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ulua Madness

Throw Net 45lb Ulua? KEPA FUNN’S STORY PG 44



Trophy or Lomi O‘io Bonefish

If you recover a tagged o‘io call 265-4962 Be prepared to provide the following critical information: 1. Your name, address, and telephone number. 2. Capture date, island, and fishing location. 3. Tag number. 4. Fork length – measure from tip of the nose to “V” in the tail. 5. There are 2 species - Sharp Jaw Albula virgata which has a bright green/yellow dot under the pectoral fins, and Round Jaw Albula glossodonta has no green/yellow dot.


In return for your valuable information, you will receive a free special edition t-shirt featuring original artwork (seen above) by artist and fisherman Mike Sakamoto.

For More Information

150 Hamakua Dr. PBN# 430 Kailua, HI 96734

Ph: 808 265-4962 Web:


Sections 9 / INSIDE


Features 34















ISSUE FIFTEEN SPRING 2014 Publisher Pacific Islands Fisheries Group

Hawaii’s Premiere Alaska Fishing Destinations • Anchor Point Lodge • Shelter Lodge

Editor Pacific Islands Fisheries Group Design Darin H. Isobe > Art Director Director of Marketing + Advertising Marc Inouye Advertising Suzanne Eugenio Contributing Writers Gary Beals, Charles Cintron, John Clark, Komaka Dedman, Earl Fernandes, Kepa Funn, Brian Himalaya, Herman Garma, Kurt Kawamoto, Brian Kimata, Aunty Kwong, Bill Newton, Dean Sensui, Dean “Mikey” Uyetake, Ed Watamura and Ladd Yoshimura


Alaska Reel Adventure! Reservations & Info (808) 551-1993 $3.95



Throw Net 45lb Ulua? 44 KEPA FUNN’S STORY PG

ON THE COVER: Hawaii island resident Kepa Funn holding his 45lb Ulua caught with a throw net in Waipio Valley. Photo by Taylor Nakamura



Letters and Comments email: Salmon • Halibut • Black Cod • Rockfish Dungeness Crab • Alaskan Spot Shrimp

Lawai‘a Magazine Every attempt is made to publish Lawai‘a 4 times a year. Printed by DMS Hong Kong.



SUSTAINABLE OCEAN RESOURCES AND FOOD SECURITY We have a couple of very important questions facing us that people don’t really think about in their everyday lives: How would we survive if the unthinkable disaster struck the islands and our ocean going transportation of food and goods was disrupted due to economic, labor or financial reasons? Many in the community remember the impacts of a strike by West Coast dock workers in 1971 that lasted 139 days but fewer might recall the 1949 ILWU strike that lasted 178 days. Both might be remembered more for the shortage of toilet paper but families were affected severely when shelves ran dry and people lost jobs. Although it may be very clear to the people of Kauai, the collective memory of the general public statewide is also fading when it comes to hurricane disasters, such as Iniki and Iwa. While our government agencies have emphasized that we should be prepared with “emergency supplies”, most recommendations are that they should last for three days. That would probably be enough to get everyone through the initial stage of shortages but if help were weeks away and not days, we are going to need more to live on. In each of these past events, it is more than likely people relied on our island resources to survive, such as fishing. There was no time to wait for help then and there will be no time to wait in similar future disasters. Unfortunately, no one is thinking about how critical fishermen and our ocean resources will become. A State of Hawaii Strategic/Functional Plan provided in 2012 by the State Office of Planning dbedt/op/spb/INCREASED_FOOD_SECURITY_AND_FOOD_SELF_SUFFICIENCY_ STRATEGY.pdf indicates that Hawaii imports 85-90% of all of its food. The United States overall imports 94% of its seafood and, if anyone has observed lately, retailers of seafood in Hawaii are increasingly relying on imports to fill island residents’ tastes where local fisheries have been severely restricted for various reasons. Bottomfish and reef fish imports from the Western and South Pacific are showing up more and more. The one bright spot in local seafood availability over this same time period, however, has been the increase of pelagic favorites, such as the various types of ahi, thanks to the sustainable, Hawaii-based longline fishery, the most highly regulated fishery in the world. So in a major disruption to our food supply, what are we going to eat? To many, the emphasis of “food sustainability” and “food security” is on local diversified agriculture. However, the plan noted above by the State Office of Planning neglects the opportunity to support a secure and self-sustainable food system through our near and offshore ocean resources. According to a 2012 report by the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources called “An Overview of Seafood and Supply Sources: Hawaii versus US,” the average consumption of seafood in Hawaii is 37 pounds per person, and much of that seafood is imported. How will it be replaced in an emergency? We can use the study by eminent fishery biologist, Professor Ray Hilborn, who has noted the potentially severe ecological impacts of replacing seafood with agricultural products. As an island state, it is not hard to see that Hawaii would simply not have enough land or water to sustain our agricultural needs. On the other hand, Hawaii’s nearshore fishermen alone have consistently fed thousands of people for generations by bringing in yearly total landings ranging from 1 to 1.5 million pounds or 60,000 to 125,000 pounds a month of fresh, nearshore caught food fish species, according to State of Hawaii, Division of Aquatics commercial catch

reports. Fresh Hawaii seafood is exactly what the UH study recommends and what today’s health conscious community wants: a locally available, natural/wild source of protein. Over the last 20 or so years, there has been a constant onslaught of new regulations that don’t seem intent on improving fisheries or encouraging their sustainable growth. Instead, Hawaii’s fishermen have been dealing with new regulations initiated by other entities with other agendas, including the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Antiquities Act ,and Executive Orders, to name a few. More unfortunate is that in the process, fishermen have been cast as a negative group of ocean users, and there is a definite movement to “reduce fishing impact” or, in many instances, to eliminate fishing completely. If fishermen were to disappear and the skills and knowledge that have been preserved for hundreds of years and fed thousands of people were lost, what would we do? This is not really about individuals going out to catch their own food because, let’s face it, even many of the most avid fishermen really don’t possess the actual skill to survive off of their own catches, much less feed others. The people who we will really depend on will be the most skilled and knowledgeable of the fishing community, most likely those that have spent their lives fishing and gathering and who know what it takes to find, catch and preserve fish for consumption. They will also know how to do that without impacting the resource so they can come back another day to do it all over again. These people most likely will be commercial fishermen. Unfortunately, it’s very tough to be a fisherman these days as it’s not just a battle against mother nature generating waves, wind and rain. Today’s fishermen also have to fight increasing area closures, new regulations, anti-fishing sentiments, and economic hardships. Some say another disaster, something like a dock strike, is inevitable in our lifetime and that we should prepare for a long period of waiting before help arrives. The fishing community can and should play a vital role in helping the people of Hawaii get back on their feet in the wake of a disaster. However, if the perception of the fishing community continues to the point where fishermen are seen as simply “recreational” at best or as the source of negative impacts at worst, they will be in no position to help. Today’s technology and modern society have made life easier, allowing more people to take up fishing as a pastime, but, ironically, there were probably a lot more fishermen that could help feed Hawaii in 1949 and 1971 than now, if those same historic disasters were to happen today. We need to care for and support our fishing community and allow them to thrive and play a vital role in sustainably feeding us now and in times of emergency. We need to perpetuate our island fishing culture and traditions for generations to come! Your Vote is Your Voice Be sure to participate in the PIFG statewide voting challenge to get fishermen registered and out to vote. If you want to have a voice in important issues that impact your fishing future, including issues like the one above, you need to register to vote and then vote in the upcoming Primary Election this August and and the General Election inNovember. With upwards of 100,000 citizens of Hawaii that fish, according to recent surveys, a voting fishing community can demonstrate that it can be a significant influence. For more information, see the PIFG Koa later in this issue.



Hayashi Girls Ulua and Oio

Nate Tsao, Ulua

Kalen-Sage Red Weke

Hunter & Duane Fukumoto 4 lb Oio

Ronald Mendoza, Samoan Crab

Te’alohi & Kainalu Co Kaku

Craig Kawamura Barbless 31 lb Kaku

Robert Shibukawa Jr Ulua


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

Ladd Yoshimura 9.9lb Pao Pao



Hunter Farr, Marlin

Norman, Noah & Abe Akau Oio



From the Deck

Lawai‘a- Gear Guys Visit the following stores to get your fishing supplies and next issue of Lawa‘a Magazine.


Basic Seamanship - 2 Lateral Aids to Navigation The following information will help boaters as they enter or depart a channel. “Red, Right, Returning” You may have heard the phrase, “Red, Right, Returning.” This expression refers to the fact that when returning (entering a channel from the open sea or proceeding upstream), a boater must keep the red Aids on the right (starboard) side of the boat. These Aids have even numbers, and the numbers should increase as you proceed inland. When proceeding toward open water (seaward), navigate so that the green Aids are to starboard. In this instance, you will see odd numbers on the Aids and the numbers should decrease as you proceed toward open water (seaward). If there is no route marked, navigate clockwise around landmasses. You may check the USCG website listed below for more details.

