LIHUE — Troy Refamonte reacted with glee as weighmaster Ron Young announced the weight of 123 pounds Sunday during the weigh-in of the 19th annual Kmart shoreline fishing tournament.
His joy was shared by the crowd that surrounded the giant ulua, under quick tents set up in the Kmart parking lot.
“One hundred twenty-three pounds, exactly,” Refamonte said. “That’s what we weighed in. We hooked up this big boy around 2 a.m. Saturday and it took all five of us to get it in.”
The elation over the big catch was short-lived as the cheers were replaced with groans as Refamonte announced that he wasn’t registered for the tournament that attracted more than 120 keiki (up to age 17) and more than 163 adult anglers.
“I just wanted to see how much it weighed,” Refamonte said. “I didn’t think we were going to catch anything so I didn’t enter. Earlier, we lost the battle with a fish that we estimated weighed more than 50 pounds. This is redemption. But we didn’t enter the contest.”
The announcement kept the field open for Ryan Koerte who had confirmed his 67.5-pound ulua. Koerte kept the lead until late in the weigh-in when Garren Leanio-Balagat turned in a fish that settled the scales at 91 pounds for the top honor.
Another ulua, a 21.67-pounder by Travis Sumida, closed off the barbless class and earned the angler top honors. He waylaid concern about not being able to catch the big ones using barbless hooks by thumping the underside of the fish and the hook and leader popped free.
For the keiki, top honors in the 4-8 division, went to Kysen Bucao on a 5.69-pound entry.
Kainoa Kimata-Lopez’s kagami, or mirror ulua, weighed in at 7.77 pounds to top the 9-12 category, and Leon Penias had an 8.67-pound fish to lock up the 13-18 category.
“We love the ocean,” said Janis Kimata-Lopez, Kainoa’s mother. “We even tried again this morning before coming in.”
Manuel Emproso Jr. commanded the papio division with his 9.99-pound entry, a mere .01 pound shy of being ineligible for the class, and Jonah Nishi’s 7.0-pound oio soared to the top of that division.
“We’re going for weight,” said Gary Fujioka who unloaded his cooler of its to‘au, or perch, load.
As the fish piled onto a cookie sheet, Fujioka relinquished his weight of more than 7 pounds to the team of Keith Price and Johnny Pongasi who came up with multiple weighings for more than 26 pounds.
“We know where the fish fry is tonight,” said DJ Marv deVera while Kmart manager Anthony Florek used his cell phone to take a picture of the heap of to‘au.
The leaderboard for the different classes follow:
Keiki Ages 4-8: Kysen Bucao (5.69), Ashton Leanio-Balagat (3.43), Halia Vicoy (2.54), Kaikona Davis Caberto (2.29), Xyden Farias-Navor (2.14), Makaijah Schmitt (2.11), Mandy Emproso (2.08).
Keiki Ages 9-12: Kainoa Kimata-Lopez (7.77), Pookela Silva (5.90), Shawn Javier (4.45), Branden Balagat (2.73), Jaden Kaneakua (2.48), Javin Kaneakua (2.30), Kekoa Camelo (1.64), Darren Aranda (1.52), Christian Dela Cruz (1.25), Alexa Balagat (1.11).
Keiki Ages 13-17: Leon Penias (8.67), Kaisen Taniguchi Duclayan (3.46), Thyten Pongasi (2.44), Isaiah Silva-Louis (2.39), Jordan Nakamura (2.37), Aaron Silva (.97), Jensen Buttulayan (.84), Tylise Sadomiano-Amorin (.51).
Largest Oio: Jonah Nishi (7.0), Dawn Cummings (5.17), Bronston Correia (3.96), Steve Bercasio (3.19), Randall Takenaka (2.88), Rex Oshiro (2.83), Richard Ragudo (2.54), Antone “Keola” Farias (2.37), Aaron Yoshimitsu (1.69), Gary Fujioka (1.60), Clayton Ancheta (1.48), Chad Valmoja (1.35), Ann Gossard (1.0).
Ta‘ape/Toau/Roi Total Weight: Keith Price (26.43), Travis Sumida (11.51), Edward Vicoy (9.23), Gary Fujioka (7.69), Les Oshiro (6.29), Aaron Yoshimitsu (4.64), Nelson Acosta (.84).
Others (Saltwater 5 pounds under): Austin Galas (4.37), Brannen Bueno (4.37), Andy Kim (4.24), Allan Andres (4.08), Brian Morales (4.02), Paul Medeiros (4.0), Clayton Ancheta (3.73) Jeiana Battulayan (3.59), Jerry Albarado (3.56), Taelin Sugimura (3.08).
Others (Saltwater 5 pounds over): Bryson Nagamine (kahala 14.87), Jensen Mabini (kahala 7.81), Roy Caberto (palani 6.86), Jerry Albarado (palani 5.46), Austin Galas (5.0), Gary Fujioka (nenue 3.65).
Ulua: Garren Balagat (91.0), Ryan Koerte (67.5), Philip Hocson (45.0), Allan Andres (45.0), Dustin Villatora (44.5), Bronston Correia (42.5), John Bostock (42.5), Cippy Ragocos (41.5), Cale Fernandez (36.5), Lance Ragudo (35.5), Jensen Mabini (35.0), Randall Takenaka (34.0), Kirk Mabini (34.0), Aaron Yoshimitsu (31.0), Barrett Daligdig (30.5).
Papio: Manuel Emproso Jr. (9.99), Makana Aki (8.03), Mason Koetje (7.50), Chase Kaneakua (7.47), John Ka‘aihue (5.98), Bronston Correia (2.57), John Bostock (2.45), Aaron Yoshimitsu (2.41), Richard Ragudo (2.10), Keith Price (2.03), Harvette Acosta (1.0).
Barbless: Travis Sumida (21.67), Aaron Yoshimitsu (16.85), Tony Belarmino (2.88), Helen Uemura (2.37).