The Future of Kayak Fishing in Hawaii – Isaac Brumaghim talks Aquahunters and the Makahiki Tournament

Isaac Brumaghim talks Aquahunters and the Makahiki Tournament

Isaac Brumaghim paddling off Oahu's Kaena Point. Photo Aaron Black-Schmidt
Isaac Brumaghim paddling off Oahu’s Kaena Point. Photo Aaron Black-Schmidt

Isaac’s Hawai Focus: Aquahunters and Makahiki kayak tourney

By Rich Holland

With the era of cable TV over (at least for the present), Aquahunters founder Isaac Brumaghim has the future of kayak fishing in Hawaii clearly in his sights as he makes positive plans to promote the islands’ amazing angling and skilled competitive fishermen.

“There are two things I am completely focused on now, the Aquahunters Web series and the ninth season of the Makahiki Tournament,” says Brumaghim. “Both are going to be different than anything we’ve done in the past.”

Much of Isaac’s vision is wrapped around the 2016 edition of the Aquahunters Web series.

“I want to share the athletes of the sport of kayak fishing in Hawaii, the guys who have been a big part of the Aquahunters,” notes Brumaghim. “The series is not just me, I want to use my platform to give exposure to my fellow competitors from all the islands.”

While the series will be packed with the incredible and kayak-accessible offshore action found around Hawaii, Isaac says there will also be segments on rigging, cooking the catch and fishing with the kids.

“I’m just going back to how I look at everything, the lifestyle of the Hawaii kayak fisherman,” adds Isaac. “I’m not looking to compare what I do with what anyone else has done. I want to express kayak fishing in Hawaii as we experience it.”

A big part of that experience is the online Makahiki Tournament, which for the past nine years has allowed competitors up to 40 days of kayak fishing spread over the bulk of the year. Big changes are in store for the 2016 event

Past Makahiki Pro Division Champion Chris Paglinawan.
Past Makahiki Pro Division Champion Chris Paglinawan.

“The Makahiki in the past has been an individual tournament, and for the last six years featured two divisions, Pro and Rec, fishing a different number of days,” says Isaac.

“This year the Makahiki will be a team championship, with each two-person team fishing 40 days over eight months,” he adds. “We are going to delay the start to March or maybe even April, it depends on how soon we get the sponsors squared away.”

The 2016 event will combine the points accumulated by the two anglers on each team. While they can fish alone or together, the motivating factor behind the decision to go to a team format was to encourage kayak fishing partnerships.

“We are perpetuating the use of a partner,” explains Isaac. “You go out with your partner in order to hit the right fish, potentially increasing both your chances and your partners to win.”

There will also be a better opportunity for photos and video and a featured segment in the Aquahunters Web series.

“I think it should be a little more exciting with this format, and there could be some great exposure for the athletes,” Brumaghim notes. “You might see teams you have seen in the past and there could be some new partnerships that will be highly competitive.”

Teams can fish either from a tandem kayak or on individual rigs and can switch back and forth over the course of the event. The complete rules will be posted on the Aquahunters Forum.

Brumaghim admits “there has been a lot of fallout” from the recently cancelled television series, yet believes that the spirit of competition and Aloha can once again bring island kayakers together. He’s also looking to bring kayak fishing Aloha to the rest of the world.

“We hope to attract global interest in both the Web series and coming over to fish our tournaments,” Isaac concludes. “We want to share what kayak fishermen in other parts of the world can offer where they live, as well as expose what we do here. It’s a natural path.”

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