Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Hawaii Fishing Vacation

I really didn't need a cup of coffee. Yet I find myself here, at Starbucks, across the University of Seattle, with coffee in hand wondering if there's anything fun that can come out of today.

It seems ironic that we left the "high-eighties" in Hawaii thinking we were headed to the cooler, maybe even rainy, Pacific northwest! Instead we are greeted by temperatures that made what we left seem cool! With some time to kill while the students I accompanied here attend their workshops, it would seem a great opportunity to break away and enjoy the city. Seattle is a wonderful place and the quick drive into town from the airport last night reinforced my appreciation for the impressive architecture, the exciting waterfront, the greenery, and overall charm which I've admired on this and each of my two prior visits.

Today, I am in a different mood. It may be that the heat is intense enough to make any sightseeing pursuit more a feat of endurance than a pleasant pastime. Or perhaps I realize that anything that seems the run out to Tillicum Village, or exploring the shores of Puget Sound or Lake Washington would only make we wish I had my fishing gear to really enjoy being here. But then, even if I did have my gear, I know neither where to go nor what to do to in these waters that are completely foreign to me!

So, I sit here in Starbucks, where the air-conditioned comfort seems more pleasant than anything else I can think of doing today. My thoughts drift back to my part of the world, Hawaii. I can't help but wonder how many visitors to the islands are feeling this same, "it's nice to be here but I'd really be just as happy fishing back at home!" I also wonder how many, like me, go through the tourist "must-dos" and bypass fishing altogether because Hawaii beaches, while great for tanning and swimming, seem just a bit too "foreign" to them!

For the fishing Mecca that Hawaii is, relatively few will do some serious fishing outside of the pricey options that grace the tourist publications that are literally everywhere you turn. Certainly, we'd all love to charter a sport fishing boat, but how many of us have the budget to do something like that more than once or twice? Most will agree that a day of fishing does not a vacation make. But a week or more spent doing our favorite activity in a new and promising environment could very well be the closest thing to heaven imaginable.

So how do you begin to prepare for a Hawaii fishing vacation? Read on, it might be simpler, more enjoyable, and less expensive than you think!

Get A Home Base

Looking at a condo or vacation rental home rather than a hotel room is a great start to setting yourself up for a serious island fishing. Aside from offering kitchen facilities and more space, condos or vacation rental homes come at a relatively lower cost than equivalent hotel rooms. And while the price of a rental might initially seem out of range, the actual number of people that can be accommodated in these units and the ability to prepare your own meals will result in an overall decrease in your daily expenses.

What's more, condos and vacation rentals will allow you the full impact of your fishing vacation for you'll find, in Hawaii, the fishing experience goes far beyond the catch. If you've ever enjoyed the many and varied ways that fish is prepared in the islands, you'll know that enjoying your catch at the table is as much a part of fishing as is the fight! The opportunity to experiment with different local recipes will enhance your vacation experience and the ability to wow your friends back home with some exotic (many quite simple, too!) dishes you've learned to prepare will probably be the most treasured souvenir of your entire vacation!

Try Some Local Fishing Techniques...

We could spend hours and not scratch the surface of fishing in Hawaii. But one or two days of purposeful (and genuinely interesting) investigation can get you ready for some serious fishing fun in Hawaii that is not only productive and exciting but quite inexpensive as well.

Pick up a book about Hawaii fishing and add to that a visit to the local fish markets and fishing supply stores to learn about the edible fish and which to expect in different types of waters.


If you've developed some proficiency snorkeling or diving, visit any of a number of "mom & pop" fishing supply stores on the islands and ask them to show you a "Hawaiian sling," a simple inexpensive spear with a rubber tube that's probably the most popular piece of hardware for catching fish in Hawaii!

Many of us local enthusiasts started out with these simple spears and continue using them today!


