From May, 2006. Published in Kona Fishing Chronicles 2006/2007
The voice on the phone belonged to Dave Nottage and he was talking about our mutual fishing buddy Zander Budge. Zander, my neighbor and fishing mentor for 37 years, had never mentioned this teenage escapade from the summer of 1939. How like this very modest guy never to talk about his own exploits.
Dave gave me the bare bones of the story in that call a while ago and I figured I’d pull the details out of Zander next time I saw him grooming the grounds of the North Hawaii Community Hospital or picking up trash along the side of the road in Waimea – just two of the many volunteer community service activities he took up since retiring from the helm of his charterboat Spooky Luki a couple of decades back.
By the time Zander was in his mid-teens, he and his brothers were already able seamen and fishermen, often taking the family boat out on long excursions to other islands. On the occasion of his unexpected channel swim, Zander, his brother Bill, and two other boys took a final inter-island fishing trip on a 36-foot sampan they were in the process of selling.
In anticipation of a big catch off Molokai, they loaded the hull with a 300-pound block of ice. Hank Davis, a Punahou 1941 classmate of Zander’s, told me the ice was really for the beer – which is the way it turned out because the four friends never got to the fishing part. In the rough water off Molokai, the 300-pound block of ice shuttled back and forth in the hold until it split open the planks of the wooden hull.
When the boat foundered, the four teenagers were left to get home in a 10-foot canvas dinghy too small to hold them all safely in the rough waters of the Molokai Channel.
“It was the tiniest little eggshell of a boat they kept on top of the sampan,” recalls Charlotte Nottage, Dave’s wife and another of Zander’s high school friends.
“The rules were simple,” Zander said in a break from weeding the hospital grounds. “We’d take turns. Two of us would swim while the other two rowed the boat. Whenever it got calm, we’d all get in the boat. When we’d hit big waves, everybody jumped in the water so the boat wouldn’t sink.”
With favorable currents, the scheme worked well enough so they were able to swim and paddle their way back to Oahu. “Our big worry was getting pounded on the reef when we reached Diamond Head. But we got through that all right, too.”
Zander got through a lot more stuff over the next 68 years — then died in a tragic auto accident during a visit to Oahu.
I met Zander in the late 1960s when I moved to Waimea. He reached across the fence between our residences, shook my hand, told me he was a fisherman and immediately changed my life.
He invited me to fish with him on his charterboat Spooky Luki and that first trip set the stage for our long friendship. We pulled out of Kawaihae Harbor and passed the red buoy. He ran out the first line and immediately hooked a 30-pound mahimahi before he could set the rubber band in the outrigger clip. Right then, I knew I had found my new home.Some of the first lures I made were in molds borrowed from Zander circa early 1960s.
And, yes, of course, I remember the lure. It was a one-inch resin head with a salt-and-pepper insert, red rubber skirt (tires still had inner tubes in those days) and a pair of silver pendant wings for an overskirt (Zander liked tapered tails because they kept the hook points clear). The most impressive part – he had made this and all of the lures on his boat himself and soon taught me all of his lure-making tricks.
Zander had started making his own trolling lures in the mid-1950’s very soon after Henry Chee had originated the method. While writing an article about lure-making many years later, I asked Zander who had taught him how to make them and learned that he had picked up the technique on his own. “I just looked at the lures and worked it out for myself,” he said. That was his modus operandi for all things in life and he applied the same skill and ingenuity to crafts and construction of all kinds.
His boat was one of the first 31- foot Bertrams in Hawaii waters, and the clever craftsman had fully modified it for fishing through his own skill and cleverness. He never carried a crew unless it was one of his three sons Alexander, Peter, and Billy, daughter Luki, wife Patricia or – on very rare occasions, me.
Everything was set up for one-man operation. Long before other fishermen had heard of wind-on leaders, Zander had devised a line-to-leader link that let the angler reel the fish right to the gaff – no need for a leaderman. To minimize the hazards of fish-handling, he built narrow fish boxes right into the transom so the teeth, fins and hooks never came into the boat. Before “stand-up” fishing became the rage, Zander installed gimbals on the transom so anglers could stand at the back of the boat and fight fish from a secure and stable position. The list of adaptations would overflow this page.Martin (top), homemade (middle), Tarporeno (bottom). These old-time stick lures were the standards for ono and `ahi.
The man in the straw hat, palaka cloth shirt, shorts, boat shoes, and rubber wrist bands (his constant uniform) took obvious pride in his devisings, but I usually had to find out about his accomplishments by accident. A faded IGFA document in an old drawer proclaimed his 80-pound class world record for Pacific blue marlin. (“But I only had it for a week,” he said. “It was already broken less than a year after I got the certificate.”) A tattered newspaper clipping showed him with a 107-pound ono (yes, 107-pounds!) caught on a wooden lure carved from a broomstick. (“Everybody caught big ono off South Point in those days.”) The guy who could impress anyone would never impress himself.
On what may have been his last fishing trip, Zander joined me, his son Alexander and his grandson Zander – three generations of Alexander Budges – on the Rizzuto Maru. We visited the spots he had taught me years back and found a willing ono right on the marks.
In recent years, Zander grew too unsteady to feel comfortable on a fishing boat, but whenever we had more fish than we could handle, he’d stop by to help me clean the catch. He’d pull out his venerable pearl-handled, long-bladed penknife, sharpen it against a long flat stone and deftly go to work. Despite the loss of a thumb to a saw in a woodworking accident, he could whittle through a pile of mahimahi and ono quicker than I could hack off a single ragged fillet.
