Lawai'a Mahiai Ame Kalepa Hookahi No Ia Kino / Fishermen, Farmers, and Peddlers Are Of One Body

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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)


One of the famous types of fishing in those days that was performed meticulously was kaʻiuhu fishing. It was a sight to behold and I knew someone in those days. This man was renowned.  If he went alone, stealthily, then upon return your eyes were in disbelief when you saw so much red and blue uhu, but not the small uhu, which is also known as pānuhunuhu. 

O dear reader this is perhaps the expert that is of the best grade. If he went to get kūmū there would only be red from front to back of the canoe, and if it was ʻūʻū it would be the same.  His demeanor was really something amazing to see, the body was small, the face was little and he walked with his chest puffed out while his arms dangled.  That was not all that he knew about, he was skilled at smoothing cement on street corners where the water flows on the sides of the street.  This gentleman was supported by these jobs, and in those days the honorable Mr. Keohokii was famous.  His place of residence in those days was at Kakaʻako, or at Honuakaha.

Sorry, we’ve slipped away.  We return to our original topic of uhu fishing and kaʻiuhu.  There was a great deal of knowledge when as I recall, such as this, if he heard that there was dragnet fishing on a particular day, he would go to the market and examine the uhu.  The strange thing you would see him doing as he went through the uhu fish of his liking was that when his desire was met he would say, “Hey Julia, save this little uhu.” If it was two dollars, or maybe a dollar and a half, that was ok. It was wrapped well in tī leaf.  This was red uhu.

Let the two of us examine, O reader, how he would sort the fish until they met his desire by returning with him the next morning. You will see that in the place of the dead uhu he had taken, there were many more uhu again and a new uhu was saved and the first uhu is discarded. In those days there were no ice factory like there are these days, however it was indeed made in those days and there was a lot to see.  Dead uhu would be used to fish for living uhu, and they would enter the net and thus that type of fishing was made famous, kaʻiuhu fishing. 

So it is up to you to discern what was needed for this type of fishing.  You must always be on the lookout for fresh bait every day to get your uhu.  It looked as though he was filled with joy to go alone, and when he left this life he also took with him his knowledge. However there is just one who is living that knows this type of fishing, that is the honorable Keoni Kaimi that resides at the shores of Hamohamo, Waikīkī.  His body is small and skinny.  One peculiar thing is that those with large bodies were troubled by the expert.  The writer has born eye-witness to this guy, and the thing that made him the absolute best.  I will explain his demeanor in full. He was probably the most famous fisherman of kūmū. He knew it and preserved it up until today when your writer is writing and what I appreciate about him keeping up this professions is that he supported his family. 

Lulu heʻe, anchored octopus fishing, was his greatest task because he did it with a cowry shell. Upon seeing the flaunting of the cowry, then the octopus will continually romance your cowry. This kind of fishing is quite tidy. It is done just outside of the wave breaks and requires a lively nature. 

(To Be Continued)


(click image for original Hawaiian text)

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, May 28, 1925
, Book: 64, Number: 22, Page: 7