Chasing Another ‘Choy’s Monster’

When it comes to fishing tales, few will ever top the one that was told June 10, 1970.

It was a story that spread quickly on the coconut wireless. Many claimed they were at Kewalo Basin that Wednesday afternoon, but the reality is only a few were lucky enough to actually see “Choy’s Monster” with their own eyes.

But how can you blame anyone for claiming they were there? After all, it’s not often you see a 1,805-pound marlin that was caught on a rod and reel. In fact, up until that point, it had never happened before … and hasn’t happened since.


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The monster fish at Kewalo Photo courtesy Shannon H. Edie

The man behind the big catch was the late Capt. Cornelius Choy. More than a dozen people watched in awe as the marlin was hoisted onto the scale and weighed. The 1,805-pound blue marlin was and still is still the largest blue marlin ever caught on rod and reel in the world.

The massive marlin was caught off of Kewalo Harbor and was dubbed “Choy’s Monster.”

In honor of Choy’s Monster, Ward Village will host the inaugural Kewalo Harbor Big Fish Chase June 6.

“Ward Village has sponsored it with a guaranteed purse of $10,000, the majority of the money coming from the fees from the boats that enter,” says Race Randle, senior director of development for Howard Hughes Corporation’s Ward Village.

“It’s a community gathering place, so we want to see improvements happen in the harbor to encourage more people to come down there than just fishermen.”

Kewalo has a long history in fishing. Kakaako was once a bustling fishing village. In the 1920s, Kewalo Harbor was created as a mixed-use harbor for charter and commercial fishing vessels. It since has evolved into a community gathering space and ocean recreation area.

Today, more than 100 commercial fishing boats and recreational ocean activities call it home.

“We took over the harbor in September of last year to operate and manage the harbor,” says Randle. “We found out quickly it has a great history in fishing, and we want to tell that story. And we want to encourage other people to come out and fish out of Kewalo Harbor, so this is how we’re doing it.”

The entry fee for the tournament is $500 per team. The guaranteed $10,000 purse is split among the largest marlin, ahi, ono and mahimahi — 40 percent of the guaranteed purse will go to the largest marlin, 40 percent will go to the largest ahi, and 10 percent will go to both the largest ono and the largest mahimahi.

There is no limit on the number of entries, and up to 20 boaters traveling from outside Honolulu will be able to dock temporarily at Kewalo Harbor for the tourney.

“There are only a few spots left to park your boat, if you’re bringing it in from another harbor,” says Randle.

The event also will feature a $50,000 bounty paid to any one who lands a fish bigger than Choy’s Monster.

Good luck.

“Kewalo Harbor has been a prime location for fishing in Hawaii for centuries, and the Kewalo Harbor Big Fish Chase will offer the community a chance to experience the history and importance of fishing at Kewalos firsthand,” said John Emery, local sports fisherman and owner of Hale Aikane, a Kewalo Harbor fishing boat.

“The many fishing charters that operate out of Kewalo Harbor each and every day, as well as our local fishermen, look forward to participating in this tournament.”

Kewalo Harbor Big Fish Chase is the first event in the eight-tournament Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series. For registration and more information go to konatournaments. com/events/kewaloharbor-big-fish-chase.