Basic Nautical Terms – 2 Ropes and Lines The term rope is seldom used at sea; the correct term to use is line. Marlinespike Seamanship is the term used for the art of using line and making knots, bends, hitches, and splices. Heave is a nautical term for throw or pull. When you heave in on a line you pull in the slack and take a strain on it. When you let a line out, you pay it out; to lessen the strain on the line. Other terms used with line are snubbed; when the outward run is checked; cast off when lines are removed from where they had been made fast. The extreme end of a line is called the bitter end.

BIG ISLAND/HAWAII J. Hara Store 17-343 Volcano Hwy. Kurtistown, HI 96760 808-966-5462

West Maui Sports & Fishing Supply 843 Wainee Street #F3 Lahaina, HI 96761 808-661-6252

Five Oceans Seven Seas 24 Sand Island Road #29 Honolulu, HI 96819 808-843-8111

S. Tokunaga Store Inc. 26 Hoku Street Hilo, HI 96720 808-935-6935

MOLOKAI Molokai General Store 301 Ala Malama Kaunakakai, HI 96748 808-553-3569

Hana Pa’a Fishing Co. 1733 Dillingham Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96819 808-845-1865

KAUAI Lihue Fishing Supply 2985 Kalena St. Lihue, HI 96766 808-245-4930

OAHU Brian’s Fishing Supply 1236 S. King St. Honolulu, HI 96814 808-596-8344

MAUI Maui Sporting Goods 92 Market Street Wailuku, HI 96793 808-244-0011 New Maui Fishing Supply 1823 Wells Street #4 Wailuku, HI 96793 808-244-3449

Charley’s Fishing Supply, Inc. 670 Auahi St., #A10 Honolulu, HI 96813 808-528-7474 Ewa Beach Buy & Sell 91-775 C Papipi Road Ewa Beach, HI 96706 808-689-6368

Nanko’s Fishing Supply 46-003 Alaloa St. Kaneohe, HI 96744 808-247-0938 Nervous Water Fly Fishers 3434 Waialae Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816 808-734-7359

He’eia Kea Pier 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy. Kaneohe, HI 96744 808-235-2192

POP Fishing & Marine 1133 North Nimitz Hwy. Honolulu, HI 96817 808-537-2905

Kaya’s Fishing Supply 901 Kekaulike St. Honolulu, HI 96817 808-538-1578

Sawada Store 132 N. Cane Street Wahiawa, HI 96786 808-622-4861

Maui Sporting Goods 851 Kapahulu Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816 808-735-3897

Waipahu Bicycle & Sporting Goods 94-320 Waipahu Depot Street Waipahu, HI 96797 808-671-4091

McCully Bicycle & Sporting Goods 2124 S. King St. Honolulu, HI 96826 808-955-6329

Westside Dive & Tackle 94-615 Kupuohi Street #103 Waipahu, HI 96797 808-228-2295

Basic Marlinspike Seamanship – 2 Common Whipping The Common Whipping is a knot tied at the end of a rope to keep the end from unraveling. The benefit of the Common Whipping knot is that it is quite easy to tie and no tools are required. Whipping may be used to prevent the ends of your lines from becoming frayed as well as attaching a gaff hook to a handle. It is best used on a natural fiber rope and tied with natural twine, both of which afford the maximum friction for the knot to hold its position at the end of the rope. When dealing with synthetic ropes, it is best to wrap with tape and then heat the ends to melting point to fuse the strands. 12



ISSUE FIFTEEN 2014 4/29/12 10:14 AM



I STARTED FISHING FOR MENPACHI A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, AND THAT’S HOW I STARTED MAKING MY OWN DAMASHI (ARTIFICIAL FLY) RIGS AND EXPERIMENTING WITH KNOTS. I don’t use a dropper loop because that doesn’t allow the use of different weight lines, and I always mess them up anyway. I don’t know which knot I started off with but this is a highly modified version of whatever it was. I didn’t like the commercial damashi rigs because many of them were too fragile or the hooks were often brittle and of the wrong design for my use. The objective was to be able to use a heavier main line with much lighter branch lines. The ones I make don’t break, and they’ll last all day -- or night -- until they get stuck. I use 20 to 30-pound test for the main line, a stiff 16-pound test fluorocarbon for the branch lines and Maruto MZ 7 or 8-sized hooks. My friend, the late Bob Tang, recommended Maruto hooks for their strength. I have a clamp that will hold one end of the line while I tie the knots. The clamp is actually used to make wind-on leaders with Blackwater hollow braid. Anyone can make their own clamp using an ordinary rubber-jawed carpenter’s clamp and some scrap wood. I use a Line & Lure Conditioner that is made by RMR Industries. It’s available at Hobbietat, whose owner, Butch Farm, told me about how its effectiveness was demonstrated at a fishing trade show. It greatly increased the breaking strength of any knot. I

The objective was to be able to use a heavier main line with much lighter branch lines.

forgot the percentages that he gave me, but it was getting close to 90% instead of the usual 50%. It comes in a spray bottle, but I transferred it into a used contact lens solution dispenser

sudden compression can create a little heat and weaken the

bottle - the type with an eye-dropper tip. Only need a drop at a

monofilament. I tighten the branch line by pulling on the tag end

time for knots.

first until it’s snug, then draw the hook end of the line tight. It

I’ll tighten up the knots most of the way, apply the line conditioner, then cinch them up steadily to tighten them. I don’t jerk them to tighten the knot, as I suspect the



also helps to have a glove on the left hand to keep the fishing line from cutting into my fingers. Tie up a bunch and see how they work for you!



Aunty Kwong’s Kitchen

We are OC16’s top-rated show for the second year in a row thanks to you!

Opah ChineseJapanese Style Ingredients: • 5 manila clams (or more to taste) • 1/3 cup dashi stock or chicken broth • 5-7 opah fillets, 1/2 inch thick • Salt. to taste • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil

Dedicated to Hawai‘i’s fishing community

• 1 finger fresh ginger (about 1.5 inches), peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks • 1/4 cup chopped green onions • 1 package (7 oz) enoki mushrooms • 1/4 cup chopped Chinese parsley • 1/4 cup sliced green onions • 3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil Directions: Wash the clams and place in small saucepot with dashi stock or chicken broth. Place over medium high heat, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, then cover the pot and steam the clams for approximately 5 minutes - just long enough so that the clams are opened. Discard any clams that do not open. (Feel free to use more clams, if desired)

Arrange the enoki mushrooms on a serving dish and top with cooked opah fillets. Place clams around the dish, then add some or all of the dashi stock. Garnish with the Chinese parsley and green onions. In a small pot, heat peanut or canola oil until just smoking. Drizzle the hot oil on the fish (please be careful as hot oil will splatter and crackle as it is drizzled on the fish.) Enjoy!.




Salt opah fillets and arrange on a microwaveable plate. Drizzle sesame oil on fillets, then top with ginger and green onions. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes and set aside.



Taegu Dried O‘io Taegu Recipe BY BRUDDAH BILL NEWTON

I LOVE TAEGU! If you’re not familiar with Korean Taegu (Seasoned Dried Codfish) it’s sweet, spicy, fishy and delicious! It’s traditionally served as a side dish but it’s always been more of a snack to me. One day when I was grabbing a tray of prepared Taegu from the supermarket I noticed that MSG was an ingredient present in every brand on the shelf. Now, I’m not allergic to MSG, but someone in my family gets serious headaches if they eat something with it added in. While trying to figure out how to make my own MSG-Free Taegu using dried Codfish, it hit me – why not dry O‘io meat? We catch a lot of O‘io in Ewa Beach – I’ve made my share of Lomi, fishcakes and fish patties! If you’ve got an O‘io in your freezer and you’re looking for something new to make with it, I know you’ll enjoy this recipe.








