Dried O’io (Bonefish) Taegu Recipe

I love Taegu!  If you’re not familiar with Korean Taegu (Seasoned Dried Codfish) it’s sweet, spicy, fishy and delicious!  It’s traditionally served as a side dish but it’s always been more of a snack to me.

One day when I was grabbing a tray of prepared Taegu from the supermarket I noticed that MSG was an ingredient present in every brand on the shelf.  Now, I’m not allergic to MSG, but someone in my family gets serious headaches if they eat something with it added in.  While trying to figure out how to make my own MSG-Free Taegu using dried Codfish, it hit me – why not dry O’io meat?

We catch a lot of O’io in Ewa Beach – I’ve made my share of Lomi, fishcakes and fish patties!  If you’ve got an O’io in your freezer and you’re looking for something new to make with it, I know you’ll enjoy this recipe.

Bruddah Bill’s O’io Taegu

1 Cup Scraped or Squeezed O’io Meat
1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt

For info on getting the meat from an O’io see this post: O’io Prep & Fishcake Recipe

Sauce Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds

Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature possible. I’ve heard that 170 is the magic number from my friends that make dried Aku in the oven, so that’s what I always cook at.

Mix together your O’io meat and Sea Salt thoroughly, as the salt helps with seasoning as well as with the drying process.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spread the salted O’io meat with a spatula into a rectangle no taller than 1/4 inch high, but still not too thin or the meat will dry crispy.

Dry the meat in your oven for 2 to 3 hours with something non-flammable, propping the oven door open 1″ to 2″ to allow moisture to escape.  If this is your first time using your oven at the lowest temperature to dry something, check the meat 10 minutes in. If the meat is white and cooked then your oven is too hot for drying.

While your meat is drying, combine all the sauce ingredients thoroughly until the sugar dissolves and the oil and honey blend completely.

When the meat is dried, cut it into thin strips with a sharp knife, combine with the sauce, and let it sit at room temperature for several hours to allow the dried strips to absorb the seasoning and color from the sauce.  Chill to allow the honey to thicken and evenly coat the strips.  Serve and enjoy!

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When eBay sends you a lemon reel… Murder it!

I had been watching the auction the whole week, and with one minute to go, there was only one bid.  I carefully loaded my max bid, waited until there were only five seconds left, and BAM! I pulled the trigger and scored myself a vintage Jigmaster 505 HS (High Speed) for $28.20 including shipping.  When the reel arrived a week later, I stopped patting myself on the back and started shaking my head.

This Jigmaster High Speed was special—it had been bred with a Cheetah!

Jigmaster 505HS Reel with Heavy Chrome Pitting

In retrospect, I should have examined the blurry auction photo a little better.  Yeah, I saw some spots on the chrome, but I didn’t imagine it being as bad as it actually was. The black spots you see are an example of what will happen to the chrome on your reels if you don’t rinse them off prior to storing it.  Under each of those spots, the corrosion had eaten down to the brass below.  The seller I bought it from was new to eBay, so I took it easy on him and decided to keep the reel.  I figured that since the Bakelite plates, the anodized aluminum spool, and the marine-grade gears were intact, I still came out ahead.

Penn Jigmaster 505HS Breakdown

I’ve been reading a lot of great information on the forums on AlanTani.com about reel maintenance, so I was inspired to break down the reel and clean up as much corrosion as I could.  I remembered a post I read about powder-coating corroded chrome on older Penn reels, and I got an idea on how to breathe some life into this reel… Murder it!

Murdered Out Jigmaster 505HS with Tiburon P20 Frame

A friend powder-coated the chrome rings semi-gloss black, covering up brass that had been exposed and helping to prevent any further corrosion of what chrome was left.  The anodized aluminum frame from Tiburon Engineering replaced the chrome crossbars and reel seat, reducing the weight but adding strength and precision spool alignment.  The weight was further reduced by adding an aluminum Wiffle ball power handle I ordered on eBay.  Inside, I stripped the reel of old grease, polished the brass, upgraded to carbon fiber drags, and re-lubed with anti-corrosion grease.  I took a pre-lube shot of the polished brass shining like a Swiss watch.

Polished Brass Plates Jigmaster 505HS

What had started off as an eBay-bummer in a box, wound up a pretty fun project and a nice addition to my growing reel collection.  Now, if I could just find some time to fish!

