PORT ALLEN — Captain Curtis Matsumura of the Keiko M worked the crowd huddled among the boats and scale set up at the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor Saturday evening during the Port Allen Fishing Clubs 18th annual Fishing Derby.
Despite talk of “the big fish not biting,” Matsumura and his crew of Clinton Fujii and Chad Tabuchi extracted gasps of awe from the crowd when its second ahi surged into the lead, Matsumura verifying the weight that teased the 215-pound mark, settling at 215.7 pounds.
Earlier, Matsumura teased the crowd when his first fish settled at 172.75 pounds.
The weight of Keiko M’s first fish kept Robbie Correa’s hopes alive when the captain of the Mapuana II submitted a 206-pound ahi for the early lead in the category.
“It was so easy,” said Robbie III, the captain’s son. “I pulled in the fish. I do it all the time. It was so easy. We hooked the first ahi, weighing in at 116.25 pounds, around noon. The second fish was hooked about 1:30 p.m. and we came in well ahead of the 5 p.m. stop fishing.”
The Keiko M topped the ahi category with its 215.7 pound entry followed by the Mapuana II at 206 pounds. Third place went to the Fish-N-Chicks captained by Jonathan Ashby at 192.65 pounds followed by the Kai Mali‘e, captained by Austin Galas, another young angler, at 190.7 pounds. The Chesne K, captained by Sean Kitamura, rounded out the leaderboard at 187.85 pounds in the field where 14 fish in the category crossed the scales.
The Fish-N-Chicks was the third boat to submit multiple ahi for weighing in, one of the spectators wrapping up his day of fish viewing and boat arrivals by noting that the Keiko M, coming in about an hour following the stop fishing time, would probably take the total ahi poundage competition as well.
Galas stirred the audience to excitement when the Kai Mali‘e revealed that in addition to its ahi, it pulled in a pair of marlin, the heaviest coming in at 301.85 pounds, and the second settling at 187.4 pounds.
“We gotta let the next generation take over,” one of the Kai Mali‘e’s crew quipped as the young Austin Galas was summoned to verify the weight before signing his entry card.
The Kai Mali‘e lead in the Marlin category stood throughout the afternoon, challenged late in the day when the Kekoa, captained by Albert Kaui docked just ahead of the Keiko M.
“That’s the one we were waiting for,” said a member of the Port Allen Fishing Club weigh crew. “They called in with the big one at 225 pounds.”
Kaui’s fish settled at 301.1 pounds, falling short of the lead by less than a pound.
As the last marlin crossed the scales, the Kai mali‘e claimed the first place for Marlin, followed by Kekoa, and Kai Mali‘e at third place at 187.4 pounds. The Makoa, captained by Todd Medeiros, settled at fourth place at 158.6 pounds followed by the Mahealani, captained by Justin Ipac, at 154 pounds in the field of seven marlin being weighed in.
Brent Olsen, captain of the Hukilau, pointed out that they made the front page of the paper during last year’s derby. His crew repeated the feat by topping the ono category with his entry that weighed in at 41.2 pounds followed by the Haruko, captained by Eric Ichimasa at 38.6 pounds, and the Fish-N-Chicks who weighed in a 36.5-pounder in the field which included 13 fish being weighed in.
Paul Schurch, captain of Kupono, came in with three ono, the heaviest tipping the scales at 27.5 pounds, with Isabelle II, captained by James Tavares, and Makoa each coming in with two ono apiece.
Joshua Aceret Ipac of the Big Ta Do crew clenched his fist and pumped in elation when his aku, one of four submitted, tipped the scale at 28.8 pounds.
The weight was enough to top the aku category as the Big Ta Do, captained by Jude Schwarze, took first and second place with its second fish at 27.35 pounds, edging out the Haruko who weighed in at 27 pounds in the field where six fish were recorded. The Big Ta Do captured fourth place at 26.9 pounds followed its 25.65-pounder for fifth. The Alayna Ann, captained by Sheldon Garcia, rounded out the field at 22.6 pounds.
There were no mahi being weighed in for this derby.