Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NRH Photos

So far this summer we had 3 solid swells and hopefully we will get a few more before the summer is over.  Was stoked to get a shot from Nicholas Hoermann from last swell at one of my favorite spots.  Thanks Nick!  Check out his website at http://www.nrhphotos.com/  for your photos.  Its amazing to see some surfers get so aggro when a cameraman comes out.  Be careful you don't run over the cameraman!

Tropical storm Flossie disappeared and tradewinds have filled in again and new small swell should start to build overnight.  Going to get some dinner, get some sleep, and hopefully get some barrels this week.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Storm Coming!

Tropical Storm Flossie headed our way!  I wonder who comes up with these storm names? Wind and waves from the east should be picking up tomorrow evening.  Everyone be safe!  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mexican Shootout Day 5

Another awesome sunrise breaks dawn and water still flat like a lake.  Probably one of best years ever with perfect conditions all week.  Every morning we awake to this spectacular view from our casita and life doesn't get much better than this.

Randy Farmer joins us every year and this year he found this Mapa fish in a hole and didn't want to shoot it so he grabbed it with his bare hands!  Thats right! Who needs a speargun when your fish are this tame?  Thanks Randy and Linda for joining us.

Eric Uyehara also had a great time spearing this giant bumphead parrotfish.  I'm sure his diving level has gone up 200% in what he experienced this past week.  He and his dad Mike have so much stories to share when they get back home.

Jonathan Muratsuka travels with us each year and we were so happy he got his first Ono (wahoo) which he shot with his reef gun in 40 feet of water.  Congratulations Jonathan on checking this fish off your bucket list.

I was also able to find another Ono in the blue water too. Always fun shooting pelagics.  Had good current this year and was fortunate that the fish were there and everyone saw a bunch of Onos.  One young kid never shot a fish in his life and his first shot he landed a ono too.

Meals were awesome and our final dinner was Pargo which we ate with tortillas.  Another awesome Red Sea trip goes down in the books and time to get back home to catch the next south swell.  Thank you divers for joining us and all our sponsors for supporting this years event.  A big mahalo to our family at Palapas Ventana (Tim, Jimena, Karon, and the crew) Will keep in touch on dates for next year's shootout.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mexican Shootout Day 4

Mexican Shootout Day 4 was awesome!  Got more onos on the boat and guys were having a blast shooting pargos on the reef.  Our plan was to hit the reef but the current was strong so we headed out for blue water.  Here I am with one of my onos (wahoo).

Our prize table was filled with all kinds of goodies and everyone was super happy!  Thank you again to all our sponsors for their generous donations.  

The winners this year was a team from Mexico!  They were great divers and super funny also!  Their team name was the "Wrestlers" and they definitely put on a show for everyone.  Congratulations to Juan Palma and David Vacimo!

Thank you to all our host Palapas Ventana, our divers and captains for joining us and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mexican Shootout Day 3

Day 3 of our Mexican Trip started our tournament day 1 of 2.  The water was flat like a lake again and teams were psyched up to compete.  Randy Farmer was excited for today as he partnered up with Jonathan Muratsuka and they got some nice fish today.   Thanks Randy for joining us and bringing your girlfriend Linda along.

Meet Juan Palma and David Vacimo.  These two Mexican local divers team name is "Wrestlers" and they are entertaining or should I say hilarious!  Always joking around and giving the other teams the what not to do plan.  Today they told everyone to go north while they went south.

Some teams got some nice fish including Pargos, thus, onos, cochis, and marlin.

This is about 500 pounds plus of fish for total weight.

The catch of the day was this striped marlin caught by none other than "Team: Pray for big fish".  Mike and Eric who never blue water dove before except a few days ago decided to follow Juan Palmas and David Vicimo's advice and went north today.  Mike said he's going to quit diving now, sell all his gear, and retire after shooting this apex predator point blank.  Congratulations you guys!  Super proud of this father and son team.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mexican Shootout Day 2

Day 2 warm up started early at 5:45 am breakfast and departure at 6:30 am.  Weather was awesome and flat like a lake again with light and variable winds.  There is a full moon now so the current is on which means fishy waters.  However today was slower than expected on the onos.  One guy landed one but many were seen and missed.  We saw a small marlin today but it was on the move.

One of our Hawaii Divers Mike Uyehara shot this nice rooster fish which he was stoked on.  It was the perfect size fish for doing gyotaku prints so after our dive we made some tshirt prints.

Captain Yoni put us on this nice Pargo on the 9th hour and we were stoked to get one!  Kirby shot it and Jonathan was there to assist.  Last week Yoni put a diver on a 180 yellowfin tuna.  His secret weapon is he speaks english.

Say yes to NOH!  That's Tim and Jimena Hatler from Palapas Ventana Resort sampling the killer hawaiian poke mix.

