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TALK STORY FROM CAMP 4 KAUAI

camp4kauai,  barefootincamp4 sugarcanetrain,  camp4football.  mangotrees,  kauaifishing


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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.

fishingbelowkaumakani

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 shoulder would have the makings for a good meal. Many times when we went spear fishing, 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!

SURF CASTINGCOMPETITION
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.

saltpondfishing
Fishing At Salt Pond

Anyway, back to the surf casting competition. Since we were not getting any 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 grew up!!  We all had a good laugh about this, but all in all, we had a good outing that day.

SINKERS 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 garage!! But
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!
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