Other than a small craft advisory for waters east of the Big Island, the Hawaiian Islands offered a perfect day for 25th Pearl Harbor Shipyard annual fishing tournament. Typical trade winds weather dominated the waters off the Waianae coast. As the morning progressed, the winds grew stronger and by noon the seas did get bumpy but that did not deter the 58 participating boats. Ocean temperatures were slightly warmer than the average for July which may have been a contributing factor for the 36 boats who landed a fish before the scales opened at 2:00 pm.
But long before the first hook up and landing of the first Ahi of the tournament was reported by ALEXIA N over the tournament radio, James “Kimo” McClellan, tournament chairman, and Thomas Chow, tournament co-chair, worked to find 22 generous sponsors along with the many volunteers that ultimately made the tournament possible. The execution of the tournament makes for a long day for the volunteers as well as the participants alike.
In the early hours of July 15, Nate Lorenzo and fellow National Association of Superintendents of Naval Shore Establishments along with Pat Morrissey from Federal Managers Association Chapter 19 were onsite at Waianae Boat Harbor to inspect the fishing boxes for the 58 tournament participants. The inspections affirmed that the boats left the harbor with no live bait as only lures were authorized. After the inspection, the boat Captains launched their boats into the harbor and readied themselves for what turned out to be an exciting day on the water. Back at tournament headquarters, the radio is monitored as each boat must report when they hook as fish on their line and when they land a fish in their boat. The radio monitors log all radio communications as well as conduct periodic radio checks with the boats. At 5:00 am, the first lines dropped into the ocean depths and a mere 53 minutes later is when ALEXIA N reported their hook-up. Another 41 fish were landed before fishing terminated at 3:00 pm that were brought to the scale.
As the scales opened, the boats were still landing fish but time was ticking down for the boats who needed to race back to the harbor before the 5:00 pm scale cut-off time. At tournament headquarters, a detailed series of checks ensures the legitimacy of each catch brought to the scale. The first boat to make it to the scale was PASSION PAINTING with a 99.8 pound Marlin. A witness from the boat along with the Weigh Master and a tournament volunteer affirm the weight which is then recorded into a computer along with the boat and fish species. Only two other boats made it to the scale before the tournament fishing secured at 3:00 pm then slow the boats started to fall in line for the scale. Everything was progressing with the weigh-in process when suddenly the scale stopped working not even one hour into the weigh-in process. Another scale was quickly located but the line of boats waiting for the scale continued to grow steadily. By the time the replacement scale was delivered and calibrated, eight boats were patiently waiting their turn at the scale. At 5:00 pm the scale closed with RITA K as the last boat to make the weigh-in. Weigh-ins continued into the early evening hours. Afterwards a tournament auditors verified the accuracy of the computer information and the winners are determined.
The tournament yielded 25 Ahi totaling 3,342 pounds, 6 Aku totaling 118 pounds, 4 Mahi totaling 144 pounds, 5 Ono totaling 135 pounds, and 2 Au totaling 522 pounds. But only the top 15 largest fish to the Weigh Master received a tournament awards certificate. David Nuuanu from Waianae served as the tournament Weigh Master. Congratulations to Captain Keith Frias of KOLOHE K for landing the largest fish of the tournament a whopping 422 pound Au and in order by weight Sean Moromisato with a 195 pound Ahi, Michael Matsunaga with a 179 pound Ahi, Ryan Shiroma with a 176 pound Ahi, Dean Takahashi with a 160 pound Ahi, Greg Hong with a 157 pound Ahi, David Kepaa with a 155 pound Ahi, Renny Muraoka with a 151 pound Ahi, Nate Hasegawa with a 146 pound Ahi, Kevin Tsutsui with a 143 pound Ahi, Tyler Wilcox with a 142 pound Ahi, Ted Low with a 135 pound Ahi, Brian Kawano with a 133 pound Ahi, Rodney Nono with a 132 pound Ahi, and Alfred Treu with a 130 Pound Ahi.
As a bonus to the participants, each received a tournament door prize and a courtesy boat safety check for Jerry Mershung from Coast Guard Auxiliary. A special raffle drawing was conducted to give away the gracious donations from the tournament sponsors to selected boat Captains. By the end of the day, the 25th Pearl Harbor Fishing Tournament turned out to be another successful event. Many thanks to the sponsors, volunteers and participants for being part of this historic event.