We had about two weeks of cloudy and rainy weather in Honolulu but, fortuitously, the clouds parted and this weekend was forecast to be sunny and calm. My two most reliable fishing companions had been missing in action for part of the month. Ed’s boat had some engine trouble and Makani had taken back-to-back work trips to Hawaii Island, so I was stoked to get a call from Ed with an invitation to fish.
Ed wanted to lay some crab pots, so before breaking out the fly rods we checked the edges of the flat and I managed to land a small barracuda to use as crab bait.
The high tide was just before noon so our best bonefish opportunities were early and late, separated by about three hours of deep water and few fish. By early afternoon I had hooked five bonefish, and lost them all. Ed had given me the bulk of the fishing time, but even he had lost the three or four fish that he hooked. However, the visibility was excellent and some of the takes were really fun to see. I watched one fish pick up my fly and actually chew on it a couple of times before I set the hook. I cast to another fish, leading it by about eight feet when it suddenly took off like a bullet. I was convinced that it had spooked and was about to lift my line out of the water when I felt it grab my fly and start tearing line off my reel.
Eventually, Ed managed to land the first bonefish of the day, and it was my turn to fish again. I was running low on heavy flies to use in the deeper water, and I had given up replacing my broken 15lb tippet, so I tied one of my last ‘Hawaiian Special’ flies (inspired by Jack Gartside’s Bonefish Special pattern) straight to the 20lb section of my leader. There were enough fish around that Ed and I would often see different ones at the same time, which led to a confusion of looking, pointing and casting in several directions at once. This usually resulted in a bunch of frightened fish but finally I got lucky and landed a little one.
Sometime this year I got past being super excited about every bonefish I catch, or disappointed about every bonefish I lose. Maybe there is a magic number of bonefish you have to hook, or a magic number you have to miss, to get there, I don’t know. I am pretty sure that six is the most bonefish I have hooked in a single outing. So even though I lost the first five, it was a pretty epic day!
The next morning, Ed picked me up again and we went out to check the crab pots and to look for some more fish…
-To be continued-