Let’s Go Fishing!

I always thought of the 4th of July as being a day for baseball and barbecues, but for the first time in a long time we decided to go fishing. My husband’s family hasn’t done this for a while and it’s been even longer for us.

The weather people and the surfers were expecting a swell on Wednesday and the surfers were waiting. But, the surf didn’t materialize when and where it was expected. The surfers weren’t happy. But we were! Nice, flat water is great for reef fishing!

Scenic view looking towards Yokohama

We were a mile or two from Yokohama where the under-toe can be very nasty; as long as you’re not swimming in it you’re fine. That didn’t sound good. You would still be fine if you’re swimming in it… you just need to be a strong swimmer. Of course there’s always those reef sharks.

Rod Fishing

Rod couldn’t get line on the poles fast enough. He couldn’t wait to get that line in the water. The fish started biting almost immediately.

Vance Fishing

Vance, above, made a pot of gandule rice and brought it along — pot and all. It’s a little difficult to eat while fishing, but several of us managed. Below, we see Chad ready to throw the line back out and wait for another bite.

Chad Fishing

The men like to fish. But, the ladies do too and, believe me, they had their share of bites!

Girls Fishing

The highlight of the day was Chad’s Blythe with her stick fishwife, Blythe. This was her first time fishing and the fish couldn’t wait to bite her line!

It was comical at first because while the boys were catching hagi (trigger fish), mamo (Hawaiian Sergeant fish), and hinalea (Elegant Coris, I think), Blythe kept catching rock cods and she kept saying, “I don’t like this fish, it’s ugly!”

The hagi is similarly shaped to the Picasso trigger fish we call humu humu nuku nuku apua’a, also known to us as Hawaii’s State fish. People like to say that it’s unofficially our State fish because nobody in office has officially proclaimed it as such. I’m not going to say “unofficially.” Too bad — the humu humu nuku nuku apua’a IS Hawaii’s State fish!

Anyway, the hagi is a trigger fish too but it’s black instead of colorful. It is an excellent fish to eat and has no bones, except for its single back bone. It tastes more like chicken than any other fish I’ve ever eaten.

Blythe with the only Ininui caught

Blythe continued to have an extreme case of beginners luck! She pulled in weird things like the stick fish you see above, or needle fish, or whatever it is. I had never even seen a catch like that before. It was very pretty and looked like a mini swordfish. They threw it back.

In addition to the amusing things that Blythe was catching, she was the first person to catch a nenue (or ininui, as seems to be the popular pronunciation).

The best I can determine is that these are chubs or rudder fish. They are one of the many reef fish common to Hawaiian waters.

The guys like to get a bite from a nenue because it puts up more of a fight than the other fish, so it presents more of a challenge.

Of course the nenue has a lot of bones and is better for vinegar fish. It also tastes a lot fishier than the hagi. So if you don’t like fishy fish, I strongly recommend the hagi (trigger fish).

DadDad, who taught all of these fishermen, and fisherwomen, everything they know, spent the day watching the action and attaching new hooks, weights and lines for everybody as the fish kept stealing things and breaking the lines.

For Blythe, Dad had the task of removing the hooks from the mouths of her caught fish.

Okay, you didn’t think she was going to do it herself, did you?!?

Dad enjoyed watching them and would have been out there too but the surf has managed to chew up the shore line pretty good and the reef has several holes and the rocks are sharp. Mom, in the white t-shirt below, watches out for him all the time. They’ve been married for over fifty years so it’s just what she does! Men need that.

Family fishing

As for me, I had my bate stolen, I fell and got wetter than anticipated, fell again (the seaweed was slippery) and when I drew blood I beached myself and started to take pictures instead, and write for you guys.

The rocks were pretty nasty and razor sharp so watching was a much better option for sure!

As luck would have it, and as odd as I am about such things, I get to be the lucky one to spot a gravestone cemented to the reef at right about the high-tide water line.

Stone mounted on the reef

I tried to look her name up on the Internet when I got home but I couldn’t find out anything about her.

Perhaps she was a family member of the family that now lives in the house fronting the beach where we were.

Stone at rising tide

Ellen May McEnroe Miles. Hmmm… who is she and why is this here? The inscription says, “Soaring through the heavens.”

Maybe someone will leave a comment about who she was or why her grave marker is here. It’s quite a conversation piece.

Okay, back to the fish. The family of fisher-people brought in nearly thirty fish for their trouble, maybe more.


Some of these guys are great for frying while others make a good soup.

Blythe and Cheryl

Cheryl, on the right, was the happy host to the catches of the day. They all ended up at her house for Dad to clean them later.

The guys kept trying to beat Blythe’s catch and to hook some of their own coveted nenue.

Trying for ininui

They kept trying…

Still trying...

…and trying…

Trying but running out of daylight

…and trying, until the sun was almost gone.

Billy catches another hagi

But, they just kept pulling in more hagi. Oh well… Blythe wins!!!

Done Fishing

Billy was the last die-hard out there and, finally, he threw in the towel.


It was a nice day with great weather — hot but still comfortable.

Sun setting

Every body brought food to eat but there wasn’t a lot of eating. We brought a lot of water to drink and that was popular. It was hot but the tradewinds were blowing nicely. Part of the afternoon was overcast and that helped a lot too.

Debbie and Haley

Debbie and Haley had the right idea — kick back, relax and stay cool!

All in all it was a nice day and a lazy, Happy 4th of July!

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 A Week In The Life of A Redhead // Jul 7, 2007 at 11:01 am

    How did I miss not joing this website community?? I love Hawaii and am sorry to say that I have not been back in 20 years. 🙁
    At least I can visit through your blog-
    Catherine, the redhead

  • 2 Evelyn // Jul 7, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Catherine! Thank you for stopping by! I think you should come back to visit and bring your little guy with you when you do. Maybe we can take him fishing! I told my husband we need to take a first aid kit next time for those rocks! He said we need pillows to sit on! I don’t know why we didn’t just sit on the sand. Duh! Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving your comment. 🙂

  • 3 Carole // Jul 9, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    That sounds like a wonderful day, Evelyn. I’m sorry you got hurt, but so glad that you stopped to take all of these lovely pictures for us.

  • 4 Evelyn // Jul 10, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Glad you stopped by, Carole! I didn’t mind getting hurt so much. It was kind of nice to watch and study family behavior. Besides, it’s always good to be taken down a peg now and then so we don’t get too cocky! 🙂

  • 5 Katsu // Aug 1, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Did you folks eat the Mamo? I’ve lived here all my life but have never tried to eat that one. I’ve eaten Manini which is the most similar to the Mamo but not quite. Thanks for the reply if any 🙂

  • 6 Evelyn // Aug 9, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Hello, Katsu! Spam katsu sounds good right about now. 🙂

    I’m not sure who did what with which fish, to be honest. Dad is the one tasked with cleaning them all and I have eaten hagi (great fish with very few bones but smells really bad during cleaning) but the others may be been fried or used for soup. I know the rock cods were always Grandma’s favorite for soup. As far as the mamo is concerned, I really don’t know. I’m not much of a fish eater myself so I wouldn’t have kept track of who did what. I’ll try to ask Dad what happened to them and if he remembers I’ll come back and let you know!

    Thank you so much for asking, Katsu! I love that name too. 🙂

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