Beyond dangerous: Pacific Warriors follows extreme kayak fishing off Hawaiian Islands

Pacific Warriors recap Barb Oates

From the network that brought us Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush, comes another enthralling series that explores man’s more unusual (and extremely dangerous) quest to make a living. Pacific Warriors is Discovery’s newest series debuting tonight at 10pmET/PT. The series follows a group of extreme kayak fishermen (and one woman) who risk it all to catch some of the world’s most valuable fish.

Pacific Warriors recapWhile the Pacific oceanscape off the Hawaiian Islands provides some stunning cinematic backdrops, the real awe factor in the series is the danger and actual size of the fish some of these men are reeling in (and then housing) on their small kayaks. We’re talking one hundred pound tunas! Paddling for sometimes miles — alone in their kayak with waves at threatening heights and their kayaks at sea level — this is extreme fishing.

The series follows a handful of islanders including the kings of commercial kayak fishing, Andy Cho “The Godfather” and Rob Wong Yuen “The Muscle.” For centuries Andy and Rob’s families have thrived on the riches of their catches. Andy holds the world’s record for the largest Blue Marlin ever caught off of a kayak, the fish weighed in at 224.5 pounds. It’s a record he has held since Aug. 30, 2010. These guys seriously need to wear life vests.

“Kayak fishing is the most extreme kind of fishing. You are the captain, the crew, angler and the motor all in one,” Cho says. “I’m not doing this for fun.”

Similar to Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush (Gold Rush’s award winning producer Christo Doyle is behind this one too), each of the individuals featured have set goals. Cho and Yuen are looking to bring in $80,000. You’ll learn all about the net profit attached to their catches, but apparently they can get close to $1,000 for a 100-pound tuna.

Pacific Warriors on DiscoveryVeteran kayaker Boogie D.  has been battling monster fish for 20 years and is now serving as a teacher to rookie Jason Valle. (They are pictured above. Boogie is holding two fish.)

“The adrenaline you get fishing on a kayak is so much more extreme than on a boat,” Boogie D. says. “When you’re right on the water with them and they are literally right on your lap, it feels more like hand-to-hand combat.”

Kimi Werner is total badass. She’s a spear fisherwoman who free dives (like without tanks and the standard scuba gear) to provide food for herself. She dives more than 150 feet using just her senses (hello scary!), and can hold her breath for up to four minutes (didn’t even know that was possible!). Her season goal is to just live off the ocean.

Captain Jon Jon “The Dreamer” is a spirited fisherman who has fished his entire life (interesting side note: his dad blew off his right hand fishing with dynamite). He’s the first and only kayak-fishing guide on Maui. “I want to be known for catching the world’s biggest marlin off of a kayak,” Jon Jon tells. A record that’s currently held by Cho, and not an easy one to beat. Game on!

“The moment that fish hits and that reel just starts screaming it is the most awesome feeling, the best sound in the world,” Jon Jon says.

The six-part docuseries follows seven teams as they train and battle the waters.
We’re definitely hooked!

Pacific Warriors airs on Discovery Channel Fridays at 10pm ET/PT.




  1. The last episode showed Isaac and his buddy on a crappy homemade trimaran. It was solo unrealistic. Imaging trying to turn in that contraption. None of the fish they caught were moving. Especially the mahimahi. Real fisherman know the mahi are very frisky and why did none of they move during that show? They caught mahi and Ono nor right after the other. It was so fake. Then ice appears in their triman. There catches were not alive that day and looked totally staged. How did they bring in the fish that day? That contraption would not turn and paddling onesided it a joke.. Too bad they showed that on national tv. Makes us real Hawaiians look like idiots…

  2. Great show. I can’t believe for the most part they don’t wear PFD’s (life jackets). Boogie D appears to be the only one wearing one and fortunately he’s the only one who winds up falling into the water. Pretty scary considering some of those rough currents they paddle in.

  3. Hi,

    Pacific warriors is a fun tv show to watch. I grew up in Ewa Beach so having the Pacific ocean as my playground was where we played. Spearfishing, body surfing and surfing.

    I was disappointed to watch Rob on his handling of another kayaker wanting to fish with them. Typical attitude of territorial water ignorance.
    Believing they own the ocean. It is small minded and shows his world is very tiny. This guy would roll his mother under the bus to save his ass!

    Rod Helenihi

    • Rod,
      I was sorry to see that as well, it’s not exactly a case of alerting the fleet to your location when you are on a tiny pod of tuna that will be cleaned out.

      However, it is “Reality TV” and just how much reality is in that “reality”?

      When hearing the value placed on each fish it gives pause.

      The value of a fish goes far deeper than monetary value, and putting such prices on their heads seems a bit like posting a bounty, this certainly does not fare well for any species.

      Fishing in a conservative and fun manner which this technique absolutely promotes, is fantastic.

      It’s the folks who figure they might make a good buck with a boat and some gear and in the end, they lose a mess of money and the waste of species biomass is a loss for the ecosystem, which is a loss for every one.

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