Be sure to check out www.AlanTani.com for an incredible amount if information on reel maintenance, upgrades and general troubleshooting.

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Bruddah Bill’s 24 Hour Challenge 2012 Round 1

Congrats to Danny and Shannon for winning the first Bruddah Bill’s 24 Hour Challenge Fishing Tournament (2012, Round 1).  The tournament was held Saturday, August 18 at 4 p.m. until Sunday, August 19 at 4pm.  Participants were required to be at Ewa Beach Buy And Sell at 4 p.m. on Saturday the 18th, and had 24 hours to fish any spot on the island as long as they were back before 4 p.m. the next day for the weigh-in.  Since this round of tournament allowed lines to be swam out or paddled out, the minimum size of Papio and Oio were increased well beyond state regulations.  Out of 9 teams of two, Danny and his partner Shannon had the only qualifying fish (25.2 lb Ulua), sweeping the pot and taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  This tournament is an invitational held for regular customers at Ewa Beach Buy And Sell. For more info, visit the shop at 91-775 Papipi Rd. in Ewa Beach or www.EwaBeachBuyAndSell.com

Bruddah Bill's 24 Hour Challenge 2012 ~ Round 1 Winner: Danny C and Shannon.

Bruddah Bill's 24 Hour Challenge 2012 ~ Round 1 Winner: Danny C and Shannon (Not Shown).

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Ulua Surprise!

My neighbor Parris free dives off of Ewa Beach from his kayak, so when I see him coming in, I’ll meet him at the shore to help him bring his gear up and to see how he did.  He had a pretty big grin on his face when he came in, so I know he got something good.

65lb Ulua

He asked me to grab my camera to take a couple of pics before he went to the house to clean up.  After I snapped a couple of pictures, he noticed something sticking out of the fish’s gills.

What's That?

I had my camera on me, so I captured him discovering what the mystery tentacle was.

It gets better....

3-lb Tako pulled from Ulua's throat.

We were cracking up—not only did he score a great- sized Ulua, but he wound up with a good-sized Tako that was still blinking to make squid luau.

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Pau Work, Going Holoholo!

I can see the ocean from my home office in Ewa Beach, which truly is a blessing.  However, when the conditions are perfect for kayak fishing and the work is piled high, it’s hard looking out that window.

On Tuesday, March 2, I managed to finish up some projects and reschedule an appointment for the next day, clearing up my afternoon for some important time on the water.  I claimed the day for the Aquahunters.com Makahiki Tournament, scrambled to get my gear prepared, and hit the water at about 3:30 p.m.  I had a simple plan: troll out about 1.5 miles, hit up a bottom fishing spot for bait, hang bait for an hour, and then head back inshore for some O’io fishing.  With 15 minutes and halfway to the spot, my plans got changed.  I took a strike right on the second reef in about 9 feet of water.  I happened to have my GoPro HD camera on my head and caught nearly the whole event.

4lb-14oz Kagami caught off Ewa Beach

The Kagami weighed in at 4 lbs 14 oz, just two ounces shy of 5 lbs and more Makahiki points… ha! I didn’t have my fish bag or ice with me on what was supposed to be a short run, so I stashed the fish in my kayak’s hull and headed out to the spot to at least check out the action.  Right when I got to the spot, the winds picked up and the conditions got instantly crappy, so I hauled ass back to shore to get the fish on ice.  You get to claim two fish per day for the Makahiki tournament, so as soon as I got to shore, I called my buddy Doug to come pick up the fish so that I could get back on the water for some O’io action.  He made it to the house pretty quickly, so I was back on the water with enough time to catch the sunset run.

18" (3lb) O'io, Catch & Release

I caught and released an 18″ O’io (3 lbs), watched the sun set over Makakilo, and called it a day.

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My Kayak Evolution to a Hobie Revolution

My 2011 Hobie Mirage Revolution, All Rigged for Fishing

I recently purchased a brand-new 2011 Hobie Mirage Revolution kayak from Windard Boats in Kailua (www.WindwardBoats.com).  I thought it would be cool to share my journey from my first kayak to my most recent, hoping that someone looking to get into kayak fishing would learn from some of the mistakes that I made along the way.

13′ Fiberglass Sit-On-Top by Ocean Kayak
I picked this up on CL (Craigslist.org) for $75.  It turns out I was too big for it and spent more time in the water than on the kayak.  Discouraged my interest in kayaking for several months, I wound up selling it for a slight profit.