Kona Red was also in the house!  We lugged cases of kona red over here and everyone likes it!

Finally ended the day with fish prints.  Here Tim Hatler touching up his tshirt print.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mexican Shootout Day 1

We made it Mexico and we were all stiff from the tight seats on United Airlines.  No food served unless you were sitting first class with our friend Jonathan.  Kirby Fukunaga came with us and he sat economy and learned how the rest of the low class passengers fly and got all stiff neck and sore back after 5 hours.  When we arrived I hired a porter and he loaded over 2500 pounds of luggage and tried to make our way through the width of walls by a hair.

We had some donations from our sponsors displayed with items for them to start their trip with including Banana boat sunscreen, bags, jade snacks, kona red drinks, rules, regs., etc.

Today was beautiful and calm with perfect diving conditions.  We had breakfast at 6 am and was ready by 7 am to go.  Boys were anxious to get in the water.  The ride out is about 30 minutes and we were diving by 8 am in the deep blue.

Biggest fish today was this ono!  David speared a 180 lb ahi last week and he got 3 onos today.  This guy is one to watch out for during the tournament.

Kirby got his ono also and we got it all on film.  He was so happy!

Juan also got a ono and cabrilla.  

Eric and Mike got a nice mix of reef fish too.

Lots of fish to clean!  Looks like we got some sashimi for dinner!  Gotta go eat some Mexican dinner now.  Good night.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tight fit

2000+ pounds of dive gear! Just made to resort and all our gear made it!

Diver packets

We made it Palapas Ventana after a day of travel and got the divers packets together and had some awesome dinner. Word has been fish are here so tomorrow will warm up and see. Next few days are scouting days and weather looks good! Good night. Zzzz.

Team Hawaii

Ready for Action!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Locked and Loaded!

All packed and ready or should I say locked and loaded?  8 luggage bags, 4 carryons, 6 spearguns all tightly fit into its proper place!  Think I got enough stuff or what? We are super stoked with all our sponsors who put up some awesome prizes for our divers and boat captains!  Thank you!  Will do our best to post up the latest catches while we are there filming...stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Magic lure

Mahalo to Allan Sato from Gaji Lures for this magic lure!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mexican Shootout Sponsors!

This weeks been busy gearing up for the 7th Annual Mexican Shootout. Lots of work and with such great sponsors we are truly blessed!  Met up with Mike Smith from Kona Red and the got some new large size bottle which will satisfy any thirsty diver.  Kona Red is all over town and even seen them at costco.  Try it!  You might like it!

Then I went over to visit my friend Dean Imanaka who always helps skirt up lures for the event.  I started diving with Dean and my other friend Mark Onedera long time ago and one day I'll get them in front of the camera of Hawaii Skin Diver TV.  Thanks Dean!

And the Gaji lures spread looking awesome!  Mahalo Allan Sato for generously donating all these lures for the Captains awards.  They will be stoked!

Then had a meeting with Tom Bellit from Double D' Knitting and Gloves.  They got a mix of gloves for fisherman, divers, oyster pickers and cooks.  They provided a mix of gloves which we will also pack up.  Thank you Dudley & Sandy Duncan and Tom for hooking us up!  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Long day of fishing

Another beautiful weekend in Hawaii!  Weather was looking good for a day of fishing so we loaded up bright and early 3:30 am and made to the harbor by 5:00 am to find a parade of boats with the same idea.  It's amazing how many people have been infected with the "ahi fever" this summer.  Al Ah Nee and Kekoa Mau joined me on todays adventure and after hours of trolling we finally noticed the portside rigger lure making wierd splashes so decided to reel in it to find a nice ono on the other end.  

At the end of the day we found the bird pile but no ahis so we opted to take an aku out of it.  It was a long 20 hour day for me from start to finish so my body feeling it today.  Lots to do this week getting ready for the Mexican shootout so gonna put away the poles and pull out the spearguns next. Gee I hope I remember how to free dive?

Friday, July 12, 2013

How to fillet an Ahi

  Step 1: get a good flat cutting board, sharp knife, paper towels, ziploc bags.  

Step 2: fillet one side using the quartering method.  We were up till past midnight cutting and bagging this fish.  Tip: Good time to clean fish at night as there are no flies around.

Step 3:  Block fish and slice into 1/4 inch pieces.  Eat fresh with wasabi and shoyu.  My friend Puna Apio shared this plate with his family. Super stoked my family and friends were able to eat this special fish.  I can't believe all our slabs have disappeared already so we must try to get another one!  

Monday, July 8, 2013

First Ahi!

