HALALU RUN AT KAILUA BEACH!
It would hardly seem that fishing for halalu would yield the stuff that fishing tales are made of. However, the excitement that fills the air when large dark masses of these small silvery fish appear off of Hawaii beaches is very real!
Halalu, the juvenile "akule" or big-eye scad, run around seven inches and school close to certain Hawaii beaches which receive freshwater from streams emptying into the ocean as you'd find at Waimea Bay, Haleiwa Beach and Harbor, Kaneohe Bay, and sometimes Kailua Beach!
Small and insignificant as they might seem, the halalu cause quite a stir among Hawaii's local folks and possibly even more excitement than the catches brought in by sport-fishers and hung dockside for passers-by to admire. No, you won't find tourists going up to anglers and asking if they could get a picture with that just-caught halalu. In fact, you'd probably not even find many gawkers eyeing the action of anglers casting out their lines into the school.
The other week, I had heard that there was a school of halalu at Kailua Beach, near the boat ramp. So during the weekend, when Laura asked to go swimming at the beach, I took her over to the boat ramp.
Sure enough, there was a group of folks with their light- and ultra-light spinning tackle hooking halalu and having a great time! You could see the school from the shore, a dark shadow-looking shape that moved slowly around the vicinity but never straying very far from their spot just off the beach.
I didn't have my camera so a couple of days later, before heading into town, I thought I'd spin by the boat ramp to see if the school was still in.
As I drove into the parking area there was a group, smaller than the weekend bunch, but nevertheless having a great time. Cars and trucks were backed up to face the ocean and to provide a convenient base to picnic and enjoy the beauty and excitement of the day.
Today the school was pretty hungry as the guys fishing were laughing about hooking the juvenile akule on bare hooks. Don't know if that was true or not but I wouldn't rule out anything when a school of fish is in a feeding frenzy. Yes the fish were being reeled in steadily and the school seemed quite happy to remain in their spot right off the beach.
I'm not sure how long ago the school's been in or how much longer it'll be around. But one thing is certain, there's always a bit of subtle excitement in the air when the halalu are biting.
Is a day of halalu fishing such to be considered a fishing tale? For those who feel not, go out and hook a few, then fry 'em up with some salt and pepper, it might change your mind!