite continued and we were very busy fighting fish, rebaiting and trying to keep all the lines out and in the strke zone. This proved to be good in that we kept getting fish on but many times the radical fight of the hagatsu caused lines to be tangled.

So leaders had to be retied as soon as possible to stay in the battle and that too kept us busy. Sometimes weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d get multiple strikes and it was like a Chinese fire-drill, and at times the bite died down completely and we used the time to straighten up the boat, ice down the fish in the ice chest and grab a soda or a drink of water. Then the school of hagatsu would come roaring by and take all the baits hanging below the boat. It was pandemonium and every man for himself, but most of all it was just pure fun. LAWAIâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A

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Welcome to the world of extreme GT fishing. Landing a forty pound Giant Trevally in 3-1/2 minutes. A sixty pounder in under six. Casting a 6oz lure 70 yards, and dead-lifting 20 pounds with your fishing rod.

Ch r istmas

I sla n d

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he beginnings of our adventure into “extreme” fishing were rooted in last year’s trip to Christmas Island. Previous attempts to land the big GTs had resulted in long, arduous fight times, and frequent breakoffs. A big strike usually resulted in a drawn-out fight which exhausted both angler and fish, and during which no one else could fish; or a tragic break-off that cost us both precious gear and time spent re-rigging. In an effort to remedy this situation, we had to look beyond what was considered appropriate tackle in Hawaii. The traditional tools of the big game whipper: the long, soft whipping rod, heavy monofilament line, and resin lures were out of the question. The Japanese have made lure fishing for GTs an art form, and their rods, reels, lines, and lures are made to handle loads unthinkable compared with the usual tackle employed in Hawaii. Begging favors of Japanese friends, scouring the internet, and doing hours of research eventually got us our necessary tools. Our rods


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were shorter (around 8ft in length), and constructed of ultra high modulus graphite. They could easily handle dead lifts of 15-20 lbs and cast lures weighing 4-7oz. over 60 yards repeatedly. The shorter length made working deep cup-faced lures easier, and they were much lighter and comfortable to cast with all day than older graphite-fiberglass composites. The reels were the very best large spinning reels available with 6:1 line retrieve ratios, overbuilt gears and handles, and capable of dishing out over 30lbs of drag smoothly (although the typical drag setting was 15-20lbs.) Cheaper reels might last a fish or two, but I’ve seen GTs reduce inferior gear to junk, with broken clutches, stripped gears, and warped rotors spitting aluminum shavings being the result. Our line was 80-100lbs braided PE, utilizing the 8-carrier style of braiding to be smoother and stronger than the cheaper 4 carrier type usually available. This meant less flattening and tangling after being cast repeatedly. Leaders were long, heavy nylon, spliced to the braid and wound onto the reel. They would absorb

Christmas Island or Kiritimati is a Pacific Ocean atoll in the northern Line Islands and part of the Republic of Kiribati approximately 1220 miles south of Hawaii.

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The Japanese have made lure fishing for GTs an art form, and their rods, reels, lines, and lures are made to handle loads unthinkable compared with the usual tackle employed in Hawaii. 50

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the shock from the strike and provide abrasion resistance, while still allowing us to use the thin, non-stretch braid to cast for distance and work the lures sharply. The final pieces to the puzzle were some of the biggest wooden and urethane lures available, outfitted with matching 4/0-6/0 heavy wire, barbless trebles and 200-300 split rings. Chuggers, pencil poppers, and stick baits all took massive strikes from big GTs, with the advantage going

the chuggersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; way when fishing in deep (over 60ft) water and calling the fish to the surface. Smaller lures worked fine on papio and omilu, but to get the big GT to leave its cave, a BIG lure is necessary. The ferocity of a GT committed to crushing a surface lure cannot be overestimated. Through-wire construction is a necessity. After a few strikes, paint became optional. The end result was fight times were dramatically diminished and only 2 lures

were lost to the coral. We landed around 40 GTs over 30lbs, with the average being around 40lbs and the largest around 70lbs. The average fight time was about 6-7 minutes, which may sound ridiculous, but this was repeated over and over throughout the week. Fish, which in previous attempts may have taken us 30-45 minutes to land, came up floating in less than 5 minutes. We were able to fish longer, fight and land more fish, and release the fish while they Premier Issue 2008