Bruddah Bill’s O‘io Taegu


Researcher/Project Manager Professional

Ingredients: • 1 Cup Scraped or Squeezed O‘io Meat • 1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt

(Exempt Status)

For info on getting the meat from an O‘io see this post: O‘io Prep & Fishcake recipe at

FRANK FARM, JR., HTC Director, HyperbaricTreatment Center,

Sauce: • 3 Tablespoons Honey • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil • 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar • 1 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes • 2 Teaspoons Paprika • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds

John A. Burns School of Medicine. At the February 7 RCUH 2013 Outstanding Employee of the Year Awards Luncheon, a very familiar face to many in the Hawaii dive community was honored for his contributions to the success of the Hyperbaric Treatment Center (HTC). Frank Farm Jr., the legendary

Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature possible. I’ve heard that 170 is the magic

diver, waterman, and President of the Alii Holo Kai

number from my friends that make dried Aku in the oven, so that’s what I always cook at.

dive club, was honored by the Research Corporation

Mix together your O‘io meat and sea salt thoroughly, as the salt helps with seasoning

of the University of Hawaii (RCUH) as its outstanding

as well as with the drying process. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or

employee of 2013. Frank has been the Director of

aluminum foil and spread the salted O‘io meat with a spatula into a rectangle no taller

the Hyperbaric Treatment Center since it opened its

than 1/4 inch high, but still not too thin or the meat will dry crispy.

doors in 1983. His kind and humble dedication and unfailing perseverance enabled the HTC to make a

Dry the meat in your oven for 2 to 3 hours with something non-flammable, propping

difference in the lives of many of our divers and their

the oven door open 1″ to 2″ to allow moisture to escape. If this is your first time using your oven at the lowest temperature to dry something, check the meat 10 minutes in. If

families. His work in educating the diving community

the meat is white and cooked then your oven is too hot for drying.

on the clinical indications for the use of hyperbaric therapy and the availability of treatment for divers

While your meat is drying, combine all the sauce ingredients thoroughly until the sugar

shows his compassion and local roots. The HTC is

dissolves and the oil and honey blend completely.

so much more than just for the divers that he so loves and strives to take care of. It also benefits

When the meat is dried, cut

the general public from Hawaii and beyond

it into thin strips with a

in dealing with a large number of non-diving

sauce, and let it sit at room

related medical ailments that benefit from

temperature for several hours

hyperbaric therapy such that the HTC does

to allow the dried strips to

up to 100 treatments per month. We can all

absorb the seasoning and

thank Uncle Frank for his many years of

color from the sauce. Chill to allow the honey to thicken and evenly coat the strips. Serve


sharp knife, combine with the

dedicated service and watching our backs. CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done.

and enjoy!





Shoreline Tech B Y B R I A N K I M ATA

QUESTIONS: I am new to ulua fishing and using an Island Rod Wrap Slider casting rod with a Newell 550 and 80lb. line. What do you think would be the lead weight that will get me the best distance?

I just bought a casting blank and plan to slide bait with it. How far should the reel seat be from the end of the rod?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What does that have to do with the

cast. Now notice, I said generally. Your style and physique are also

sinker? Well, a sinker is part of the resistance that loads and stores energy

factors as well. The next time you’re thinking of a new rod, go out to

upon the rod. Your ability to torque and rotate the rod is yet another

the park and vary the factors I have given here. Tape your reel seat

portion of the formula. So, a rod is actually loaded by a combination of the

at varying heights and don’t be afraid to tie on a sinker to the tip

lead’s weight and your torque and speed upon it. If you are able to load

top as you move it about. A small change may yield great results!

the rod physically, with a lot of speed and power, a smaller sinker may be

Good luck!

required as you are loading the rod with your power and less so by the resistance of the sinker. To put it simply, a big, strong caster can bend a


I have linked these two questions together

stiff rod with a small sinker because he has the power and speed to do so.

because, oddly enough, they are strongly related. As you may

Adding to this mix is something I have alluded to earlier. Modern casting

suspect, the weight of the sinker and the spacing of the reel

rods are simply easier to swing. They are thinner and lighter and getting

seat depends on the individual. Physiques vary along with casting

more so every day. Because of this, less leverage is needed to cast them,

styles and abilities. In addition to this, modern casting rod blanks

and this, too, will probably affect your decision in establishing your reel

are significantly thinner and lighter, making them easier to swing

seat’s height.

and load. As you will see, this may have a huge impact on how your

When I build a rod for someone, I try to place the seat as far down

rod will be built. That being said, let’s dig a little deeper and see how

as I can without sacrificing the caster’s ability to torque the rod

this all ties in with the mechanics of the cast.

fully with the desired sinker weight. In general, this gives the caster the ability to utilize both speed and torque maximally in his or her

When I build a casting rod for someone, it is critical that we get the placement of the reel seat right. Casting an ulua rod for any kind of distance requires two important factors: the torque of the rod and the tip speed at the time of release. Both are equally important to the cast. To illustrate this, imagine yourself holding your rod 45 degrees to the horizon, exactly as you might be positioned at the end of a cast. Now, imagine someone holding your sinker and walking behind you until your rod is loaded to its limit. If the sinker were released, it wouldn’t go very far, would it? This illustrates a maximum torque on the rod with very little tip speed, resulting in a poor cast. OK, let’s try another scenario. Let’s say that you have an incredibly light

So, how does this tie in to your sinker selection and seat height?

and thin rod at hand. It’s something that you can swing with a

Quite dramatically, actually. The higher up the seat is placed on

lot of authority. Let’s also say that, no matter what you

the rod, the more leverage and, therefore, torque can be applied

did, you could not flex it. Would this make a great

to that rod. That’s great right? Well, before you all move your reel

casting rod? Probably not. This is an example of

seats up a foot, consider this. The higher the seat is placed, the

maximum tip speed, with no torque. As you can

harder it is to rotate with any kind of speed. Ahhhh…now do you

see, it is both the release of the rod’s stored

see how this comes together? A lower reel seat height has the

energy and the speed of its revolution that

potential to rotate on a cast with a higher velocity, provided you

defines the cast.

have the leverage to do so.

Today’s tip: Do you baitcast and slide bait with the same rod? Well, if you baitcast a large bait, remember that there will be a significantly greater need

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11 Year old Quinn Abrigo & Broom

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for leverage while casting it. A shorter reel seat height may not be able to give you that leverage and you may have to compromise here. Think about how your rod is going to be used and you will be able to build one that you can enjoy in any situation.



Visit us online at or email us at ISSUE FIFTEEN 2014



What Is It?

What’s Your Favorite Fish to Eat?

Diamond Back Squid

David & Emily Auwae:

“Chinese-style with lup cheong, Chinese parsley, green onion, ginger and a bit of oyster sauce, finished with hot oil. But the best fish is the ones our son and grandkids share with us.”

Russ Ito of NOAA was contacted about a squid that

recently appeared in the fresh fish section of Nico’s at Pier 38. The longliner FV Pacific Reflection told Russ that they were not sure exactly what type of squid it was when they hooked it. They also noticed that it might have been cannibalized by its friends, evident from a sizeable piece missing. It was eventually identified as a Diamond Back Squid that boat and even shoreline fishermen here in Hawaii catch on occasion. Nico’s ended up purchasing it to serve as a dish. According to Russ, “Nico smoked it and cut it into steak-thick strips. Buggah was ono!”

Kiyana Guillermo “Spicy Tuna Poke from Foodland”

Chris and Rachel Papadinoff and Rudolf Seifert:

“Grilled taape, stuffed with ginger, cilantro, tomato, garlic and lemon.”


• Rod & Reel Repairs • Bait • Bulk Ice • Beer • Sundries • Novelties

Elegant Anthias

Dennis Johnson sent an email to Lawai‘a Magazine and asked, what is this? Dennis’ brother & hanai brother caught this bottom fishing. Clay Tam of Pacific Islands Fisheries Group replied that the fish is Caprodon unicolor, otherwise known as an Elegant Anthias, according to John E. Randall’s, Reef and Shore Fishes of the Hawaiian Islands.

A Place Where Tails Come True

(808) 247-0938 24




Fish Stories

Calling All Fishermen!


Aiden’s Catch of the Day


e (Kekua) and my 2 boys (Ahanu & Aidan) went on a fishing trip early this summer to get some kau kau for the Ohana and neighbors. Set our crab traps

This year, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG) is challenging all fishermen to have a voice!

in the water around 7 in the morning and went on to test our little skills that we have on some fishing! I tried teaching Aidan how to use the drag on his reel

and his new fishing pole! We had a couple of screamers from some papios but no success in catchum! So we went back to check on our crab traps. Aidan & Ahanu, all excited – “Dad we

• A voice in sound management of our valuable fishery resources. • A voice in support of our fishing culture, heritage and traditions. • A voice for Hawaii’s future fishermen!

get one big one!” I’m over there bringum up – “Let me see!” I was so shocked, I wasn’t sure who was more excited once I saw the crab, me or the boys. The sad thing is I didn’t weigh the crab or measure the shell. All I know is that we were surely Blessed! Aloha.

2014 presents a great opportunity for all fishermen to step up and be counted. Exercise your constitutional right and cast your ballot in this year’s elections!

It’s easy as

aited We ’ v e b h it hooks w S ZE I great PR n to rme for fishe to. rise up

1, 2, 3.


