“It never gets too calm to scare me!”
That adage is said to be attributable to Capt. Jeff Fay of “Humdinger.”
It is a takeoff on, “It never gets too rough to scare me,” a macho man of the sea quote that no one can prove was ever actually stated. Can’t find it anywhere.
The joke being that Kona waters are so calm, who would ever want to fish rough waters elsewhere? Especially when the fishing is usually better, right here on the calm Kona Coast.
Well, Old Man Winter has had a say in things of late, bringing to Lake Kona high winds and some rough water, by anyone’s standards. When this happens, some fishing spots like “The Grounds” can go well for marlin, if you can stay long enough.
The Law of Diminishing Returns can have even the most insane skippers eating their macho words (if they ever said them) when a storm like this recent one rumbles by, or the north winds blow, as they have been for days now.
As Capt. Chip Van Mols said, “Why go? I’ll wait to catch a fish.” It’s so rare to have high winds around here, why not enjoy a day off?
Sometimes you can get out in the morning, only to head for the barn later, trying to beat the “white horses” running down the coast. Capt. Carlton Taniyama on “Five Star” was out Thursday and got pinned by the wind, all the way down to the second flow. They had a long beat home to Honokohau, but they caught a marlin!
The fish are there these days, too. “Marlin Magic” is averaging a marlin a day. That’s dang good for February, and it’s been like that for a while now.
And in Kona, the winds are very temporary. About than 95 percent of the time, Kona is calm. About 3 percent of the time it might be a bit sloppy, but it’s workable. And perhaps, 2 percent of the time you don’t want to be out there. That’s not bad. That, in fact is great. Kona is blessed, and highly unusual.
It’s so calm so often, that it is easy to forget that it’s the open ocean only yards off the coast. When Mother Nature wants to remind you of her authority, however, she does so with about as much subtlety as being shoved out of the ring by Akebono, Hawaii’s famous sumo wrestler. Akebono stood 6-foot, 8 inches tall and weighed in around 500 pounds. If he shoved you, you wouldn’t forget it.
When it comes to Mother Nature, don’t forget.
There’s another old adage, “I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations” and if you follow that, you are said to have more good days than bad. Miles Nakahara is living proof that it works, or at least it did one day.
Prior to all this wind, back on February 1, Nakahara went out on his boat “Puamana II” to try and get some small ahi for a Super Bowl party. Of course, he had no way to know at that time that eating sashimi was going to be more exciting than the actual Super Bowl.
In retrospect, he could have served Starkist out of a can and it would have been more exciting than that game, but on the way to C Buoy, he was just hoping to catch a few fish.
Miles had his sights set on “maybe just a few rats,” and was dropping stone around the buoy and his gratitude far exceeded his expectations when he caught more than a rat — he caught a 107 pound big eye tuna! Big eyes are the second most highly prized tuna in the Pacific, behind the Pacific Bluefin, and they do get caught around here, but not as consistently as yellowfin tuna.
Being the second most sought after tuna, it also fetches a higher price in the market. One can only wonder if Miles parlayed that tuna onto the Patriots and got to see “how sweet it is!” when you keep your expectations low and your gratitude high — and it pays off.
Miles is now on the Big-Fish list with his 107 pound big eye, but as far as the rest, you’ll have to ask him directly.
Another colloquialism that may never have actually been said is attributed to Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: “I always choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will always find an easy way to do it.”
You may think that is what writing this column is like, because some people send their stories in by email. But that’s just not true.
Only a few stories come in by email. Ever wonder how us big time journalists get a big scoop? Not by being lazy, but by hard work and hunting them down, that’s how.
Here’s a typical interview.
There was an older gentleman, on his boat, in the wash down area at Honokohau. Bent over his fishing rods, he was rinsing and wiping salt from the rigs by hand. He seemed as likely a suspect as anyone, so I sauntered up and said, “Hi. I write for the paper. Can, I ask you a question?”
I doodled in the dirt with my toe to emphasize my lack of importance.
“Yeah, I recognize your sunglasses.”
“I’m not the right guy for you. I don’t get your column.”
“Great. It’s art. You aren’t supposed to get it.”
“Well you might be a famous artist when your dead, but not now.”
“My grandkids will be happy to hear that.”
“What’s it about, anyway?”
“Your column stuff.”
“Oh, that. Fishing stuff. Outdoor stuffs.”
“I see,” but it was plain to see he did not see.
“Remember Harry Lyons?”
“Ever hear of P.J. O’Rourke?”
“The Irish guy who owned Quinn’s?
“Okay. How about Dan Jenkins?”
“Nope never heard of him, but he’s dead I think.”
