Yee-Haw South Point...
"Ono" Kine Grinz Tonight!
Finally the chance to fish South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii with my friend Reggie Pare' who lives close to our launching destination. Conditions could not be better for kayak fishing with light variable winds of around 5 to 10 miles per hour. For the last four years when I had the opportunity to fish with Reggie, he had always traveled north to fish with us in Keauhou. It took me two and one-half hours to get there from my home in Waikoloa Village.
South Point is just past Hawaii Ocean View Estates as you head down Highway 11 and is the southerly most tip of the United States of America. This was my second time to make it to this area in five years. I always thought of this area as very desolated, but to my surprise as you pass thru it, it reminds me of the rolling hills of Ireland. South Point, "the point" is known for very turbulent converging winds & currents offshore. Great for fishing on calm days and probably one of the worlds best if conditions are right. Now I can say, "I have been as far south as I could be in the USA."
I arrived at Reggies house at 7 a.m. and we headed to our launch destination. It's always a little nerve racking to launch from somewhere new without knowing the surroundings. Lucky for me, I was with Reggie and he covered the safety of the launch, currents, where to fish and where to ditch or get back if conditions change in a second. Reggie pointed out that he only has the opportunity to fish South Point no more than several times a year because of the violent trade winds and strong currents that keep you from returning back to the launch east of the point.
With volcanic smog (VOG) overhead produced by the Big Islands volcano Kilauea, clarity of the beautiful Hawaiian backdrop was not its best. The swell was not-so-bad coming north-east and Reggie went out first as I followed. We proceeded to head east towards the point and passed two local yak anglers already on the water. Nothing was happening for the first two hours, not even a nibble as our opelu (mackerel scad) remained untouched as we were trolling. There were no sight of birds as we canvassed our surroundings. Reggie sweared that this was not the typical action he was use to in South Point. In the past when he fished the area, it did not take long to hook-up a pelagic or two. The concern we had was that if we did catch a fish, it would be wise to get it on the kayak quickly to avoid tiger sharks who are are notorius for biting off the back end of your struggling fish as you bring it on board in this location.
Finally the birds arrived like dive bombers and we hurriedly paddled to the general area. Just before we got to the pile, Reggies reel started to scream. I proceeded to keep trolling and focused on getting a hook-up for myself. Reggie thought he lost his hook-up as line went dead for a moment... but his experience told him that the fish was coming towards him and he reeled his line in faster and found tension again (signs of an ono). I immediately grabbed my video camera from my bag to capture his battle. You can see how strong the fish was as it gave Reggie a Hawaiian sleigh ride. I continued to keep my distance but continued to troll and video taped the action. I fish with a Hobie Revolution that allows me to keep my hands free to video. To my amazement, Reggie wasted no time and brought the 35 pound ono (wahoo) to the surface. With a quick spear to the head, Reggie hoisted the ono onto his kayak and headed out of the bloody area looking for shark followers. Once I saw that Reggie was safe with no sharks following, I continued to troll hoping it would be my turn.
Then I got the call over the VHF radio that a tiger shark was following him. Reggie dropped his shark shield into the water and told me he was heading back in. Knowing that Reggie was going to share his catch with me for my dinner that night, I decided to call it a day. And since we were 2 miles from our launch area, I would troll back in for safety reasons.
All said and done... at the end of the morning after being out on the water with Reggie for three hours, it was great to learn what South Point has to offer for future trips... weather permitting.
Daily Moon Phase