Recently Tara and I took advantage of a long weekend to spend a few nights on the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed at one of the many mega resorts along the Kohala coast, the north-west facing shore of the island. We perused our guidebook each morning over breakfast and picked a new area to explore that day.
Much of the Kohala coast is steep, rocky shoreline which looks good for papio fishing. Back in May I broke my ‘ulua rod’ but before the trip I picked up a replacement from my friend Kirk. I was able to carry my new 10′ two-piece rod onto the plane and spent a few hours each day whipping for papio.
Summertime often brings calm conditions to the North facing shores of Hawaii and this weekend was no exception. The ocean was flat and the water was crystal clear. So clear that I could see fish streak out of the depths to attack my lure. This unusually visual aspect to papio fishing was thrilling but after watching several fish, including two big barracudas give chase and fail to bite I started to wonder if the conditions were so clear that the fish were able to recognize my lure as a fraud just in time not to get hooked.
I did fool a few fish, landing one papio each day. In retrospect these fish also supported my theory that the clear conditions were putting the fish off. The first fish I caught in the late afternoon when the light was changing and visibility was poor. The second fish hit along the shallow edge of a submerged reef where there was much more surface disturbance than the surrounding deeper water. The last fish I caught on a south-west facing area where the southerly surf was just big enough to ruin the otherwise great visibility.