David “Boogie-D” Elgas

David Elgas is a Haleiwa-based angler, teacher, guide, writer, and television personality best known for his contagious passion for the sport.  With numerous awards to his name, including those from Kayak Fishing Radio and the US Coast Guard Auxillary, David is well respected for his abilities to promote the sport of kayak angling with positivity and an emphasis on safety.  An angler with skill to match his passion, David currently holds the record for landing the largest barracuda, and is a member of the Hobie Kayak Fishing Team.

What first drew you to this style of angling?  When was that?

I was drawn to kayak fishing because I love the water, and I was getting bored with body boarding. I was also doing a lot of shoreline fishing at the time, and not having much luck. I kept thinking if I could just get out a little further, I might be able to catch more fish. That was back in 2002.

Do you remember the first fish that you caught from a kayak?

The first fish I caught on a kayak was a blue trevally, known as an omilu in Hawaii. I caught it using a live juvenile goat fish for bait.

Most kayakers avoid the often treacherous waters off of Kaena Point.  You managed to go out there and return with a record setting barracuda.  Tell us about that day.

This was a stupid day, and I foolishly endangered myself. I went solo to an area that is very dangerous.  I had no radio and only a cell phone.  I got sucked out into a mad current. I was really getting tired, and remember thinking, “don’t be afraid to make that call”. The arms were locking up and the motor was starting to shut down.  I slowly made ground back to the point. I had no time to stop and take my bait out of the water. Right when I got to safer waters, I took the big hit in about 30 feet of water. That big ‘cuda battled me for a while, and the first thing it did was pull me right back out into the rip. By the time I landed the big old stinky, I was sucked way outside and had to battle the current all over again.  I just had to stay focused, be steady and strong. I remember thinking about my breathing and getting a solid rhythm going. Slowly but surely I got back to the point again. That was a long tough day, however, I did set an unassisted kayak fishing record for biggest barracuda at 65.5 pounds.

What food and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?

When I kayak fish, I don’t eat breakfast. I will start the day with some green tea. I will usually just take out trail mix and an energy bar for later. I always bring a lot of water with me and when I need an extra boost I like to drink Vitamin Water. “Revive” is my favorite. For music, I like getting pumped up on some Slightly Stoopid before I paddle out. This southern California band has got the right mix of punk and reggae to get me feeling good before a launch. On the water, I listen to a wide mix of tunes from Pennywise to Bob Marley. One of the last good concerts I saw was the Chili Peppers.

Who, specifically, is shaping the future of kayak angling?

I don’t think you can give that title to any one person. I think there are kayak anglers living coast to coast and in Hawaii that are all working hard at shaping the future of kayak angling.

Aqua Hunters crowned you as Kayak Fishing Ambassador of 2009.  What does this role mean to you?

The role is about building the sport of kayak fishing in Hawaii. This award is an honor to me, because my peers have respected the work I have done promoting the sport in Hawaii. For me, it was hosting kayak fishing tournaments, offering kayak fishing clinics, offering Coast Guard safety classes, showing up at all the expo’s, getting TV and magazine exposure for Hawaii athletes, competing locally, and traveling to outer islands to compete.

With regard to kayak angling, what issues are important to you? And what can be done about it?

It is an important issue that kayak anglers in Hawaii are not overly regulated. There is a movement in the state of Hawaii to attack recreational fishing. Instead of targeting the real culprits of over fishing, (commercial fishing), they are coming after the small guys. Years of mismanagement in Hawaii have left our fish stock in peril, and instead of taking the blame, the state wants to point fingers. It is important that Hawaii anglers are allowed to practice this ancient tradition and cultural lifestyle of kayak fishing to provide food for their family. As long as kayak anglers stay united in this cause, we should prevail. We have a voice.

Among your many titles is that of writer.  What drives your creativity when you are capturing the sport with words?

What drives me is the enjoyment of the sport itself. I have so much fun out there. “Fishing with friends the fun never ends.”  I want to remember these good times, and writing helps me to relive and remember these experiences.  Also, Hawaiian athletes drive me to write. There are some really good anglers out here. These anglers make me want to expose them to the world.

Barring money or logistics, what is your dream kayak angling trip?

I am actually in the process of a dream trip right now, as I have just shipped kayaks to Christmas Island (Kiritimati). On February 7th, 2012, Allen Sansano, myself, and a small media team will be the first ever to kayak fish the world’s largest coral atoll, and we are very excited.  I guess once I live that dream out, it will be time to chase down another one. A trip that has perked my interest is an offshore mother ship adventure out of mainland Mexico, where the yellowfin tuna average between 60 and 200 pounds consistently. That’s a big fish, and sounds like a lot of fun to me.

