The Bull's Eye

A reel passion for fish

Biology teacher Kerry Iwanaga has stated that the biggest fish he has caught weighed 240 pounds.

Biology teacher Kerry Iwanaga has stated that the biggest fish he has caught weighed 240 pounds.

Photo courtesy of KERRY IWANAGA

Photo courtesy of KERRY IWANAGA

Biology teacher Kerry Iwanaga has stated that the biggest fish he has caught weighed 240 pounds.

Catherine Zhang, Editor-in-Chief

Stirring at the crack of dawn, before the sun even lights up the murky sky, surrounded by an empty, glistening sea that stretches as far as the eye can see and inhaling the nostalgic smell of the tranquil, blue seawater of his childhood, one teacher enjoys this breathtaking setting as his home away from home.

Diamond Bar High School biology teacher Kerry Iwanaga has dedicated years of his life pursuing his passion — fishing.

“Fishing is relaxing and stress relieving for me. There’s this relaxing serendipity that some people find in nature. Some people may find that in forests, others in mountains and beaches. But for me, it’s in the ocean,” Iwanaga said.

As a kid, Iwanaga enjoyed the multiple fishing trips he took with his cousins, brothers and uncles.  With his innate interest for biology and living creatures, he pursued a job as a research biologist at the Department of Fish and Game and Occidental College, after graduating with a degree in biology.

 His work included researching and gathering data for the weight, size and reproduction of various fish inhabiting the Salton Sea. Along with studies of eggs and larvae from plankton samples, these statistics helped the researchers outline the areas the fish reside in, and the scientists accordingly devised plans to ensure the population of the diverse fish species.

“Even though my time as a research biologist is just a specific part of biology, it gave me practical experience with doing fieldwork,” Iwanaga said. “Learning from the book isn’t the same as going out and actually doing fieldwork and collecting data. It was real work behind the scenes, and it helps you talk about things from a practical point of view.”

Iwanaga embarks on two or three annual fishing trips, ranging from 5 to 16 days.

He prefers going on longer rather than periodic trips, allowing him to fish longer, travel further and catch different types of salt-water fish.

 Since his frequented fishing locations, such as Mexico’s Alijos Rocks and San Diego’s Hurricane Bank, are hundreds of miles away from shore, the fishermen often reside on boats that are well suited for such longer trips, offering sleeping facilities, showers, wifi, meals, air conditioning and televisions.

“Just being out there in the middle of the ocean with nothing around with nice weather and waves. It’s hard to describe, and those who do ocean salt water fishing would have the same love of being in the ocean,” Iwanaga said.

Over the years, Iwanaga’s skills have improved, and his catches vary in size and weight, with some fish ranging up to 240 pounds.

Although skill and knowledge are factors of fishing success, he also credits luck as one of the most important aspects of fishing.

“You can do the best you can to prepare in terms of gears riding smoothly, new fishing lines to prevent breakage and tying perfect knots. There are things you have under control, but you can’t choose if that fish bites your hook or the person next to you,” Iwanaga said.

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