Reeling in the big catch

It was a successful and fun day as over 50 Kaua‘i competitors tested their skills at the 2nd annual Kaua‘i Free Dive Spear Fishing Tournament.

The event was held at Anini Beach this past weekend.

“Everything went smoothly,” said tournament organizer Jon Barretto. “Like last year, the conditions held out a lot. It’s kind of funny because I thought that we might have to postpone the event because a storm front might come through.

“But it turned out to be a calm day. There were no swells. It wasn’t dirty water. I was like, ‘Thank God’.”

Barretto was also helped by event coordinator Paul Zina.

Spear guns, dive floats were the main prizes awarded to winners from the event. In addition, gift certificates and other prizes were raffled off.

“Overall, I think everyone was satisfied by the amount of prizes that were given out,” Barretto said.

Kaua‘i resident Joe Bento took top overall honors as he speared an 18.20-pound Kahala.

Next in line after Bento was Kelly Arakaki who caught a 14.42-pound Kahala. Steve Roush (11.82 pound Kahala), Edwin Raposas (10.82 pound Uhu) and Aaron Efhan (10.80 pound Uhu) rounded out the overall finishers.

Tom Pickett speared the biggest Uku at 4.26 pounds while David Schad, a 2.54 pound Mu, and Nathan Nishikuni with a 2.74 pound Tako earned the biggest fish in their respective classes.

“I got a lot of feedback from the participants,” Barretto said. “They liked the event because it emphasized a little more fairness. Our point of view before we started the tournament is that we wanted to emphasize safety and conservation.

“In terms of safety, we required that all participants had a dive flag and dive partner in case they got in trouble.”

The event coordinators wanted to thank the following tournament sponsors; Miura Store, King Auto, Kintaros Restaurant, Kuhio Motors, Lihue Fishing Supply, Safeway, Hyatt Regency Resort, Waipouli Variety, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Coconuts Restaurant, Cost-u-less, Royal-T Entertainment, Aloha Kauai Tours, Maui Sporting Goods, Paul Zina, Jonah Ka‘auwai and everyone else that helped contribute.

Special thanks to; Seasport Divers, Hanapa‘a Hawaii, Paradise Beverages, Vibe Auto Sounds, Gaspro and Mark’s Place for their generous donations.

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