Sole Searching

My parents spent the holidays with Tara and I in Hawaii. We had good luck with the weather and were able to get plenty of beach time in, including an afternoon at one of Hawaii’s most famous snorkeling spots, Hanauma Bay. The bay is a nature preserve and has been closed to fishing since 1967 so despite being consistently crowded with beach-goers, the fish are bold and plentiful. Some of my most memorable wildlife encounters occurred there and nearly every visit I spot something rare and wondrous. Ironically, this always leaves me excited to get out and fish. This time, within thirty feet of dry land I discerned an irregularity on the sandy bottom – Hawaii’s master of disguise, the peacock flounder:

I have never caught a peacock flounder before but I did have a memorable flounder fishing experience back in 2007. It was our first Spring in Nashville and Tara and I were so beach-starved that we drove 1000 miles for a single morning at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I waded out with a light spinning rod and some bait and was soon catching little Atlantic croakers.

Every ten or so croakers I would feel a heavy tug and then … nothing. It felt like being firmly hooked to a shag carpet. If I kept the pressure on, and changed the direction of my pull slowly then eventually, with no warning, the shag carpet would start swimming and fighting for all it was worth!

I probably landed half a dozen flounder that morning. Only about one fish for every three hours of driving, but well worth the trip!

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