KAPAA — Kamu Van Gieson whacked the deck of “Owell” as the large fish swung over the edge Saturday evening at the Lihi Park pavilion in Kapaa.
As Jolene Spence of the Garden Island Trollers quietly announced the reading, Van Gieson whacked the deck again.
The reaction to the 235.8-pound reading was justified as Van Gieson and his crew rose to the top of the Garden Island Trollers fishing tournament, capturing the Largest Fish honors with their ahi late in the weigh-in period.
“It was really long,” Tovi Boiser told onlookers, many of whom were anglers themselves. “But then, it was heavy. I thought it was going to be more long than heavy.”
Nearly 50 boats turned out Saturday for the annual event.
“We had more boats,” Spence said. “But with the weather service advising of winds up to 40 mph, a lot of the smaller boats pulled out.”
“Kalena Kai,” with Chris Kim skippering, was not one that pulled out.
“Kim’s got the smallest boat, but they have the two heaviest fish of the tournament,” noted one spectator after the Kalena Kai crew came in to take the lead following the 5 p.m. fishing cutoff, with Van Gieson peering over the boat’s gunwale for a glimpse of the ahi.
Kim’s crew, including Storm Kam and Lokahi Barbieto, milked the tension, retrieving a large ono which settled at 53.4 pounds, effectively capturing the top prize in that category.
They followed by pulling the ahi out of the ice, the big fish settling at 205.6 pounds, snared at 9:52 a.m. to bump Abe Apilado from the lead spot. Apilado had weighed in a 197.8 pound catch snared at 10:06 a.m.
“We have some competition,” Spence said, smiling as Van Gieson’s boat pulled in after the “Kalena Kai.” “Some years, it’s really slow. But not today. The ‘Kalena Kai’ even beat out his dad, who came up empty.”
Jana Mundon aboard the “Night Shift,” snagging his ono at 12:35 p.m., secured the No. 2 spot in that category with his catch that settled at 38.2 pounds.
Among the spectators, Mark Matteo said his mahimahi, captured at 7:11 a.m., had the honor of being the heaviest mahi at 29.2 pounds.
“We were the first boat to weigh in,” Matteo said. “We even had an ahi which was 111.2 pounds, but that was bumped.”
Second-place honors in the mahimahi class went to “For Reel” with a 10.6- pound fish.
The crew aboard “For Reel” weighed in its marlin at 101.2 pounds for Lorren Van Fossen and watched the clock tick down as Spence and weighmaster Leland Keale waited for an anticipated marlin which was making its way to Lihi. The truck rolled in after the 6 p.m. deadline and people could only guess at the weight based on the size of the tail sticking out of the fishbox.
The clock also settled a tie in the Others category as a pair of 26-pound aku crossed the scale for the heaviest fish.
Ken Attix, fishing aboard “Reel Laxed,” pulled in his 26-pound aku at 8:41 while Pepe Conley fielded his 26-pounder at 1:35 p.m. and had the time stamp to break the tie.
“I made it,” Conley said, rushing up with his pair of aku, one weighing in at 24.6 and the other at 26.0 pounds, with minutes to spare before the 6 p.m. cutoff. “I was two minutes early, but still too late.”