What’s in your milk crate? 

My milk crate is a Hobie live well, and live mackerel scad go inside of it. I usually go out with three poles. Two will be rigged for trolling live bait, and the other is rigged for catching live bait. I carry extra damashi rigs for catching live bait, and some back up live bait rigs. I will bring 4-6 ounce leads for dropping live baits to the bottom.  I will take out some yozuri crystal minnows. If the winds are up, and I can AI sail, then I will take deep diving x-rap rapala’s and an assortment of big game trolling lures. Light concave soft heads work the best on the AI.  If I am going to be popping for GT, I like the Williamson Jet popper 4 ounce and the Bay Bombers 4 ounce.

Tell us about your best day on the water.

One of my favorite memories is a recent trip to the back side of Molokai. Windward Boats had mother-shipped us over to the island from Oahu. In the morning, Joe Adams took us up the coast and upwind near Halawa Valley. The plan was to paddle down the coast along the world’s largest sea cliffs towards Kalapapa. Initially I went offshore and didn’t have much luck or mark anything on the fish finder, so I came in closer to the shore along the very steep sea cliffs. The water was still pretty deep for being that close to shore, and I started picking up structure and fish on the depth recorder. I stopped trolling to take a break and try some bottom fishing at Hawaii’s largest water fall. What a magnificent site, water falling from the clouds high above and all the way down to the beach. Who wouldn’t like fishing here?  On the very first bottom drop, in front of this incredible water fall, I took a solid strike on a dead mackerel scad. After a fun battle, a good size GT ulua came up and went into the fish bag (25 lbs.).  I continued on down the coast just off the steep cliffs in about 120 feet of water. I came to the head land of the next valley over and started to pick up some tall pinnacles loaded with bait balls. I again dropped another dead mackerel scad down and it instantly got hit. As I was battling this ulua to the surface I saw a couple of bigger ulua following it up. I quickly dropped down another rigged mackerel scad and sure enough it got nailed and by a bigger ulua. The line stared ripping out from the reel. I had forgotten to loosen the drag on the reel so I almost got yanked into the water. After some crazy body English, I got the drag loose, and battled the first ulua into the kayak. I remember struggling to get that fish in the bag (30 lbs.) while the other bigger ulua was still ripping out line. My Fin Nor 950 was about ¾ spooled before I was able to grab that rod. With so much line out, the big ulua eventually got stuck on the reef. Luckily I was able to use my Hobie mirage drive to maneuver up wind. By releasing some pressure and getting back above the fish, the ulua came free. After a lengthy battle, I brought up a mammoth of a beast – probably my personal best GT ulua (70 lbs.). With that fish barely fitting into my lap and two fatties in the bag, fishing was over after only three bait drops.  My arms were pretty sore from fighting fish.  Next I had the enjoyment of paddling a kayak completely loaded with fish down a very rough, remote, and rugged coast to Haupu Bay solo. By far this was one of the most beautiful and challenging paddles I have ever experienced. There were so many refraction waves coming from the world largest sea cliffs, and there were onshore sea swells coming the opposite direction. The kayak was top heavy and there was many a moment that both feet were in the water and I thought I was going to flip.  But the scenery was just awesome and the fishing was incredible. After getting back to the mothership and unloading the fish, the highlight of the trip came on a paddle over to a sea waterfall for lunch and a swim. Molokai was absolutely stunning.

What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

The kayak fishing lifestyle is all about enjoying the water, the day and the people you’re with.  It’s about building lifetime memories with lifetime friends, and making the most out of life. It’s about staying in shape, feeding the family, and chilling out with friends after a long paddle.  The kayak fishing lifestyle is fun and laid back.

Tell us a story, any story.

Every one wants to know how I got my name Boogie-D.  Is it because I am a disco king? Is it because of music? I was given this nickname by my old roommates because I was one of the few body boarders riding Sunset Beach in the late 80’s. At first I didn’t like the name, but it stuck like super glue, and there is no getting away from it now. In addition, I was in in a band for many years, and so many people became familiar with Boogie-D that many people still don’t know my real name. It’s all good, and I embrace the name now. You can say it stuck.

What does the future hold for you?

The future holds more traveling for me. There are more places I want to see and more places I want to kayak fish. The next year I will be working hard to establish kayak fishing tours on Christmas Island (www.christmasislandkayakfishing.com).   I also hope to continue working with Allen Sansano in expanding destinations for Kayak Fishing Frontiers. I am very interested in building a world cup kayak fishing championship here in Hawaii.

 

 

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