Kauai’s ‘Pacific Warriors’ set for premiere

Local watermen Adam King and Jason Schmidt have been kayak fishing for more than a decade.

Though they’ve started small, their self-taught skills learned over the years have led them to chasing after the big fish. At the same time, they promote sustainable, low-impact fishing. Now, they have the chance to show the world what they’re about.

“I think they’re going to show us as more like adventure fishermen,” Schmidt said Wednesday. “We’re not out there fishing solely for the purpose of catching the giant fish. We go out there, packing our camp stuff, and having fun. It’s more of a journey than just catching a pile of fish.”

Schmidt and King are two of 13 Hawaiian kayak fishermen featured in Discovery Channel’s new series “Pacific Warriors” which premieres at 7 tonight.

The show follows the fishermen from across Hawaii during the fishing season as they navigate through threatening waters in search of the best catch possible, as well as feature the fishers themselves on how and why they take part in the dangerous sport.

“Pacific Warriors, I’d say, it’s a pretty good mix of local people — local guys and transplant guys — but all guys that share the same passion for kayak fishing, but with a lot of different, colorful backgrounds and reasons why they go,” Schmidt said.

“It’s the lifestyle of the Hawaiian kayak fishermen, but yet it is a community. There is some bragging rights, per se, and some competition. There’s a community of us guys. We all know of each other and we know of each other’s catches. There’s a little bit of that, maybe, rivalry between the islands,” King added about the show. “We all have the same lifestyle, but there is that aspect of who is the (top dog).”

King and Schmidt are the only ones from Kauai who are featured in the series.

“A creator at the production company, Original Media, got a hold of me from one of my YouTube videos. He private messaged me through YouTube,” King said. “He called us up saying that we made the cut and the choice was ours to go forward with it or not, but they really wanted Kauai in there. They wanted to show the differences that all the islands have.”

King and Schmidt weren’t immediately on board to do the show for fear of exposure of Kauai’s natural resources.

“Some guys are going to be super stoked on us. Other guys are going to be like, ‘What are you guys doing? Everybody is going to come,’” King said. “I talked to a lot of people. I talked with a lot of the old uncles about it. I talked with a lot of people from work about it. They were like, ‘You guys are the guys doing it. If it’s not going to be you, you might let it slip through your fingers.’”

“It’s tough, but you don’t want to pass up an opportunity. Our angle, our direction through our club, Sea Soljahs, is to keep it more sustainable — more pono,” he added.

Ultimately, both agreed to do the show with intentions of representing Kauai properly. They are being compensated by Discovery Channel, but declined to give a specific amount.

“We said that the ship is going to sail whether we’re on it or not. So it was like, ‘Who do we want representing Kauai fishing?’ If they didn’t find us, they would have found somebody else,” Schmidt said. “We felt that we could, if it’s portrayed in the right light, get the message across that we want to share.”

Film crews followed King and Schmidt for six weeks from the end of April through the end of May on the water in strong windy conditions, Schmidt said.

“It was definitely not the most ideal time to come over here and film,” he said. “It’s tough, but it’s a lot of fun, too. We’re getting paid to do what we love to do.”

A premiere party will be hosted at the Poipu Beach Athletic Club starting at 6 tonight.

“I’m excited about it. There was a lot of stuff up in the air since May. So in the last five months, there was all this anticipation,” King said. “But to see the stuff that they’re putting out and to see how everyone’s taking it, it actually looks really good. And I’m excited to see it. I would watch it if I wasn’t on the show.”

“The images aren’t all about us just fishing. There’s going to be beautiful images of all the islands. Most of it is about showing the beauty of Kauai and the beauty of all the other islands,” Schmidt added. “We’re excited and proud to be able to showcase the beauty and Kauai for what it really is.”

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