STORY FROM CAMP 4 KAUAI
camp4kauai, barefootincamp4, sugarcanetrain, camp4football. mangotrees, kauaifishing
Besides fishing, we used to go "opihi
picking"....picking sea shells from the rocks. The primary sea shell we
went after was the "OPIHI", an umbrella shaped shell that clung to the
lava rocks along the shore. We used a knife, or a flat bladed tool to
stick under the flesh of the opihi to break it's suction hold on the
rock. Many times, if the blade did not get under the flesh just right,
the opihi would just tighten it's hold on the rock and it would be
difficult to pry it loose. We looked for the large opihi, at least one
inch in diameter, and let the smaller ones grow.
The larger ones were usually found on rocks that could be covered as
the waves came in the shore. The trick here was to get to the rock as
the wave was receding, and pick as many opihi as possible before the
next wave came in. Most of the time, one would get stuck out on the
rock and get drenched by the wave. Many times, if you did not hold on
to the rock, the waves would have you wading back to the rock, or
retreating to the shore. The more common areas to pick the opihi was
right on the rock face of the shoreline above the waters edge. Again,
as in picking them off the rocks, you had to time the waves so you did
not get drenched, or worse yet, get thrown off the rock by the waves.
After a good day, the opihis in the bag hanging from your
have the makings for a good meal. Many times when we went spear
we would pick opihis, and include them in the shore lunch with the
fishes, and crabs over the wood fire. For flavoring, dipping them in
salt water made them even tastier...yum,yum. At home, my mother cooked
them in a "miso",... soy bean paste,.. broth. This was also quite tasty.
We also used the opihi for bait, and this was really great since the
flesh was strong, and the fishes had a hard time stealing the bait off
the hook.The other good thing was that you never ran out of bait since
all you had to do was lean down, and pick another opihi off the
rocks...like a free baitshop!
One day, my brother, my uncle, and I went down to the beach with our
surf casting outfits. We packed a lunch to make it a good outing. The
fish were not cooperating since they ignored our cut squid baits.
Luckily, we also had our bamboo poles so we could fish along the rocks
with shrimp as bait. Pole fishing was always fun since you were assured
of strikes every time the bait hit the water. It did not matter if the
fish that were biting were not the ones you were after. Just having the
pole bend, and you fighting the fish was a lot of fun .I'm sure any
fisherman reading this knows what I am talking about.
At Salt Pond
Anyway, back to the surf casting competition. Since we
were not getting
bites on the hooks baited with squid, we decided to have a casting
competion.The person with the longest cast would win. As competitions
go, we always had
an alibi if the cast wasn't long enough. "Oh, I took my fingers off the
spool too soon, or, I had a backlash." We were using surf
casting reels in the 1940's when automatic controls of the spinning
spools were not available, so backlashes, and tangled lines coming off
the spool was common.
After each of us made several casts, my uncle declared himself the
winner when the
sinker at the end of the line went way out of sight!! My brother, and I
agreed, that indeed, he was the winner until we saw that his line was
cut. The sinker was on it's way to Niihau. Niihau is the privately
owned Hawaiian island about 18 miles from the island of KAUAI where I
We all had a good laugh about this, but all in all, we had a good
outing that day.
FOR SURF CASTING OR HOW THE CATERPILLAR LOST IT'S TRACKS
After Camp 4 was demolished, our family
moved to a plantation house in the area that was called "Portugues
Camp". The few Portuguese families that lived in Olokele Sugar
Plantation lived here which was close to the sugar mill. This house was
much bigger than the one in Camp 4. It was also wood framed, with a
corrugated tin roof, a long covered veranda in the front, and even a
the biggest difference was an indoor bathroon..no outhouses, and no
burning of bagasse to heat the bathwater in the tub of the old
bathhouse. An added treat was our own mango tree in the front yard!
This tree was very popular with the young boys who used to come over
and ask permission to climb the tree, and pick mangoes.
An additional treat was that we were now closer to the ocean..a thirty
minutes walk at the most. We used to walk down to the ocean with our
surf casting outfits quite often. For sure, almost every weekend. One
day, me and my brother, [five boys in the family, no girls]
were coming home after a fishing day, and we explored the Plantation
storage area where old caterpillars, tractors, and other machinery were
stored outside. On our next fishing trip we went in this storage area
but this time we were prepared for the task ahead of us.
When the caterpillars were stored, some of them had their tracks
removed, and the tracks were placed in piles. Now, as everyone knows,
the caterpillar tracks are made of indivudual treads that work together
when the tracks turn. These individual treads are held to one another
by bolts. As luck would have it, for us, the bolts were the right
shape, and weight to make a good surf casting sinker. My brother and I
went to work first taking off the lock pin that held the bolt, and then
pounding it out of the connection with the treads. We made quite a
little racket with the pounding, but since the yard was surrounded by
cane fields the noise didn't carry too far. We did not catch any fish
that day, but our bags were bulging, and heavy with sinkers!