Roots Tahitian Fishing With Kauai Crew

Just got back from an awesome day of fishing.  Our neighbor’s one of the best fishermen in the village and was cool enough to take Kamalei Alexander, Teva Dexter, Ke’ale Chung, and I out for a full day on his 30 foot boat.

Captian Dideae hand-lining a 100 lb+ Ahi.

Captain Didiae kept us in the middle of a giant feeding frenzy. There were big Ahi and Aku jumping out of the water everywhere. Birds and big whale-sharks were also gorging themselves on the bounty of bait fish.

Kamalei Ahi

Tahitian fishing is roots. Kamalei, Teva, and Ke’ale have lot’s of experience growing up Ahi fishing in Hawaii, and are good at the Tahitian style after spending years in Tahiti. Stoked they taught me some of the fundamentals needed to get the fish to the boat without getting hurt.

One of the Aku.

Every fish was caught by hand-line. No rods or reels. Instead, we dropped lava rocks, threw in buoys with baited line, and held mono-filament while trolling lures – watching for fish to strike. It was the most hands-on and close-action fishing I’ve ever done.

We put 15 big fish on deck before heading back for a feast. Found out quick that it’s not easy pulling in big tuna by hand. Took me a fish or two to find a decent technique, and I was almost pulled overboard while fighting to figure it out. Even tough I was wearing gloves, my hands are blistered from fighting the fish. Hats off to the guys who landed fish without any gloves at all. Tahitian fishermen and Kauai locals are gnarly.

Felt good to go fishing and actually spend the entire day catching fish, especially with multiple double-hook-ups on hand-lines. Feel very fortunate to learn some of the Tahitian fishing traditions, and spend the day laughing with the radical crew.

Teva Dexter Aku

Took this photo of the crew with their Ahi caught the previous day. Psyched I got to jump on today’s trip.

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10 Responses to Roots Tahitian Fishing With Kauai Crew

  1. Will Sooter says:

    Wow John, it is so awesome to read your stories about mixing with the locals & Kauai crew. The fishing trip you went on was fantastic. It is one of those things I really miss about living in the tropics. Thanks for sharing. Stoked you are having the time of your life and connecting with wonderful people everywhere you go.
    All the best, Cheers, Will

  2. case says:

    That bait boil looks nutz!! shoulda hopped in and tried to blast one of those fattys

    • John Maher says:

      If the bait was moving we would have, but the sharks had time to find and hunt it, so the chances of plugging one and getting it to the boat would have been slim.

  3. Allison says:

    That looks like an amazing experience. I hope you were able to make up some fresh poison cru. I’ve been enjoying your blog – headed to Tahiti in September and your posts and beautiful pictures have me really excited.

  4. Lars says:

    John, stunning pictures and beautiful fish!

    We are traveling to Tahiti in october/november. Please e-mail or share contact info on your captain.

    Best regards Lars, Copenhagen, Denmark

  5. Marty says:

    I’m going to be in Tahiti for two weeks over the Christmas holiday. For a week we will be chartering a 40′ sailboat (8 people on board) and we would like to fish, either when we are moving from island to island or when we are in some of the lagoons. Can you recommend and types of lures, weight of lines, any other equipment that I should bring with me? It seems really hard to get specific information on equipment and techniques for Tahiti. Any information would be helpful.

    • John Maher says:

      Hi Marty, I’m not sure what equipment you’ll need, but figure some big game rigs, feathers, and casting jigs are always a good idea. The Tahitians will know, and there are a couple tackle shops on Tahiti.

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