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were still healthy to fight again another day. The ability to put a consistent pull of over 15lbs on the fish and pump them in with full confidence in the strength of the rod and tackle made all the difference. Our guides were amazed at our ability to pull fish out of nasty coral, land them before it seemed possible, and release the majority without the need for any resuscitation. It should be noted that this type of fishing is not for couch potatoes. It takes stamina to repeatedly cast and retrieve the big lures GTs love, not to mention fight the beast once it’s hooked. A little weight lifting and cardio work is highly recommended. Those with weak constitutions should probably stick to lighter tackle and smaller game. The overall outcome of our experiment was an overwhelming success, and I heartily recommend “extreme” fishing to anyone with a strong back, appetite for excitement, and a bit of disposable income. A big mahalo goes out to the kind people of Christmas Island for help making our dreams of GT madness a reality. LAWAI‘A

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By Mike Sakamoto


he fish bone came from an aholehole and it got stuck in my throat during dinner and it felt like I had swallowed an ice pick. I gagged and tried to cough it up as soon as I felt it lodge itself, but it was no use. I then stuck my fingers, and some of my knuckles, as far down my throat as I could but couldn’t feel it. I swallowed again and it was still there and felt like it was going to puncture through my throat and come out the left side of my neck. I immediately grabbed a large glob of rice, stuffed it in my mouth and swallowed hard. It felt like I was swallowing a cannon ball and tears came to my eyes, but it didn’t work. The bone was still there. Next I grabbed a slice of bread, rolled it up and swallowed it with the hopes that it was force the spike of bone down. Again no success. By now my wife; Kathleen was alerted and knew what the problem was cause I kept on gagging and pointing at my throat and going, “bone, bone!” My next choice


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was to take a chunk of banana and swallow that but I never had the chance cause we were out the door and heading for the hospital and the emergency room. All the way to the hospital I could feel the bone and it seemed to be getting worst, so I tried not to swallow as much as possible. While waiting in the emergency ward I remembered all the wives tales about what to do when a fish bone is stuck in the throat. A Marshallese woman had told me to swallow “ulu”, or breadfruit, and that it always worked for her. Unfortunately we don’t have cooked ulu in our kitchen and waiting to be swallowed, so that remedy was out. Another woman told me that when eating small reef fish you should hold a single chopstick (facing the ceiling) on the top of your head, and that will insure that a bone will not get stuck in your throat while eating. You can bet that I’ll do that the next time. The third remedy was to put the first small bone you find in the fish on the top of your head. For some Oriental reason, this was supposed to keep the bone was lodging in your throat. Okay, sounds reasonable to me as we continued to rush to the hospital. An old Japanese man also told me that once the bone is lodged in your throat, you should immediately get a cup of tea, put the two chopsticks cross-wise on the cup, and drink from the first of the four openings. This is supposed to clear

the bone in my throat. If the first opening and swallow didn’t work....then I was supposed to drink from the next opening and continue through all the openings until the bone is forced down. A crazy friend of mine told me that he’d thought about swallowing a small bit of clothe connected to a string. Once it was swallowed...the string was pulled up and out of your throat in the hopes of dislodging the bone. That remedy I was not going to do. The emergency room doctor finally got to me and started looking down my throat but couldn’t see the bone. He then sent for a scope, got it...sprayed some numbing agent into my mouth and throat that tasted like somebody’s old sock, and shoved the long, tube-like scope down my throat. “Ahhhhh, I see it!” he said with glee. “Yeah, it’s a big one...what were you eating...whale?” All I could do was grunt, cough and gag and try to answer him. “Boy, its stuck”, he said. Next he sent for a looooong set of forceps and shoved that down my throat too. My mouth was getting really crowded with surgical instruments. By now everyone was in the emergency room and participating. Some were taking my blood pressure (which must have been sky-high), holding my hand cause they thought I was going to tear up their sheet and mattress. Some paramedics were also observing (and taking notes ) while others were patting the sweat from my forehead and the tears from my eyes. I was also drooling like you wouldn’t believe. The doctor was really getting into removing this bone and, when he started climbing up on the examining table to get a better angle, I thought he was going to climb into my mouth too. After repeated attempts and my gagging, spit pouring down all over the front of my shirt, the doctor threw up his hands and gave up. “I just can’t get a grip on it.” he said while conferring with all the other doctor people, nurses, clerks, janitors and casual observers. Then he got an idea. “Mike, I’m going to shove this scope down your nose! This will give me more room to manuever around your throat and get to the bone,” he said with a smile that only comes when someone got what he wants for Christmas. I stared at him with my hair standing on end, and drool dripping from the right side of my mouth. “You’re kidding....right?”

