Ed picked me up early and we marveled at the clear sky and calm conditions on the ride to the boat ramp. The weather was ideal. “Why can’t every day be like this” we kept asking each other. The marina parking lot was mostly empty and we rigged up the fly rods and launched the boat in record time.
We poled an interior section of the flat. The air and water were perfectly still. The boat only moved when we pushed it, which is rare indeed in the latitudes of the trade winds. We found plenty of bonefish cruising for a snack, and got a few to bite on Ed’s October crab fly. After hooking a few fish in the shallows, the area was a bit disturbed so we changed spots and began a long, slow drift across the width of the flat. Right away, I caught one more fish but things slowed down after that.
The tide was rising and the water was getting a bit dirty and there were very few fish up on the flat. Soon, we were telling fishing stories and only half looking for fish. I asked Ed about Christmas Island (that’s Kiritimati Island, not the one in Australia, just in case you want to Google it). Ed was telling me about seeing packs of giant trevally on the sand flats there. Ed first thought they must be quite small, but his guide shook his head and said they were upwards of twenty pounds each, just very far away. He described how the pack approached head on, only turning left or right once they were in casting distance. As we slowly approached the opposite edge of the flat, I spotted a fish out of the corner of my eye. It looked a bit too green to be a bonefish but I knew there wouldn’t be another chance to catch something before we floated into the channel. I was still listening intently to Ed, imagining a pack of big GTs, black against the white sand, and not at all worried about catching this strange, green fish, so my cast came off quick and relaxed and the crab fly landed gently a few feet in front of it. Ed had also been engrossed in his story and did not see the fish until he followed the line of my cast, then things got a little crazy. “It’s a golden” He yelled. I twitched my fly and the fish on the edge started forward, but it was a second fish, obscured from me by Ed standing at the other end of the boat, that rushed into view and grabbed the October crab first.
The fish pulled us into the channel where it took about ten minutes to bring to the net. Ed coached me through the fight with helpful, and not at all stress inducing comments like “bring it up fast, but be really careful” and “you have to land this fish!” After a few photos, I released it back into the deep, where it’s companion fish was still waiting for it near the boat. Golden trevally feed on the flats like bonefish, but they are a rare sight and, based on the collective wisdom of Hawaii guides, are mostly a springtime fish. Seeing, no less catching, a ten pounder in October was pretty much unheard of.
3 thoughts on “Pow Pow!”
Really enjoy your blog. I’ve been fishing with Ed twice – he is a wonder. I flubbed each and every cast, so am currently trying to improve my quick cast with a long leader. What advice do you have for a beginner?
I use a Scientific Angler Frequency Magnum Fly Line, which is weight forward but not a tropical line. Also, what is your advice for learning to spot bonefish if you live on Oahu and don’t have access to a boat? Any and all advice appreciated!
Aloha Georgianna and thank you for the comment. I hope you don’t mind if I defer your question about spotting bonefish and try to answer it at length in my next blog post. As far as fly casting goes, I will offer a few thoughts here and also a few recommendations about where to seek further information. Bonefishing in Hawaii often does require quick casts and fairly long leaders. However, if one is sight fishing then those casts are not too long, and sometimes really short! I think it is important that whatever line you use, it is a good match to your rod. My advice is to visit Sean at Nervous Waters and ask him to help you find the right tropical line for your favorite bonefish rod. The absolute best thing you can do to improve your casting is find an instructor in your area, and then spend time practicing fly casting (not fishing!) I also recommend the sexyloops website, run by the infamous Paul Arden, which is a veritable black hole of casting expertise and oddball humor.
Thank you so much for your detailed response and post. So helpful. My current challenge is finding flats on Oahu I can get to without a boat that are not too deep for sight fishing. Looks like I may have to wait until spring when the tides are lower in the daytime. Do I have that right?