HONOLULU (KHON2) – What one would consider unusable material becomes a cost saving treasure for a Big Island resident.

Steve Kaiser loves to fish. He says he started fishing when he was little with his dad and uncles and hasn’t stopped. In fact, he was working with the fish at Sea Life Park before he retired in 1994. After retirement he kept up with his passion and at age 69 he said he still enjoys it after all these years.

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Kaiser said he uses lead sinkers to catch his fish because “If the fish don’t come up to you, you gotta go down to them” and lead sinkers can be expensive.

According to Express Fishings, lead sinkers “are a type of fishing lure made from lead that is weighted at the bottom and has a small, sharp hook on the top. When hooked into a fish’s mouth, the weight of the lead sinker pulls out the hook, which then allows you to reel in your catch.”

There can be many different sizes and shapes of sinkers.  Kaiser said he enjoys making his own sinkers out of recycled lead.

I’m from the age where you didn’t have so many stores and / or money. So, we recycled what we could.”

Steve Kaiser

Lead was given to Kaiser from a friend who said it came from an old planation. Kaiser’s friend told him the blocks of lead might have been used under the machinery. Before he was given lead from his friend, Kaiser would collect lead from the reef and rocks off shore where fishermen lose their weights when they get stuck on the reef.

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Today, Kaiser melts down the blocks of lead and pours the liquid into a sinker mold. He said the longest part of the process is getting the pot hot and the initial melting, which can take 20 minutes.

Kaiser has three different molds he pours into, varying from three ounces to eight pounds depending on what fish he is catching.

“I fish all kinds of styles for ahi to opelu and bottom fish,” said Kaiser.