“My jaws creaked open like a rusty door and then they sprayed my throat again with a solution that tasted like compost” “Nope!” Suddenly, all the nurses and interns grabbed me and kept me from running out the door. One nurse said with a quivering voice, “it’ll be okay,”....while another said...”I gotta see this!”. The two paramedics were still taking notes like crazy, and I could hear someone giggling in the background. As soon as someone held my head from shaking the doc began stuffing that scope tube into my nostril. It felt like a garden hose and he kept telling me to...”swallow....swallow...” I did as he said and I could feel the scope working its way down the back of my throat. Now the doc and I were face to face and he was happily looking at the tiny screen connected to the base of the scope. He was working the two knobs on the scope with both his hands and I was wondering if he wasn’t just playing a video game. “Now, open the mouth,” came the order. My jaws creaked open like a rusty door and then they sprayed my throat again with a solution that tasted like compost. Down when the forceps. Seconds felt like hours. I was gagging and drooling and then he yelled...”I got it”. The forcep came out and the bone was in its clutches. Everyone clapped like he’d found the holy grail. Boy was I relieved. A nurse showed up with a tiny plastic bottle and the doc gingerly placed the bone on the bottom of the container. Then he yanked out the scope tube like he was starting up his lawnmower and I was released from the examining table. I felt wrung out with sweat, but was delighted that the bone was out. I sat up. The room went silent as a tomb. I swallowed and everyone quietly watched me. Yeah, the bone was gone, but my throat

felt like a herd of mustangs and the chuck wagon had trampled by. Everyone clapped and cheered. Then the doc went on to tell me that removing the bone was the best solution. Forcing it down into my stomach using rice, bread, ulu, or banana was not a good idea cause a big bone could puncture my stomach and that would be bad. He recommended that I be more careful when eating small fish, and that eating with my fingers (which helps in finding the bone before you stuff the fish into your mouth) is a good idea. He then triumphantly left the examination room, turned me over to the clerk who told me she was happy that the bone was out,....and that she’d mail the bill to me in a few days. Later I found out that the bone cost me $1,000.00 to remove. So the moral of the story is that, the next time I eat fish I’ll eat with my fingers and put that single chopstick on the top of my head with the tip pointing to the ceiling. And when I find the first fish bone, I’ll put that on the top of my head too. So far....its worked. LAWAI‘A

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Kela a me Keia

(This and That)

By John Clark


hen I joined the Honolulu Fire Department in 1972, my first assignment was Engine 13 in Kahuku. The fire station was a three-bedroom plantation house just across Kamehameha Highway from the sugar mill. Except for a few of us new guys, most of the fire fighters there were long-time windward residents who had been in the department for many years. One of those veteran fire fighters was Makahiwa Lua, a Hawaiian from Laie who was an avid fisherman. Lua, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 68, loved to thrownet, and for many years he walked all the shallow reefs from Laie Maloo, the south end of Laie, to Laieikawai, the north end. He knew the Hawaiian names of all of his favorite spots, and I spent many hours talking story with him as he recalled colorful names such as Puehuehu, Onini, Kaunala, Puuahi, and Luaawa. One of Lua’s favorite times of the year was when the anae holo, the famous “traveling mullet”, made their annual migration from Puuloa (Pearl Harbor) to Laie and beyond. During the winter, the mullet schooled in Puuloa, then headed out into the open ocean by the thousands, traveling east past Honolulu and Waikiki. Following the shoreline to Makapuu Point, they turned north and hugged the windward coast all the way to Laie. “When we heard the mullet were coming,” Lua recalled in 1973, “We would get our thrownets and find somebody with a car. Then