A grand prize valued at $500 and five consolation prizes valued at $100 will be given on each participating Island

1) Register to vote in the 2014 Election; 2) Cast your ballot in the Primary and General Elections; and 3) Bring your ballot receipt ticket to any participating tackle shop or vendor to redeem an entry ticket for the island-wide drawing for great prizes.

As incentive for you to cast your ballot in the 2014 elections, PIFG is hosting a statewide challenge for all fishermen to VOTE for a chance to win great prizes.

Winners will be drawn for each island on November 15, 2014. (Limited to one ticket per person, per election). Go to or for more details

Participating Vendors and Shops: BIG ISLAND: Da Fishing Store, Honokaa (808) 775-1310 • J. Hara Store, Kurtistown (808) 966-5462 • Tokunaga’s, Hilo (808) 935-6965 MAUI: All About Fishing, Lahaina 808) 669-1710 • Maui Sporting Goods, Wailuku (808) 244-0011 • New Maui Fishing Supply, Wailuku (808) 244-3449 • West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply, Lahaina (808) 661-6252 KAUAI Lihue Fishing Supply, Lihue (808) 245-4930 • Mark’s Place, Lihue (808) 245-2522 • Rainbow Paint and Fishing Supply, Eleele (808) 335-6412 OAHU: Brian’s Fishing Supply, Honolulu (808) 596-8344 • Charley’s Fishing Supply, Honolulu (808) 582-7474 • Hanapa‘a Hawaii, Dillingham (808) 848-5640 • Hanapa‘a Hawaii, Pearlridge (808) 486-5775 • J. Hara Store, Kaimuki (808) 737-7702 • Kaya Fishing Supply, Honolulu (808) 538-1578 • McCully Bicycle and Sporting Goods, Honolulu (808) 955-6329 • Nervous Waters Fly Fishers, Kaimuki (808) 734-7359 • Nanko’s Fishing and Diving Supply, Kaneohe (808) 247-0938 • POP Fishing and Marine, Honolulu (808) 537-2905






Once in a Lifetime Catch


inally the weather broke and the beautiful sunny conditions we often times see during the winter months fell on a Saturday. This is the designated fishing day for most of us weekend warriors who are usually stuck

in our offices when all of the perfect bottomfishing weather happens during the middle of the week. We were on anchor and enjoying a steady paka bite through the morning hours. Life is good. Pakas, lehis, a hapuupuu, and even a rare weke ula (in these depths) were already in the box. I was already thinking about what and how I was going to be eating on Sunday. Towards noon, the current started to switch and the anchor let go. Time to koku (drag and reset) the anchor and get back on the spot. But before that Jamie, our newest crew member, had to make that one last drop as the anchor slowly dragged off the ledge. Soon after he busted the palu, he got a good bite that made all of us think “What is that?” We joked about it probably being



a big kahala as it made some runs, took drag, and was fighting

digital readout stopped exactly on 46 lbs - a new Hawaii Fishing

hard on the way up. About halfway up, the fully bent rod

News state record fish! The last buta we caught was only half this

straightened and we knew we had just lost a fish. A second later

size. At home, Captain Ed did the honors of filleting the butaguchi.

tension returned as the Electramate 1380G/Shimano Tiagra 80

The knife was coated with fat on each stroke. We divided up the

combo continued its relentless pull. Thank goodness we still had

pieces of fillet and kept the head and guts to send in to the PIFSC

something good sized on.

for their bottomfish research program. Hopefully sometime in the

We were expectantly peering over the side into the blue

future we will get to know just how old this state record fish was.

water, trying to get the first glimpse of the mystery fish. We

We’ll be reporting back when we get the information. The fish was

were hoping against hope that it wasn’t a kahala. Looks kinda

a female so the egg sacks (ovaries) will also be looked at to help

silvery; not a good sign. Closer and closer then…”Oh my god!

determine fecundity and spawning seasonality. There is a lot of

it’s a butaguchi. Please don’t come off!” As Jamie got it to the

information to be gathered from this one fish.

boat, I grabbed it under the gill cover and lifted it into the boat.

As for the question of why this is our favorite ulua to eat?

It looked bigger than any butaguchi we had ever caught on our

The answer is simple. Our experience with butas is that they are

boat. It was beautifully colored and its body shape looked fatter

exceptionally fat for fish found in our warm Hawaiian waters. This

than any that I had seen from the North West Hawaiian Islands. I

one was no exception as the sashimi was fatter than any hamachi

knew right then and there what I was eating on Sunday. This is

that I have ever had, even in the expensive sushi bars. Even the

our favorite kind of ulua to eat.

pieces that looked like there was plenty of tough connective

The rest of the day was uneventful after the excitement of

tissue turned out to be soft and made good sashimi. No strings of

this rare catch. We caught a few more pakas and called it a day

suji in my teeth. When fried, there was always more oil left in the

early to get back to the dock and cut up our prized catch. Before

pan than when you started. The collars on the fire just oozed fat

we cut up the fish, we weighed it on a state certified scale. The

as they cooked. Winnahs with the beer. Where’s my chop sticks?




Omilu Madness


ack in July 2012, a bunch of friends created a fishing tournament consisting of a $10.00 a month per angler entry for a winner take all jackpot for landing an ulua. The rules included no swimming out bait, no catches from a boat, and must be caught on Oahu. June 2013 came around and none of us had landed the prize fish. We all agreed that we would cap the tournament prize

at $1,000.00. Later in June, some of us were fishing at one of our favorite spots and noticed a small school of oama, making us think it was maybe an early oama run this year. We went back the following week and could not believe how many oama were in the water. After a few weeks of trying, we caught some good size omilu but still no prize fish. At one of our outings, I decided that I would catch some oama and keep them alive. From a total of 14, in a week only one oama survived. At the next outing, some of the guys immediately went oama fishing. Not me; I took the one that I kept alive and made a cast into the surf. Within 10 seconds, HANAPA‘A! Line started screaming out of my spinner and after a good fight, I landed a 15.4 lbs. omilu ulua. I immediately posted a picture on Facebook with the caption “The tournament is over, this picture is worth a thousand words…..I mean a $1,000.00”. Several days later we got together, enjoyed sashimi, and I was awarded the prize money. We also started a new tournament, but this time the ulua must weigh 20 lbs. or heavier. Weeks later, fishing alone, I caught another omilu ulua weighing in at 11.7 lbs. (no tournament winner this time, but was still excited to land another ulua). What a Great Oama Season! Great reading Lawai‘a Magazine, and thank you for letting me share my fishing story. Special thanks to the crew (Percy, Norman, Andy, AJ, Mike, Ray, Flo, Rocky, Brian, Charlie, Liz, Rick and Marvin) and the Bad Ulua Fishing Club. May we be blessed with continued friendship and many more fishing tales.

The tournament is over, this picture is worth a thousand words…..I mean a $1,000.00



11.7 lbs.




U13462 ALOHA, THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME SHARE MY STORY AND PICTURES. For the first ulua trip of 2014, I decided to go to my favorite fishing spot in Honaunau. My fishing partner for this trip was my cousin who was in town and wanted to see what ulua fishing is all about. So we decided to bring him along with us for the trip. We got to the fishing spot and hiked all of our gear in to set up camp. We then casted out our poles and got ready for the sunset bite. With fresh baits, I thought we would have a great chance to get some action. But after a quiet night with the ulua poles, we got up early and started to try for some live bait. It took hours but I finally got a nenue, one of my favorite live baits. So immediately I recasted my Talon 69 rod with a Newell P550 then bridled the nenue and slid it down. That night we worked our poles hard for hours, although it was slow. We then made one final slide for the evening before falling asleep. At 4:15am we were awakened by my 550 Newell reel streaming out line. I ran up, bare foot and all, grabbing my pole, feeling the fish on. “Yes Sa!” I yelled. After a clean 10

Hawaii’s Home For Poke

minute fight, he was close to being gaffed. Once he came close, I started to boost harder and he floated right in front of us. “Oh big boy” Chris yelled. So I pointed the tip of my pole towards Chris and he put on the slide gaff and in seconds he said “Got it!” After we landed it up we thought it was bleeding from its top fin. After a closer look we noticed the ulua was wearing a tag. Right after landing the ulua, we started to pack up before the sun came up.

I ran up, bare foot and all, grabbing my pole, feeling the fish on. “Yes Sa!” I yelled.


Proud to be voted Hawaii’s Best Poke for four years in a row!

Upon reaching home, we raced down to S. Tokunaga’s Store to see how much the ulua weighed.

