Water Ways

By Ray Pendleton

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Children fishing for
fun and prizes

I'm sure we've all tried to pronounce the name of our state fish -- humuhumunukunukuapuaa -- with varying degrees of success. But have you ever tried to weigh a live one on a postage scale?

That was the challenge for a handful of volunteer judges last Sunday at the 19th annual Junior Fishing Tournament, co-sponsored by the Hawaii and Waikiki yacht clubs.

Over 100 children had been taken just beyond the reefs outside Ala Wai harbor on boats of club members to catch whatever they could reel in.

Some of the more seasoned anglers brought their own equipment, but those that didn't were provided rods and reels. And, most importantly, they were asked to keep their catches alive so they could be eventually released.

So, along with measuring each fish's weight, the judges had to determine its length and its species, all while the slippery creature flipped and flopped in an effort to escape.

Somehow, the fish were judged, the results were recorded and nearly every finny creature was returned to the sea unharmed.

HYC member Mike Christy helped in the process by giving each animal a healthy squirt of fresh sea water from his bilge pump-powered fish resuscitator before it was released.

As it has been for many years, the junior anglers participating in this event were not only the children of club members, but also disadvantaged youths invited from Palama Settlement and Kuhio Park Terrace.

For some, it was their first experience with boating and offshore fishing. And for several Cub Scouts taking part, it would qualify them for their fishing merit badges.

By noon, the weigh-in process at the HYC was finished and the participants were shuttled across the bay to the WYC. There they were treated to barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, swimming contests in the pool and, of course, the all-important award ceremonies.

Guest master of ceremonies Rocky Dunmire provided his expertise at the microphone by entertaining and directing the young anglers in their activities.

During the swim races, they quickly learned -- through a chorus of laughter -- when they were told to start at "the count of three," not to jump at "ready-set-go!"

BECAUSE EVERY ANGLER gets a prize at this tournament, it would be impossible to name all of the award-winners in this column. Nevertheless a brief mention of some of the more notable awards gives a good picture of the nature of the contest.

The first place trophy went to the heaviest fish, a six-pound puffer caught by Kawai Markham. And other trophies went to the angler with the most fish caught -- Johnny Souza with 21 -- and the most total weight -- Lori Munder with just over seven pounds.

But, the tournament also gave a prize for the smallest fish, a half-ounce goat fish caught by Richmond Young, the longest fish, Kila Wong's 38-inch trumpet, and for the most colorful fish, Kazu Jepsen's "humu."

When a trophy for a 2-pound bone fish went to four-year-old Kameron K. for the biggest fish caught by the youngest competitor, it was priceless.

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at

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