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James Sogi

01/03/04
Fishing in Hawaii

Understanding what species of fish lies in the water is a primary. You must also know what they typically eat and where they lurk in the waters. In Kona we fish for big game fish, and several exceeding 1,000 pounds are landed each year.

One method is using live bait. We fish for the bait on the grounds where flocks of birds circle and the ocean boils as 10-30 pound fish churn the water. When the fish and bird are not showing we use sonar or find the fish under the water and at what depth. We can catch 15-pound fish all day, but only pick out one lively one. At first I thought it odd to throw a perfectly good 15-pound fish back into the water as it would feed a family of four for several days, but we are after Big Game.

The wire get passed through the fish's eyes and a 2 large razor sharpened hooks about 3-4" are wired along the fish. It is lowered over and when it start wiggling hard, you know a big one is stalking. The Big Ones come up next to it and hit it with their spear. When they come back for the hit, they light up in bright colors of blue and gold, hit the fish and can jump out of the water. There follows a lengthy struggle for life and death often lasting hours.

It can be extremely exhausting, even with modern equipment, a big boat and a crack crew. Many times has a large fish escaped just as it was about to be dragged into the boat wiggling loose. Even when it is in the boat, we beat it with bats to kill it, so it doesn't injure us.

When trading for the Big Ones, you have to willing to put in some big bait, many days of food. The fish is not caught until it is in the boat dead. I am the world's worst fisherman, but I have friends who are fishermen and know about these things.

The second method for Big Game is trolling. Three or four lures are dragged behind the boat at different distances. They come in different colors and we wonder which color is today s color. Some like to position in front of the second or thirrd wave, and maybe a short corner behind the first wave.

I like to trail my bid just behind the first wave, so that when the trading wave is going, a lagging bar might snag my bid and land a big one. Sometimes I'll put out three or four bids at different locations and see which gets hit.

James Sogi is a philosopher, Juris Doctor, surfer, trader, investor, musician, black belt, sailor, semi-centenarian. He lives on the mountain in Kona, Hawaii, with his family