Friday, December 10, 2010

Hawaii Part 5 | Headed West

Fishing day five took me to the other direction. I hobbled out of the hotel to the main drag, over the canal, and to the mall. I stopped for a hot dog breakfast at the ABC and loaded up on relish for some extra energy supplying calories. At the mall I took a left into the marina. This was the Magic Island area the local told me about yesterday. The shore facing the marina was lined with bait fisherman. Surf poles stuck between lava rocks near the water with the owners relaxing in the shade of a palm tree. Some were lucky enough to have a bench to utilize.

One thing I have began to notice along the beaches are the piles of flip flops. Surfers wedge their flops in the rocks while surfing. I think the forget about them and they get dislodged with waves and then wash up. Maybe someone is making these piles so the surfers can later find them.

I fished the lagoon beach and inlet and did not see any fish. The cold water felt good on my feet. I waded the shoreline of the lagoon to the other side and still saw no fish. No tails, no shadows, etc. I climbed out of the lagoon area and followed the path. The water off the sea wall here was a brilliant blue and very deep. Huge boulders protected the park from the waves. The path curved to the right and followed a sea wall that formed the next beach. A distinct reef formed across this half-moon shaped inlet. The big waves crashed into the front of the reef and were turned into flat water as it crossed the reef. The reef ended about 50 yards off the beach. A brilliant turquoise water filled the space between the reef drop off and the white sandy beach. Check out the rich oxidation of the iron in the lava rocks.

I fished off the sea wall along the edge of the reef. Roll casting was my only option as I had joggers and palm trees behind me. I had a few fish (mostly needle) follow my fly but nothing special. I walked and cast all the way to the beach. There were no waves as the water lapped up onto the sand. Families relaxed in the water, a few individuals swam laps along the reef, some were on paddle boards. I walked the shoreline in hopes of seeing some action. This area is known as the Ala Moana Park. I'm not sure how long the beach is but I walked the shoreline for at least 15 minutes. The beach ended with a jetty leading to a set of pavilions. I followed the jetty to the end. Another seawall met the ocean. The water was crystal clear and I could see some reef fish swimming around.

I took the surfer's stairs down to the water and started to cast. I made my way back toward Magic Island. It wasn't long before I felt a tug on my line. I lifted the rod to set the hook and felt a pull. Then the line went taught. I figured I had snagged the bottom. I walked over to the fly and noticed a pothole in the rocks. I pulled on the line and a fish was on the fly. It had taken the line down into the hole and was hiding.

I'm not sure how to describe the fish. Pictures don't do it justice. It was a blackish-purple grouper looking fish with electric blue dots. Like looking into a starry night, each dot a star on a black sky. I was mesmerized. This fish was like nothing I had ever seen. The fish looked like something from a Pixar movie.

I continued across the rocks. Casting and stripping, casting and stripping. I didn't see a whole lot of fish action. I began photographing the substrate.

 What can one gain out of these photos? Take a look at the colors. An organism that lives on this substrate will be the same color to blend in. Be it a crab pattern or shrimps, tie the flies to match the substrate.

I keep walking and fishing for about 30 more minutes. I keep looking across the reef to Magic Island and it is not getting any closer. Its like driving toward a mountain and it never really seems to get closer.
My planned destination is at the far right of this image. I have a long way to go and I'm not catching fish.

I pass some surfers heading back and am tempted to ask them for a float back to shore. Now look at the distance between the edge of the reef on the right and the distance to the white sandy beach on the left. My choices are:
a. walk across the entire reef
b. walk back to where I entered and walk the beach back
c. hitch a ride with a surfer
d. jump in and swim.

I debate my options for a while and say screw it, I like an adventure. I decide to go with option d. I put all my belongings from my pockets into my hip bag. I take a look at the deep water at the reef drop off. A guy on the beach said it was about 20' deep. I look at the beach. My first estimate of 50 yards is way under.

I extended my right foot off the shelf and plunged in. The water was a bit chilly but I didn't have time to complain. I started to swim with my switch rod in one hand. My shoes immediately slowed me down. I could not get in a good kick. My big hat quickly became an issue as it was wet and covering my face. I could not see. I tried to adjust the hat but feared loosing my rod. I rolled over onto my back with my rod in my mouth. I took off the hat and put it back on tight. I turned over, took in a mouthful of seawater, and kept swimming.

Short on breath after a few minutes of swimming, weighted down by a bag, shoes, clothing, and switch rod, I put my feet down to take a break and my feet touch the bottom. I dragged my wet body out of the water and shook off like a wet dog. I was exhausted. I headed back to the hotel.

A short respite in the hotel room brought me out to the hotel side of the marina. I walked across the parking lot where a group of surfers has made a permanent camp. I followed the walkway down the marina and along the boats, paralleling the jetty. I now know I don't have to walk along the ragged and sharp jetty to get to the flat. I used a lamp as leverage as I climbed down the walkway and into the water. I crossed the water to the jetty, dropped my backpack, and into the water. There were three people bait fishing the sandy flat so I moved out into deeper water. A seat turtle quickly greeted me.

I cast the rod in 360 degrees around me. A cast toward the marina entrance brought a hard tug. I fought the fish saying to myself 'don't be a needle fish' and sure enough it wasn't. I caught a papio (trevally).
For a small fish, this thing was extremely strong. The I released the fish and kept at it. The sea turtle was still around. My camera starts up slow so this is the best I could get. Try to distinguish the dark turtle against the blue water.

Canoe practice began and huge canoes with shouting kids passed back and forth. They were making a lot of commotion and I decided to bag the trip. I packed up and headed back to the marina.

I passed a guy heading out to fish. He asked how the fishing was and I told him I got a papio and released it. His response 'good for you'.

THW was waiting in the hotel room. It was time for dinner. What a great sunset. We walked with one of THW's conference friends.

We headed to the local fast food place called Zippys. The funny part about the restaurant, you had to access it through Sears in the mall.

I was intrigued by the menu. I went with the hamburger steak plate. It came with sauce, onions, scoops or rice, and mac salad. I had been holding out on saimin as the hotel said this was the place to eat it. I got a big one. THW got some sort of fish plate and her friend got garlic fried chicken. We sat down and began to eat.

 The burger steak with sides was great. I could have eaten two. Then I got into the saimin. First thought (comparing it to my first and only time in Kauai) was that there was not a whole lot in it. Looked like cup of noodle that Tom eats when we fish in the cold. It was piping hot. A bit salty. Not much flavor to the broth. I went for the noodles and they were nothing special. The whole thing was industrial. The broth did not taste home made. Like it was made from bouillon. No meat and plant and spices simmering all day and reducing to concentrate the flavors. I was so excited to eat saimin and was extremely disappointed.
THW's friend consumed hers and was too full to eat her chicken. I dove into that like a vulture. Crispy and garlicky. Nom Nom Nom. We cleared our tables and headed to the Japanese store. I took my saimin and placed it next to a trash can. Maybe one of the people digging in the cans would find it and not let it go to waste.

I was done walking by this point. THW and friend got pastries at the store. I was watching the brackish shrimps in a variety of jars and bottles that were for sale. Very cute little creatures. I want some for myself but don't have a place to put them. They need sunlight so the algae grows and the shrimps eat the algae and their waste feeds the algae. A self sustaining micro-ecosystem.

The day was over and I was off to the Air Force base in the morning.


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