NAWILIWILI — The toau, or perch, were biting hot and heavy Sunday during the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Father’s Day Keiki Fishing Tournament which unfolded at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor.
“We had a choice of Kokee (for trout), or here,” said Chris Cordle, one of the first anglers to register. “We were packed up and ready to go, but we left the choice up to Riley, who chose to come here.”
The choice was perfect as the young angler finished with “Ugliest Fish” honors after snagging the only puffer fish in the tournament which allowed youngsters and their families 90 minutes of fishing.
Following a couple of entries of eels, one of which sent Shale Shore scampering after a wayward eel with a bucket, the toau flooded in. The overflow sent weighmaster Edd Schepker and NYC officials to the drawing board to come up with awards for Biggest Toau (Kaikoa Gonsalves), Biggest Perch (Ethan Fulmer), Next Biggest Toau (Kamehanaokala Kahoohalahala), Funniest Perch (Jhayleiyah Yoshimoto), Biggest Fins Toau (Keanu Ebesu), Biggest Lips Toau (Julia Schilleli), Biggest Eyes Toau (Kira Weaver), Prettiest Toau (Jazen Kaneakua), My Toe Ouch (Inana Lowry), and Skinniest Toau (Malie Miyazaki), among others.
Ethan’s brother Eric, of South Korea, was one of the fish tale mongers, joining Zane Victorino with the story of a barracuda that got away.
“If we had a net, we would have had it,” said Gordon Higa, a local fishermen who “adopted” the South Korean family. “It was pretty good sized, but the hook cut through as we were pulling it in. We needed that net.”
Higa said he’s been attending the Father’s Day tournament for the past 12 years.
“I used to come with my granddaughter,” Higa said. “When she left five years ago, I ‘adopted’ these people from the Mainland and South Korea.”
Reyson Goias-Abrigo was practicing ahead of the 11 a.m. start time. The practice across from the area cleared by Malama Huleia paid off as the young angler earned Most Fish Caught by Hook honors. Niko Laborte, coming in early with the eel which sent Shore scrambling, earned Biggest Fish honors based on length and girth.
A hammerhead shark which thrilled everyone earned Next Biggest Fish honors for Jaily Ramos.
Other winners included Longest Fish (Kekai Texeira), Next Longest Fish (Javin Kaneakua), Fattest Fish (Talan Goias), Next Fattest Fish (Nalani Rose), Most Unusual Fish (Chayse Garcia), Prettiest Fish (Cheylee Laborte), Most Psychodelic (Waileia Malina), Biggest Papio (Chance Kihara), Mamo with Darkest Stripes (Kamahao Kahoohalahala), Fastest (Kasen Goias-Abrigo), Best Juggler (Zane Victorino), Best Dancer (Ty Tsukayama), Biggest Belly (Francesca Brown), Best Swimmer (Ona Lowry), Best Colors (Nainoa Lopes), Best Jumper (Kaylee Tokuda), Best Upside Down Swimmer (Alfred Aki), Scaliest (Taylor Perreira), Best Bubble Blower (Jayden Kaneakua), Brightest Stripes (Kekai Delacruz), Squirreliest (Koy Tsukayama), and Nuttiest Squirrel (Mya Gano) who trooped into the contest with less than an hour remaining.
All anglers received a share of prizes donated by NYC members and generous community businesses. Emcee Tony LeHoven made sure there was no shortage of fish tales from imaginative anglers.
Bonnie Tiffany, the NYC event chair, and her husband, Doug, kept the grill filled with hot dogs for hungry anglers and their families.
“Remember, you need to turn in your fish today,” LeHoven said. “There’s no keeping it until next year.”