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Joining The 100-pound Ulua Club

Prestin Maze, his 2-year-old daughter, Kaila Maze, and girlfriend Val Cababag Travis K. Okimoto photo

Prestin Maze has been fishing nearly all his life and has seen his share of 100-pound ulua in photographs and magazines. The 25-year-old Ewa Beach resident has even gaffed one, but he’s never landed one himself, until now.

Maze recently took part in the GT Master’s Cup, a four-day shoreline-fishing tournament that often lures some of Oahu’s top ulua fishermen. The event is one of the major attractions at the annual Hawaiian Ocean Expo.

“I dropped my line, the ulua took my bait, and I got lucky,” laughs the humble Maze. “Pure luck!”

Like all fishermen, Maze has a secret spot where he sets up shop. Of course, he wouldn’t reveal the location of his big catch, only to say it was on the “Leeward side of Oahu.” What he would tell us is the strike came in the early morning hours.

“I thought it was a shark at first, because I’ve been on a streak of catching sharks lately,” laughs Maze. “I was stoked when I saw it was a big ulua.”

Maze knew he landed a big one and was hoping it was large enough for him to join the exclusive 100-pound club. As required by GT Master’s Cup rules, Maze called in his catch with an unofficial weight of 99.5 pounds.

“I was thinking it was, like, maybe 80 pounds,” says Maze. “The best part about it is I caught the fish with my family. My dad (Wally Maze), grandma and grandpa (Sandi and Michael Arakaki) and girlfriend (Val Cababag) were there.”

The official weigh-in came in front of a large crowd at Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Rodney Villanueva added the color.

“Took him half an hour to reel it in; let’s home for a 100-pounder,” shouted Villanueva to the anxious crowd, as officials hoisted the giant ulua on the digital scale. “Here we go … 100.4 pounds, 100.4 pounds! Solid! We got ’em! Wow!

That’s what 100 pounds and 4 ounces look like! Unbelievable ulua!”

“It was like the whole crowd was going off,” says Maze, a machinist at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. “I cut it up, smoked some of it and made some sashimi, too.”

Tournament officials say while many have tried, no one had claimed the Eastside Outkastas’ $1,000 bounty for a fish topping 100 pounds in several years. Maze ended the drought.

“Some people will never see a 100-pounder in their lifetime,” says Hawaii Ocean Expo founder Russ Inouye. “This is so rare. In all the years I’ve been fishing, I’ve only seen this happen once.”

Maze’s big catch also landed him the grand prize of the GT Master’s Cup shoreline fishing tournament: A $3,400 cash jackpot, which included the $1,000 bounty, a round trip for two people to Alaska, courtesy of Alaska Air and Vacations Hawaii, and a four-day, five-night fishing adventure at Shelter Lodge, courtesy of Alaska Reel Adventures.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” says Maze. “I’m super happy.”

Ching and Spalding paddle to victories … again.

Danny Ching and Lauren Spalding have conquered the Kaiwi Channel once again. Ching and Spalding continued their dominance in the world of OC-1 paddling with strong victories at the Steinlager Kaiwi Channel OC-1 World Championships.

Seventy-one competitors took on brutal conditions. Paddlers battled heat, humidity and light head-winds.

In the men’s race, it came down to a photo finish between Ching (4:58:03) and Daniel Chun (4:58:05) from the Big Island. The two-second victory gives Ching his second world championship title, the last one in 2010. Pat Dolan of Kailua was a close third.

On the women’s side, Spalding beat the field in the 32-mile race from Molokai to Oahu with a time of 5:30:06. It was her eighth title. Coral Darbishire (5:32:51) and Lindsey Shank (5:34:06) round out the top three.