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Hilo... First Launch for the New Year

Written by Paul Belmudes
Friday, 08 January 2022 10:00

Leleiwi Surf to Rough for Launch... Settled on 4 Mile

For the first time in four years, I had the opportunity to kayak fish the east side of the Big Island in Hilo. And thanks to the east side gang, HiloDiver, Keverly and EatMoFish who I met on the AquaHunters forum, they guided me and made me familiar to the launch and local conditions of Hilo kayak fishing. Our destination for the 7 a.m. launch was suppose to be Leleiwi Beach Park. But high north facing swells made it sketchy to have a safe launch there. So we decided on an alternate choice choosing 4 mile as our backup.

The 4 mile launch was navigated between a fresh water pond and lava rock flow splitting the surf east far on the outskirts of Hilo Bay. With condos to the right of our launch to mark our landmark return, the four of us made our way to deeper waters. Once I reached the 30 fathom mark, I dropped my opelu rig and started to troll. We respected our distances between each other and made our way through the high swells that were hitting our island over the last few days.

To no avail, not one of us was lucky enough to take on a surface strike in search of pelagics. There was no whale action to video... but my fish finder was sounding off as I located a bottom surface struccture that fish roamed. Using a four ounce weighted rig, I lowered my line and started to fish the bottom. I usually check my bait every five to ten minutes when bottom fishing to make sure the smaller fish do not cannibalize it. I felt a slight resistance to my line as it felt like my opelu banana'd and hooked onto itself to cause the resistance as I was bringing it up. To my surprise when my rig came to the surface, there was a Po'ou (Rose Colored Wrasse) on the end of my line. It was a beautifully colored fish with bugging eyes. I was going to release it, but Shannon, a.k.a. EatMoFish said it looked tasty and wanted it. Later he said that the species was susceptible to ciguatera and he decided to do a test on it with an expired testing kit.

After another hour, we decided to head on in and I gave up on catching my first pelagic on the east side for that day. As we headed on in, the surf was a lot higher and thanks to the guidance of Rob, a.k.a. HiloDiver, we made it safe to shore. Thanks for the invite Hilo as this year I'll make it a plan to fish as many new launch sites as possible while meeting up with the kayak angles of the Big Island. Aloha!