If you prefer fishing from the shore, you'll find Hawaii's coastlines offer a range of different conditions for a variety of fishing techniques ranging from a simple hand-pole to the most sophisticated fly- and surf-casting! The small size of the islands make it possible to spend a day or two looking for possible fishing spots on one day, talking to fishing supply people and those you come across on the beaches... then going it on your own the next day! Before you realize it you've already enjoyed yourself touring the island... meeting island folks with whom you share a common love... and you haven't blown a load of money trying to entertain yourself!

If you're looking to cut the learning curve, there are a couple of shorefishing guides that can take you out for a day and provide you with a sufficient background in that time to enable you to go it on your own the rest of your vacation while feeling quite confident about what you're doing.

Kayak Fishing

Fast becoming a sport unto itself, kayak fishing has become a venue for those with limited budgets and/or the desire to pursue an exhilarating form of fishing. Hawaii kayak fishermen are regularly boating such sport fish as amberjacks, tuna, dolphin-fish, wahoo, and more as well as smaller reef game fish that are equally enjoyable cooked up!

Of course it'll take a bit more planning to set-up your equipment and plans for some serious kayak fishing but if it sounds appealing to you now, you might not want to do anything else during your entire stay. Everyone who's done it will attest that landing a decent-sized fish on a kayak is an experience to which one can easily become addicted!

A Permanent Trophy

In the very possible event you land a fish worthy of permanent display, look into some of the local gyotaku artists. Here is a process where an imprint of your fish is made by applying a non-toxic paint to your fish then using the "painted" fish to imprint its image onto a piece of cloth. It's an old Japanese method serving the same function as taxidermy which allows for the fish to be eaten. Yes, you can forever display your fish and eat it, too!

Just as it is fishing back at home, nothing can guarantee you'll catch what you're fishing for. But I'm confident that the time you spend planning for a Hawaii fishing vacation will be as enjoyable as any itinerary you've ever prepared and the subsequent trip might just be the paradise you were really looking for!

Yes... a Hawaii fishing vacation. Give it some thought because the possibilities are endless. I could go on forever but, perhaps, I can share more later. Right now, I think I'll head down to the waterfront and find out what folks are catching on Puget Sound!

Barbs Are Fun Exotic Fish For Your Tropical Fish Tank

Barbs for Aquariums

Barbs are fun to have zipping around your fish tank.  They usually average 2"- 3" in size.  Barbs need to be paired up with similar fish in the tropical community.  Can you see the trend?  Tropical fish are normally the fish for your aquarium.  Barbs are Omnivores.  They eat both plant and animals like prepared and live foods.  You can toss Fish Flakes or Pellets to feed your Barb.  Romaine Lettuce, zucchini and peas are also a good source of food for your Barb, don't be shy to mix it up a little with the food.  Freeze-Dried Blood worms, tubifex worms and other small worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia are the specialty foods for your Barb.  You don't want to clean a bunch of leftovers so be sure to provide enough food that your Barb will eat in 3 minutes or so.

Barbs are usually middle swimmers, meaning you find them in the middle of the fish tank moving about.  Barbs are most active and playful swimmer and like to tease and nip at the fins of slower moving fish.  The Barb is like the prankster at the school yard.  Only his domain is the aquarium.  Barbs move about with 2 or 3 other Barbs to keep the group tough.  When Barbs are alone they tend to seclude themselves from the rest of the aquarium fish.  So be sure to buy a few of their buddies so it can be more playful in the fish tank.

Other Common Barbs for your fish tank include Tiger Barbs, Cherry Barbs, Rosy Barbs and Tinfoil Barbs.

African Cichlids and Exotic Tropical Fish Tanks

African Cichlids are in the tropical semi-aggressive community and grow from 4? to 8? or more. These are a long lasting fish living up to 20 years! African Cichlids are versatile in the fish tank, they spend their time in the middle level in the water. You can find the African Cichlids scooting from top to bottom. African Cichlids are great for a community aquarium but they are semi-aggressive. Cichlids are territorial, and can eat smaller fish. You can put these fish with other fish but be sure they have similar temperaments and are similar in size or the Cichlid will begin to rule the roost.

