Rizzuto's book a real catch for fish fans

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 12/14/02)
By Ray Pendleton

Are you still looking for the right Christmas present for someone special?

Well, if he or she is an angler, I know the perfect gift. It's called Fishing Hawaii Offshore, the latest book from the Big Island's award-winning writer Jim Rizzuto.

If fishing is your passion and you've been in Hawaii for any length of time, then you'll recognize Rizzuto as arguably the most authoritative and prolific sportfishing journalist in our state.

Over the past 40 years he has written weekly columns for newspapers, monthly stories for magazines and authored numerous books. And invariably each is a delightful combination of statistics, instruction, history and humor.

As Rizzuto notes in his introduction, "Fishing Hawaii Offshore was written for fishermen who like to read, readers who like to fish, and everyone who enjoys exciting stories of men, women and the sea."

As someone who easily falls into the latter two categories, I can say without reservation, Rizzuto accomplished his mission.

Throughout the book's 22 chapters -- and a 47-page photo section -- the many aspects of big-game fishing are presented, with much of the emphasis on Rizzuto's observations and experiences off the Big Island's Kona Coast.

In the first four chapters, Rizzuto discusses lures, rigging and live-baiting techniques that have been developed over the years to capture large billfish, especially those marlin over 1,000 pounds, aptly named "granders."

To establish that big lures often catch big fish, Rizzuto describes in detail how the 1993 Lahaina Jackpot Fishing Tournament was won by the team aboard Bruce Matson's 47-foot sportfisher Cormorant when a 1,199.2-pound Pacific blue marlin took their "huge Coggin straight runner."

Next, after a brief chapter on the potential existence of "tonners" -- 2,000-pound marlin --and how they might be caught, Rizzuto continues on with a chapter on the history and controversy surrounding Pacific marlin in general.

Entering the debate on the most likely time of the month or year to catch marlin, he concludes, "... in the end, the truth is something we really have always known. The best time to fish is when you have the time."

In succeeding chapters, Rizzuto broadens his scope to take in other fishermen favorites such as ahi (yellowfin tuna), po`onui (bigeye tuna), aku (skipjack tuna), mahimahi (dolphinfish) and ono (wahoo).

Those who appreciate the nuances of the Hawaiian language will appreciate his explaining that ono and `ono are two different words. One's the fish and the other is the word for delicious, and although some may think ono are `ono, their meanings are not the same.

Rizzuto also discusses hooking up ulua (giant trevally), kamanu (rainbow runners), tombo (albacore), kahala (amberjack) and kawakawa so there's little question that he eventually touches on nearly everyone's favorite catch.

In the final chapter, called "Only in Hawaii," Rizzuto offers up the kind of fishing tales you would likely hear late in the day in places like Quinn's in Kailua-Kona. Except there, after a pau hana beer or two, you might begin to question their authenticity.

To receive Fishing Hawaii Offshore by mail, call (808) 885-4208, or contact Rizzuto by e-mail at rizzuto@aloha.net, or visit his Web site at FishingHawaiiOffshore.com.

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