And so we begin the 4 day Hawaii adventure, in which I hope to catch new species (especially a sharpjaw bonefish) and preserve my dignity against a 12 year-old girl who has consistently outfished both me and her father. The tale of the tape seems to give me a slight edge:
Steve Wozniak Jaime Hamamoto
Age: 46 Age: 12
Height : 6’0″ Height: 5’1″
Weight: 220 Weight: 94
Reach: 35″ Reach: 24″
Countries fished: 62 Countries fished: 1
Species caught: 979 Species caught: ~75
World records: 9 World records: 0
So it was that Wade and Jaime picked me up at Honolulu international airport at high noon on Friday the 18th. After quick stops at a Taco Bell and a bait store, in that order, I was off to one of my favorite haunts, the Heeia pier. This place is supposed to have a population of lagoon triggerfish, one of the two species made famous by Don Ho as the “humuhumu nukunuku apua’a,” Hawaiian for “that fish Steve can’t catch.” Jaime doesn’t know exactly how many of these she has caught, which would annoy the heck out of me if I were competitive about this sort of thing, which, of course, I am not.
Wade and Jaime had to run some errands, so they left me to my own devices. And I promptly caught … nothing. For several hours, schools of shimmering tropicals whatsits snubbed everything I could throw in front of them. Lagoon triggerfish carefully avoided my offerings while swimming brazenly through the clear water. I could hear Don Ho singing that damn song over and over in my head.
(I wanna go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua Hawaiiiiiiiiiii …)
The scenery was absolutely stunning, and I really could not have cared less because I was firmly focused on that square yard of reef right in front of me. I finally caught a Hawaiian Sergeant, a shameless hussy of a fish that will eat anything. And this pleased me, because even though I have caught dozens of these, at least I caught something.
(I can hear the Hawaiians saying Komo mai no kaua ika hale welakahao* … )
At around 6, Jaime and Wade reappeared. Jaime came out and asked me what I had caught, and I was forced to admit that the results so far had fallen short of expectations. She acted very concerned, but we all know this was an act because she is so very competitive and could not bear it if I outfished her. She recommended that I go to the far right of the pier and try there. I explained to her that this was a shallow, exposed area and would likely not have any fish. She still recommended that I try there. Recognizing the ineveitable, I walked to the spot and put a line down. You know where this is going.
Jaime seethes with competitive rage
A few moments later, I hooked a what looked like a threadfin butterflyfish, a lovely reef denizen I had caught previously. As I swung it up on the dock, Jaime said “Wait – get a close look at that one.” So I did, and it was a new species – the Milletseed Butterflyfish. I had only seen them in books. “Good job, Steve.” Jaime commented, but I could sense her seething competitiveness. She had not caught this species, you see, so it must have really torn her up. “Would you like me to take your picture with it?” she asked.
The Milletseed Butterflyfish – Species #980
And so it was that I added a species for the day, the count going to 980 – 20 to go. I drifted off to sleep, with Don Ho still singing in my head.
(where the humahuma nukunuku apua’a go swimming by …)
Yeah, right. Sure they do. Clearly, Don would have been on Jaime’s side.
*Literal translation – “The lagoon triggerfish is a vegetarian, you idiot.”