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The Octopus Whisperer of Kaua'i

Updated on March 4, 2013
Maximum Carrying Capacity?
Maximum Carrying Capacity? | Source
A markerAnini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii -
Anini Beach, Kalihiwai, HI 96754, USA
get directions

Great octopus fishing here!

How many octopuses is Charlie holding up?

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As a former Kaua'i local boy , I often come across photos and videos that make me homesick for the Garden Island. The images that are of greatest interest to me are those that deal with family or fishing. It's a double bonus for me, then, when I come across photos that involve both genre.

My brother, Charlie, recently sent the above photo to me. My first reaction was one of awe. When I was a teenager and still living at home, my little brother refused to participate in anything that involved the Hawaiian culture. He loathed fish and poi, didn't feel comfortable in the ocean, and was constantly struggling with allergies. He was so different from the rest of the family that I often teased him--ashamedly so--about how we found him on the front porch one day and adopted him.

The Great Creator has a wonderful sense of humor. Charlie grew up to become the most proficient fisherman in our family. Today, he knows more about the ancient Polynesian ways than I will ever have a clue about. Unlike the rather mean way I used to treat him in our youth, he is graciously eager to teach his older brother a thing or two about the island way.

I am especially intrigued with his skill at fishing for octopus. It's more than just the physical aspect of wading on the reef, gliding on the surface while surveying either the golden sand or the coral beds below, or diving two or three fathoms to check out a potential octopus lair.

Charlie has a special mana-- a unique spiritual energy, if you will--that makes him one with the sea the moment he touches the water. He exudes a certain confidence that is contagious while being self-contained.

No wonder, then, that my brother is so adept at catching octopus. The tentacled sea creature is arguably one of the most intelligent and elusive of marine life, and yet this master of camouflage and stealth is no match for Charlie.

My brother meditates in his own private way long before he enters the water. He studies his tidal charts and the patterns of the moon. He pores over the meticulous capture records he's kept over the years. Over time, he's mentally mapped where every coral bed or volcanic rock lies on the sea floor in key octopus haunts.

Charlie's successful fishing provides our extended family with food. it's also an effective income-producing pastime. Using the local Craigslist venue, my brother has made an abundant amount of sales to families seeking to shore up their festive luau fare as well as to fishermen desiring fresh-caught octopus--fondly nicknamed blinkers due to their near-death flashing camouflage throes--mesmerizing bait for ulua (giant trevally or jackfish) and other deep sea game.

My brother could aptly be called The Octopus Whisperer because of his uncanny success at locating and catching the wily mollusk.

Or is his whisper upon leaving the sea each time a quiet form of thanksgiving to the Giver of Abundance?

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid!
Here's Lookin' At You, Kid! | Source


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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    Thanks, my friend! Brother Charlie will be so happy to receive word of this. For several hours after the octopus is caught, its tentacles continue to have a mottled appearance, with the different splotched patterns of brown and gray constantly changing. Ulua, or giant trevally (jackfish) fishermen love to dangle a leg of the octopus on the hook during this camouflage-shifting time. They refer to this bait as "blinkers." The fish attack the bait ravenously, both for a delicious meal as well as in territorial reaction to what is obviously a stressed-out octopus. Go on YouTube sometime and search for "Catching Ulua in Hawaii." These keywords should yield a few good videos that you can watch. Thanks for reading this hub and for your kind words, Rajan.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    This is interesting Joe! An octopus catcher in the family. I have never seen an octopus here in the market. Thanks for sharing this.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    I'm going to share your comments with Charlie. He'd love that! It's so good to have a local boy reading my island hubs. Mahalo for stopping by!

  • benisan85745 profile image

    Ka'imi'loa 5 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

    Ah! Boy get the Tako-eye, hard fo catch them buggahs, in my teens when I loved to free dive, (t'anks, but no tanks), my Haole friends that would spend summers with the family in Kihei would gross out knowing they had to quickly find the eye and if you no mo knife, had to "bite" it off before the he'e crawled up your spear. These days I stay to bouyant to do all that now.