Clay then contacted Annette Tagawa at DAR who still maintains the Ulua Tagging

It topped the scales off at 82.7 lbs.! It measured

database. She gladly provided the recovery information on the tagged ulua. The ulua

51 1/2” fork length (F.L.) with a girth of 38”. After

was originally tagged by Honokohau Charter Captain, Jeff Rogers, on 8/7/2011, off of

weighing the ulua we removed the tag and recorded

Keahole Pt. and it measured 46.5” F.L. The ulua was at liberty for 893 days (2.4 yrs),

the number, U13462. Mike Tokunaga contacted Clay

traveled approximately 26 miles and grew 5” F.L.!

Tam of PIFG, (formerly with the DAR Ulua Tagging Project) to report the tag recovery.



Mahalo to Chris and Kimo for the gaff and good vibes. This was a great trip to start off the 2014 ulua fishing season!




Ulua Three generations of Uyetake fishermen, along with a good friend sharing the experience, is what the fishing is all about.



It was the evening of June 3, 2013, and I was on the phone with my dad, inquiring about where we were going to fish for the 10th annual S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge. BY DEAN “ M IKEY ” UY ETAKE



IT WAS AN IMPORTANT DECISION AND SEVERAL SPOTS WERE TOSSED BETWEEN US. After a few phone calls, we were informed that the spots we wanted to fish at had already been locked down by other entrants in the Ulua Challenge. I then decided to pack up my fishing gear and head down early the next morning to the South Kona area to look for a spot. As the sun rose that morning, my son Austin and I were traveling down the rough lava road in search of a spot. As we reached the shoreline, we were met with several fishing camps that had already been set up. I began to feel doubtful that we would find an open spot to fish. We continued on and as we rounded the bend, I noticed that a spot that I had fished at before was open. With new found excitement, I made a call to my dad and let him know that we had found a spot to fish at for the tournament. For the next few days, my son and I enjoyed some quality father and son time together while waiting for the rest of the group to join us. We watched as the point where the poles would be got covered in white water from the high surf, which was called for in the area.

to secure it. At 6 am the baits were sent down the lines, we did

My dad joined us late Wednesday afternoon. After unpacking

our good luck handshakes, and returned to the camp to enjoy a

his gear, he told me that we should get our poles ready while

hot cup of coffee.

it was still lighted as the tournament would start early the


At 6:55 a.m. just as my dad was sitting down to sip his

next morning. Words of wisdom from a veteran fisherman and

coffee, Jeff heard a bell ringing on the point. A second later,

mentor. My friend Jeff Lucas called late Wednesday night,

the sound of the bell was punctuated by the high-pitched

informing me that he was coming out so he could fish with

whine of the ratchet screaming line off of the reel. “Ho, strike!”

us when the tournament started. Jeff got to the spot early

Jeff yelled, “Mikey, it’s your pole!” I was already running down

Thursday morning, set up his poles, and then turned in for a

to the point, with Jeff and my dad just behind. As I reached the

quick nap, as daybreak would soon come and the group could

point, my pole was fully bent in the stand. I stepped forward

officially start fishing at 6 am. My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.

and braced myself. I unsnapped the safety cord, knocked off

and, with a crisp morning breeze running through the camp,

the ratchet, straddled the pole, pulled it, and felt the fish as

I struggled to get out of my sleeping bag. We then went down

line was still peeling from the reel with amazing speed. The

to the point and cast out our poles in anticipation and waited

fish continued to pull line from the reel and was now heading

for the 6:00 a.m. start time to slide our baits, which we had

down the coastline. All I could do was hold on. “Rubbing!” came

hooked the previous night. I had hooked two fresh tako baits,

the call from me, and we all looked up at the tip of the pole

one of which I put on a barbless hook and used a rubber band

and saw the unsteady jerking of the pole, indicating that the


To myamazement, evenafter being pinned down for nearly 20 minutes, the barbless hook had stayed in the fish’s mouthand did not come off.



As the fish neared the point, it took one last desperation run and pinned itself on a coral head 10 yards off of the point.

I could tell that it was a huge ulua. My dad told me that I needed to boost the fish and not let it run into the coral heads like the other ulua. Exhausted, I boosted the fish to the surface where Jeff sank the gaff into it and pulled it onto the point. Screams of joy filled the air. Congratulations were given as this was the biggest ulua that I had ever caught. When I looked at the hook inside of the fish’s mouth, I noticed that I had hooked it using the barbless hook. To my amazement, even after being pinned down for nearly 20 minutes, the barbless hook had stayed in the fish’s mouth and did not come off. up and the muscles in my arms began to burn. My reel began to

the area. I lessened the pressure on the line, hoping the fish

fill up with line and soon color could be seen by Jeff who was

came and we packed up early in the morning to head back to the

would free itself from whatever it had become tangled on. We

waiting on the front of the point with gaff in hand. As the fish

weigh in. “Ooouhss”, and “ohs” filled the air as we lifted the ulua

had now entered a stalemate, as both fisherman and fish would

neared the point, it took one last desperation run and pinned

from the cooler to put it on the scale. When the numbers finally

not budge. I put the pole back into the stand, kept pressure on

itself on a coral head 10 yards off of the point. I quickly gave

settled, the official weight was 93.4 lbs. I would have to wait several

the line, and would take back inch by painful inch as I felt the

line, and the fish floated to the surface. I kept feeding line and

hours to see if my fish would be the largest that was brought in to

herky-jerky feel of the line sliding over the coral.

the fish floated closer and closer. As it got close, Jeff sank the

the scales. After all was said and done, I ended up winning the 10th

gaff into it and brought it onto the point. This fish would later

Annual S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge but having my son and dad with

weigh in at 46.1 lbs.

me during this unforgettable fishing trip was “PRICELESS”. Three

All of our focus was on the pole, when suddenly another bell clanged on the point. We looked back at the rest of the poles,


The rest of the week was silent on the point. Sunday quickly

fish had become entangled in the coral heads that surrounded

generations of Uyetake fishermen, along with a good friend sharing

and suddenly my second pole arched over and line began to peel

High fives were thrown around, and as I looked back at my

from the reel. I ran over to the pole and took it out of the stand

other pole, I noticed that the line had come free and was now

the experience, is what the fishing is all about. My son Austin

and began fighting the fish. When I was fully arched backward

heading out into the open ocean. I picked up the pole, cranked

had a blast; it was a trip he’ll never forget. I had my doubts about

feeling the power of the fish, I cranked down and retrieved line.

down and saw a white flash on the surface. I asked my dad if he

using a barbless hook, like many other fisherman do, but after my

The fish was still running clean, and I continued to crank and

had seen the flash while I continued to crank in line. The fish

experience with my biggest ulua to date, I’m definitely a believer in

retrieve line. I could feel the muscles in my back start to knot

came up to the surface again in front of the point, and this time

them, and will continue to use these hooks in the future.




Our Ahi from the Beach






ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, MY GOOD FRIEND AND FISHING PARTNER, BRIAN HIMALAYA, CALLED ME TO LET ME KNOW HE HAD JUST LANDED A SHIBI FROM THE SAND. Knowing that my buddy rarely jokes about catching fish, my jaw hit the floor. In astonishment I asked, “How in the world did you pull that off?” He just replied in his usual nonchalant manner, “Right place, right time and, once spotting them, I switched through multiple lures to get them to bite.” Sure enough, Brian had captured it on video for everyone to see. What an amazing catch. As the years have gone by “Brian’s Ahi” would always pop up in our conversations and we would always joke about “Sashimi Time, Baby!” Our fishing has moved from shore to off the boat in recent years and shoreline whipping has turned into walks on the beach to get exercise or to teach the kids how to cast. On October 17, 2013, I decided to take a walk myself and whip the shoreline early in the morning, something I haven’t done in a while. We knew the oama and small schools of hahalalu had been spotted close to shore, so I thought “Why not, I might have a shot at a decent fish.” Little did I know this day would be my catch of a lifetime. As I arrived at the beach, I saw a family fishing for oama and dunking along with two guys baitcasting alongside them. I said hello, asked how the bite was, and made my way past them to start casting. I decided to move fast and cast to any disturbance I’d see in the lake-like conditions that morning. After several minutes of casting and walking, I noticed the water in front of me starting to vibrate just what I was looking for. I stopped and made a long cast past the



frightened school and started a fast retrieve on my Shimano

“Could it be?” Seconds later, I used the swells to beach the fish.

whipping.” One of the guys baitcasting tells me he saw the

Waxwing Jr. At that instant, an ‘Aha jumped towards my lure,

The fight was over and laying in front of me was a shibi shaking

whole thing. After a few pictures and catching my breath, I put

striking it and jumping in the air. A little disappointed by the

on the sand. I couldn’t believe it!

