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fly fishing hawaii:
once more into the fracus and the bonefish report.
did a little k bay scouting on wednesday with “pops”, eugene, and didi. the water was super calm so we shot a little outside the bay and did some bottom fishing... it wasn’t happening. greg got “the boss” (‘a’awa or hawaiian hogfish) and a couple of trumpets and eug. somehow managed to dive bomb his bottom fishing rig onto a school of opelu (makerel scad) and got two of them. we then just cruised aroung the bay. the bay just wasn't giving us that loving feeling so we just enjoyed the day doing some serious and some ridiculous things to amuse ourselves. we ended the day with a little sash for grandma and a few signs of good things right around the corner. it’s always great to get out on the water and kick it with the crew.
went out to the lake again on thursday with the kirksta from the nwff crew. the peacock bass bite wasn’t as consistent as the last time out, but the kirksta has seen the lady of the lake in all of her many moods so we just did what we do and stuck with it.
i again fished the sage smallmouth bass rod with a popper. the topwater bite was pretty tough, but i just love how easily the sage bass rod lays down poppers with pin point accuracy. we got a few swirls and misses. i used that same small banger that i’ve been fooling around with lately and kirk was throwing a castiac shad type soft plastic bait that i wanted him to try. kirk hooked one good peacock that quickly broke him off in the wood and i caught a couple of small peacocks but that was about it.
later kirk switched to the “day saver” and began destroying red devils. the devil bite was on. there were lots on the shoreline and many were willing to eat. i pressed on with my popper and streamers as i just wasn’t really in the mood for devilin’. in the late afternoon the peacocks started loosening up and we began to get more action. we ended up catching some decent size tucs on both streamers and poppers. we caught the tucs on the same stretches that we had fished earlier validating my theory that the peacock bass are always there, but are an extremely moody fish. to catch them they just gotta be “on”.
on the bonefish front, the bonefish bite appears to have picked up again. deano’s been getting some good fish. he and craig went out ther on thursday. e.t., oh excuse me g. loomis pro staff guide e.t. reports that he’s been getting his clients on fish as well as conking fish himself. all good news. perhaps the winter with all it’s ups and downs is slowly starting to release its grip.
well a near miss tsunami and an evening cruising with the peeps in the shimano/g loomis booth at the ocean expo yesterday pretty much brings the blog up to speed. i’ll be tying flies at the ocean expo later on today, but you can be sure i’ll be on the water again soon.
a beautiful morning on the bay.
greg hooks up while didi does what a didi does.
the "boss" comes up.
what'cha got there eug...
a pair of opelu which turned out to be the catch of the day. as anyone who fishes hawaii knows... sometimes like that.
pretty little peacock bass.
kirk caught this fatty blueg on what else... the grand slam fly.
he also slaughterhoused a bunch of big red "day savers" with the grand slam.
then the peacocks became "on".
... and kirk quickly got into the bite.
we fished until the rain looked imminent. we then raced in, not wanting to "overstay our welcome".
...meanwhile back at the flat.
nwff crew member deano was busy doing what he does with the switch.
bruce tilbrook and nwff guide e.t. had a pretty cruddy day but still did what had to be done. bruce wrote,"ed is an excellent guide and worth every penny even though he said he was frozen that day."
roy miller from sisters oregon says, "firm coconuts for all. kudos to guide ed."
paul ridgeway wrote,"a great big thanks to the crew of nwff and especially to e.t. for his hawaiian hospitality and superb fishing skills."
now hawaii's g. loomis pro staff guide, e.t. is who he is and does what he does... and does it better than anyone i know.
i just get my licks in when i can, enjoy the ride and the neverending quest for the next good time.
fly fishing hawaii:
the crew’s double slam.
went up to the lake on saturday with surfa boy craig of the nwff crew. i had just watched my friend john sherman on the recently released dvd “bass the movie”. this dvd takes a look at the obsession with bass in america (focussing on california) and incorporates some hard core bass fly anglers. this is a cool dvd definitely worth checking out.
anyway the video got me stoked to go do some bass fly fishing “hawaii style”. craig had the day off so away we went. when we got to the lake there was no one there, that’s never a good sign especially for a weekend. we thought that the bite must be off, but no matter. in true nwff crew style, we charged.
the water level was really low as the "powers that be" have been keeping it lately. the winds were light and variable. we scouted around a bit but there were no signs of peacocks busting so we hunkered down and began pounding stretches of shoreline.
