|Wrasse-Peacock Razorfish (Nabeta)
||3 lbs 9.5 oz
||Daniel A.F. Holt
||Keahole Point, Hawaii
Trolling has been difficult this year throughout the Hawaiian Islands, so our team on the NALU KEA has often steered the old 42 haole sampan into the nearshore waters to see what delights we may find living on the bottom. We stow away our big tackle and bring out the flexible bait rods for dunking damashi into the unknown. Our usual mixed catch includes opelu, hage, moana, taape and small uku. The cabin becomes a fly-tying area to replace the many little flies that never come back up.
This is really fun fishing. There is always lots of laughter and spirited competition between the anglers. Our catches are usually small and mostly tossed back with best wishes, but every so often there is a keeper that gets tossed into the ikema (live bait well) under the deck to swim circles with strangers.
On Sunday, November 7, we were at it again. We had only two aku after our morning trolling efforts, so we discussed moving inshore to drop our damashi rigs. Kona is a big area and it is all good, so that makes it kind of hard to decide exactly where to go.
Luckily, we had Capt. Rich Youngs on board, and he has made a study of the fishing areas off Keahole and Makua. He knew of a small sunken boat that now appears as a lump on the depth finder. It was pretty deep, more than 40 fathoms, but he made it sound like it might really be good.
We couldnt quite find the spot, but we knew we were in the area. The current was running north at a stately clip, so I brought the old boat up into the breeze and settled her on a path that would give us a good south to north drift.
The first couple of drops werent very productive, but we were moving all the time. On the third drop, Dan Holts pole bent double and we thought he may have snagged the boat.
Wait! I can feel it moving! he yelled, and we all held our breath! Suddenly, the cute Shimano reel looked very small and the more than 200 feet of line to retrieve looked really long. Plus, there was something yanking like crazy far below!
We knew it would be an ikema-sized fish, but when it broke the surface, we could not believe our eyes! It was clearly a great-grandfather nabeta, much bigger than any we had ever seen. We had 10-lb test monofilament, so we were OK on paper, but this fish looked like it could easily cut the line or straighten out the little wire hook stuck in its toothy jaws.
Whats the record for nabeta? Paulette asked. A smart phone Internet search revealed it was a little more than 3 lbs. Think that will weigh more? Rich asked.
Dan is a marlin and ahi guy and can guess big fish weights with real accuracy. Im not that good on small fish, he sighed. The giant nabeta went into the ice.
Early on Monday morning, the scale at KTA Super Store in Kealakekua blinked a series of numbers before landing on 3.6 lbs, and suddenly Dan realized he had a potential state and IGFA record for one of his very favorite fish! It was 14 inches long and 14 inches in girth.
We are going to try to find that spot again,
for sure! Tight lines.