Hanapa‘a fishing tournament hauls in more than fish

NAWILIWILI — More than 70 anglers competed in the second annual Hanapa‘a Shoreline Fishing Tournament, Sunday, at Nawiliwili Park.

“This is all about fun with families and being together at the beach,” said Tarey Low, the emcee for the derby.

Gordan Higa of the weigh team said Stanton Yoshimori was the winner of the Ulua category with his 39-pound entry  because his wife was expecting at any time.

Yoshimori, on the coaching staff of one of the Lihu‘e Baseball League Protect Our Nation’s Youth division winners, said the arrival of the baby will keep him home while his team travels to Hilo later this week to participate in the state tournament.

His entry did not raise any eyebrows, but as the two-hour weigh-in period waned, Yoshimori became anxious while sitting calmly atop his fish cooler.

“Where is the 100-pounder?” Higa asked as tales of the “Big Boy” filtered through Facebook and the fishing camps gathered under the ironwood shade.

Kevin Pongasi turned up a double winner with two of the fish in his cooler — the Heaviest Papio tipping the scale at 9.3 pounds and the Lightest Ulua at 11.4 pounds.

In the final ticks of the weigh-in, it seemed like Dave Kealoha would usurp that weight, but the scale settled at 11.9 pounds.

Ricky Oyama earned second place honors in the Ulua category with a 21.9-pound beauty, edging out Kirk Mabini whose fish weighed in at 19.4 pounds.

Following Pongasi’s 9.3-pound leader in the Papio division, Joseph Coloma weighed in an 8.2-pound fish, edging past Kealoha whose entry stopped at 7.8 pounds.

Philip Hocson topped the Oio class with an early 4.5 pound entry followed by Oyama at 3.9 pounds and Kevin Nakao at 2.9 pounds.

Brayden Perreira-Gonzales came up with a 5.5-pound awa to top the Others category followed by Hocson entering a 3.5 lai and Travis Valmoja with a 1.3-pound entry.

Bryson Carbonel topped the Keiki category with a 2.1-pound palani, tying with Kai Brun, but Carbonel got the edge based on weighing in ahead of Brun. Rema Wong came in with a 2-pound nenue to round out the leaderboard.

The event benefitted Hale Ho‘omalu, an Eastside family support center provided by Child and Family Service.

Dory Farias, manager of Hale Ho‘omalu, said she sees a lot of families at the Kapa‘a facility.

“They come for the food pantry and help with housing and other basic needs,” she said. “We’ve become a one-stop shop for families in need through the help of programs from the Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity.”

Avo Asdourian has a unique souvenir to take back to the Mainland.

Kristen Low presented the representative from the American Automobile Association with an Akamai Towing/Next Level Customs tournament shirt when the visitor dropped in on the weigh-in action.

“This is such a good event,” said Asdourian, who works for AAA Hawai‘i, one of the sponsors of the event. “I was on O‘ahu so made a side trip to check out this tournament before going to Kona. But I’m sure the AAA people will be pleased and will probably want to help in an even bigger way next time.”

AAA Hawai‘i provided reusable shopping bags for event participants.

Non-anglers were not excluded from the activities at the park. They were invited to make donations for a chance to win prizes, including a special fish painting valued at about $400.

Joining AAA Hawai‘i as a sponsor were BF Designs, Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i, Sugar Mill Cupcakes, D.A.S. Drain Cleaning, Kaikoa Ventures, Dorrie Michioka, FM97, and Rambla, Low said.

Oyama said the next shoreline fishing tournament will be hosted by Big Kmart in about three weeks.

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