How to Fish Like a Hawaiian


I have a buddy that I met through Twitter. His name is Charley, but he goes by the handle of Ancient Angling. Charley and I share a love of ancient fishing techniques. Being someone who thinks about fishing (a lot!), I often wonder what prompted that first ancient man to dip a line in the water and how they went about it.

This may come as something of a surprise, but when I travel, I like to see how the locals fish and what they catch. Fresh or salt, it’s a good bet you’ll find me at the water’s edge. Often, their tools and techniques may seem primitive by our standards, but they catch fish. In this Men’s Journal article, read how one traveler gained respect for the ancient ways on a recent trip to Hawaii.

HI_og_fishmongerjo“You always give the first catch of the day back to the sea,” Andrew says as he leads us down to the shore. This is probably the fourth or fifth pearl of wisdom the stocky Hawaiian, our guide for the day, has tossed my way. Each seems more important than the last and it’s clearly vital I remember them all.

Andrew Park Jr., whose friends call him Pako, learned to fish from his father as a child. He used the sort of bamboo rods we’re now holding, 12-foot stalks taken from aging plants. Younger stalks apparently break. “I found that out pretty early on,” says Pako, who harvested these “up on the mountain.” Live and learn, I guess.

By “mountain,” Andrew means the peaks of the East Maui Volcano, better known as Haleakala National Park or “house of the sun,” a massive wave of lava rock that crested more than a million years ago and never bothered to break. The mountain looms over Maui, it’s people, and the beach, but Hawaiians don’t respond to intimidation. According to Andrew, they go fishing.

Photos: Men’s Journal (top), Fish Monger Jo (above)