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we’d drive towards Hauula and drop guys off on the beaches along the way. When the mullet came by, everyone was spread out, so they would get a good chance to throw and pick up a lot of fish.” Makahiwa Lua and his friends from Laie were part of a fishing tradition that was repeated by thrownet fishermen at every place the anae holo passed. As a high school surfer at Diamond Head in the 1960s, I remember the anae holo well. When they came through Kaalawai, the shoreline community at the base of the mountain, they flooded the channels in the reefs by the thousands, swimming under and around us surfers as fast as they could go. And thrownet fishermen from all over Honolulu would be waiting on the shallow reefs inshore as the fish raced by. But I didn’t know until I talked to Lua and other fishermen many years later that the anae holo were actually migrating around the island. Several years ago I found an article on the anae holo in the April 30, 1925 edition of the Hawaiian language newspaper Ka Nupepa Kuokoa. It was written by John Mokumaia, a fisherman from Moanalua. The following are excerpts from the article: “[When the anaeholo appear at Kaihupalaai in Puuloa], they are also seen in Ewa and at Kumumauu [Hickam Harbor today]. Then they are seen at Heu in the bay at Kalihi, and at Keehi and Moanalua. When the anaeholo move outside of the lagoon, they stop at Waikiki where the experts mentioned in earlier issues [of the newspaper] will catch them, and if they get away, then they

stop at Maunalua. [They also follow the Koolau coast and stop at Kailua close to Oneawa and at Kahana.] [This fish is called the anaepali in the Ewa District], and Ewa was famous for them in those days. Keehi which is close to Moanalua was famous for them [too]. When the whales moved in [during the winter months], these fish were seen in the markets.” Mokumaia concluded his article with this comment: “And by observing these fish, it was evident that all the shores were blessed and my own eyes have seen this and I did these things commercially. By observing these three kinds of fish [anaeholo, anaepali, and akule], oh reader, you can see how it was back in those days.” When the anae holo circled the island, they also ran down the west side of Oahu. Long-time Waianae fisherman Carl Jellings recalled trying to catch a school with a surround-net as they headed east from Pokai Bay toward Kahe Point. “In 1976, I was privileged and blessed to have surrounded a huge school of anae at Kahe. The school was first spotted at Pokai, moving swiftly along the coast toward Nanakuli. By the time we were ready, they had already passed Nanakuli. In order to catch them, we needed to prepare a mile ahead of them. After I surrounded them with twenty foot, 3-inch eye mesh, 18-pound test, the nets sank quickly. These fish were the smartest I had ever seen. The few that sacrificed themselves were caught, but the rest leaped over the nets. You could see tons and tons of them going over the floats. It was simply amazing!    “It was told to me that [in the old days], Hawaiian canoes lined the shores of Makua, awaiting the arrival of the anae. A spotter atop Mount Laeau would yell out and signal their arrival, and schools and schools of mullet would pass through, completing their circle of the entire island of Oahu. Thus, the name Waianae or “mullet waters”.” While pole and net fishermen still catch mullet around Oahu, the migrating schools of anae holo seem to be a thing of the past. Carl Jellings offered his thoughts on why this is so. “I was the last Hawaiian to have seen this and to have been blessed to surround a huge school of migrating anae off the Waianae Coast in 1976 off Kahe. Where did they go and what happened to them? One can only speculate, but many of Oahu’s  shallow inland estuaries are gone, filled in and developed. Remember Wailupe? That peninsula is man-made. Channel after channel was dredged through the reefs of Pearl Harbor, Keehi Lagoon, Honolulu Harbor, Kewalo Basin, and Kalia in Waikiki with the Ala Wai Canal. These were the historic Spawning Trails that the anae used for century after century, but now they are cut and too deep. Fresh water for agriculture was diverted from the streams that flowed into the estuaries, and tilapia were introduced. One can only speculate what happened, but for hundreds of years Hawaiians awaited the arrival of the anae at Makua, Pokai, Kaneohe, Maunalua, Ewa, and Sand Island. We can  simply say what is easiest: they have  been overfished, but I will have to disagree. Pretty sad.”  Long-time fisherman Roy Morioka also had memories of the anae holo and some thoughts on what happened to them. “I have a view that overlays Carl’s assessment of the loss of habitat. Not only did onshore development and the loss of freshwater springs bubbling nearshore contribute, but the introduction of the tilapia displaced all the anae spots I knew as a kid. Ala Wai was choke with mullet where guys used to throw starhooks with a broom stick with a wire-hanger-loop on the end. The guys would toss the hook out and strip line as fast as they could to snag the anae, and they caught fish!  “I was privileged to be allowed to use one of Mr. Kanemoto’s chairs adjacent to the Ala Wai Golf Course when he wasn’t using it

