People who fish for bonefish or permit (or carp!) are familiar with the term “tailing.” The word refers to the sight of a fish tail emerging from the water when the fish is tilting downwards to feed in a shallow area. Spotting tailing fish is one of the most exciting moments when fishing on the flats. Tails tell you that fish are close and are actively feeding, which means they can be caught!
In recent years people have been branching out from bonefish and permit to target more “exotic” fish on the flats. There are some fantastic videos from FlyCastAway on Vimeo.com of people catching parrotfish and triggerfish on the fly.
Today the bonefish were scarce but I did come upon the following sight:
These tailing fish were very skittish and it was difficult to get close to them. Based on their tails I think they may have been a school of Orangespine Unicornfish which, according to Hawaii’s Fishes, “is common in shallow water where it feeds on seaweeds”.
Watching them grazing in the waves made up in part for the slow fishing, although I did catch a nice little goatfish.