in true bass master fashion, i brought several rods. a sage smallmouth bass rod rigged with a small banger style popper, a 7wt. sage z-axis with a fast sinking shooting head, and a g loomis glx 5wt. with an intermediate line. craig brought a five weight with a sinking shooting line, a sage smallmouth rod, and a spinning rod. together we were prepared for anything and the lady of the lake did not disappoint.
i fished a popper for most of the day and although probably not as effective as fishing subsurface… the topwater cracks and boils from aggressive peacocks are hard to beat. i did fish the other rods because, as i always say, everything must get bit. by the late afternoon both craig and i had caught numerous peacocks on every rod we brought. i also caught a largemouth on a streamer fished deep and craig caught a red devil.
as the day was winding down so i told craig i was going to get a red devil to complete my lake grand slam (we call the lake grand slam a red devil, a peacock bass, and a largemouth bass). we saw a lot of devils as we were fishing, but didn’t really go for them because the peacock bass bite was pretty consistent the whole day. i began scanning the shoreline. i cast at a few but they had already gone into the late evening scared devil shutdown mode. i was almost going to give up when out of nowhere that familiar orange orb appeared out of the deep. this one looked like it was "an eater". i kept my fly in front of the fish and with one deft gill flare the fight was on. it turned out to be a pound and a quarter, probably the biggest devil that i ever pulled from the lake. slam complete.
we fished a little more but it was getting cold and the bite had all but shut down. i told craig we’d make one more pass along the area we were fishing. craig picked up his sage bass rod with a popper. he made a good cast into a pile of wood and bam something engulfed his popper. he brought it up… a largemouth bass. in typical surfa boy style, craig pulled out a slam of his own in the critical moments of the game. a double slam for the crew… sometimes like that.
peacocks on poppers.
this guy ate a streamer.
craig shows that they love the grand slam fly.
a little fat chunky dude.
peacock with a prototype fly i call the rolled minnow.
i never thought they got over a pound until this thick fatty.
craig completes the slam (and the day) when this dude swallowed his popper. good times.
the goings ons.
this is a special bonus blog just for brother daryl. last time i fished with him he scolded me for not updating my blog enough. i told him to get me pictures and i would blog more often. so what does that guy do? he conks a couple of bones that day and doesn’t take any pictures.
the nwff crew does not have problems getting fish here, the problem is the crew (including myself) is very “photography challenged”. for those not in the know, the nwff crew is a bunch of us guys who have been fishing here in hawaii since birth (birth happening a longer time ago for some of us than others) that just happened to pick up a fly rod somewhere along the way. we all grew up in the more traditional hawaii style of fishing to catch fish, not so much to take pictures of fish and then let them go. cameras were never even thought of as “fishing” gear. after all, there's plenty of time to take picture while unloading the cooler at home in the driveway (another hawaii tradition). daryl pulled through this time though, well, more like deano as he took the pics and here we are at this bonus blog.
the fishing apparently has picked up quite a bit recently. probably due to the return of the trade winds (thank fish god). i was only out once this past thursday. craig, deano and i went out for an evening session at hickam. the tide was low and getting lower. craig managed to hook a bone and a small yellow spot (trevally) on his sage smallmouth rod and a hi style chili pepper. deano and i pounded further out looking for the elusive ulua (trevally over ten pounds) or golden trevally. didn’t get any but i did jump a good sized aha (needlefish) and hooked lots and lots of coral (coral). deano got a couple of swipes from some omilu (bluefin trevally) but no hook ups. we did get to try some “flies in the works”, saw a couple of uluas cracking mullet and are that many casts closer to hooking the big one.
e.t. left me a message last night saying that his client from japan hooked four bones yesterday at ke’ehi. he said there wasn’t that many fish around but they were able to find some good eaters. they’re out there again today and hopefully we’ll get to see some pics (e.t. catches more fish than anyone in these parts, but is the worst of the crew when it comes to getting photes, maybe there is a correlation... hmm.).
last, but not least, deano and daryl went out to hickam for a little while yesterday morning. deano’s report went as follows:
“Went to the beach to fly fish for a little while this morning since Daryl said that he was going out. I had tied up couple big tube flies the night before to try my luck at hooking up a big papio. There's been some big fish around the flats lately so I took out my Temple Fork Light Duty Bluewater Rod. I tied two tube fly mullet imitations One that was weighted and the other without. I think I liked the way the weighted one swam and that fly was getting some good cracks. I ended up landing two barracuda and had another one cut my fly off. Daryl did really well sightfishing for bones. He ended up hooking 4 and landing two. In all a nice short session."