to catch mullet, using the 20-foot poles and fishing 1” off the bottom. In fact, I just found my old sounding lead a couple of days ago and that brought back fond memories.  This is what fishing is all about!  Good times and lasting memories of times shared with special people and places.  “I remember, too, when my dad would take my mom and me to Diamond Head lookout with our dinner, to watch the ulua when the anae holo occurred! It was an awesome sight, watching the black ulua rip through the piles of anae migrating just off the reef. You could see the attacks in the faces of the waves, but alas, no more.”  Roy Morioka offered these final thoughts. “I guess when the freshwater was restored at Waikane and Waiahole the mullet prospered again in Kaneohe Bay.  Many fishermen spoke about what a great mullet year 2007 was.” That’s good news for all of us. As more people work to reverse the adverse impacts of development and urbanization, perhaps the schools of anae holo will run again. LAWAI‘A

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by Kurt Kawamoto


riday, thank god it was Friday again. Time to go fishing. Fishing is my passion in life and being out there gives me a feeling of freedom that can’t be matched by anything else. Thinking, dreaming, and hoping for the big one. Is this the weekend? Is it finally my chance? The anticipation was electric but soothing to my frayed work week nerves. While hoping not to have offended the fishing gods over what seemed like an overly loooong work week, a sense of urgency to get on the road enveloped me. Marc, my son and longtime fishing partner hurriedly went over the checklist. We finally arrived at “da spot” and set up our gear. We hurriedly made the first casts and slid tako #1 into the depths. Before the next bait could be tied and slid the pole went off. The bell was going wild and the drag was being tortured. Just as I was going to yell “hanapaa” everything went silent. Trying to set a good example I just muttered under my breath while running to the now silent pole. Cut line again. Bankrupt! Hook, line, sinker, and fish - all gone. The frayed end section of the line told a story that many of us have experienced. Worse yet trying to slide a bait on the other pole would have to wait because my hands were shaking too much. Thank goodness for having a fishing partner. We were immediately back in action as Marc took over. This was why we were here. The excitement is just beyond words when a big one hits. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen everyday. That’s what makes it so exhilarating. You catch the


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bait, work the poles, and play the waiting game. If we’re lucky we get the big strikes. Then we land some and we lose some. Unfortunately the latter is my norm. What happens when we lose them? How does it affect the big uluas that we tirelessly pursue every chance that we get? Those skinny looking uluas that we catch that have rusty old hooks in their mouth. Did we do that? Are we responsible? Can we do anything to help them out? Do we have any answers to pass on to the next generation of fishermen? Can we do anything so they can experience the same thrills catching fish for sport and the dinner table? The NOAA Barbless Circle Hook project started up three years ago after some concerned biologists and fisheries managers looked at the interactions between shorefishing and protected species and tried to figure out how to lessen impacts on everyone. The occasional fisherman interaction with a seal or turtle could potentially pose large impacts on our island fishing activities, traditions, lifestyle, and culture. Modifying the standard circle hooks by crimping down the barbs to help out any accidentally hooked seals and turtles could potentially help them to help themselves. The barbless circle hooks were seen as potentially self shedding thus minimizing or eliminating the amount of handling of animals while removing the hooks. Recently while reviewing the project, in a sudden moment of clarity, I realized that fishermen interact with magnitudes more fish than any protected species. It was definitely a “duuuh”

