The simple pleasures of paradise: our gorgeous Hana Bay, a bamboo pole, fishing line, hook and a little bait is all you need for an afternoon of fun in the sun. Travaasa Hana’s fishing master, Andrew Park, loves to share this timeless craft with our guests.
“I just got these poles the other day. I hiked up to this special place by O’heo Gorge in the mountains where my dad used to take me as a child, to find just the right pieces of bamboo for this,” says Andrew as he shows off the approximately 10 foot long fishing rods. “My father helped me get them ready. We trimmed the branches and then had to spin them through fire and rub them with heat to help strengthen and straighten them out.”
Andrew goes on to demonstrate how to tie on the 8 lb. fishing line and hook, and carefully attaches a small weight.”The length of the line should be just about the same length as the pole, plus a little. And that’s it, we’re ready to fish!”
Hana Bay, also known to the locals as Kapueokahi, is just a short walk from Travaasa Hana’s property and is teeming with fish. Along the way, Andrew points out a covered hale, perched above the bay with an amazing view of the perfect, crescent beach and shimmering surf. Here the old-timers, or kupuna, spend many hours telling tales and watching for schools of akule (Bigeye Scad). Andrew explains that this tradition helped feed the village: “when the kilo (fish spotter) sees the fish, they call out and everyone comes for the Hukilau (fish gathering).”
He leads his groups down to the water and on to the black lava rocks where the waves are breaking and swirling into small nooks and crannies along the shoreline. After he baits the hooks, he shows the group how to toss it into just the right spot.
Then it’s like a meditation. You feel the breeze against your skin, listen to the rhythm of the waves and watch the line move with the currents. You feel your connection to the pole as it transmits even the smallest sensations of the fish as they nibble on the bait. You focus on just the right moment to yank the pole and catch fish before they make off with the bait.
When fish are hooked, he guides them into a big bucket and carefully removes the hooks while the group gathers around the bucket. He tells the lucky person a little bit about the fish – kupipi, nenue or hinalea among others – and describes with great delight, how they are prepared for eating.
“It is a Hawaiian tradition that your first catch has to go back to the sea for good luck,” he says, grinning and shaking his head. “I still remember the first time I went net fishing with my father and I caught a lot of fish on my very first cast. I was all excited but then he threw them back. It was a lot more casts until I caught my next ones.”
Along with the bamboo pole fishing adventures, Andrew also teaches Throw Net Fishing and Tidal Pool Harvesting classes several times a week for guests. “I love sharing our culture with our guests. I traveled a lot with the military, but never found anywhere else that I loved as much as Hana, and it is great showing my home off to people who come here.”