Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hilo Days: A Fish Story

Mullet fish have made an impact on my life (at least a couple of times), feeding my soul and my belly. Here's a story I posted in my now-defunct Hilo Days blog many moons ago. Hope it entertains.

"Mullet" Over

Dad and some of his friends put together a hui and bought some property across from the Seaside Club.

The lot sported a tennis court, a mullet pond, a cold brackish-water swimming hole, and lots and lots of plumeria trees.

They decided to name it The Plumeria because ... well, you figure it out. We called it the "beach lot."

The family spent almost every Sunday at the beach lot, cleaning up rubbish, trimming back the greenery, and fishing for mullet. There was a picnic pavilion with lights and everything; I don't remember if it was already there, or if the hui built it.

A pathway led to the ocean — a nice frontage with a concrete walkway and a wonderful, large reef-enclosed swimming area with a sandy bottom. At low tide, you could almost walk the 100 yards or so out to the reef.

The mullet pond was well-stocked with mullet of all sizes, from small three-inch fish to some that approached a foot in length. I tried out all kinds of fancy lures, casting under the branches that overhung the water, getting into all the secret places that fish frequent.

I didn't catch much with my fancy gear, but it was fun. Most of my angling success came with a plain old bamboo rod, monofilament, a float, a weight and a hook.

Oh yes, and a piece of bread. We'd been setting up the fish for a long time. Every Sunday, Dad would stop by the bakery and buy a couple of loaves of day-old bread, which we used to feed the fish in the mullet pond. We'd toss the slices onto the water and watch the surface boil with fish. Little did they know they were being trained by skilled professionals.

I once caught two huge mullet at the beach lot. I was nosing around a weed-infested area that separated the pond from the ocean proper. We had an iron grate there to keep the fish in, and a channel where the fresh ocean water could enter and drain.

Anyway, I looked down and lo and behold, there were four of the largest mullet I'd ever seen in my life. I baited my hook with a ball of bread and slowly lowered it in front of the biggest one. It took one sniff, and sucked it in.

Yank! The monster fought like a . . . monster! The pole bent in half and I thought it was going to snap. Then the fish broke the surface of the water and I hauled it on land. It was a two-footer! Dinner. I went running to Dad with the fish and collected the accolades before rushing back to the magic spot.

After about a minute's wait, the remaining three mullet returned. Same story, and less than a minute later, I had number two flopping on land, about to join his companion in the frying pan.

This one was a little smaller, about 20 inches or so.

The adrenaline was flowing, and I dashed back for a third try. You know, those two remaining mullet never returned. I could just imagine them lurking in the weeds, and cursing me for catching their pals.

Too bad for them. The mullet fed our entire family that night, and they were delicious.


casch said...

Gee, Craig, this story is mesmerizing! I was right there with you the entire time!! What a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing it.

Craig Miyamoto said...

You're welcome! It was one of the best days of my life and I remember it as if it were yesterday.