the fish in the back of my truck with the help of one of the old

‘Aha ruining my retrieve with the opportunistic conditions, I

I started looking around to see if anyone was near me, like all

timers. I thanked him and started driving home. Stopping at

paused and said to myself, “Ok, Mr. ‘Aha, you’re about to be

fisherman do after a catch that they themselves are in disbelief

the convenience store to get ice, I called my wife and told her

boosted - enjoy your waterski trip to shore!” At that instant

of. I’m standing there by myself but down the shore towards

laughingly “Take a wild guess at what I got laying in the back of

my line took off, peeling drag. ”Whoa! This is no ‘Aha!” I let

my truck I could see people looking at me. Trying to grasp the

my truck.”

him take a short run then poured on the drag to return the

situation, I reminded myself that I didn’t have a cooler so I

favor. I gained line and then he made a quick, short run,

better get this guy on ice. I started to make my way down the

and I will share with our kids and grandkids for a lifetime. Now

straight out. I’ve fought a bunch of Ulua and this did not feel

beach, dragging the fish by the tail and stopping periodically

when Brian and I get together we’ll be trading friendly banter

like one I have come across before. I put the brakes on him

as it does its last shakes. After what seemed like an eternity,

about whose shibi was bigger from the sand. But without a

and started working him to shore, noticing the fish moving

I finally made it to the group of fisherman that I saw in the

doubt, these two “Ahi from the Beach” were caught because of

side to side a lot. A small swell rolled in and I started to see

morning and asked them to take some pictures. They looked

one guy, my good friend, Brian Himalaya, and I thank him every

the football shape of a shibi. My thoughts rolled back to the

at me and asked, “How did you catch that?” Exhausted from

day for that.

day Brian caught his shibi from shore and I said to myself,

the walk back, I look back and say flabbergasted, “I was just

What a day! Right place, right time, and a story that both Brian

Keep the dream alive and never give up!



Kepa Funn + ten foot throw net

45 pound ulua Story by Kepa Funn 窶「 Photos by Taylor Nakamura

( read on: )






WOULD YOU BELIEVE ME IF I TOLD YOU I CAUGHT A 45 POUND ULUA WITH A TEN FOOT THROW NET? YEAH, PROBABLY NOT. Questions start to run through your mind, wondering how in the world did someone pull that off without tearing up their net? Or where would this miracle have taken place without losing such a prize? This is my story. My name is Kepa Funn. I am a firefighter at the Pohakuloa Training Area. I grew up in Waimea, where I currently reside, and attended Honoka’a High School. Throwing net is my passion. Lately, I’ve been hearing rumors about uluas or omilus coming close to shore, feeding on fish down in Waipio Valley. A friend of mine told me he and his buddy were trying to throw net on them but had no luck. I didn’t bother looking into it. It was January 2, 2014. The weather was beautiful. The rain finally stopped and the sun was shining. There was no wind and not a cloud in the sky. My friend Kurt Nakamura and I planned on going down Waipio the night before if the weather was good. When we woke up that morning to a beautiful day, we decided to head down to the Valley. I packed up my gear and picked up Kurt at his grandpa’s house along with his girlfriend, Natalie and sister, Taylor. We were excited to be out of the rain and headed to the Valley. As we reached Honoka’a, the ocean looked malia. I couldn’t believe how calm it was after having such ugly weather lately. As we approached Waipio, we saw a “road closed” sign. Our hearts dropped. “No way”, we said out loud. We drove up to one of the tour guides that’s always at the top and asked him, “Howzit, how come the road closed?” He replied, “It’s only open to farmers and residents because there is some work to be done from the rains we’ve been having.”





down Waipio road, the road was not as bad as we thought.

where my surroundings was. At that moment Kurt stuck his

have someone tell us we can’t go down the valley. So I

We grew up here our entire lives. We were in shock to

We thought to ourselves, “This can be driven - why are they

hands in the ulua’s gills and started to it drag away from

asked, “When is it going to open again?” The guide replied,

not letting anybody down? I guess for safety reasons.”

“It could be weeks.” Again my heart dropped. But we didn’t

We finally reached the beach and it was breathtaking.

grumble. We parked for bit, looking down into the valley

No wind and not a cloud in the sky. The ocean was malia.

thinking, “What are we going to do now? Ah, let’s go to the

It was around 0900 and there were only 4 guys out on

west side. We’re not going to let this spoil our beautiful day.”

body boards catching glassy, 1 to 2 feet shore breaks. My

We turned around and headed out. But on our way out,

friend, Kurt Nakamura quickly got his whipping pole ready.

We were screaming so loud that his girlfriend and sister heard us from across the river, which was over 200 yards away.

the shoreline. It was flapping, fighting, and bucking, trying to escape. The ulua managed to buck his way out of Kurt’s hands and make his way to the water. He got really close. Again, I had to jump on the ulua, straddling this beast. We found ourselves right by the shoreline again. With the surf hitting

we saw a friend of ours from small kid times that was

He was anxious to try out these new lures he got from the

working on the road. We stopped to talk to him and he

mainland. Then he told me, “What, you going whip or throw

asked, “What happened, the guy never let you guys go?”

net?” I replied, “I going do a little of both.” He stood there

We told him no because he’s only letting in residents and

waiting for me, but I told him “Go ahead, I’ll catch up”.

started to race. I couldn’t tell what it was because the water

the beach. He then said, “Kep you’re net; grab it before

farmers. He replied, “What residents! You guys not tourists!

Without hesitation he went on his way across the river.

was so murky. I shouted to tell Kurt, “There’s something

we lose the net in the surf.” I was so occupied with the

You guys from here! That’s crazy. He can’t tell you guys that

I took my time setting up my pole as I soaked in the

over here”. He looked over, waiting for me to setup my

ulua, I completely forgot about my net. I ran back into the

or deny you guys from going down. Hang on. Let me talk to

beautiful day in the Valley. I finally got my pole setup and

throw net. I got my net ready and got into position to

water and grabbed my net just in time before the ocean

my boss.”

started to cross the river to catch up with Kurt. When I

throw. But as I was getting my net setup, I lost where the

swallowed it.

As he walked away from my truck to talk to his boss,

reached the other side of the river, I started to whip. I cast

fish had gone. Kurt got tired of waiting and continued to

we weren’t sure if they would let us go. Then we heard a

my pole about 4 times and stopped to see if there were Moi

yell from behind saying, “Turn around, you guys can go

on the inside. I stopped to look for any signs of fish on the

down.” “No way! What? Yes!”, we yelled out loud. It actually

inside so I could give my net some action.

worked! We turned around and drove past our friend, his boss, and the guide telling them “Mahalo!”As we drove

At that moment, I saw fins breach the surface of the water and whatever it was looked pretty big. My heart

us, I wrestled this thing again trying to pin it. Kurt came and stuck his hand in the ulua’s gills again. Kurt said,” Kep, I get ‘em. Kep, I get ‘em.” Kurt again dragged the ulua up

make his way down the beach, whipping. I stayed there waiting for another sign, crouched down,

I ran back up to where Kurt had dragged the ulua. It was farther away from the shoreline this time. We looked at each other in shock and disbelief. Kurt then said, “Brah,

staring into the water. My heart was pounding. My mind

Kep, this is an ulua!” Right then I looked to the sky and

was racing, “What was that, what could that be?” I waited

yelled at the top of my lungs with joy! Kurt did the same.

patiently, waiting for that moment, that perfect moment

We shook hands, hugged, and yelled as loud as we could

to throw. Then I saw this light silver flash in the murky

with excitement and disbelief.

water. I couldn’t tell what it was but it was heading out to

We were screaming so loud that his girlfriend and sister

sea. So I got up from my crouching position, ran up to the

heard us from across the river, which was over 200 yards

water edge and threw my net in front of the fish’s path. I

away. The ulua was pretty heavy. My backpack wasn’t big

ran into the water to retrieve the net. The water was about

enough for it, so I stuffed it in a fishing bag that I always

knee deep. Then I saw it. It was an ulua in my net. The ulua

carry. It barely fit. It wasn’t to far from the truck but it was

started dragging my net out to sea. I jumped on my net and

pretty heavy to carry back.

grabbed it, trying not to lose the fish. It was fighting me

We crossed the river and made it back to the truck where

as I tried to haul it to the shore. I was losing the battle as

Kurt’s girlfriend Natalie and sister Taylor were hanging out.

he started pulling me deeper into the ocean. I was now in

They asked, “Did you guys catch that with your poles?” We

waist deep water. I pulled my hardest, digging my feet into

told them, “No. We caught it with the throw net.” They were

sand. I was slowly starting to make my way to shore.

shocked. We took photos, taking turns holding our prize and

I yelled for my friend Kurt as I started to land the ulua

using their phones and Taylor’s Canon camera to capture

on the beach. I knew I was going to need some help landing

our amazing catch. The funny thing is, it couldn’t fit in my

this thing. It was least 3 feet long and it was strong. As I

cooler, so I had to fit it in my surfboard bag.

got the ulua on the beach, it came out of the net by the

We weighted it at Kurt’s Grandpa’s house, using an old

shoreline. The small surf was pounding us at the shore’s

regular scale. It came out to be 45 lbs, although I think it

edge, making it difficult to secure the fish. As the ulua

could’ve been heavier. But 45 is fine by me.

came out of the net, flapping on the shore, I jumped on it.