moment. Using a barbless circle hook would help many, many more fish than seals or turtles. After all, fishermen target fish and are good at doing that. Helping more fish is just helping our own goals get realized. Helping the turtles and seals is also helping our goal of sustainable fishing. Here was a way to help our kids continue to have what we so easily take for granted. At the very beginning of the project NOAA investigated the science behind the often asked question of “is a barbless circle hook just as effective as one with a barb?” The researchers teamed up with the Kewalo Keiki Fishing Conservancy and the Division of Aquatic Resources Ulua Tagging Study to find out. Side by side fishing tests were done in Kewalo Basin where over 250 fish were caught. Many of the most common shoreline species were hooked and landed. When it was all said and done, scientifically there was no statistical difference. In normal speak, we couldn’t tell the difference. The preliminary results of this one of a kind comparison were presented at the 2006 Annual American Fisheries Society meeting in Lake Placid, NY. Since then regular users of the barbless circle hooks have reported a couple of instances where losses have occurred. The most common way to lose fish was when it got “pinned down” or tangled up in the rocks where the fish create some slack line and took advantage of it to get away. Losing fish like this is also common while using barbed circle hooks. It happens to all of us. That’s just how fishing works out sometimes. The second concern I hear about when using the barbless hook often is, “my bait is not going to stay on.” The next question being “How am I going to keep my bait on?” Most of the information gathered to answer this concern was from fisherman feedback during and after the fishing data collection outings conducted with cooperating fishing clubs. Even with their years of experience many were unsure of the outcome. After observing the fishing activities and talking with the volunteer fishermen there appeared to be no big problems with bait loss while baitcasting. Using live bait and sliding large baits for ulua was done in a traditional manner. It was tied or bridled on just like normal. The fishermen also used a home made friction lock fashioned from pieces of inner tubes, plastic six pack holders, or other tough, thin, rigid material. NOAA did come up with an additional way to bridle the baits on using zip ties and brass or stainless tubing(make your own applicator needles) available at any hardware store. However, long time habits die hard as the traditional proven methods of securing the baits were definitely preferred. Questions on the effectiveness of catching small and large fish were dispelled early. The Kewalo Basin research clearly showed barbless hooks were as effective as barbed hooks. Using the appropriate size hook for specific size fish was also shown through the Kewalo study where the undersized hooks were crushed by the fish’s powerful jaws allowing them to escape. The effectiveness of catching a larger fish such as an ulua was also evident early on as Mitchell Taketa, Atlapac Fishing Club, caught a 17.5 lb white ulua on July 8, 2005. This was on the first club outing where real fishing data was collected. Mitchell immediately followed it up with an ulua caught using a barbless circle hook on a Big Island trip the following month. More recently Randall Elarco Jr. of Hawi caught a huge 117 lb ulua on May 29, 2006 on a 16/0 Mustad circle hook. He got that lucky barbless circle hook in 2005 at the City and County Ohana Fishing Tournament weigh in where NOAA and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Council were jointly doing outreach on sustainable fishing practices. Randall was presented with the first “100 pounder” NOAA Barbless Circle Hook award at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group’s First Annual Fishing and Seafood Festival on October 8, 2006. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman presented the historic award. There were many more ulua success stories that proved that big fish can be caught on barbless circle hooks.

All it takes is the guts to try using the hooks. The “800 pound gorilla in the room” question of “how do you know that the barbless circle hook will fall out of a monk seal’s mouth more easily?” was one that was asked frequently at the tournament outreach events. The monk seals are an endangered species and therefore can’t be used in this kind of research. Due to the low numbers of them living in the main Hawaiian Islands and the low hooking incidence we had no concrete or easy answers other than to say that with no barb it should be easier to fall out on its own. Then, in the summer of 2007, Justin Viezbicke, the Big Island monk seal coordinator, and his team were about to capture a hooked seal to perform the removal when the seal shook its head and the hook popped out. The hook turned out to be a barbless circle hook. At last proof positive, fully documented and photographed by an unbiased witness. For those fishermen who say that no barb means that a hook will lose you fish - how long do you think that barbless circle hook was in the unfortunate seal before it fell out? Certainly longer than it takes you to land even a 100 pounder. The outreach efforts were done in conjunction with the State’s Ulua Tagging Project, the Western Pacific Fishery Council’s Partnering to Promote Sustainable Fisheries, and the Pacific Islands Regional Office’s Recreational Fisheries Division. Since 2005 the partners have done outreach at tournaments and other events on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. The barbless circle hook project has worked with several fishing clubs on Oahu to gather data on the barbless fishing activities. In total over 40,000 barbless circle hooks have been given away for free to the fishing public. All of this activity has not gone unnoticed as the fishing tackle

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retailers, wholesalers, tournament organizers, school teachers, Boy Scouts, and other government agencies have contacted the program for more information or to get involved. Izuo Brothers, Ltd., the largest fishing tackle wholesaler in Hawaii has also actively supported the project. The largest public shorefishing tournaments, the Tokunaga Ulua Challenge and the Atlapac Weighmaster Classic, have supported the project from the beginning. In 2006 thanks to Mike Tokunaga(S. Tokunaga Store, Hilo), who had already incorporated the Ulua Tagging Challenge(State of Hawaii Ulua Tagging Project) within his tournament a couple of years earlier, and the Atlapac Fishing Club(Oahu) the first ever barbless circle hook divisions were created within their larger tournament. The numbers of fishermen entering the barbless competition has since increased annually with men, women, and children of all ages trying their luck and successfully catching fish. It is only a matter of time before someone wins a tournament using a barbless circle hook. Other popular tournaments such as the Lihue Fishing Supply(Kauai), the Pole Benders(Big Island), the Hilo Casting Club(Big Island), the Parks and Recreation Ohana Shoreline(Big Island), and the Maui Casting Club have also supported the effort by allowing NOAA to distribute information and sample packs of hooks for the participants to try. An additional goal of the project is to gather data that is useful in further validating the effectiveness of barbless circle hooks and to document some catch rates of local recreational shoreline fishing activities.


