It was a typical day out on the boat when Barame Oso, of Haena, and his wife, Nice, took their young buddies Kai Brun and Kenji Matsuda out diving on Saturday.
“With the community, my wife and I take these young Hawaiian kids out on the boat. It’s a good lifestyle and it keeps kids out of trouble,” Oso said Tuesday over the phone. “We go a couple times a week on a boat trip.”
Eariler in the week, Oso found a cave on Kauai’s Westside and marked it in his GPS for reference, Brun said. They dove in other locations, then went to the cave last.
“We figured at the end of the dive, we might as well go check out that area and see if any uluas were in the cave that day,” Brun said, a sophomore at Kapaa High School.
It was in that cave they had a chance of a lifetime.
“Me and my friend Kenji, we jumped in the water. The uluas swam out of the cave. Kenji actually spotted it first,” Brun said of the monster they eventually hauled back to the boat. “He called me to come over by him to shoot it.”
As the uluas were swimming their way out of the cave, Brun and Matsuda took their shots.
“I had shot it. It was fighting for a while. It went back in the cave, and I pulled it back up. Then Kenji shot it again,” Brun said, who also works at the Seasport Divers shop in Kapaa. “When I first shot it, I thought it was about 50 to 60 pounds. Once we pulled it into the boat, we knew it was over 80 pounds.”
When they put the fish on the scale, it weighed 100 pounds even.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a great trophy for anybody,” Oso said. “Usually, we don’t shoot uluas, but this one was a good one for him.”
“He stepped up and made it happen. When he got on the boat, we were overwhelmed with pride,” he added. “To catch a fish that’s bigger than you, that takes courage. We were happy for him.”
Brun added he could possibly get another haul just as big, but doesn’t need to. This one prize is good enough.
“It was one of those milestones for a diver,” he said. “I was with my dad. It’s kind of funny. His biggest ulua he ever shot while diving was 87 pounds. And I got one that’s bigger than his.”
As for what they did with the fish, Brun said they have big plans for it.
“We brought it to my house and cut it up. We’re marinating it right now,” he said. “We’re going to smoke it up and give it away to some people.”