thanks deano and daryl for making this bonus report on the goings ons possible. brother daryl, i’ll try to get another blog up soon but just keep in mind that futon and winter olympics make a very good combination.
brother daryl checks in with a couple of nice hawaii bonefish.
while deano got some cuda cracks on the latest fly to come out of his skunk works.
craigster blessed his new smallmouth rod with a little yellow spot. small ones do count for getting the "stink" off a new rod.
life is good bites, good friends... good times.
not exactly fly fishing hawaii:
the nwff crew takes a break.
e.t., greg “pops”, rookie of the year 2009 eugene, and i went out for an afternoon of fooling around on e.t.s boat. nothing serious, just fish for the sake of fishing. so i dawned my "master baiter" cap and met the guys at e.t.’s.
we put the boat in the water around one thirty. the water was perfect, not calm but not white capping either. e.t. and pops dragged shells for tako (octopus). for those peeps out there not in the know, dragging shell involves a hand line with a heavy lead weight on which is attached some wire hooks and a cowry shell. the rig is dragged behind a drifting boat. the tako (octopus) jumps on the shell and is brought up with the hooks. although not the most popular way people here catch these creatures, it is a pretty fun way to catch them.
close up of the tako "shell" lure.
while e.t. and greg were doing their thang. eug and i dropped some lines. i used my st. croix tidemaster with a shimano calcutta and eug used his spinner. between us we caught the usual things that are caught bottom fishing like this. eug got the grand slam of “rubbish” fish. the nuu nuu (cornet trumpet fish) and the ulae (lizard fish) both found their way onto eug’s line. the “but but” as i call them (rose tail trigger fish) also, as usual, made it’s presence known. eug. also caught a lae (leather back or queen fish), a bunch of moanos (manybar goatfish), and lost about a thirty pound kahala (amberjack). i managed a couple of nabetas (peacock wrasse) and a weke ula (yellowfin goatfish). we were dropping ika (strips of squid) as well as some "throw away" flies.
when evening rolled around we trolled the ledge with a couple of lines. we chased some birds around but it wasn’t happening so we headed in to give eug. a chance to hook a bunch of bones on his spinner. as soon as eug cast his line he was on. i caught one with my st. croix tide master and calcutta set up(just for blogging sake), and then e.t., greg, and i just kicked back and watched eug. have the time of his life. he was like a little kid and ended up pounding about ten of these sharp jaw species of bonefish. it was getting late and cold so we had to cut eug.’s line or i think he would still be out there.
eug came out and quickly got into a moano.
lae, watch those spines eug.
e.t. drags the shell and gets the tako.
look at the suckers on this guy.
moano close up and personal.
eug hooks a mong (mongoose fish).
nabeta... watch those teeth, they'll bite.
twofer. weke ula and nabeta. the nabeta bit a streamer i tied for peacock bass on the lake.
after a bit of trolling we took eug in for some bonefish and he took to it right away.
bones were flying into the boat.
i had to get one to make sure i was still worthy of the "master baiter" hat.
more bones coming up.
eug. sports an ika goatee in this shot.
all in all a super fun afternoon out on the water. we got enough tako and a few bonus bites as well. i can hardly wait for the upcoming tako poki from “pops”. for a change of pace, today we left the fly rods at home and went “back to our roots” as e.t. put it. the nwff crew... just a bunch fishermen looking for a bite and, as always, good times.
winter bonefish roulette report.
so the good news first. yes, there still are good numbers of bonefish lingering around for winter anglers on all “popular” flats around the island... the bad news? it appears that the really good bites occur maybe a half day or two a week. high numbers have been reported, e.t. checked in a seven fish day out at ke’ehi. one of his clients saburo from japan also had a good day and got four good fish out at hi kai. i witnessed deano conk nine at his home waters of hickam where, as many folks know, the guy just can’t be touched. on the flip side the same guys also reported some tough sleddin’ days as well.
i’ve been out three times. the first day with deano was quite good. the second with surfa boy craig was a “lieutenant dan” experience as we got on the water right as a front hit. the last time out i felt like i needed an auger and some tip ups (yeah folks weather in the seventies is cold for hawaii bones and hawaii fishermen). flies that have been working include orange dubbed charlies, e.t.’s brown charlie, and e.t.’s marabou mantis.
for the past few weeks the weather has been changing almost every other day and changing drastically as we go through front after front. so it’s been a game of hawaiian bonefish roulette. just as in russian roulette, there’s a bullet in there somewhere... you just gotta keep pulling the trigger.
