Fish tale becomes whopper

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (6/23/01)
By Ray Pendleton

With the first day of summer just a couple of days behind us, it may seem a bit premature to discuss a fishing tournament scheduled for the end-of-summer Labor Day weekend.

But, for the organizers of the Hoolea Tournament, this is the time they need to get the word out to potential sponsors that help is needed.

For the past 15 years, the Waikiki and Hawaii yacht clubs have hosted the Hoolea Fishing Tournament and have seen its popularity rise dramatically each year.

When some 90 boats entered in 2000, the Hoolea became the second largest tournament on O`ahu, topped only by the very popular Ahi Fever in Waianae contest.

There appears to be no question that part of the Hoolea's popularity can be attributed to the organizational skills of its cochairmen, Mike House and Rick Abille. Since taking over the reins, the tournament's entries have quadrupled.

Another factor seems to be the relaxing of the rules governing the tournament. For many years a demand for adherence to official International Game Fish Association rules only seemed to discourage a number of local anglers.

Now, the Hoolea's generally more acceptable rules are defined as "loose - not jungle, not IGFA, but in between."

The ability of the two yacht clubs to provide free moorings for all participants has, no doubt, also offered anglers a good reason to fish the two-day tournament. For those with boats not moored in the Ala Wai marina, the convenience is undeniable.

And too, in recent years, the two clubs have invited the families of all participants to use their facilities - including the WYC swimming pool - while the anglers are out fishing. Such aloha hospitality is bound to attract more entries.

One aspect of the Hoolea tournament that has been perennially popular since its inception is its policy of paying out over 100 percent of the anglers' entry fees back to them in prize money.

The organizers have been able to accomplish this partly because of financial assistance from the clubs, partly because they have no paid staff, and partly because so many sponsors have made such generous contributions.

Those contributions have included products like sunglasses and sunscreens, fishing tackle and boat equipment, gift certificates from marine suppliers and restaurants and uncounted cases of beer.

Of course, the most appreciated and hard to find donation of them all - cash - is what has allowed the Hoolea to return all entry fees in prize money and, for the first time last year, make a $1,000 donation to assist Goodwill Industries hold a fishing tournament of its own.

Naturally, the Hoolea organizers want to continue this tradition and so they are now looking for interested sponsors.

Any business with a product or service that could benefit from a tie-in with the second largest fishing tournament on O`ahu should give either House or Abille a call at 396-2607 or 845-4104, respectively.

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