‘Omilu Fish Chowder – From the Ocean to the Dinner Table

Omilu Fish Chowder
Lately, my wife and I have been experimenting with making our own bone broths and stocks for cooking.  We’ve found that it’s a great way to get more out of the meats we buy or catch, and it’s an essential part of many recipes that require beef, chicken or fish stock.  One of those recipes and a favorite of mine is New England Style Fish Chowder.

‘Omilu in the Morning

I headed out early in the morning for a inshore paddle off Ewa Beach with my neighbor Heidi.  All week I had been looking forward to trying out some Campania Lures from my kayak using a bubble-float rig, and they did not disappoint.  We took numerous strikes on the Pearl Jam grub. We released 3 baby Papios and kept an 11″ and a 15″ Omilu (Bluefin Trevally) for dinner.

Gear Info:  Ocean Kayak Zest II XL Kayak, Werner Paddles, 5′ Baramundi Rod, Shimano Stradic 4000FJ, Power Pro Mainline, Yozuri Pink Fluorocarbon Leader, Maruto Limerick Hook.

11" & 15" OmiluOne of my favorite things about fishing early in the morning is that if you catch right away, you have the rest of the day to cook, or in my case take a nap. After I woke up, I got right to work on prepping the fish.

 Check out Ewa Beach Buy & Sell’s Second Annual
Wednesday 11/26 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Brand New Fishing Gear – Best Prices of THE YEAR!

Making Fish Stock

IMG_5636.JPGI cleaned and filleted the Papios, leaving the rib cage with meat attached for a richer broth.  Be sure remove the gills and rinse out as much blood as you can from the head.

IMG_5637.JPGPlace the fish scraps in the bottom of a stock pot and fill it with enough water to completely cover them.  You can make it plain, or add thinly sliced carrots, celery, and onions with some salt, thyme, and peppercorn for a tastier broth.  Once the fish and veggies start to simmer, you’ll notice a froth forming on the top of the water: be sure to skim it off before it starts to boil.
IMG_5638.JPGBring the water to a boil then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 2-4 hours.  When it’s done, ladle the stock from the pot through a fine mesh strainer so you don’t get any bits of fish, bone or vegetables in your stock.
IMG_5639.JPGYou can let it sit at room temperature if you’re going to use it that day or it can be refrigerated for later use.  The two Papio carcases and vegetables yielded a little over a quart of some awesome tasting stock which was pretty ono just by itself.

New England-Style Fish Chowder

I based my recipe off of this one from The Food Network: New England Fish Chowder

Ingredients Used:

8oz Package of Bacon
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Large Yellow Onion (Diced)

~4 Pounds Small Yukon Gold Potatoes (Quartered)
1 Large Russet Potato (Skinned and Thin Sliced)
1 Quart of Fish Stock
4 Sprigs of Thyme
Salt & Pepper
3lbs of Papio Filets
1-1/2 Cup Of Cream
1/4 Cup of Chives
1/4 Cup of Italian Parsley

The original recipe calls for 4oz of Bacon or a salty pork to get the chowder started, but it’s intended to only be used as a garnish… Ha!  The bacon becomes a main ingredient in this chowder!  Cut a whole 8oz package of bacon into 1″ pieces and brown on a medium heat until the bacon is cooked (but not crispy yet). Add the onions and butter and saute until the onions are translucent, but do not allow to brown.

IMG_5646.JPGI found that Yukon Gold potatoes don’t break down that quickly, so I decided to add a whole skinned and thin sliced Russet for that starchy thickness I like so much without having to sacrifice any Yukons to get it.
IMG_5640.JPGOnce the bacon and onions are ready, put the potatoes and Thyme into the pot, then pour in enough stock to cover them.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the Yukons are tender.

IMG_5645.JPGCut your fish filets into strips and place them directly on top of the cooked potatoes. Try to avoid stirring the pot once you add the fish to keep the pieces whole.
IMG_5641.JPGYou can keep the pot at simmering at a low heat when you add the fish and let it cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes which will finish cooking the fish.

Gently stir in the cream and add salt and pepper for taste.  Give the chowder about an hour of sitting undisturbed to really let the flavors even out.  Finely chopped Italian parsley and chives are a garnish you won’t want to skip; the flavor is pretty essential to the whole Chowder Experience.



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‘Ula Weo – A Hawaiian Style Custom 4/0 Reel

When the first run of the Hawaiian Wide frame and spool combos came in last month at Ewa Beach Buy & Sell, we sold out of them within 4 hours.  Luckily, I was able to stash a few for my personal 4/0 reels and for some project reels I had been dreaming of.


‘Ula Weo  (“Big Red” – loosely translated) is a calabash Penn 4/0 reel made up of aftermarket parts from Accurate, Tiburon, Newell, Bryan Young and local fabricator Rocket Reels.


Here is a list of it’s components:

Asking Price $595

Come see this reel and some other collectable fishing treasures at my shop:

Ewa Beach Buy & Sell
91-775 Papipi Rd. Suite C
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

If you missed out on the first run of the Tiburon Hawaiian Wide frame and spool combos, we’ll have more coming in towards the end of the year!


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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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