The word on the street was the Ahi was on the move!  So after many attempts to land that elusive tuna we decide to load up the Red Sea Boat this weekend and try one more time.  Our first ahi strike snapped our lure line, then losing a marlin on the next trip out was strike number two.  We have to get ready for our next dive trip so we had to make this swing count. I checked the weather and we had two more days of light winds so fueled up and got ready to go!  Our crew this time was divinely set with Grandpa Crow,  Cat, and myself.  I couldn’t sleep thinking of what lures to run and woke up at 2:49 am.   

Started loading the gear and got to the harbor before sunrise to find lots of other boats with the same idea.  When you got the Ahi fever, it can be very infectious.  So we motor out to the spot and I call my friend Ryan Itoman already in the line up. Its slow and not much birds to follow until I find a pack of birds working to the east so we follow them for 10 miles with no avail.  Crow brought a good luck charm he wore around his neck of Grandma Nakamoto and says she is watching from heaven above and wants to eat sashimi tonight.  This was Crows second time on the boat fishing and first time we caught a nice shibi.   I call Ryan back and he gives me his coordinates and I lift up my lines and motor back another 14 miles while we eat lunch.  By this time its’ around noon and we join the circus of boats chasing Ahi.  

Then a few hours later we find the bird pile!  Water is bussing and small fish are boiling.  I try to put the boat in the best position for a strike but no hits.  Everyone is courteous and knows how to drive so we respectfully chase the birds down trying to anticipate their move.  Birds start diving again!  I’m rotating lures at this point and hoping to lay the trail mix for the big hit!  I put on my other secret weapon and the birds move, so I turn and try to get ahead again.  Then the inevitable happens…My lines cross and outside lures are tangled.  Cat says reel it in fast so I start reeling trying to minimize the mess.  Meanwhile birds are bombing all around us, some boats stop and guys are hooking up.  Crow drives while Cat and I are untangling the mess of twisted lines.  It was heartbreaking as hundred of bird are beside us and I look up to see a flash of Ahi come up beside the boat.  I cut my lines and try to get a lure back in the water as fast as possible but it was too late, the birds scatter and commotion disappears.  I re-rig and put out my go to gaji 9” bubble gum lure that has been working for me on all my bites.   Its 3:00 pm now and we have no Ahi on the boat.  Every fisherman knows that feeling when there are no bites by the afternoon. 

I’m feeling down and decide to head back to the harbor while Cat optimistically says no worries fish are still around.  There are no birds in sight, the ocean is quite, and all the boats are miles outside of us still fishing.  Then at 3:20 pm the outside starboard pole slams down hard and reel starts to scream and my 130 shimano is peeling out line.  The fish almost pulls the pole out of the shotgun holder as I grab hold not to lose my new reel.  Cat and I start clearing lines as I glance over to see my line three quarters gone!  OMG!  I push the 2 speed buttons on the reel but still can’t get any line back.  My line is almost gone now and I decide to tighten the drag to pass the strike point in order to regain some line.  Cat takes over reeling while I start the handline process.  I knew it was an Ahi and didn’t want to bring it up to early so took my time as Crow kept the boat in gear with tension on the line.  I had the plan on what to do so got my 110 cm speargun loaded and gaffs ready to go!  After 45 minutes we see color and it’s huge!  The fish is tired but still very much alive.  I tell Crow to turn off the motors and lift it up and I pass the line to Cat and grab my speargun as the fish spirals up around the boat twice and on the third rotation I aim and fire!  The shaft hits the fish high but it holds as my breakaway setup is tied to the boat.  I grab the gaff and stick it hard while I tell Crow to gaff it again!  He misses so I grab the gaff and stick it again while Cat grabs the third gaff.  The fish is at ease as the three of us hang over the side of the boat holding the fish tight.  We decide to secure the tail so Cat tries to lasso the tail with a one-inch strap we have on board.  It floats and doesn’t sink so as it touches the tail the fish goes wild!  I almost lose the gaff but we hold it back from swimming away.  At this point other all the fisherman are coming in from the outside passing us cheering us on!  Cat yells to them, “What do we do now?”  She grabs the anchor line and finally tail wraps the fish after a few attempts while hanging off the side of the boat with one leg.  This was way better than Wicked Tuna show and it was happening right before us!  Crow is panting and catching cramps while I get my Red Sea Spike and brain the fish the best I can.  After another 20 minutes pass with the Ahi still hanging on the side of the boat we count to three and heave ho the fish over the side and get it into the boat.  Everyone is exhausted and overwhelmed with our first experience of catching our fist Ahi weighing in around 180 lbs.

It was a long day, finished washing up at 9:00 pm and James and Alan came over to help us unload the fish off the boat.  I would like to thank God, Grandpa Crow, Cat, my family, crew, and friends who have been there by our side through good and bad (whitewash) days and for all their advice and support and willingness to make our dream of catching our first Ahi come true!