I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the best year, with a smorgasbord of tragedy and disappointments, globally, nationally, and close to home. Looking back however, I am slightly stunned to realize that 2020 was, against all odds, a pretty good fishing year for me personally. I have written about most of the highlights already, but here are a few things I left out:
Together with a couple of buddies, I hit the flat for a mid December session. The tide was mediocre in the morning but improving throughout the afternoon. The conditions were fishable, but far from great. The winter temperatures had already reduced the numbers of fish we were seeing, and catching, on a daily basis, so I waded out with low expectations. Predictably, I got off to a slow start, spooking the few fish that I found, but sometime after noon, the tide started to improve and I started to see fish. Then I started to hook them. I lost the first few, and then landed one near the remnants of a mangrove cluster. I hooked another, lost my fly, tied on a different pattern and then kept on catching. At the end of the day I had hooked seven bonefish. I was pretty pleased to improve my record by one, and very surprised to have done so in the middle of December. When We got back to the ramp I noticed that one of the fish had left a natural gyotaku, printed in fish slime, on my shorts.
Back in August I received a text from Makani with a grainy photo of a computer monitor with a mock-up of the cover of the September issue of Hawaii Fishing News. Looking closely I recognized the guy in the bottom right corner, hiding behind a wet bonefish and a blue buff, as me! The magazine published a feature on local guides and how they were handling the pandemic, and picked two pictures from our springtime outings: Ed Tamai with big wave surfer Kalani Chapman (top right) and Makani and me with a bonefish double below. Even though I didn’t contribute anything to the articles, which were both entertaining and inspiring, it was fun to sneak my way onto the cover – mahalo to the guys, Makani, Ed, Chris, and Kalani, for bringing me along!