My First Kayak - 13' Fiberglass By Ocean Kayak

Double Hull Angler by Kiwi Kayaks
I got this from a neighbor who was getting ready to throw it away.  Super stable, it had two flush pole holders and a transom for a motor.  The electric trolling motor I bought lasted a total of 3 outings, so I wound up paddling the beast out a bit and using it as a fishing platform for catching O’io.  I later sold it for $100.

My Second Kayak - Double Hull Angler by Kiwi Kayaks

.9′ Squirt by Islander Kayaks
Wanted something more maneuverable, so I picked this kayak up for $120 with a paddle and seat off of CL.  It was super-light, I could carry it up the beach in one hand, and battling O’io in it was like a rodeo.  I was a little too big for it, so I wound up sitting in an inch of water most of the time.  I sold it later, breaking even.

9' Islander Squirt

Original Double Hatch Scupper (Not Pro) by Ocean Kayaks
I got this kayak for $225 off of CL. I repaired a missing hatch strap and installed an Angler’s Pal rod holder.  I was so excited to take it out for the first time—I got on the water and was flying!  Before I knew it, I was further out than I have ever been… right when it started getting tippy.  To make a long story short, it leaked and I wound up swimming in nearly a mile, dragging a leaky kayak.  I repaired the leak and sold it, breaking even.

Original Double Hatch Scupper by Oceak Kayaks

Scrambler by Ocean Kayaks
I picked up this slightly used Scrambler with bunch of extras for $400 off of CL.  I installed two Angler’s Pal rod holders and started trolling inshore.  It was right around the time when I joined the Hawaiian kayak fishing forum  Aquahunters.com. After heading out to the blue water with some of my new AH friends, I outgrew this kayak pretty quickly.  I still own the Scrambler and use it for inshore action and kayak surfing.

Ocean Kayak Scrambler

Scupper Pro TW (Tank Well) by Ocean Kayaks
A good friend of mine loaned me this kayak to use during the 2010 Makahiki season in the hopes that I would put it to good use.  I sure did… fishing the majority of my claimed days and putting in some serious miles in it.   I made several attempts to buy the kayak from my friend, but he didn’t want to part with it and was content to let me use it indefinitely. I retired the blue scupper by taking it back to my friend’s house the other day. It’s great kayak: stable, fast, and fishable.

Scupper TW (Tank Well) By Ocean Kayaks

2011  Hobie Mirage Revolution
After watching my friend Scott run circles around me in his Hobie Pro Angler, I spent months trying to figure out how I could afford a Hobie.  With some creative financing and some help from my new sponsor (www.EwaBeachBuyAndSell.com), I picked up the kayak from Windward Boats in late December 2010.  I’m glad that I went through all of my past kayaks up to this one; I think that they all made me appreciate it so much more.

2011 Hobie Mirage Revolution - 2011 Makahiki Day One

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Kayak Fishing For O’io & Papio in Ewa Beach

I headed out in the morning with Makaio & Son for some sunrise O’io fishing. Wound up catching and releasing a few small Omilu in the process.  I did catch one O’io, but was kinda small, so I let ‘im go so that he could come back a 10-pounder :)

Here’s a video of the session taken with my GoPro Hero Wide waterproof camera.

The music in the video is by The Whiskey Shits, a local Ewa Beach Band:

Buy GoPro HERO Camera at GoPro.com

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How To Prepare Ika (Squid) For Bait

Be sure to use thawed Ika right away!

I was eating at Genki Sushi in Ewa Beach, and a raw Ika (E-Ka) Nigiri-style sushi came down the line. I got to thinking… What the hell, I’ve used it for bait so many times but never tried it.  Well, apparently I’m not a fan when it’s not breaded and fried.  Luckily for me, there’s plenty of fish out there that love it, including Papio, O’io, Ta’ape, and Moana.

I’ve tried different brands of Ika, but the one that consistently works best for me is the SeaWave Brand in the Blue Box, which I buy from Foodland in Ewa Beach.

Sea Wave Ika

The Ika I buy comes frozen and needs to be thawed prior to prepping.  I thaw mine out in the refrigerator the day before I plan to use it.  I don’t recommend re-freezing Ika once thawed; it will often turn pink and isn’t as appealing to the fish.  I’ll usually prep an entire box at once.  I use fresh Ika strips for the day and salt the rest for later use.