He’d always take some home for Kitty, the new love of his life after he lost his first wife Patricia. And some extra to divvy up with friend of all friends, Shorty Johnson. And I’m pleased to know that he shared in our last catch before his passing.
Zander was always very kind and generous with his knowledge and advice. If you have learned anything from the books and articles I have written over the past 37 years, you, too, can thank Zander, who was the source and inspiration for much of it.
Mahalo to Kay OrdeThe National Culinary Review Editor for including us!
The farm-to-table movement is not without its problems, though. Inability to purchase enough of a product that chefs need to run their kitchens is one. Ronnie Nasuti, executive chef at Tiki’s Grill & Bar, Waikiki, says,
“We are an independent serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We do 1,500 covers a day.”
Until recently, he never considered buying from local farms a movement.
“You just bought what you could.”
That’s still what Nasuti does. He admits his percentage of local purchases is lower than that of smaller restaurants, but he works with local farms as much as he can, and he knows the farmers. He buys tomatoes from Hau’ula Tomatoes and beets and green onions from Higa Farms. Sea beans, seaweed, melons and kukui nuts, also called candlenuts and made into inamona, a relish, come from Aloun Farms. One of his largest local purchases is grass-fed beef from Kulana Foods. He uses 1,000 pounds of grass-fed ground beef a month for hamburgers. To see the full article
The National Culinary Review
The National Culinary Review (NCR), read by more than 20,000 chefs and culinary professionals, appeals to culinarians for its insightful articles on food, drink and menu trends, product application, management and lifestyle issues, recipes, and personal and professional development. Launched in 1932, NCR is the flagship publication of the American Culinary Federation. It is a benefit of membership and is also available by paid subscription. NCR publishes 10 times annually.
The Pro Bowl has been coming to Hawaii since 1980. Aloha Stadium has hosted 30 straight seasons from 1980 through 2009, 2011-2014, and now 2016. It started out as a great opportunity to highlight Hawaii on the national stage, and has continued to be just that, from forging partnerships with the NFL and the players, to the corporate sponsors that generate the big dollars. Economically, we saw a direct increase for the week of the Pro Bowl and a decrease in 2010 when we lost the Pro Bowl to Florida, and again in 2015 to Arizona.
The direct impact we see in our humble corner of Waikiki is amazing. A few years back, Tiki’s Grill & Bar hosted a VIP Pro Bowl Party, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Mufi Hannemann, then Mayor of Honolulu, both in attendance. Hosting the event at Tiki’s introduced us to a wider audience.The Pro Bowl Block Party used to happen right in front of the restaurant, which was very exciting, and brought us business and exposure. One of my personal favorite events was a Pro Bowl Party Kick Off and fundraiser that we hosted with Davone Bess, a former Tiki’s employee and UH student who went on to play professionally for the Miami Dolphins.
Though things have changed and shifted throughout the years, this year we are lucky to host the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders for a Meet & Greet and a team dinner, in partnership with e2k Entertainment, whom we’ve worked with in the past. We know they have a lot of options, and are honored that they chose Tiki’s.
Even with all the positive energy and excitement surrounding the return of the Pro Bowl to Oahu, it is sobering to think that we may lose it again next year. The NFL is considering Rio de Janeiro for 2017, and Mexico, and Germany for future years, in the hopes of increasing international popularity and viewership. It would be great to keep the Hawaii Pro Bowl tradition alive.
What can we do as a state? Simply put, we need to make sure the NFL, the players, and the vendors feel welcomed and appreciated.
The complexity comes from funding the event. That is a whole other post or a conversation to have in person at pau hana time.
Oahu, and of course Honolulu specifically, is known for having a large urban core. As more and more visitors are choosing to venture to more secluded neighbor islands such as Molokai and Lanai to experience a retreat-style vacation, it’s important to remind people why they should choose Oahu. Having large-scale events that highlight the fun and excitement of Honolulu will serve to continue drawing people here. Having the NFL come to Hawaii inspires not only future athletes but also future marketers and business people. When they get to see how the NFL and their partners operate first hand, they can see that the industry operates at a much higher level and playing field (pun intended). Getting to interact with top professionals can drive us all to do better as a visitor industry.
We are hosting a few of the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders on Thursday, January 28 at 6-7 pm offering free autographs, a free limited edition Pro Bowl Cheerleader photo card, and taking photos with lucky attendees.
Although the game remains the same, the NFL is always looking to stay relevant and enhance the fan experience. In the restaurant business, specifically in Hawaii, we should also be constantly looking for ways to engage the visitor industry, and in our own restaurant, we need to look at ways to engage the fans the way the NFL does.
|Single by Bing Crosby|
|Recorded||February 22, 1937|
|Writer(s)||Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger|
With Lani McIntyre and His Hawaiians|
Tiki’s Grill & Bar
If you’re looking for a way to wow guests at your next party, Kevin Prior suggests recreating this concoction from Tiki’s Grill & Bar — it’s tasty and easy to make. Plus, if you do it like Tiki’s does, it supports local farms and businesses, as it uses all local ingredients. The Ko Hana rum, for instance, is from Manulele Distillers in Kunia.