Spyda's Blog

A Hawaiian Style Fishing Blog

Browsing Posts tagged Penn Pursuit

“Same old Bays” says Dean, I just nod in agreement. The tall ironwood trees still stand guard at the edge of the road, looking down at the small patches of naupaka fighting to reestablish after the hoards of 4×4’s and atv’s tore at them for years and years. Help has come in the form of large concrete blocks that prevent the entry of the motorized demons. Not especially pretty, but, effective none the less. They have brought back a touch of the peacefulness that we once knew here. I was first introduced to this little gem of a beach back in the mid ’70s when Steve brought me here to surf. It was also when I first met and got to know the boys. They had all been coming out to this area since the ’60s and had their own names for all the surf breaks along this stretch. Bays became our regular surf, dive and fishing spot. While a few things have changed over the years the one thing that has always been the same is the water. All the time we’ve spent in the water here has brought us to know the reef and currents well. The spot has become like and old girlfriend. We know her moods. We respect her when she’s angry and are always grateful when she’s generous.


Naturally the ride out to Bays is familiar one for us. Over the years we’ve made that drive at all hours of the day and night. The decision to drive out here has on occasion been a questionable one when considering the number of glasses we raised prior to heading out.  Some of those late night  journeys resulted in us all sleeping in the car until the heat of the mid-morning sun would wake us. Sometimes we’d just get out of the car, take a pee, get back in and drive home.  In those early days we were mostly there to surf. A quick surf was always the best cure for a hangover. It always took one person to break the ice by paddling out, usually Steve, then one by one we’d drag our boards out and jump in.

While we’ve had some success fishing there and certainly a lot of good times, Keith remains as the only Zee Packer on record to score an Ulua there. A mystery we’ve circled around for many, many  years. It’s been a long while since we’ve caught much of anything there, but, there we were. Perhaps ecouraged by the oama in our live bait bucket, maybe just because it was comfortable being there. It was in fact the first time we had been out there since Keith passed away. Neither of us had said it out loud, but, I think Dean and I both felt it was the place to be that day.

Keith’s funeral had been a mixed bag of emotions. Touching bases with a few old friends, looking at the collage of pictures of his life and seeing his portrait on the mantle. This had been the first time any event had caused the whole gang to pull in the fishing poles and drive into town from our annual beach house vacation. With all that he and his family had been through in the last few years of his life you could sense that within the veil of sadness there was a breeze of relief and a feeling of joy knowing that he was done with the pain and in a much better place. The MC at the service gave a nod to the fishing gang by asking everyone to keep Keith in our hearts and minds and that perhaps Keith would bring a fish our way someday!

As we made the long drive back to the country from town we reflected on the service and talked about some of our favorite memories of Keith.  While the general mood was pleasent, I know it was tough for all of us to accept that we had just said our final goodbys to our brother.

Getting back to the beach house I wondered how much energy I would be able to put into fishing after such a draining evening. As Daniel and I sat drinking some beers on the deck Dean got right to checking the live bait well and re-rigging his lines. After a bit Dan and I finally decided to get on it too and got some baits on our lines and tossed them out. It was a clear beautiful night, so in the softer country lighting there were a ton of stars in view. As I was gazing up at them I saw a formation that looked like an Ulua with its mouth wide open ready to inhale a helpless baitfish! I was about to point it out to the guys when I thought better of it and decided it would only bring waves of drunken ridicule my way….

Just after midnight, Dean had gone down for the count and Dan and I were still up talking story when a hard bell ring penetrated the alcoholic blur! I looked up and saw the tip of my spinner rod dip out of sight behind the plants between us and the beach, wow fish on finally!! When I got to the rod I could hear the line smoothly peeling out of the Fin-nor despite the rather tight drag setting I was using. I removed the bell and the tie-down. After a few seconds the run eased up and the tip started to lift. I pulled the rod out of the spike and leaned back on it. The fish turned and headed left crossing Daniels line. I had to follow to the left to try and get it to clear. I had just managed to do that when it decided to head back to the right. This time it stayed clear and I shouted to Dan that it was coming in. A short while later we saw the flash of a white ulua in the shorebreak and the next wave tumbled it on to the sand! What’taya know? Ulua, first in a long time for me. I had not caught any ulua since leaving the Big Island over 18 years ago!


Small bugga, but, definately ulua for sure. It would later weigh in at 14 pounds. The first thing that came to mind when I landed it was Keith! Keith had brought the boys an ulua!! I couldn’t stop repeating it the rest of the night, Keith brought us a fish! It made us all happy, it was a clear sign. The first sign came few days after Keith had passed when Dean had a dream. All his life Dean has had dreams about people close to him shortly after they die. In his dream about Keith, Dean said Keith told him he was fine and he looked good. The second sign was the ulua I saw in the sky that night. This ulua was the third and final sign, a confirmation if you will, for all of us that Keith was indeed okay and doing fine!

Keith had made the long ride home.



There are a lot of high-tech rods on the market these days. High-tech = high dollar. Not all of us can afford that stuff, so, we make do with what we can. My favorite big spinner rod broke two summers ago in the middle of our annual one week get away out country. So I had no choice but to drive back in to Kaneohe to look for an affordable replacement at Nankos. I ended up spending about 35 or 40 on a 12 foot Penn Pursuit. Nothing fancy, but, it has served me well the last year and a half. I’m finally getting around to making some modifications to the rod I’ve been thinking about for a while. First on the list, add some weight and few extra inches to the butt of the rod.

First step is pry the stock rubber butt cap off. It’s glued on, but, not too well so this was easy to do.

Nice and easy does it!

Carefully push a small flathead screwdriver in between the butt and the blank, gently prying the rubber away from the blank. Just do a little at a time and work your way around slowly. Avoid digging into the blank and damaging it.

A little rubber is left on the blank, better than gouges!

Step two, remove the bottom section of hypalon grip. This is to make room for the stainless steel butt that I’m putting on. I’m not planning to reuse the grip so I just use an X-Acto knife to cut it off. On the top edge there is a little resin build up that needs to be cut away.

Cut a slit down the length of the grip. Carefully cut it away from the blank, again avoid gouging the blank.

Here we see the three components that will go back on the rod. Top, the stainless steel butt, middle the wooden dowel and bottom a piece of electrical conduit.

The dowel adds strength to the bottom of the blank and creates the extra length I want. The piece of conduit will slide over the dowel to match up to the size of the blank and it will add a little weight. The added weight of the three components will balance out the rod for throwing big baits. The blue tape shows me how far to push the dowel into the blank. Then epoxy the conduit on and finally the stainless steel butt cap is epoxied in place.

One final step, seal the top edge of the butt and at the same time replace the build up of resin where the decorative wrap meets the butt. For anyone interested the conduit is one inch OD with approx 9/10 ID and the wood dowel is probably sold as one inch, but, is actually about 9/10. I got lucky and had the dowel and conduit in my garage. I didn’t measure the length of the dowel, but, I cut it about a half inch longer than the stainless butt. My thought was to spread the stress point a little, if it was even with the butt the stress is on the top edge of the butt, with the dowel sticking into the blank a little it moves some of the stress to the softer edge of the dowel.

All done!