HANALEI — The crowd screamed when an ahi brought in by an angler known as Ziggy settled at 192.2 pounds, Saturday at the Hanalei Pier.
“They’re going to go nuts when the other big one comes in,” one of the weigh crew said, smiling at the reaction of the spectators who pushed their way to the yellow caution tape, working their cell phones for a photo while others simply wanted a better look at the big boy.
Two early entries tipped the scales at 134.2 pounds and 136.4 pounds leading spectators to comment about how people already missed a lot of the action.
But that was not the case at the 3rd annual North Shore Fishing Tournament as Eddie Abubo eased his way to the front of the taped off area.
Waiting on the outside, Clay Abubo and his crew were unassuming, working their boat to the floating dock and working the fish box, extracting gasps from the audience as a big tail tumbled onto the deck.
The hitch was fastened and Wayne Tanji worked the remote to hoist the catch.
As predicted by the weigh crew, the audience went wild with screams and cheers as Gary Pacheco, manning the microphone, announced the weight of 199.2.
That proved to be the winning entry in the ahi category.
It was followed just minutes later when a shuttle brought in another ahi and an ono by Stan Morinaka, the ono soaring to the top with a reading of 41.2 pounds.
Jordan Kahananui topped the aku category on a 28.4-pound fish and a 16.8-pound mahimahi topped that category for Jim Spencer.
But the top fish in the categories were not the only thing going home with the 50 boats entered in the tournament.
Chad Pacheco, chair of the tournament for the third year, said the purpose of the tournament is to build camaraderie among the fishermen and the community.
“Every boat which checked in received either a pair of binoculars or a lure head, courtesy of an anonymous donor,” he said.
“In addition to the prizes at this tournament, there is the Mike Sakamoto Challenge, a state competition where the grand prize is a trip for four to Las Vegas. The category in that Challenge is aku.”
Chad Pacheco said the Garden Island Trollers also put up a side pot for a random pull following the tournament as a surprise prize.
Another fun prize was the bouy, signed by all of the committee members and released by a boater, the finder of that bouy earning a special prize.
Nine hours after being released, one of the boats called in the find.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the tournament,” Chad Pacheco said. “This year, the committee decided on the fun prize as kind of a scavenger hunt for fishermen.”
He said over the years, they’ve had dialog with the fishermen, resulting in the introduction of the floating dock at this year’s weigh in.
Another aspect for this year’s tournament was longer fishing times.
“This is what they wanted,” Chad Pacheco said, announcing additional minutes of fishing via the radio. “But I’m only the captain. The crew (committee) makes it easy for me because they want to build this tournament to be known as ‘the tournament to be in.’”
This year’s tournament featured 50 boats, an improvement over the 45 boats in the first tournament and 38 boats from last year’s tournament.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.