Author: Tavis Kagawa
Fishing For For Hawaiian Sailfish From A Kayak (Kauai)
A few years ago, I had an amazing year in terms of bill fish. I managed to hook up with 5 sailfish in a period of a little more than a year. While this may not be unusual in some areas, it is pretty rare for someone living on Kauai. In hindsight, I realized that I didn't really know a whole lot about fishing back then, so I am more than fortunate to have had the opportunity. So here are a few stories of a classic case of better lucky than good.
Off to a bad start, I had already been sent back to shore from 30 yards out. After making it past the initial shorebreak, my rudder got jammed and I proceeded to get slammed by a succession of waves losing everything that was not tied down and had my kayak filled with water about half way. Had to take a break on the beach and bilge my kayak before I even got started. My partners for the day radioed me that they had found some of my stuff floating and would hold on to it until I got back out.
After some major delays I managed to get myself back out there on a late start. Luckily I managed to pick up a couple of opelu to run as live bait. However, my partners were out of sight. With not a whole lot of landmarks, I was having trouble locating them. About an hour in to my hide and seek mission, I took a major strike, to until this day is probably the largest fish I ever pulled up. After a near 40 minute fight, I had a giant trevally next to me that looked over 100 pounds. No gloves, no gaff, no kage, and no intention of keeping it, it was released to fight another day.
Tired from the previous battle, I finally managed to meet up with the others a few hours later and I had picked up a small tuna. Everyone was out of bait at that point so we decided to see if we could pick up some uku or job fish in the shallows. Luckily I found a small pile of bait and made a few pieces. One of my friends immediately got an uku on the line only to get it instantly smashed by a tiger shark. A few moments later my reel starts screaming. I am starting at the reel as I have never seen line being stripped that quickly. My friend yells “Tail walk! Your on a bill.” I turn only to see the splash. About 5 seconds later while I am setting the hook, I see the craziest thing I have ever seen on the water. 4 dorsal fins zip past me like heat seeking missiles heading right to the large silhouette 20 yards in front of me. Knowing I am about to lose it all, I hit free spool hoping my potential trophy will outrun the tax men.
When I was down deep in my backing, I started pulling the fish back to me. Unfortunately not a single piece made it back to the boat as the sharks took it back chunk by chunk. With every tug of the line I could feel it get lighter. Although, that was completely insane I was more in shock than anything else. I really thought I blew my once in a lifetime chance.
A few weeks later, I am out fishing in the exact same spot. A pretty uneventful morning with a pretty bad case of fishing ADD that is not paying off. Eventually I get a lazy strike and hear some slashing in the water. I am thinking houndfish or aha and am not very happy about it. A few seconds later a silver rocket launches vertically 15 yards away from the yak. Sailfish on. All I could think about was whether or not I had tied my knots correctly and if it would throw the hook on its next jump. Well that and if the sharks were going to spoil my fun again.
15 minutes of jumping and runs and getting pulled in directions back and forth then he started to slow down. Not knowing what to do I tried to handline him close to the yak. I got lucky in that the fish had really burned most of his fuel or I could have been in some serious trouble. After a few tries, I managed to get the kage shot in and got it on the boat. What an amazing day, and what an amazing fish. Man was I glad that I was not fishing solo. Having a partner nearby for support really saved the day. I will admit that I was nervous as hell and not sure what to do when the fish has a bigger weapon than you do.
Luckily I got most of the battle on footage. Please forgive my amateur video skills. Until next time.........
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