Opelu run draws fishermen to Waimea Bay

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You can count on surfers to be at Waimea Bay during the winter time to catch the giant waves.

During this time of the year, you can count on fishermen to be at Waimea Bay to catch opelu.

Tommy Uyeda of Waianae came to Waimea Bay on Monday to fish, or at least try to fish.

“I didn’t catch anything,” Uyeda said.

This is the time of the year when schools of opelu come into Waimea Bay and fishermen line the beach.

“Apparently it’s not that hard because everyone is catching, not me,” Uyeda said.

The fish were biting Monday afternoon, but not as much as some had hoped.

Some think maybe it’s because the commercial fishermen had been there earlier with their nets.

This is the time of the year when commercial fishermen are allowed to throw nets into Waimea Bay to catch opelu. Rules set by the Department of Land and Natural Resources allow them to do it in August and September.

“Get the net guys come and catch ’em all and then we don’t have chance for the guys that get pole,” Wahiawa resident Kelvin Pascua said.

“There is currently no limit on the amount of opelu that can be taken because of a stock assessment that was done,” DLNR Aquatic Biologist Alton Miyasaka said. “The assessment says the fishery is currently being fished at a sustainable level.  So there is no need to create a limit on how much you can take.”

“I think they should change it.  That way more fish for everybody else on the shore,” Pascua said.

Pascua is not alone. The DLNR often gets complaints from recreational fishermen who think there should be a limit on the amount of opelu one can catch.

“But based on our information, it says the current level of fishing is not having a problem so no need to set any limit on that at this time,” Miyasaka said.

Fisherman often use opelu as bait to try to catch bigger fish. They also eat it because it tastes really good fried.

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