13 Jun '16
CHASING THE DREAM
Posted by admin in Ahi
As most of you know I have been obsessing over landing an Ahi on the Capri M. for about five years now, and the word obsessed is putting it mildly. Honestly there wasn't single day that went by in that time period that I didn't think about about it at least once. Luckily for me and those that know me that day finally came last week and now I can finally move on with my life. This turning point began in the early morning hours of June 9th 2016, around 3am I woke up, kissed all three of my girls goodbye and hopped in my truck. As I drove out of the wet Kaneohe roads onto the steep H3 with trailer in tow I was feeling optimistic. The trades were cool and light and the moon was covered by dark clouds. I drove the next 50 minutes in complete silence until I hit the Waianae coast and rolled down the windows to let in the warmer trades and hear the ocean calling me. I pull into the harbor and instantly noticed the two dozen boats already there getting set up to launch and it's barely 4am. This is a Thursday so these ain't no weekend warriors these are serious fishermen with boats, trucks and gear that are well into the 250k range. These are the big boys.
I pull up in my Nissan Frontier towing my 17ft center console which is the smallest set up by far and start gearing up myself. All the other captains are gear checking each other but nobody says a word, not even between crew members, total silence. I had recruited a crew member myself the night before and let him know to meet me at 5am. My first mate Kai lives on the Westside so when he didn't show up at the planned time I gave him a wake up call. He showed up 30 minutes later and was greeted by a couple choice words out of my mouth! By this time all the other boats had launched and the sun was rising quickly, oh well whatever lets go. As we motor out into the deep blue the horizon is empty which means all the other boats must be way out. Once we hit the 10 mile mark I catch a glimpse of a bird pile working a huge group of porpoise in the distance and change course to catch them. It's windy the water is choppy and the cloudy sky is giving us a slight drizzle. Not perfect but with birds and porpoise who the fuck cares. I motion to Kai to pay attention and give him a few tips on reeling in big fish as this is his first time fishing. As he nods to me to confirm I can see the queasy look in his face, oh shit this guy is about to be sea sick.
Before I can even start to tease him the long rigger pops and 14/0 begins dumping line at a alarming rate. Just as I direct him onto the reel my short rigger pops and begins dumping line at an even more alarming rate. Holy shit is this really happening!... be careful what you wish for. Kai instantly looks and me and says "the reel isn't working! I can't crank it!". I assure him he just needs to be calm and crank on. Meanwhile I tighten the drag on the other reel and is slows down at about mid spool. We settle in for the fight and I get the other lines cleared and poles out of the way. After 30 minutes of reeling Kai is ready to switch... I think the rolling seas are getting to him. I work it for a bit then give it back, after 30 more minutes we can see color and it's time to focus. You see I had lost an Ahi last month at this exact point and did not want to repeat that tragedy under any circumstance. So the boat slows and I hand the leader to Kai to secure while I go in for the gaf, with the wind and swells turning us the other line tangles with the one we have at the boat and the Ahi takes advantage of the slack and shakes the hook and swims away like he had never been hooked at all. Fuck. Since we still had one on the other reel I get to trying to untangle the lines before he to becomes unhooked... which most surely would have caused me to have a real nervous breakdown. I mean this is a total shit show at this point. Once the lines are untangled the real problem presents itself and this is not good. The line is wrapped around the lower leg of the engine and can only be unwrapped be getting in the water and taking it off by hand. Mind you you we are over 10 miles out to sea in water over 6000 feet deep with not another boat in sight.
So without hesitation or thought of the consequences I do what any captain would do. I take off my windbreaker, tank top and hat and jump into the water without a mask and get under the engine and unwrap that shit... like I said... obsessed. Luckily it's a fairly easy fix and I'm back in the boat in less than 60 seconds although it felt a hell of a lot longer. Meanwhile Kai is looking at me like I have lost my mind and thinking to himself that he didn't sign up for this shit when he accepted my invitation to go fishing. I put the boat back in gear and get the line tight again and motion for Kai to get on the reel but the seasickness has taken him over and he has no strength, ok, all good it happens to the best of us. I tell Kai grab the wheel and keep us going straight, which he does. For the next hour the fish and I battled like something out of an Hemingway novel. It was intense, this beast did not go easy, especially the last 50 feet or so which took up the majority of the fight time. After using every once of mental concentration I could find we finally had the Ahi at leader and gaffed. Now we just had to pull it in the boat which was no easy task, I mean in all the commotion we hadn't realized how big this thing was and we we're spent. As soon as the fish is in the boat Kai instantly starts puking his guts out and I sit and look at this fish in utter awe. Oh yeah it's only 7:30am. The dream had been realized! Many mahalos to first mate Kai for bringing the good luck... couldn't have done it without you brother!, Uncle for showing me how it's done!, Auntie for skirting the lure!, Sky for cutting the fish! and last but not least Kristen, Capri and Rell for letting me get out there! Aloha - RM