The beginning of fishing in Hawai‘i television
Hawai'i Goes Fishing traces its historical roots to the 1960's as a Sunday afternoon series called Fishing With Bruce Carter. For an hour Carter would run silent home movies of his local fishing trips as he narrated them live on the air with his friends. It was soon renamed Let's Go Fishing, and was part of the local TV landscape for more than forty years.
Being the only show of its kind, it quickly became a staple among its loyal audience with an informal dress code that included shorts and slippers.
Along the way Hari Kojima, a fish cutter from Tamashiro Market, was invited on the show to demonstrate quick and simple ways of preparing fish. He deftly fillet a tuna in a few minutes while keeping the banter going in his uniquely local style. Hari soon became a regular on the show. Stan Wright, a local photographer originally from Texas, also began to make regular appearances with catch reports.
Technology and evolution
In 1981, videotape replaced Carter's silent films. A production crew was assigned to the show, along with a full-time producer/director. A new Let's Go Fishing reached more homes each Sunday afternoon. Hari and Stan became co-hosts for a show that began to travel throughout the Pacific region.
A newcomer changes the scene
Soon afterward, another fishing show entered the Hawai'i television market: Mike Sakamoto's Fishing Tales. Combining his television production background with a lifetime of fishing knowledge, Mike set a whole new standard for local fishing shows by combining a well-narrated storyline with much higher production quality than ever before. Years after its long successful run, we were lucky to have Mike aboard twice as a guest on Hawai'i Goes Fishing. Sadly, Mike passed away in January of 2009.
A shifting tide
Hari began hosting a cooking show later in the 1980s, and Let's Go Fishing was shortened to a 30-minute program. When Hari left the show in 1998, producer Bob Pritchard hired Benedict "Ben" Wong who then joined Ken Walsh as the show's new hosts. Walsh was an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, and loved any water sport. Wong was a waiter at Hy's Steakhouse and played occasional roles in some Hawai'i-based TV shows.
Impending doom and a rebirth
In 2002, KHON was about to cancel Let's Go Fishing, so an independent company (Hawai'i Productions Associates) was formed to take over production. Producer Bob Pritchard moved the show to Oceanic/Time Warner's all-local channel, OC16, and christened the new show "Hawai'i Goes Fishing". He gave it a one-hour magazine format and enlisted cameraman-editor Alan "AJ" Johnston to help build the first dozen shows. The reincarnated program began to develop a loyal following.
After Johnston's departure in 2004, Honolulu Star-Bulletin chief photographer Dean Sensui was recruited to help out as a part-time editor and cameraman. He became a full partner and co-producer in 2005, and applied his years of journalism and technical experience to further improve various aspects of the show.
Challenges and opportunities
In December of 2006 Wong's career with Hawai'i Goes Fishing came to an end. A year later Pritchard left to pursue other opportunites. Sensui inherited the responsibility of being the show's executive producer. He believed the show needed to represent a greater portion of Hawai'i's fishing community, and dedicated it to Hawai'i's people, their culture and their lifestyle. He brought in singer, songwriter and composer Audy Kimura (who created the show's familiar musical signature) as an executive co-producer to assist in restarting Hawai'i Goes Fishing. Kimura helped recruit new hosts for the show including Cindy Paliracio, Dave Lancaster and Margot Mendoza.
Executive Producer Dean Sensui updated the show into a true, high-definition TV production, and gave the show a new look. Since taking the reins in 2008, he films, writes and edits every episode. Oceanic Time/Warner cable is also distributing the the show on channel 1016 in full 1080i HD, making Hawai'i Goes Fishing among the few locally produced shows that are originated, produced and distributed in 100 percent HD.
In addition to a broader variety of guests and fishing styles, there are informative segments on fishing tackle, and boat maintenance by Honolulu Community College's Mark Kimura. It also showcases many local, home-style dishes, prepared in ways that everyone can emulate and appreciate.
By the people, for the people
Most importantly, it's not about us. It's about you! Hawai'i Goes Fishing gets its stories from the people who fish for recreation as well as those who work hard to earn a living from the ocean that surrounds us.
Hawai'i Goes Fishing continues to deliver fishing action from around Hawai'i and occasionally from other parts of the Pacific. The sounds, color, and cultural aspects of this time-honored activity come to life each week with a first-class show as it always has, in the same spirit and tradition that has spanned more than forty years.
Comments? Suggestions? Please e-mail us at hanapaa@HawaiiGoesFishing.com