“Great. We have a starting point. I think I’ll go to town.”
“Good idea. Maybe one of the malahini in town gets it.”
“Ah dunno. They don’t seem to get a lot of stuff around here.”
“You got it.”
“What’d did ya catch?”
“Cool. Where did you catch em?”
The guy stood up and put a curved finger in the corner of his mouth and made a motion that pulled his head sideways. “In da mouth.”
“You don’t say. Let me guess what you used for bait.”
“It’s a free country.”
“You been reading my mail?”
“No but I hear it’s funnier than my column.”
“I think so. Want a beer?”
“I think I need one.”
“Here.” He tossed me a can with a blue mountain on it.
I thought I’d try a different tact. “What do you do when you aren’t fishing?”
“Say, this beer tastes like fish.”
“I like it!”
Finally, the old fisherman cracks a smile. “Maybe I judge too quick, uh? Maybe you OK, after all?”
“You know dat!” Seeing an opening, I thought I’d try and save a story here. “So, what’d’ya catch?”
Feeling deflated, I drained the beer, toed the ground again and said, “Let me guess. You caught ‘em in the mouth too, huh?”
“Caught em in da ocean, braddah.”
“Thanks for the beer. I gotta go write this story.”
“Shoots. Too easy brah. I’ll spock em in the paper, Monday”
Sometimes a lazy writer should stay home, sit by the computer and wait for the email to ring.
Current members of The Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club can stop by the club house at Honokohau Harbor on Feb. 23 from 2-5 p.m. to pick up their membership goodies.
New members can come by and sign up during those hours as well. The Club is 105 years old this year and is the second oldest big game fishing club in the United States. To celebrate this milestone, the first 105 memberships issued will receive a commemorative cap with the vintage 1914 original logo embroidered on the front, embossed membership card, hook shaped tie or cap clip and presale reduced rate tickets to shows such as the Taj Mahal shows staged at the Club.
For more information and for a membership application, log on to: hbgfc.org/hbgfc_membership_NEW_4-1_Final.pdf
Back in 2012, the Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center, Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research and the University of Hawaii reached out to 207 charter vessel operators across the state. They took a survey and collected demographic, trip, catch and economic information across islands and vessel sizes. They collected data from 2011, and conducted an economic contribution analysis of charter fishing from that year.
Although the summary draft and statistics were released to the fleet, State of Hawaii and the WESPAC Council about four months after the survey was taken, it was not until 2018 that the full analysis was released. They cited lack of staff and resources to complete this study until recently. Going forward, however, they promised that the 2017 and 2018 reports will be coming out by June 30, 2019. They must have found a lazy person to figure out how to get it done!
Be that as it may, there are some interesting conclusions in the document, albeit that the study was conducted during the recession and may not be relevant in the economy of today.
In 2011, charter fishing across the State of Hawaii supported 861 jobs and generated $42.4 million in economic output. Interestingly, the report states that 69 jobs were supported by Hawaii Charter Fishing on the US Mainland, and, an additional $14.5 million in economic output was generated over there — from here.
Breaking it down island by island, the Kona charter fleet was the biggest producer and largest employer. Out of the statewide total of 192 active charter boats in 2011, there were 106 in the Big Island fleet alone. Oahu was second with 39, Maui third with 29 and Kauai had 18.
Total expenditures by the fleet — across the state — were over $23.3 million, with Kona again leading with just over $10 million. Maui was second with just under $7 million. Oahu had more boats than Maui, but spent less, coming in at just over $5 million.
Charter fishing operations in Hawaii county contributed the most to the economy with 387 jobs and more than $7.3 million in labor income while generating $17.285 million in sales.
Proving Mike correct again, Oahu employed more folks than Maui, but spent less on labor. Oahu had 196 jobs in charter fishing compared to Maui’s 192 but Maui saw $5.5 million in labor income to Oahu’s $4.4 million. Maui generated $11.9 million in sales to Oahu’s $10.6 million. Kauai employed 65 people in the charter business, and they earned right around $1 million and the Kauai fleet generated $2.6 million in sales.
Of all the mainland states that benefit from Hawaii charter fishing, California generated 87 percent of the economic output and employed 89 percent of all the west coast states. The top industry impacted by the Hawaii charter business in California was the internet, not surprisingly. Internet publishing and broadcasting along with web search portals were where Hawaii charter businesses spent their money.
Other reports mention that in 2011 patrons went out on about 9,500 charter fishing trips, but in 2015 when the economy started to improve the number of charter trips was only a little more than 8,000. Last year (2018) was a great year for fishing up and down the Kona Coast. It will be interesting to see the total number of charter fishing trips taken last year.
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