Ko`a, dedicated fishing grounds, were associated with specific land features. The connection assured a food source for the onshore population. To fix the location of a fishing ground, Hawaiians used multiple landmarks. By aligning specific points, one on the shore and one on the hills or mountain behind, and using two sets of points on either side of the canoe, fishermen returned to the same spot every time to chum the water and take fish as needed.
In scouting new fishing grounds, fishermen watched fish behavior and looked for sizeable schools. If they could drift over an area four times and catch fish there every time, they marked the spot with landmarks so they could return consistently. Fishermen also cared for their fishing grounds by tending and feeding the fish. Into the 20th century this was still the practice of fishing communities. Robert Punihaole grew up fishing at Makalawena on the island of Hawai'i. He remembers, "You fish Monday till Saturday. You don't fish Sunday. Sunday you just go out there and feed the ko`a and you come home."
An old Hawaiian saying is Aia ka i`a i ka `aina, the fish are there on the land. The fish swam in the water, but their location could be found again by marking points on land.