By Makani Christensen
The S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge is arguably the most iconic shoreline fishing tournament in Hawaii, featuring shore casting and slide bating- the primary style of fishing for most shoreline anglers. Each year in June, fisherman, families, and business owners meet in Hilo, Hawaii to take part in a 3-day fishing tournament targeting giant trevally in the coastal waters. The tournament is one of the most popular fishing events in Hawaii and is considered to be an age-old tradition by many. The Ulua Challenge is directed by 3rdgeneration store owner, Mike Tokunaga. His store is one of the best fishing stores in Hawaii, featuring the top fishing and outdoor-sports products from all over the world.
The 2018 S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge was a great success and featured a new partnership with Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, who offered their top-of-the-line sunglasses as first prize for the tag-and-release division. Anglers from all over the islands were excited to participate in Hawaii’s number one fishing tournament and everyone had their eyes on the best fishing sunglasses in the state.
We are seeing a new age of fishing conservation incorporated into the biggest fishing tournaments in Hawaii, with S. Tokunaga Store leading by example. The creation of tag and release divisions is a relatively new effort yet has quickly gained popularity amongst participants. With the tag and release division’s introduction in 2017, we have seen an enormous increase in participation, as well as a significant increase in the local fish population. More fish were tagged this year than ever before in the history of this tournament.
As fisherman, catch-and-release is something we would like to emulate throughout the state to promote conservation efforts for our coastal predatorial and reef fish. Costa’s initiative and brilliant partnership with the S. Tokunaga Store sets the example for shore casting events.
It is only a matter of time before other store owners and fishing supply companies jump onboard and adopt Costa’s challenge for a catch-and-release division for their tournaments.