A lot of fishing naturally necessitates “social distancing”, and fly fishing even more so, what with the flinging of sharpened metal hooks to and fro. This weekend, I found myself fishing the same flat at the same time as Makani and, alone together, we enjoyed a sunny morning within shouting distance of one another.
Most of the bonefish I catch, I see pretty clearly. I can tell which way they are swimming, I can see them react to my fly and I can often tell visually when they have picked it up. Makani is really good at spotting and catching fish that are at the margins of visibility. Many times they are just moving shadows, blobs of blue-green that threaten to disappear any moment in the glare.
We had waded up to the edge of a large sandy hole, about a foot deeper than the surrounding reef. I saw Makani go into the instinctual crouch that happens when someone spots a fish close by. He made a cast and I watched him retrieve slowly, waiting to see the line go tight, but it didn’t. He picked up and re-cast. Again, no bite. I watched him stand up a little straighter, meaning the fish had moved away. “It’s coming your way” he called across the water. I could see nothing but I made a false cast slightly to the right and when Makani approved, I dropped the fly in the middle of the hole. Just as I was letting the cast settle, I caught a brief glimpse of a greenish shadow moving my way. I made a couple of long pulls to bring my E.T. Bushy Shrimp fly into the path of the fish and then changed to short quick strips. I felt the sharp tug of the bonefish as it bit, but the hook didn’t take and I spotted the shadow again as it bolted towards open water.
I had one other bite, and Makani lost one bonefish to a broken knot but we didn’t finish completely empty handed. I picked up a decent sized goatfish, but it had recently traveled to China so I threw it back quickly. Better safe than sorry!
The other incident of note were the sharks we saw cruising the flat. I had seen a good sized shark in that area before, but this time I managed to get some photographic evidence!