NORTH SHORE DREAM RUN
Hawaii fishing doesn't get much better than this account by Ed Kawasaki of some epic kayak fishing on a windy day in May with buddies Mike Ichiyama and Isaac Brumaghin.
I grudgingly awoke to my buzzing alarm clock at 4:00am. I peeked out the window and saw that the palm fronds were just slightly moving in the almost non existent breeze. A good sign! I'm up and on my way in a matter of minutes.
I meet Mike Ichiyama at Haleiwa parking lot at 5:30am and the breeze there is still soft. Alright! This is going to be a good day! Isaac (Ike) Brumaghim shows up 15 minutes later. Hand shakes all around and we have all of our yaks and gear loaded into Ike's truck. As we head out to our starting point 9 miles up the coast, we pass Sunset Beach and notice the palm trees swaying... violently!!! "Oh well, so much for a nice day of paddling."
>When we reach our destination we are greated with 25mph winds and white caps to the horizon! Now I must admit that I was a bit intimidated, but while in the company of hardcore fishermen like Mike and Isaac the testosterone really starts to flow and I wasn't about to whimp out now.
We launch our kayaks and make our way out through the channel in the reef, past the large breakers, and out into deep blue water. Large swells are consistently breaking and eclipse our views of one another even though we are still fairly close together.
The wind out there was howling like mad as I put my mindset into survival mode. "This is going to be a looong paddle. At least it will be exciting!" We set out our lines and start our journey down the coast of Oahu's infamous North Shore, always glancing over our shoulders, looking for the large breakers that constantly try to catch us from behind. The distance between us grows as the wind and swells carry us on our own separate paths.
An hour into the trip, I come upon Mike outside of Sunset Beach. He is engaged in battle with a nice Mahimahi! I quickly reel in my bait to within twenty feet of my kayak to reduce the chance of entanglement if Mike's fish should make a run my way.
I start shooting photos in the churning ocean, which is not an easy thing to do between focusing and keeping an eye on the swells!
Mike gaffs his fish and I snap off a few more pics before paddling over to help him get his fish secured.
When I am right up against Mike's kayak, a fish grabs my bait that is drifting just behind us. I grab my rod as the fish effortlessly peels line from my spinner. Moments later it is gone. "Oh well, never mind. We still got a good one, Mike!"
After helping Mike get his fish stored away, I rig up another bait and set it out. As soon as I start paddling, "Bam!!! Hook up!" Line starts melting off my reel as I watch a nice Mahi start an air show that would make an acrobat jealous. Mike and I look and at each other and start laughing as we are enveloped in the excitement of it all. Mike takes out his camera to get some photos. "Forget the photos!", I holler at him. "Get another bait in the water!" Fifteen minutes later I have my Mahi in the fish bag and we continue our journey down the coast, both of us with goofy grins on our faces!
"Where's Ike?" In all the excitement we had gotten separated from Isaac. We paddled on while keeping an eye out for the usual signs like birds, jumping bait fish, and Ike. A long while later we spot a flock of birds working an area far out on the horizon. "Should we paddle out there?", Mike asks. "Nah, the birds will have moved on by the time we get out there." Nevertheless, we keep an eye on the birds. Suddenly, I catch a glimpse of a tiny yellow speck out by the swooping birds. "It's Ike! Mike, I think Ike's out there!" We immediately start to paddle further out to sea in hopes of finding Isaac.
Many minutes later I find Ike, rod in hand, and an almost bored look on his face. "What you get? One Mahi?", I excitedly ask him. "Yup, I've been fighting him forever." "Yeehaw!!!", I shout in my excitement. Ike doesn't seem to share my enthusiam as he has grown tired of the lengthy battle. I crank in my bait until it is just a few yards from me and then proceed to take some photos of Ike. I snap two photos before Ike calmly says to me, "Uh, Ed... I think you got something." I look up at my rod as it comes slamming down and by reel starts to sing. "Alright Ed! Get um!", Ike hollers. Fifteen minutes later I have another Mahimahi on board and Ike is still fighting his stubborn fish. Ten minutes later Ike loses his fish as the hook finally pulls free. Bummer! "Oh well, can't catch 'em all."
The three of us start off again toward Haleiwa. The remainder of the journey is uneventful, but spirits are high. We finally reach our destination, exhausted from the long paddle. Mike and I drag our kayaks up on the beach, exchange a well deserved hand shake, and proceed to take a few more photos.
Again, "Where's Ike?" Little do we know that Ike is still far outside of Haleiwa, going at it with an eight foot shark! Freaking hardcore!!! That's how I'd describe Isaac. You go fishing with this guy, you better be prepared for anything!
Ike finally reaches shore after letting the shark go and the three of us reflect on the day's events. We all had some epic battles and exciting moments, but more importantly, we all made it in safely!
It was a great trip, one of the best yet. Scary at times, but exhilirating for sure! And to think that I had second thoughts about paddling out this morning!
Mike's fish ended up weighing in at 17-lbs and my two were 14-lbs and 16-lbs.