Traditional Fishing Methods
Hawaiian lawai'a fished for i'a in a variety of different ways, the following are simple descriptions of a few traditional fishing methods. For more extensive insight into Hawaiian fishing methods, turn to "Ko 'Oihana Lawai'a" by Daniel Kahā'ulelio (2006) or "The Works of the People of the Old" by Samuel Kamakau (1976).
1. Using one's hands to catch i'a
Although men did most of the fishing, often men, women, and children would go down to the shoreline and fish in holes, within the sand, and under rocks using their hands. They would carry their catch in a net bag or a calabash tied to thier waist.
2. 'Upena: Fishing with nets
The word "'upena" was a general term used to describe different types of fish nets. There were many types of 'upena with names that described their uses:
Scoop and dip nets:
Dip nets were constructed using two rods betweeen which was a mesh net. Bait was tied to the net to attract other fish that would hover over the net, which then would be caught as the lawai'a lifted the net from below, securing the catch.
'Upena ku'u: Gill nets
'Upena pāloa: Seine nets