Captain Clay Ching and Tabitha Pupuhi
Father & Daughter Fishing Duo Live Life on the Water
For Clay and Tabitha, the ocean represents a haven where they feel connected to each other, their communities, and the world at large. Living, playing and learning near the ocean set the stage for this father-daughter fishing duo to create cherished memories together.
Memories like when in 2016, while Clay was at sea with daughters Tabitha and Katina, they spotted four orcas off the south shore of Moloka’i. While humpback whales are common, orcas are a species of whales that are actually an extremely rare sight in Hawai’i (it seems this pod was only passing through the area). Tabitha caught this unbelievable encounter on camera and posted it for others to share in that experience—but she was especially thankful to have been able to share this once-in-a-lifetime memory with her dad.
Born in Honolulu in 1947, good-humored and generous Clay Ching, also known as Captain Clay, is a Vietnam Veteran, business owner, tour guide and fisherman for bonefish on the flats on the island of Moloka’i. Clay started fly-fishing in 2008 and has filmed fishing episodes with a Hawai’ian television show that airs statewide. He’s also traveled to Alaska to the exclusive Alaskan Sportsman’s Lodge where he enjoyed daily trips to the Kvichak river. As an experienced fisherman, Clay also uses his skills to support his community. During the pandemic, Clay fished alone at night, catching and donating almost 700 pounds of fish (namely Mackerel and Big Eye Scad) to the local food bank and a local sustainable non-profit.
Tabitha Pupuhi, found herself in awe of the ocean from an early age. Born on Moloka’i, Tabitha’s life was centered on the ocean, where she learned surfing, paddling, fishing, and freediving. She served as a former freediving instructor and currently sits on the board of directors for FreediveSafe, a non-profit organization aimed at stopping spearfishing and freediving related injury and deaths. Tabitha also works as an EMT and hopes to attend paramedic school soon to continue to grow professionally and care for her local community. While rewarding, first responder work is also stressful, but Tabitha finds solace in the ocean, where fishing and other activities allow for quality time with her family. And just as Clay shared his passion and respect for the ocean to his daughter, Tabitha continues the tradition with her sons.
Follow Captain Clay @hallelujahhoufishing
Follow Tabitha @tpupuhi