There are some places on the flats where big fish regularly feed, but they are crazy-difficult to catch. When I see these fish I go directly into stealth mode, with lots of crouching low to the water and slow-motion steps. Most of the time, no matter how stealthy I am, the fish turn and swim away as soon as I make a cast, sometimes even before my line touches the water. When I do manage to put a fly in front of them, they usually look at it with such scorn that it’s hard not to take it personally. As they swim away I can almost hear them laughing, “you call that a mantis shrimp?”
Early in the year, I tied some flies specifically to fool these big, smart fish. I went with a subtle tan body made from some puffy EP fiber. I attached some matching rubber legs, but I tied them in parallel to the hook shank. My idea was to fish the fly very slowly, like a small crab crawling sideways. I tried it out this spring, and was able to get a couple of big fish to follow it.
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:
The past few weeks have been a mix of fishing on foot, from a boat or from the SUP boards. I’ve had a bit of success with each, but nothing has happened that has compelled me to write about it, until this week.
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.
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.
If Ed Tamai is Oahu’s most venerable bonefish guide, then Makani Christensen is the Island’s most energetic and ambitious. Both men are dedicated professionals and I can tell that spending time on the water with them has started to push my fly fishing game to the next level. Continue reading →