Isaac Brumaghim

As the founder of the popular fishing website, Aquahunters, Isaac Brumaghim opened a window through which the world became aware of the kayak angling scene in Hawaii.  The Oahu-based angler, writer, tournament organizer, and all-around public face of the sport is known for both his on water talents and dedication to the responsible stewardship of the marine environment.  Isaac is a member of the Ocean Kayak Pro Staff.

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

So, I was canoe paddling, and then I started fishing on a one man canoe 2003. Within a year I started fishing on a kayak.

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

I caught six Lai (smaller and distant cousin to New Zealandʼs Queen Fish).

Aquahunters, the kayak angling club that you founded in 2005, has grown into one of the top online destinations for those seeking information about the happenings of the sport in Hawaii. Tell us about the decision to start the club.

I started the club with some of my best friends, and we did some reports for the Hawaii Fishing News. But it wasn’t until two years later that the forum we created (Aquahunters) started to grow outside of the original ohana (family). Then the forum became the platform for our progressive blue water big game tournament, Makahiki. The tournament has helped to develop the anglers quickly every season, and we are developing a talent pool of kayak fishing athletes. Nearly 5 years later, Aquahunters has a solid community of athletes, craftsmen, watermen, and professionals that all take pride in the sport, and are active contributors to the growth of kayak fishing here.

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

I am usually listening to Black Uhuru or John Brownʼs Body while drinking a Monster and a Gatorade.

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

With the announcement of the World Championships in New Zealand, I believe the future of the sport is going to be competition. All of the leading kayak fishing forums now run a progressive tournament online; soon this may become a qualifier for a world championship invitational. This is all setting up to be a big platform for the elite anglers of the sport.  With outlets like Facebook and Youtube, the kayak angler has a tool for exposure, making the sport more visible to the world than ever. That is why I feel today’s kayak angler, with his knowledge of internet, video, and fishing skill, has a chance to grow value in ourselves as athletes of the sport to the point where kayak fishing companies (and soon companies outside of the sport) will realize our value in marketing and advertisement. When the sport has its super star athletes, we will be able to gain more money toward more growth and sponsorship opportunities.  Kayak fishing as sport will then have its place as a world-respected water sport, filled with the athletes, the competition, the money – just like surfing.

With regard to kayak angling, what issues are important to you? What, if anything, can be done about them?

Aquahuntersʼ first priority is safety; we promote buddy system, PFD and VHF radios. These are a necessity, and also a requirement for all tournament contestants. We direct all new forum members to our safety board first, as that is the best way to get the message out. Another issue is costal closures,  like the one we are about to see in southern California come Jan. 2012. We need to pay attention to what is going on before it becomes a bill, and we need to be ready to band together and do our part so that it does not get there. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

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

I dream of one day directing a Hawaiian Island circuit, and traveling the islands with the state’s best anglers, competing for high stakes and living out the kayak fishing lifestyle.

What’s in your milk crate?

I have a live well in place of my milkcrate, and hopefully it has live bait in it.

You have been featured in magazines, television shows, and often act as tournament host. These activities have led many to refer to you as the public ambassador of Hawaiian kayak angling. What does this title mean to you?

Someone has to grow the sport; there were friends before me and they passed the torch. I took it and ran with it. But everything that Aquahunters has become now is because of the last 5 years of work. It took everyone’s contributions over the years, from Andy Cho’s and Chris Paglinawan’s fishing talents, to David “Boogie-D” Elgas’ competitive charge, it all added up to promoting Aquahunters, Hawaii, and kayak fishing. The Uyeda Bothers, Kevin and Gareth, are truly two of the best ambassadors of the sport here, and have been an integral part of Aquahunters growth.

Tell us about your best day on the water.

I enjoy being a part of someone’s first catch. And this year I took the love of my life big game fishing. She had waited so patiently all these years for me to take her. She even picked out the spot she wanted to fish. I watched her fight and land a 17 pound yellowfin tuna for her first kayak fish.  My best day!

What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

Anyone who puts time in on the water with their kayak to fish is living the lifestyle, but only to a certain degree. Most of us have to admit that, though it would be great if it were the other way around, kayak fishing is a hobby and not a job. However, there are a few who, through competition, guiding, retail, sponsorship, commercial fishing, or a combination of all of them, have been able to call kayak fishing a career. Anyone able to pull it off is truly living the lifestyle.

Tell us a story, any story.

My Aquahunters logo in 2004. I had been obsessed with catching my first mahimahi for nearly a year and a half when Ed Kawasaki paddled up and captured me taking the initial strike of an estimated 35# bull mahimahi. I ended up losing that fish that day.  I was sick for weeks about it. The logo represents a humbling moment in my kayak fishing career, and reminds me of the struggles I had when it all started.

With numerous record breaking fish being pulled from Hawaiian waters, it can be reasonably assumed that your state is fast becoming a desired destination for traveling kayak anglers. What advice can you give to those wishing to plan a trip to the islands?

You can get on www.aquahunters.com and register on the forum. There you can find a guide and check out the fishing reports. No matter what water activity you do here, be very cautious; Hawaiian waters are dangerous all year round.

Responsible stewardship of the ocean and beaches is a passion of yours. How did you become involved with this cause?

As children here, we are taught to respect the land and the sea. I carried what I was taught with me into the sport. I want to keep Hawaii’s kayak fishermen safe and prepared. On the other hand, being responsible stewards also means doing our part to become solid watermen. That means learning navigation, reading and observing weather, understanding rescue procedures, knowing how to help a buddy. These were things outside of fishing that I wanted to educate everyone with – including myself. Also, If we were less of a liability to Coast Guard lifeguards, then we wouldn’t have to face future regulations. Educate and police ourselves from the beginning, and I feel we would have a head start on a safe and respected sport.

What does the future hold for you?

I will continue to build Aquahunters, and look to expand globally through print and video. I want to take the next steps in networking and helping to connect the world’s kayak anglers. And Aquahunters will continue to build the sport in Hawaii and our pool of kayak fishing talent.

2 Responses to “Isaac Brumaghim”

  1. Lance says:

    Well said, Ike! Best wishes always padnah!

  2. Bert Wong says:

    Isaac, thanks for showing us noobs the true meaning of Aloha in Hawaii. Not only getting us involved with Aquahunters, but helping us hooking up with the other members, showing us how kayak fishing is different than off a boat, having SAFETY as your #1 priority!!! Not getting a noob into the sport and just letting him go “on his own”, but you help inspire us to keep trying, as hard and fustrating as it is when we keep striking out. Aloha and Warm Wishes to your friends and family in 2012
    Bert Wong

Leave a Reply

*