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Lawai'a Mahiai Ame Kalepa Hookahi No Ia Kino / Fishermen, Farmers, and Peddlers Are Of One Body
(Written by J.K. Mokumaia)
There are many types of deep-sea line fishing practiced, however dear reader, in those days there were many skiffs and outrigger canoes that were always ready for these types of fishing, just as we have stated previously.
I have heard from my guardian that it was extraordinary to get akule in the deep. If as soon as the baited hook descended, weighted with a stone, and once the stone came off the akule immediately took the hook, then the area below was filled with fish, so that if six hooks went down, then six fish would be hooked, and one must be lively to pull them in. When all the fish rose to the sea surface, the ocean was like glistening molten lava with the multitudes of fish. If they were biting, you could catch several forties before larger fish came to raid them, such as the ulua, and then all would disappear.
He said if many skiffs sailed, they would all catch fish. In the early morning they would tie up to the dock with great joy, and some of these experts are still living.
So Kapuʻukolo was renowned in those days, and you would see the skiffs afloat as well as single-masted canoes in the space now occupied by Pier 15. As we return to recollections of those days, we find the names of those experts, the Honorable Kaulahea, Nahalelaau, Enoka. This last one was the most astounding man, and an often-teased friend of this writer. If there were many fish, then I would tell him and his friends, “This luck that you have is thanks to the foot of this one that went into the ocean.” When the fish were all hooked, they would all laugh because his leg was bent and the instep of his foot was turned upwards.
Regarding knowledge of deep-sea fishing, and strength too, and enthusiasm as well; some of his children were like him. A few of them are alive, Mr. Pahukula, Hamaia, Haaloku and Kaimumoku are living now and they have fish tables at the market. There are many other experts but they have passed to the other side.
So this is important that we remember those days as well as this time that is pushing forward.
ʻŌpelu fishing in those days was a meticulous type of fishing and looked very tidy. The ʻōpelu of those days were fed at Waikīkī and Waiʻanae and when the fisherman saw that they were good and large, then the ʻōpelu net was made and when ready it was sailed out to the fishing spot where the fish were always fed. Then, the net was set at the just the right place to their liking, and food was scattered, and that was usually papaya or pounded taro that was worked until ready. When the fish came to the center, the fisherman knew that one pull would reap many thousands. They immediately returned as their toils were sufficient. However, in these days these types of fishing have disappeared because they are stolen, there is no protection, for many people go to the ocean, and they know where these fish reside, but these expert Hawaiians of Waikīkī continue to care for these types of fishing.
The nature of the ʻōpelu from Waikīkī cannot be missed, a body nicely plumped with well developed form and features and is delectable to eat. The same is true of that of Waiʻanae. Those ʻōpelu are raised by the hands of Hawaiians. If the Japanese go fishing and catch them, they will be small, like a racing horse and look white. When you eat it, the meat is chewy and will smell unpleasant, but those days have passed.
(To be continued.)