By Bill Mossman, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsFebruary 18, 2010
WAHIAWA, Hawaii - The Outdoor Recreation Center's Freshwater Fishing Tournament attracted a small number of military and civilian personnel, here, to the shores of Lake Wilson, where seasoned anglers tried their luck at snaring the longest game fish in the inaugural tag-and-release event, Jan. 30.
Following six hours of intense but friendly competition, Staff Sgt. Tristan Peltier, 732nd Military Battalion, and James Fowler walked off with first- and second-place honors, respectively.
Peltier was credited with capturing a 21-inch carp, while Fowler lured home a 17-inch tucunare.
For their efforts, the winners received $50 gift certificates to Dave & Buster's in Honolulu.
"It was a good experience to get out on the lake and actually do some fishing," said Fowler, who cut his teeth on the outdoor sport while living in Washington.
The husband of Sgt. Kerrilee Fowler, of 84th Engineering Battalion, Fowler spent much of the competition successfully getting smaller tucunare to nibble on a six-pound test line. But it really wasn't until the final hour of the event that he was finally able to hook his prize fish.
"It was definitely a lot of fun," said Fowler about the tournament.
ODR recreation specialist Sharon Nakai called the event "a success" - not so much for the number of registered entrants, seven, but for finally satisfying the wishes of so many Soldiers longing for such an outdoor activity.
"The idea behind this was to get something going for our Soldiers because they come to Hawaii and they want to go out and fish, and all they talk about is freshwater fishing on the mainland," Nakai explained. "And because (Lake Wilson) is a large water area, we figured it would be a place where they would be comfortable in."
Also known as Wahiawa Reservoir, Lake Wilson is the largest freshwater sport fishery in the state. Built in 1906, the primarily privately owned body of water was developed through damming the north and south forks of Kaukonahua Stream for sugarcane irrigation purposes. Today, the lake sits on approximately 400 acres of land, and includes a boat-launching ramp and vehicle-trailer parking area.
During the tournament, registered anglers were given from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to catch the largest fish possible using their own gear. Then, they were required to check back in at ODR's Schofield Barracks-based shop before 2 p.m. that day, showing photo proof of their catch and its measured length.
"It was a good day to hold the tournament - slightly overcast, but still sunny," said Nakai, of the weather. But the best part of the event, she added, was that "everyone but one was able to catch a fish."
Since the event was the first of several planned freshwater fishing competitions this year, Nakai and other event organizers decided to go easy on the anglers in regards to the rules.
Future tournaments, she clarified, would place greater emphasis on hauling in such big-game fish as largemouth bass and catfish, as well as the aforementioned tucunare.
"We did this tournament open-division style, meaning that everything counted, no matter what came up," Nakai explained. "But as we go through the year, we're going to be a little more stringent."
The next freshwater fishing tournament is scheduled for May 28 at Lake Wilson. Entry fee is $20. For more information, call the ODR at 808-655-0143.