The Eel in the Fridge

When we first moved to Hawaii in 1985, we lived temporarily in a condominium on the far west end of Oahu Island.  We were about a half mile from the end of the road.  Where the road ended was about a mile walk from the northwest tip of Oahu and not that far from the big wave surf beaches of the North Shore.  But, this story is not about surfing.  My only story about that involved a brief stop in Oahu in 1969.  I stopped for a day or two on the way back from high school in Manila to live with my uncle, aunt and cousin in Birmingham, Alabama.  One stop was at Waikiki to hang out with some of my classmates who had also stopped there.  I borrowed a surf board from a guy.  Saw the wave coming, climbed on the board, the wave arrived, the wave went, and the board sank. Story of my life!

This is about fishing.  I really did not have a clue about HOW to fish for anything, but, I found a likely spot, went out about 8 pm, and fished for an hour or two.  The only thing I managed to get was a snarly Morey eel.  Dude was NOT a lady!  It was ugly as sin.  I had heard these could be skinned and cut into long strips which were great for Ulua fishing. This is a big eyed Jack that weighs over ten pounds if I recall correctly.  Mostly we saw the babies which were Papio.  So, I kept it. 

By the time  I got home, I was really tired.  Instead of taking time to clean it, I just put it in a sauce pan, put the lid on it and stuck it in the fridge.  I headed towards bed but got to worrying.  My wife gets up way before I do.  I did not think she would be filled with joy and thanksgiving at her husband’s great hunting prowess.  Also, my wife is from Thailand and most things that look like snakes from that part of the world are not something with which normal people want anything to do.  I went back and wrote a note and taped it to the pot lid.


I think she actually opened it. Due to the warning, she was not scared.  On the other hand, she was not impressed with “Today’s Catch.”

I did skin it and use it to try to catch some fish. Caught some little ones, but nothing to write home about.

As a point of interest, due to the coral and rock and lava on the ocean floor, you could not put the hook on the end of the line  and the weight up higher.  We would put a large swivil on the line with the leader above the swivil and capabile of sliding up and down the line a bit.  Then, we would put a lighter line below the swivil with a weight at the end.  We expected to loose the weight as that would catch in the rocks and the weight leader would break letting you recover your hook and any fish that might be on it.  If the weight was above the hook, you would likely loose the entire rig and most importantly, the fish.  At times, you would cast out and set the weight in the rocks, then, hook the leader with the bait on the line and let it float down to the swivil.  Typically, we would park the pole in a holder in the sand of the beach, put a bell on the pole, sit down and read a book, cook or sleep until the bell rang. 

To use the Emmrod fishing system like I used to fish, I would use the Gulf Master or the Gulf Master II.  You can check these out at or

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