African Cichlids are carnivores but they can als chow down on some plants. Prepared foods such as vegetables and live foods like worms suit the fish well for it's diet. You can feed African Cichlids fish flakes, frozen foods, live foodes from tubifex worms to daphnia. They even gorge down mosquito larvae, worms and brine shrimp. Remember to supplement your African Cichlids diet by tossing in some veggies. For some reason fish like zuccini. It's the universal veggie, but peas and romaine lettuce will work too. Feed what the cichlid will eat up to 3 minutes and alternate between meat and vegitation to keep your African Cichlids diet in sync.

Fish Tip: Place your fish tank in a low traffic area away from exposing sunlight and AC/Heat vents to keep your tanks water temperature controled.

Other African Cichlids include the Rock-dwelling Cichlid from Malawi and Tanganyika.

Here are more signs of a happy fish

    * They are eating like champs!
    * Your fish are swimming at the right water level
    * No skin lesions
    * Pure colors
    * Steady gills
    * They are darting around like nemo...

Here are the common indicators your fish is sick

    * They scrape their body on the rocks or rough surfaces
    * White stuff on or around the mouth
    * They may get Red Lines on their fins
    * Golden specks on skin and fins is known as a common problem
    * Parasites on the fish. Can you see them?
    * If your fish seems like it's having consistant gill spasms then you know it may be sick.

Learn How to Care For Betta Fish

Freshwater fish are probably the easiest fish to care for. However, if you plan to stock your aquarium with some of the exotic fish, you really need to learn how to care for Betta fish.

You will need the right size tank for the amount and type of fish you plan on purchasing, proper lighting, gravel, plants, an air pump etc. You cannot just put fish in a water tank and expect them to thrive.

Freshwater fish generally need to be fed about twice daily. You should only put enough food in the tank that can be consumed within the first two to five minutes. It is not uncommon for the novice to over feed the fish and that is not a good thing to do as it will quickly dirty the tank.

When you learn how to care for Betta fish, you will also have a good idea on what to do with the rest of the fish you stock in your tank. The exotic fish variety is not as hardy as a gold fish, need a bit more watching, and care from you.

You need to understand that not all fish are compatible with each other. The male Betta fish can get a little aggressive at times and go after some of the other fish in the tank. They are, after all, what is called a fighting fish.

When you learn how to care for your Betta fish you will acquire much more enjoyment when you sit and watch them in the tank. On reason is because you now know you are doing things right for them and are learning the correct ways to keep them safe.

I remember one day I found a real cool looking rock outside and decided I wanted to put it in the aquarium. I knew enough to realize I could not just drop it in the tank, I had to clean it first.

I boiled the rock for about an hour and then cooled it off in some cold water before inserting it in my fish tank. Everything was good for about two days and then all my fish died. I later found out that that particular rock should never be put into an aquarium, it did something very bad to the PH factor of the water and the exotic fish could not handle the change.

There is more to learn how to care for Betta fish than just putting them into the aquarium. If you overcrowd the fish tank it will cause the fish to suffer from stress. You will recognize that when you see slow moving and lethargic fish.

You will also want to change out the water every so often. Change out only about a third of the water at a time. Make sure you wash your hands first and try not to disturb the fish too much. Remember, you are in their world now and they do not like to be disturbed.

When you actually do learn how to care for Betta fish you will have hours of enjoyment watching them interact with each other in the fish tank. The more you understand their needs the happier they will be and the longer they will live.

Freshwater fish are a joy and a privilege to watch. When you learn how to care for Betta fish you will have hours of enjoyment observing them in their aquarium.

Do not let the care and feeding of your Betta fish, and your other exotic fish, go to chance from your possible ignorance as to what you should be doing to care for them.
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