The Hitchhiker

One morning I caught a ride on Makani’s boat. He was taking a client out, but was kind enough to drop me off on the flat to look for bonefish. On the ride I noticed a baby gecko struggling in a small puddle on the deck, so I reached down and scooped it up.

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Trevally Fishing in Tahiti

Our trip to French Polynesia this Summer was especially interesting because I had a chance to explore the differences between one tropical Pacific island chain and another.

In doing my pre-trip research, I realized that the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia had extensive barrier reefs and relatively small tidal fluctuations. This got me very excited to try fishing for trevally there.

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Fishing from a Sailboat

We spent two weeks in May sailing through the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia. Our shipmates were two good friends, who actually know how to sail! Together we chartered a bare boat (meaning without crew), the 43 foot Utrillo.

This is our second sailing adventure. Two years ago we joined the same friends for an eight day journey through the Whitsunday Islands of Queensland in Australia. I trolled several lures during that trip, including one recommended at the marina, but had no action at all.

Before this trip I tried to do some research to increase our odds of catching fish but I did not find very helpful information. A lot of the specific tips came from sailing websites and seemed to focus on the fish, how to get them on board or how to kill them. This makes sense because sailors are not necessarily fishers, but I was more interested in how to hook fish, not what to do afterwards.

After having some success, I thought I would write down a few things that we learned so that I and others don’t have to start from scratch on the next voyage.

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Fish Art

This is a birthday card I received from my family last Fall. The painting was done by my father, Terry McIlrath. He has been a professional artist since before I was born, and has been drawing, painting and sculpting fish images for just as long.

Fish and art have long been parallel themes in my own life and I guess it is only natural that they have combined in many ways.

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Winter Fishing Blues

I used to get a bad case of the Winter fishing blues every year. I could usually make it to February without going too crazy but eventually I’d bundle up and go looking for something to catch, which was usually nothing at all. For many fishers (especially the carp on the fly variety) Winter is a tough time of year. Even in Hawaii the storm fronts start to roll through weekly and the water temperature falls just enough that the fishing slows down noticeably. This year has been a little bit different. This year, my fishing blues are of a different kind.

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