The following is how I prepare salted strips for O’io / Papio fishing and for use on a damashi.

1. Peel the skin and propellers off of the body of the Ika.

Start by pulling the propeller away from the body.

Peel the skin back toward the bottom.

2. Remove the insides and pen.

Grip the body, and pull the tentacles out.

Remove the pen (plastic-looking thing).

Sometimes I keep the tentacles and insides to use for palu, but most of the time I just throw them away.  I’ve always gotten more bites using just the body cut into strips.

Lay the body flat on the cutting board.

Slice the body down the middle.

Scrape the remaining membrane from the insides.

3. Cut the body into strips, and size the strips according to the type of fishing you’re doing.

Cut into strips from wide part to tip.

Longer-Thicker strips for Papio/O'io, Thinner Strips cut in half for damashi.

4. Use fresh that day or salt strips for later use.

Sprinkle the bottom of a resealable plastic container with Hawaiian or Sea Salt.

Once you've layered your salt and Ika, you can shake it around a bit to evenly coat the strips.

The salt removes the moisture from the Ika, toughening the bait and preserving it so that it will last much longer under refrigeration.  Once the moisture is drawn out after a day, you can pour out the excess water and then even freeze the salted strips to use weeks down the road.  The best part of using this method is that once salted, it reduces the chances of your bait going bad, and if you’re lucky, your wife will let you keep bait in the fridge again.

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What To Do When Your Fishing Gear Gets Jacked

A buddy of mine just got his car broken into, and some chronic relieved him of some pretty expensive Ulua fishing reels. I work in a pawn shop in Ewa Beach, so I deal with a lot of people that just got jacked. They come into the shop thinking that they’re going to find their stuff sitting on our shelves, but that’s just not the way it works. Here is a quick guide to what you should do when your fishing gear gets stolen.


You would be surprised how many people get all pissed about getting jacked, but they don’t even bother to call the cops… What, you got warrants? The whole process takes less than an hour, and they’ll come to you most of the time. You’ll have to provide a detailed description of what was stolen, so if you want to save the cop some time, you can type out a description of the items and print it out to attach to the report.

Here is the description I wrote of an Ulua pole that got lifted from my yard a year ago: One Piece 13 Foot Ulua Fishing Rod, Black in color with Maroon/Yellow wrapping and reflective tape, Stainless Steel Cap, Hilo Guides, Fuji Brand Reel Seat with Label “Kimura Hawaii.” - The cop told me that it was one of the most detailed descriptions he’s ever read.  What can I say… I know my gear. I didn’t get the pole back, but at least I knew that whoever jacked it wasn’t going to be able to pawn it with a description like that.

There are several reasons why it’s important to file a police report. First, you’re not going to be able to file a insurance claim without one (car, home, boat, or renter’s).  If someone tries to pawn or sell it to a legit pawn shop, the cops will flag it when they review the shop’s paperwork that they’re legally required to submit for everything they take in.   If you happen to catch the guy with your gear and don’t feel like getting locked up for breaking his fingers, you can call the cops and reference the police report when you call.

Put The Word Out

Spread the word amongst your fishing friends. Let them know what, when, and where it was stolen.  Some kid once stole a reel from our shop; we mentioned it to a customer that day, and he said that the kid had just tried to sell the reel to him at the beach.  The more people that know about it, the harder it’s going to be for the thief to move it in the fishing community, and you’ll increase your chances of getting it back.

Check Craigslist Every Day

Craigslist is a great place to find some good deals, but let’s face it… It’s part of the black market, and thieves move stuff on it all the time.  I read a story once on the Aquahunter’s forum about a guy who got his kayak back by religiously checking Craigslist for kayaks matching his.  The thief posted it, and he called over and over until the guy finally called back to say that it was sold already.  He posted an ad on Craigslist for the buyer to call him, and he got the kayak back.

If You Don’t Have Distinguishing Marks, You’re S#!T out of Luck

All the info above will improve your chances of getting your stuff back, but the truth is that the majority of stolen items in Hawaii aren’t returned to their owners.  Even if you do manage to track down your stolen items, it’s nearly impossible to prove that it’s actually yours unless it’s uniquely customized, has a serial number, or has a distinguishing mark on it.  So take the time right now, grab a knife or a fishhook, and mark your gear!

