Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hawaii Part 6 | Last Edition | Casting To Bonefish

I got up early to meet Charlie in the lobby. Charlie had not planned on fishing on this trip. But he was prepared if the chance occurred. He had all the travel books highlighted and printed off fishing spots from the internet. I had met Charlie at a mixer for THW's co-workers the other night. We talked fishing and decided to go out at the end of the week. That time was now.

Charlie lives in San Diego. He has fly fished all around the world. He is an experienced bone fisher and unlike me, he has landed them. He belongs to a local FFF club in San Diego. His time is spent fishing the mountains and ocean. Not bad. His work takes him all over the world.

Charlie reminds me a lot of my dad. An older Jewish guy from New York City. Charlie had his wet wading gear and car keys and we took off. It was just after sunrise. A fellow TPFR member gave me a spot to fish and Charlie had that on his list. We took off along the coast. I was now seeing parts of the island I would have otherwise not have seen.

We pulled into the parking lot and strung up our rods. This is another reason I carry extra rods, for people to fish with me when they didn't bring theirs. We walked to the beach and got in. The tide was out and we spread out. Charlie went a bit further than me. I worked the shoreline where houses had  a priceless view of the sunrise.  Lots of blind casting and quiet walking. Charlie was laying out lots of line and it was good to fish with someone else which I often don't get to do.

It was not long before I saw it. A silvery green fin broke the surface about 15 feet to me. The bonefish was tailing in shin-deep water between me and the shoreline. My heart jumped a beat and then started in full motion with the adrenaline dumping into my system. The fin was lazily moving back and forth in the air. I lifted my line, changed direction, and threw the line at the fish. I stripped the shrimp to the left of the fish and had tunnel vision. Nothing else was going on around me at that moment except for my line in the water and a fly moving away from the fish. I stripped, stripped, and stripped. I did not see the fish move. I did not see the fish again. It was gone as fast as it had arrived. I shouted to Charlie that I had a shot at a bonefish. He waved in excited acknowledgment. We fished a bit more and then walked the shore. The tide was out and the water was very shallow. We packed up the gear and went to the next spot.

Our next park had classic bonefish flats.
Shallow water with turquoise and white sandy spots. We geared up and headed out.

We walked and walked across water that was calm as a bathtub and it was beautiful. Charlie worked the shoreline along a bird sanctuary. I worked the edges of the grasses and sand.
The water was very shallow so we worked our way to the reef break. We walked and walked and the house on shore got smaller and smaller.
I don't think I saw a fish in the entire hour plus that we worked this flat. I was able to work on some underwater shots since the shots at fish were non existent.

This is how an Oahu flat looks from the fish's eye.

We walked back to the bird sanctuary and explored the lagoon on the other side.

The water had deep channels but no fish. There were crabs everywhere. All those dots in the above image are crab holes. Below is a crab hiding against the plants. Its pincers are tight against its carapace.

Charlie explored while I played with the crabs.

We waded back to the car and looked at the maps. We decided to head toward the Marine base and fish a flat in that area. Good thing Charlie was driving because I was looking at everything. We passed blow holes, beaches, lava flows, etc. I would have driven the car off the road. We drove through a little town that had all sorts of cool looking shops and restaurants. This section looked more like Kauai. I would have like to pull over and eat but we had a short schedule. Wives were waiting for us back at the hotel at 3pm. Mine was at the moment surfing, Charlie's was shopping.

We used a combination of Charlies's car GPS and maps to find the location. On a side note, Charlie was the first person to ever receive a GPS signal. I was fishing with a very interesting person.

We found the street after a 30 minute drive. The fishing spot print out actually had a street address for access to the flat.  We drove back and forth and could not find that address. Charlie parked and we hopped out. There it was, hidden behind lush foliage.

We followed the trail. It was covered with giant, empty snail shells.

Then we came to the flat. And it was one of the coolest sights I have ever witnessed. Throw in the volcanoes in the background, some palm trees, a bonefish flat, and then a brilliantly yellow sea plan in someone's backyard.

Charlie and I took step off the rocks and immediately sunk. The flat was muck. Stinky, black mud. The anoxic stench filled the air. His boots were getting sucked off, mine were filling with mud. We backed out and cast from shore. Charlie treaded toward the plane and found some solid ground. I followed. I had not been in stinky muck like this since my college trip to Wallops Island. Charlie quickly found solid ground and took off onto the flat.

Charlie spotted some nervous water and motioned for me to follow. He gently waded the shallow waters to withing 60 feet of the splashing. He cast and nothing. Cast again and worked the shrimp pattern. Nothing. He got closer and the disturbance was not moving.

It turned out to be some mangrove trees trying to establish themselves in the mud. After that Charlie moved out to the edge of the flat. If he was walking toward the 2 o'clock position, I was going toward 12. The flat dropped off toward the Marine hangars. Posts in the water warned boaters that the water went from deep to shallow.

I tip toed through the sand. I spotted something bright orange and pink in the water. An octopus hidden in the plants. I poked it with my rod tip and waited for it to move. Nothing. I poked again. It didn't move. I pulled it with the rod tip and it came loose. A long tentacle like object came out separated from the plants or what ever. I though I tore the octopod's limb from its body. And remember, octopods grew large brains that were too big to be contained in a shell. Thus they are not in a shell like their molluscan relatives. They opted for smarts to get them away from danger in exchange for being dumb and protected with a calcareous shell.

It turned out to be a sea slug. And soon there was one at every step. These things were all over the place.
By now Charlie had crossed the flat. Three more fly anglers had arrived and were going in the same direction as Charlie. This place was crowded. Five people now fishing and working the same location. It was crowded and almost 2pm. Charlie started to work his way back. In the meantime, I had dropped my Fishpond  pitchfork nippers and was trying to follow my tracks to find them.

The other anglers were headed this way. Charlie caught up to me. He spotted a school of bones that came up onto the flat from the deep water. Like torpedoes he said, they were fast and before he could cast they were gone.

We crossed the muck and Charlie lost his shoe in the nasty. It was made of foam so it floated up. We both  looked at the float plane and thought of all the cool places this person could go. They had a ramp from the water to their backyard. We contemplated if this person fished. They lived on a huge flat and had a plane. They probably fly to more exotic places to fish. What a jerk.

We changed out of our wet wading clothes and put on some non-stinking dry clothes. Charlie took an alternate road back to Waikiki. We drove through the mountains and I was able to see some of the cloud forest areas that I really wanted to see. Good thing he was driving.

We took a quick stop at the outdoor store for me to purchase one of the local telescoping rods. We headed back to the hotel.

I spent a full week fishing for bones in Oahu. I saw a few bones that ate bread, saw some in the surf that I couldn't cast to, saw one up close that I did cast to. I didn't hook any bones but I had a good time. I am going to record a  podcast about DIY Hawaii fishing and will post the notes on here. In the meantime, here are a few more photos that didn't fit into the text.


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