The Secret of Chan’s Reef

I have been fishing with my friend Kirk for more than a decade.  During that time we have fished all over Oahu; on sandbars, reefs, flats, docks, streams, lakes, bays and islands.  We have caught everything from tiny native gobies to hammerhead sharks.  Just before New Year’s I had a chance to join Kirk for an afternoon of papio fishing.

Papio are an ultra-popular game fish in Hawaii but Kirk has his own method for catching them.  It is hard fishing but the rewards are commensurate.  The scenery is spectacular and the experience of fighting a strong apex-predator fish over a jagged and pitted reef in the pounding surf is a truly unique thrill.

Kirk picked up the first fish and narrowly missed a second, much bigger one.  I caught the next two fish, with each successive fish a bit larger than the last.  The second fish was so strong I had a moment of panic as I felt the plastic reel-seat on my rod bend nearly to the breaking point. 

Eating sashimi on New Year’s day is something of a tradition in Hawaii so we kept most of the fish to share with friends and family.
I don’t keep fish very often so I had dust off the sushi knives and try to remember how to cut fish. You can see the results of my effort below…

Fresh papio sashimi dipped into home-grown Korean chili pepper-infused shoyu. Delicious!

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