Be sure to engrave on something that won't rust.

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Fishing Week 2010

Fishweek 2010

Every so often, the fishing stars will align and present a patient fisherman with the perfect scenario: no work, no family obligations, good weather, and friends to fish with.  My calendar opened up, the weather cleared, and a few good buddies had similar schedules, so we decided to go fishing.

Day 1: (Part One) Small Boat Beach Launch off Ewa Beach

I headed out with my friend Ira in his 9′ Livingston, which is just small enough that two people can launch it from the beach.  The mission was to catch some fish for an upcoming New Year’s party, and the plan was to hit up some bottom fishing spots to fill up the cooler.

We awoke in the morning to strong winds and choppy water, so we nearly called off the trip.  With some patience and luck, the winds and water calmed down after about and hour.  We’ve had about a week and half of heavy rain, so the water inshore off of Ewa Beach was cloudy and scattered with debris from the Pearl Harbor runoff.  After trying two different bottom-fishing spots and not getting any action, we were beginning to think that the runoff had caused the fish to stray from their homes.  We were on our way a short distance from one spot to another when Ira let out a line even though he’d most likely bring it up within a few minutes.  We were nearly to the spot when the pole bent over and the clicker went off.  We were in 70 feet of green, murky water, so we speculated on what it could be.  Ira saw the fish break the water right when it first hit the lure, so we thought, “a-ha,” and then it started pulling down, leading us to think Ulua.  When it was nearly to leader but still too deep to see it, he felt head shakes, so we were preparing to see a shark silhouette, but we were stunned and excited to see what it was:

20lb Shibi Caught Trolling off of Ewa Beach

I’m new to boat/kayak fishing, so this is the fist time I’ve ever seen a Shibi come up. I didn’t have much time to stare in awe because I was on gaff (something I have yet to do).  About a month earlier, I had a jarring experience in which some friends and I lost a Mahi at leader so I was particularly nervous about losing this fish.  With good direction from Ira, I  got the gaff into one of its gill plates and hoisted it into the boat.  Not bad for my first gaff—I didn’t damage any of the meat, and most importantly, we didn’t lose the fish!

It was still early in the day, so we tried out a couple of different bottom-fishing spots, catching a small Uku and a couple of Ta’ape.  Since we had the Shibi on ice that was quickly melting and the bottom-fishing was slow, we called it a day… a good day.

Ira with 20-lb Shibi

Small Kine Credit For The Gaff Shot

Day 1 (Part Two): Mosquitoes and Shorecasting

After a quick nap and stopping by Ira’s for a nice slab of our catch, I turned on the outside lights and got ready for some shorecasting with Spyda, Ryan and Justin from the iFishHawaii.com forums.

Spyda (Joel) showed up right after sunset and was the first to point out the swarm of mosquitoes that were everywhere!  You couldn’t swing your arm without hitting a few of them, so I got one pole in the water and made the quick trip to Silva’s for some Off spray and mosquito coils.  Armed with these defenses, the swarm disappeared and allowed us to kick back and tell stories without getting our blood drained.  After the lucky outing in the morning I was having Ulua dreams, but that didn’t happen.  We fished from shortly after sunset to a few hours after midnight, but between the 4 of us, I had the lucky pole pulling up 1 lemon-head eel that we cut up for bait.  I cleaned up and crashed hard to get ready for Day 2.

Day 2 & 3: Overnight Fishing on the Honu Lea

I made some good kayak fishing friends on the Aquahunters.com forums over the last year, including Matt (Makaio) and Scott (Givum). We’ve become pretty regular fishing partners, both on the kayaks and fishing off of Matt’s 24′ boat, the Honu Lea.

The Honu Lea

We’ve been talking about doing an overnight bottom fishing trip for a while now, but our schedules never really clicked until this week.   Here is a video blog of the outing:

Day 4 : Back in the Yak on New Year’s Day

For my final fishing day of fishing week, I headed out with Scott at sunrise for some kayak fishing.  I put in some solid miles trolling a mix of lures and dead bait, but only took a few nibbles from what was most likely a Kaku by the way the bait was torn up.  Scott caught and released a Kagami Ulua and pulled in a good-sized Uku.  It was a nice way to start the new year fishing with a friend, and a great way to end 4 nonstop days of fishing.

Kayak Fishing on 1/1/11

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