Pier pressure

Elderly anglers know the spot on Westside

BY Dennis Fujimoto – The Garden Island

WAIMEA — The papio and to‘au did not get away.

Each of the fish, perfectly sized for pan frying, was carefully wrapped in Ziplock bags and cooled from the morning heat atop a layer of ice in Satoe Oyama’s cooler.

“Three got away,” lamented Mrs. Yoshida, 95, a bit farther down the landmark Waimea Pier.

Yoshida, who claims to have been photographed by The Garden Island newspaper last year, was one of the Monday morning regulars at the pier, tending to her two poles from between slats of the protective fence leading to the pier.

“I fight ‘em, and I fight ‘em, but the line broke,” Yoshida said. “Three times, I fight ‘em, the line broke.”

As she resigned herself to an empty cooler, she said she should’ve put on 20-pound line instead of the smaller test she had on her two poles.

Oyama, who has been fishing at the pier for more than 20 years, was more fortunate with her dinner of pan-fry sized catches securely wrapped in her cooler.

“Even if they bite, or not bite, I come here,” Oyama said. “This is kind of like exercise.”

The elderly fisherlady said the exception is when the waves are rough, or when it rains.

But on Monday, the two elderly anglers had the benefit of large surf pounding the Eastside of Kaua‘i, leaving the leeward side resembling a lake as waves lapped onto the shore in the quiet morning air.

“I come here a long time,” Oyama said, deftly flipping spoonfuls of chum into the water. “I think it’s been over 20 years. The only time it gets crazy is when the halalu bite.”

Oyama said when the halalu first start biting, they hit the outside of the pier.

“I get to sit on the side because people start coming from about 2 a.m.,” she said. “And the outside people catch 50 or 60 fish. I might get two.”

She said if you want to be involved in the halalu madness, you have to come real early to get a spot.

“But, I old already, so I have to be careful,” Oyama said. “They stopped biting for today, but every time I think I going, they pull, so I stay.”

In the meantime, she is content because on Monday, she had two fish in her cooler waiting for the frying pan.


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