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The Atlapac Fishing Club, the Windward Surf Casters, the Kewalo Keiki Fishing Conservancy, and various individuals have voluntarily participated in research to collect this important and necessary data. Although the program has only been in existence for three years, the successes are many. Very large fish and a diverse number of species have been caught. A growing number of anglers now request the free hook sample packs, the numbers of participants in the barbless circle hook tournament division continues to increase, and very importantly the monk seal that shed the barbless circle hook without intervention are highlights. Seeing these successes there has been an increase in the number of tournament organizers requesting to be included. The monk seal that shook the hook without intervention could be the poster child for responsible fishing practices that enable the animals to help themselves. So challenge yourself and consider using a barbless circle hook the next time you go fishing. You can be a part of ensuring that fishing will always be here for our kids. LAWAI‘A

Contacts and more information Kurt Kawamoto, NOAA Barbless Circle Hook Project manager, 808-983-5326 or The NOAA Barbless Circle Hook Project’s newsletter containing information on the last 3 years of activity is available at the Pacific Islands Regional Office Recreational Fishing web page at http://www. Nicole Bartlett, Pacific Islands Recreational Fisheries Coordinator, 808-944-2151 or Clayward Tam, State of Hawaii’s Ulua Tagging Project, (808) 587-0593 or

Barbless Circle Hooks: the short of it • The absence of the barb on a barbless circle hook allows it to be self shedding. • Fishermen should try to take care of their target species. • Most fishing areas have no protected species but using barbless hooks would likely benefit the stocks of fish that you like to catch and eat. • Using barbless circle hooks in areas that have protected species shows your respect for fellow shoreline users. • NOAA barbless circle hook research shows the effectiveness of the hook in holding bait and catching fish. • When doing catch(or tag) and release, the barbless circle hook allows for a quicker more trauma free release of the fish. • The use of barbless circle hooks can minimize your injury and save a fishing day. • Pinching down the barb on an oama hook will save you time, energy, and frustration enabling you to catch more oama.

You catch? We’d like to know.

Information from all fishermen - not just the commercial guys - is essential to managing our fisheries. It’s also the best way to demonstrate the importance of recreational fishing in our islands. The next time you’re asked to report, either through the State’s Hawaii Marine Recreational Fishing Survey or some other means, please do so. It’s a way for you and your catch to be counted, and support informed decisions that affect your fishing future. Coming Soon: The Marine Recreational Information Program - a partnership of public and private organizations to gather the most accurate and timely data on the condition of our saltwater fisheries.

Contacts: Nicole Bartlett, NOAA Fisheries Service,, 808 944-2151 Jeff Muir, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources,, 808 587-0093 Roy Morioka, Pacific Ocean Research Foundation,, 808 349-9297

Premier Issue 2008



Hawaii > Fishing & Seafood Festival October 12, 2008


he main purpose of the Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival is to support the tradition of fishing in the islands. What better way to bring fishermen, families, and children together than to hold an annual fishing festival. We are now working with other organizations to sponsor next years event. Activities will include information and product booths, silent and live auction, fishing tackle & marine product demonstration, workshops, keiki games and activities, boat tours, fresh fish display, food, entertainment and much more. With over 80 booths, displays, exhibits and vendors, the event drew over 18,000 people last year. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Festival promises to be bigger and better. Proceeds from this event will help support PIFG activities such as the Statewide Tagging Challenge, Keiki Fishing Day, along with other programs and projects. If you would like your fishing club, organization or business to participate or you have time to volunteer or help in the planning of this event, please contact PIFG. (808) 265-4962 or email:


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Lawaia issue 1  

Lawaia issue 1; perpetuating our fishing tradition

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Lawaia issue 1; perpetuating our fishing tradition

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