Much Mahalo to my good friend Kurt for helping me and

It was bucking me like a bronco. I held on for dear life and

much Mahalo to his girlfriend Natalie and sister Taylor for

straddled the ulua as it tried to get back into the ocean.

capturing some amazing photos. Mahalo to my wife Keisha for

I kept yelling for Kurt to get over and help me. Kurt was

helping me share this story.

about 100 to 120 yards away as he sprinted towards me.

Mahalo, Pacific Islands Fisheries Group, for taking the

He arrived just in time. Right when he got there the ulua

time to read and publish my story. This is one catch I will

was fighting me as I tried to pin it. It was a slippery guy.

never forget!

The ulua manage to head butt me right on my nose. It felt like a punch. My eyes started to water, and I lost track of



Much respect, Kepa Funn



The funny thing is, it couldn’t fit in my cooler, so I had to fit it in my surfboard bag. ( pau )





PIFG KOA 2014 has brought with it some intriguing trends from the fishing front. Through PIFG’s cooperative research efforts and network of fishermen throughout the state, we’ve documented a couple of interesting trends that we’d like to share in this issue of the Koa. In this issue, we are calling out to all fishermen to step up and take personal responsibility for your actions and do your part to help maintain our Pacific island fishing heritage, culture and traditions. We challenge each of you to step up and promote sound

resource conservation to ensure ample fish for future generations. Or as PIFG likes to say, its time to “walk the talk.” Mahalo again to all you Lawai’a Magazine supporters and especially those who signed up for one or two year subscriptions. The subscription drive continues through 2014, so look for our ad in this issue of Lawai’a Magazine or email PIFG at Sign up today to have Lawai’a sent to you directly for $24.00 for one year or $44.00 for two years.

Bottomfish Tagging – The big ones are back Here is the latest PIFG Bottomfish Cooperative Fisheries Research project bottomfish tagging update. From the start of the bottomfish season on September 1, 2013 through February 15, 2014 there has been a total of 31 Deep 7 bottomfish tag recaptures, the most reported in a single year since Deep 7 tagging began in September 2007. The average number of recoveries per year has been approximately 20 per year. The interesting thing is that many of the recaptures have been of fish that have been at liberty for up to 4 to 6 years and have grown between 5 to 9 pounds. Where have these fish been? Why are we only recapturing them now? Old time bottom fishermen have always claimed that every so many years the large fish come in. Maybe this is one of those years. With the increased number of tag recoveries this season has come a number of “firsts” for the project. The first “first” was a recovery of a tagged onaga of off the island of Maui from 124 fathoms of water. This is the first onaga that has been recaptured after 7 seasons of tagging through the PIFG bottomfish tagging program. It was tagged by Kevin Awa and recaptured by Layne Kimura in the same general area off of Maui. The onaga



was at liberty for 145 days, with 1 inch of growth. The second “first” was the recapture of a large tagged opakapaka by Glen Pestana. The opakapaka weighed 9.8 pounds and measured 26 inches, fork length measurement. The paka was originally tagged

CALLING ALL FISHERMEN This year, Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG) is challenging all fishermen to do their part by having a voice:

by Glenn Ashimine in March of 2007 on Penguin Bank. It was at liberty for 2,473 days (6.8 years!), grew 13.25 inches and was recaptured approximately 5 miles from where it was originally tagged. But who knows where else the paka may have traveled during its liberty of 6.8 years. The next “first” is to have two tagged opakapaka channel crossers reported this season to date. One opakapaka was recaptured by Jay Gyotaku off the south side of Oahu that was originally tagged by Glenn Ashimine on Penguin Bank. It was at liberty for 2,035 days, grew 6.125 inches and traveled approximately 19 miles! The second channel crosser was a paka that was recaptured by Evan off of Mahukona on the west side of Hawaii island. This fish was originally tagged by Layne Nakagawa off the north side of Maui. The opakapaka was at liberty for 1198 days, grew 2.1 inches and traveled approximately 87 miles across the Alenuihaha Channel! PIFG thanks all the Hawaii bottom fishermen who have supported the PIFG Cooperative Fisheries Research Deep-7 Bottomfish Tagging Project. If you or someone else recaptures a tagged bottomfish, please call PIFG at (808) 265-4962 or send an email to: Please have the following information available when contacting PIFG: Date of Capture, Tag number, Species of fish, Fork length measurement, Weight (optional), Location, and your phone number so we can contact you with information about your fish. For providing the information you will receive a recovery letter stating the days at liberty, growth and travel information, along with a specially designed bottomfish t-shirt. A very special mahalo to fishermen Roy Morioka who is donating his recaptured tagged opakapaka to research. The opakapaka will help scientists determine the age and sexual maturity of the species.

• A voice in the sound management of our valuable fishery resources. • A voice in support of our fishing culture, heritage and traditions. • A voice for Hawaii’s future fishermen! 2014 is a chance for all fishermen to step up and be counted. Exercise your constitutional right and cast your ballot! As incentive for you to do your part in the 2014 elections, PIFG is hosting a statewide challenge to all fishermen to cast your vote for a chance to win great prizes. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3. 1) Register to vote; 2) Cast your ballot in the Primary and General Elections; and 3) Bring your ballot receipt(s) to any participating tackle shop or vendor to redeem them for an entry ticket to an island-wide drawing for great prizes. One winner will be drawn for each island on November 15, 2014. (Limited to one entry ticket per person, per election. Vote in both elections and you have two chances to win). For more details, log on to www.fishtoday. org or for rules, prizes and participating tackle shops and vendors.



Fish on!

Hold off the run, maintain the pressure.

Fire back and Boost!

Reap the rewards.

Take one last look.

Then send her back.



GT FIGHT CLUB LLC ( was established in 2012 at Waianae, Hawaii and is an entity that specifically targets Giant Trevally-“GT” and the fishermen that chase them with lures. The mission of GTFC is to help educate new and seasoned fisherman about GT Popping techniques and tackle in Hawaii. Our goal is to provide tools to amplify your GT Popping abilities.





gear review B Y E D WATA M U R A

Flashers Get A Lot of Attention Well it’s true, isn’t it? Diamond Fishing has developed a Deep Drop L.E.D. strobe light that is water activated, durable, and bright. It contains a lithium battery that will power the light for 300 hours and has a depth rating of 3000 feet, well below the depths for bottom fishing. The lights also come in 4 different colors: clear, red, blue, and green. You can even attach them to a life jacket for added safety and visibility. At an online price of under $3, this bargain is hard to pass up. We bottom fishermen look for every advantage we can get, so I’ll definitely try these lights.

The Perfect Angle Getting the right angle is important in many aspects of life, but in knife

Guarantee Catch If Get Opae

sharpening it is imperative. Work Sharp has come up with the answer to

We fishermen have heard this time and time again. We take our scoop nets, quickly slide them under rocks and hope to catch this prime bait,

all your knife and tool sharpening needs. They invented the first sharpener

because if we are armed with live opae, our chances of catching fish are improved exponentially. My first artificial bait resembled an opae. We

using flexible abrasive belts that will sharpen, virtually, every knife and

used it when whipping for papio and it worked Iike gangbusters. Allan Sato of Gaji Lures has created the perfect opae lure. In fact, he has devel-

tool you own. It can sharpen not only straight blades, but it can also handle

oped a series of opae lures to fit any kind of fishing, from shore fishing for papio, to deep jigging for shibi, or trolling for otaru. There are two

curved blades, tanto blades, filet knives, serrated knives, and gut hooks. This

colors: opae and opae ula, which is the redder version. They are made in 4 sizes: 2 inch, 3inch, 4inch and 5 inches. These “guarantee” lures were

sharpener uses precision angle guides to ensure the correct angle every

tested at a FAD and caught 30 to 40 pound shibi’s and 20 plus pound otaru’s. Allan also took into consideration the durability factor, because

time. Did you know that hunting and outdoor knives have a 50 degree angle,

unlike many plastic baits, these lures will last for many casts or drops.

while kitchen knives have a 40 degree angle? I wonder what the preferred angle is for sashimi knives? You don’t have to be the “Midnight Rambler” to appreciate a sharp knife, just a fisherman that loves sashimi.

