Bullbuster In Action:

Surviving The Aquahunters Makahiki 2016

Author: Tavis Kagawa

9 Months, 40 days, 1 season. AQUAHUNTER'S MAKAHIKI FISHING TOURNAMENT. More than just your weekend warrior Tournament.

fish caught on a kayak

9 Months, 40 days, 1 season. However you look at it the Aquahunters Makahiki is more than just a fishing tournament. Personally, I have always considered it more of a league.

When I first started taking kayak fishing seriously a little more than 2 years ago, I also stumbled upon aquahunters.com. I found a couple like minded friends and we quickly got addicted. I would troll the forums late night checking out the posts from people I thought of legends in the sport. Andy Cho, Steve Cho, Chris Paglinawan, Rob Wong Yuen, and Isaac Brumaghim to name a few.

By the time I signed up for the 2015 Rec division tournament, I hadn't even caught a pelagic fish over 10 pounds. I thought to myself “Hey at least is something to look forward to each weekend.” If nothing else it would motivate me to get better and meet some great people along the way.

Fast forward 2 years and here I am winning the first Team Makahiki with my partner Kyle Yokoyama. While my individual score was far from record shattering, it was enough to put me in the top 5 of any Pro Division year which is more than enough for me.

winning catch

Based off my experiences here are a few survival tips for anyone entering a kayak fishing league or even just a weekend tournament:

  • Get conditioned – 

  • When leisure fishing, one can simply go in when they are tired. You are going to need to develop stamina to stick out the long and rough days.

  • Pack food and water – 

  • Of all the things that caused me throw in the towel, hunger is among the top. The importance of water cannot be stated enough either. I usually go in long before I run out of water.

  • Bring ammo – 

  • Nothing is worse than not having the right tackle for what is biting. Be prepared with an ample supply of rigs, line, lures, and bait.

  • Think about the competition– 

  • It can be difficult to stay motivated after 8 hours or 8 months, but if you thinking about what the competition is probably doing was always enough to keep me going.

  • Have a game plan and a back up plan – 

  • Sticking to the plan is usually the best idea, but sometimes you just cannot. Plan B often times can save the day.

  • Keep a positive attitude – 

  • Maybe its the extra effort, maybe its the attention to detail, but once your attitude goes south, so does the fishing ….. usually.

  • Get bulk supplies - 

  • You are going to need a lot of tackle and bulk is the best way. Bullbuster.net flourocarbon and braid are my go to!

With news of the format changing in the future, I am excited to seeing new formats and new challengers. If Hawaii wants to stay as one of hot spots for sport fishing, we need to continue to have high level competitors in exciting formats. Not everyone fishes for the competition, and while it is not the main reason why I kayak fish it is something I thoroughly enjoy and hope to continue in the future.

The Aquahunters Makahiki doesn't crown champions, it builds them.  

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