nankos mike got this bone out at k bay.
while sean found this samoan crab and snagged it for deano’s wife lana (for those not in the know, messing with these guys can be a bit sketch so be careful).<
some serious claws but also some serious eats.
my buddy herb from the trinity fly shop. checked in with this chrome steelie. i can't wait to get out there. if you find yourself in the area be sure to check these guys out.
nervous water guide e.t. putting on a clinic at ke'ehi. there is no better sight fishing fisherman/guide (or nicer guy for that matter) in the islands period.<
as for me, i’ve just been keepin’ my head above water, making a wave when i can... ain’t we lucky we got’em, good times.<
the jiggy bone bug.
the jiggy bone bug is a fly that i conjured up while fooling around with jig hooks a while back. the first day i took it out and fished it, i caught a nice bone and a small bluefin trevally. i tied up a few for the shop, moved on to working on other fly pursuits, and never thought about it again. the shop didn’t sell a whole lot of them and it was not surprising to me. the fly isn’t the most beautiful sight to behold. it does, however, have all the attributes of a good fly for hawaii's bonefish. the 60 degree jig hook, by design, keels the fly keeping the hook riding point up, reducing snagging on the coral bottom. the fly also has a nice meaty profile with a tantalizing marabou tail and some leggy palmered mallard flank. yet for whatever reason it did not appeal to the human masses. the fly just didn't sell, so i gave a few to surfa boy craig of the nwff crew to use... and he did.
flash forward a year or so later and the jiggy bone bug has now become known as a flat out bonefish destroyer. it is now craig’s favorite “go to” fly for bones. it has also become a very popular choice among those who dared to tie it on.
the fly was not created to resemble anything in particular. instead it is one of those types of flies that kind of resemble everything. the hares ear nymph, crazy charlie, clouser minnow, woolly worm, and woolly bugger are well known proven fish slayers that fall into this category of flies. in fact the jiggy bone bug is nothing more than a tweaked woolly bugger… a tweaked woolly bugger that bones in hawaii seem to love.
the jiggy bone bug
hook: 60 degree jig hook size 2 – 1/0 (i would tie it in smaller sizes but i have not been able to get this type of saltwater hook in a smaller size than 2. if anyone knows how to get them please let me know.)
thread: any kind of thread of matching color.
eyes: small painted lead
body: any kind of chenille. i like the larger types like large cactus chenille but smaller chenille work well too they just have a slimmer look.
hackle: mallard flank
start the thread and tie the lead eyes on the shank about a third of the way back from the eye.
tie in a marabou tail about the length of the hook shank.
tie in the cactus chenille and advance thread to about an eighth of an inch behind the lead eyes.
now wrap the chenille to the thread (about an eighth of an inch behind the eye). tie in the chenille with two wraps of thread to hold it in place, but do not cut the chenille.
select a mallard flank feather. for those who tie a lot of flies that use mallard flank, this is a good fly to use those feathers that are knurly and substandard for other patterns. strip off the fluffy fibers from the shaft and stroke fibers back toward the quill leaving some fibers at the tip. trim the tip.
tie in the feather by the tip. first behind the eye then infront of the eye. this will secure the mallard flank.
lift the feather straight up and strip the fibers from the half facing the eye of the hook.
wind the mallard flank behind the eye brushing the fibers back as you wind it. hackle pliers help with this process. tie off the and trim the remaining quill.
now continue winding the cactus chenille forward. make sure the mallard flank is distributed pretty evenly around the hook shank. the first wrap of chenille over the mallard flank tends to bunch up the fibers.
cross wrap the eyes and continue to the bend in the shank. tie off the cactus chenille and build up a thread head on the bent part of the hook shank up to the eye.
all pau (finished). it’s ready to fish as is or a curved scissors can be used to cut a slight taper in the chenille from the lead eyes to the eye of the hook.
i tie the jiggy bone bug in three colors rootbeer, orange, and gold/tan. obviously the fly can be tied in a bazillion different colors. the sky’s the limit which is the fun thing about tying.
the first time i fished the j.b.b. i knew it would be a fish cracker. craig now agrees as do many others. this once unloved fly is now among our most popular hawaii bonefish flies.
is it a crab? a shrimp? a mantis shrimp? a squid? cuttle fish? octopus? or a gobi? i don't know the answer. all i can say for sure is that the jiggy bone bug is a fly that hawaii bonefish will put in their mouths. so tie one up and tie one on, you too may discover a new favorite. good times.