Heavy Hitter in a Light Weight Body

Grab Da Net, Grab Da Net That exciting moment when you first see the fish coming along side the boat and you realize that paka is too big to just lift in. That’s when you need a good net. To me, nets have been problematic for two reasons. Number one is that the hooks get stuck in the mesh and, number two, the handles are so long that they are difficult to store. Promar has solved both problems with their innovative landing nets. They solved the “stuck hook” problem with larger rubber coated netting and by creating a flat bottom design. This flat bottom design also minimizes the stress on the fish for a gentler release or better presentation at the auction. The net design also minimizes drag, so the net glides through the water easily. The Grande Series comes in 4 sizes, from an 18”x 20” frame to a

It’s not Pac-man Paquiou, but it acts like him. The new Penn Squall 30 and 50 VSW’s are tough because internally they are “Penn Internationals.” The drag system is the same Dura Drag system as the V Series that virtually eliminates hesitation and surge when under a heavy load. The strike drag for the 30 is 24lbs. and for the 50 it’s 30 lbs. Combine those drag settings with the easy shift 2 speed and you have reels that can handle the big boys. The 4 stainless steel ball bearings create smooth cranking while the double dog ratchet anti-reverse is loud and will definitely alert you when you hanapa’a. The frame and sideplates are graphite , incorporating a design that gives it stability. The spool is made from forged and machined aluminum and sports capacity rings to let you know when to panic, hahaha. The line capacity for both reels is impressive for mono and braid. The most impressive thing about these reels is the value. So if your wallet is kinda slim like most of us these days you gotta check out these reels.

37” x 40” frame. By just depressing two buttons, the handle easily slides into the yoke or completely detaches for easy storing.





The Light and Fluttering Tales BY JOHN CLARK

To the Hoku Loa. A water-pitcher of regards between us. Here is your favorite of the legends, and you be the one to let it crawl into the ears, kick out the ear wax and install Poriver in the bedrooms of your house, for here is the light tale: This last summer, Poriver, an octopus fisherman, was fishing in the octopus spots from Neue to Hapuu. He brought four different attachable cowrie shells, a pauhu, an okala, an uala, and a lehoula. Upon joggling the pauhu shell in the water, one octopus took it, with the okala, no octopus did, with the uala there were three octopi and with the lehoula shell attached, this huge octopus took it, 60 pounds in weight; the worrisome strength of its tentacles was even greater. As he pulled it in so it was evenly in and

In 1860 a resident of North Kohala sent a riddle, a nane, to the Hawaiian-language newspaper Ka Hoku Loa and challenged the paper’s readers to solve it, but apparently no one rose to the challenge. In the issues of the paper that followed, there’s no further mention of the riddle, so the specific details to answer it are now probably long gone. But what’s still of interest to us is that the writer framed his riddle around lu hee, or fishing for octopus with a line and a cowrie shell lure, a fishing technique that’s still around today, more than 150 years later.



an octopus covered in loose red flaps of skin that could not be pulled all the way in. Although his hunger for octopus was erased by terror, he could not get away, for the thing’s thick tentacles were crawling toward him and almost catching him. Here’s the question: Who is this octopus fisherman? Who are the shell attachments? Who are the octopi? Who is the great octopus with the thick, strong tentacles? Why was he unable to get away? Someone tell me. PHOTOS SACHI CLARK

Modern day lu hee rig

out of the sea, he saw this huge thing;

G.B. Haae. North Kohala, May 22, 1860.

Ka Hoku Loa, July 1860, page 4. Translation by Puakea Nogelmeier.

“Tako Bob” Chang’s lu hee rig



In the riddle, the writer mentions Neue and Hapuu, two kai lu hee, or octopus fishing spots, that are on the sea cliffs in North Kohala, and gives us the name of four species of leho, or cowrie, that were used in the lures: [leho] pauhu, [leho] okala, [leho] uala, and lehoula. Hawaiian fishermen believed that certain varieties of cowrie worked better for different times of day and for different depths, so they kept more than one shell with their fishing gear. Traditional lures consisted of an elliptical stone sinker about three inches long, a hook made of bone, and a cowrie shell, which were all lashed to a wood stick six to nine inches long. Lu hee fishermen tied a line to a lure, lowered it near an octopus, and jerked it up and down. Octopus love cowries (they eat the animals inside the shells), so they would grab the entire lure, including the shell. When a fisherman pulled the lure up, he would catch the octopus on the hook and haul it into his canoe. Oahu resident Robert “Tako Bob” Chang is a modern day lu hee fisherman, but instead of fishing from sea cliffs or an outrigger canoe, he fishes from a wide motorized surfboard that’s 13 feet long. When he reaches his grounds, he puts on a mask and snorkel and swims alongside his board, scouting for tako (octopus). When he spots one, he grabs his fishing rod and lowers his lure with the line in his reel. “I drop the lure about three feet away from the tako,” Bob said, “because I don’t want him to grab it and pull it back in his hole.” This selective style of fishing is effective. “In October 1988,”

Robert “Tako Bob” Chang

Al Farm

Bob continued, “I had my best catch, 42 tako for 83 pounds, which is

“Both of us are on the same side of the boat,” Ron explained, “and

That gives the octopus on the bottom enough time to see the

about two pounds per tako.”

we’re holding a handline with a tako lure that’s dragging across

cowrie and jump on it. When the guy on the boat feels the

the bottom. Our grounds have flat, rock bottoms, and they’re

weight of the octopus, he pulls it onboard. “Dragging shell is

about 60 to 120 feet deep.”

for the old guys,” Ron laughed. “It’s relaxing, no pressure, and

Bob doesn’t believe it’s necessary to have an actual cowrie shell on the lure to attract an octopus. “I used one in the beginning,” he said,



Ron’s tako rigs looks more like the traditional Hawaiian lures. They

very low fuel consumption. Our CPUE, our catch per unit effort,

have a cowrie shell that’s attached to a lead weight with three to five

is really low. After five or six hours, we’re lucky if we catch

tako think it’s some kind of sea shell and they jump right on it.” Bob’s

hooks and two stiff wires about the length of chop sticks that extend

eight tako. But we do bankers’ hours, maybe from 10 am to 3

grounds average 45 to 80 feet deep.

out from the weight. “When the rig is dragging,” Ron said,” only the

or 4 pm actual fishing, and then we’re home early and not all

Ron Tam, also an Oahu resident, is another modern day lu hee

two wires, the legs, are touching the bottom. That reduces the chance

wiped out.”

fishermen, but he uses a different style of fishing for octopus called

of the hooks getting stuck. I also attach a short piece of leader cable

“drag shell.” Instead of trying to spot tako from the surface, Ron and his partner, Al Farm, sit in their boat and let it drift over their grounds.


lure. It’s a golf ball size lead weight painted white with a star hook. The



“but in 1982 when I started fishing from a surfboard, I made my own

to the tako rig, which takes abrasion from rocks better than the line.” The drag shell lures only move as fast as the boat is drifting.

Bottom line, it’s still great to see our senior fishermen enjoying themselves on the water and practicing a traditional Hawaiian fishing skill.






“Trust me” were the words often said by Bob. He said this to new and old friends alike who were sometimes hearing his fishing stories for the first or maybe the tenth time about how this or that technique, time of day, month, or unusual bait worked wonders. Confident in his fishing knowledge based on real life experiences coupled with a lifetime of fishing with his father and absorbing all that knowledge, he would just ask the friend to “trust me” when suggesting a solution or when trying to help them overcome some obstacle or problem having to do with fishing. He was always available to his friends. Fisherman, licensed boat captain, fishing guide, entrepreneur, designer of “Kelela” trolling lures and “Kelela Nalu” shoreline poppers, professional jeweler, booking agent for bands, shorecaster, troller, good cook, and world traveler are some of the things he was. He owned and operated Mahalo Bob’s fly fishing guide service, targeting oio using fly fishing gear on the many Oahu reef flats before it was mainstream. During his guiding duties, he shared his love for fishing localstyle and educated his mainland clients on our sustainable local culture and fishing practices. Being an entrepreneur, he was always looking for the next great thing while enjoying life…enjoying fishing. Even after he couldn’t make it to the beach anymore he still talked about his “new” used Newells he just got for a really good price from Craig’s list and how it was going to purrrfectly match up with his old favorite rods when we go next time. He was always planning the next fishing trip. Fishing was the one constant thing in his life. It was one of the things that kept him going through all of life’s obstacles, hurt, and pain…one more cast. One more time…




the ocean decides to happen to you

it doesn’t ask where you bought your gear

or how much you paid it only asks if you’re ready . Really Ready.

We got it. next to nico’s at pier 38 1133 n. nimitz hwy. • honolulu, hi 96817 • 808-537-2905 • toll-free (u.s.): 1-800-288-6644 •

Profile for Lawai'a Magazine

Lawai'a issue 15  

Lawai'a issue 15