Golden Trevally... or Barred Jack?

Erik Smith recently moved into that special circle of folks having caught an ulua. And although it might have taken it a bit of research to conclude his trophy met the 10 pound ulua weight requirement, Erik's catch was indeed special not only for having attained ulua status but also being a not-so-common species of ulua like the white-, black, and kagami varieties more common in these waters.

Our first take was that it was a golden trevally... or pa'opa'o, in Hawaiian. But the more I looked at my Hawaii's Jacks poster by artist, Les Hata, the more I started leaning toward calling Erik's catch a barbed jack. Here are photos from Hata's poster and photos of Erik and his first ulua. You make the call. But whether it was a golden trevally or a barred jack isn't so important as the cumulative evidence pointing to well over 10 pounds, right?

Les Hata's illustration of a golden trevally (pa'opa'o)...

...and his illustration of a barred jack.

Here's Erik's own account both of catching his ulua as well as the process for ascertaining it's approximate weight!


So i think it was  12 pounds.  A friend from Oceanic Inst. said over 10 easy and another who caught a 9.5 Papio said mine looked more like 15 lbs. so I aim for the middle. The cooler lid has a ruler that measures 20 inches and there is almost an inch from where the ruler begins/ends at each end of the lid. 

I held the fish's tail shaft that marked 1inch and dragged the rest of the tail section onto 1-inch mark of the ruler and it was 28 inches.  The fish had black and gold overlapping vertical stripes but the yellowish color is not as noticeable in the picture except where it comes to a point in the white area of the belly.

I shot it with a 2 band Omer way outside Kailua boat ramp at the outer reef by myself.

I wanted weki only, got one, shot a red kumu, and after 3+hrs was about to go in but saw this guy almost out of range and took the shot.  It actually pulled me thru the water before going into a hole. Luckily i was able to grab the line and wrap it around my gloves before it took off again, goin back into another hole.

It's spooky coming back in all that way with a 4 yr. old orange juice bottle as my float with all that weight.  There's white tips out there so I immediately re-cocked my gun and every once in awhile I'd feel funny so I would turn around and be ready! 

I felt like a movie star walkin down the beach with the fish.  Everyone was looking, teens gave me a couple beers, locals were trying to name them...I called up friends and we barbacued that night.

I saved  12-14 inches of the tenderloin (about 2-3 inches thick) and cooked it up for my fiance and another couple.  Steamed it, placed on stir fried veggies, and poured hot peanut and sesame oil over it. Very good tasting fish.  Some of it was big soft flaky parts other part of filets had a lobster like texture.  My friends from Oceanic Inst. opened up the stomach and it was full of crab.

Enjoy the photos, I sent one 2x, never sent attachments before!



Thanks, Erik, for sharing and congratulations on a great catch! We're confident there are many more stories like this in your future!

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