went out a couple times this weekend. spent a day with ken “legolas” beecroft out at hickam. ken picked up a beulah switch rod from us earlier this year and has joined deano, daryl and the other hickam boyz out there. there were some fish around but not a whole lot, at least around the area we decided to fish. in a sick twist of fishing god fate. i caught an omilu (bluefin trevally) soon after getting started. though not a very big one i thought it was funny that after a week of chasing these guys i catch one right off the bat while going for bones. what can i say... sometimes like that. i used the 7wt. g. loomis roaring river switch rod with an airflo 450 grain scandi compact. this is an absolute insane combination though not quite enough “yoy” or fish controlling power as i like to have on my side for some boney/reefy places here. i did manage to get a bonefish and i got ken to see and take shots at a bunch of fish, something he never really did before, so it was a good day all around.
yesterday went out to ke’ehi with the nwff crew e.t. and the kirksta. e.t. and i both hooked three bones and the kirksta got one. in typical nwff crew style, we wound up with seven fish and zero pictures. again it wasn’t gangbusters out there but there were enough. i fished the 8wt. g loomis roaring river switch with an airflo 480 grain compact scandi (the 510 is also a really good match).
the wind was up pretty good yesterday and "they" are calling for it to be yowling this week so be prepared. wind casting is all about using the wind to your advantage. here’s a few tips that may (or may not) help in your wind endeavors.
make sure you are familiar with your wind casting limits when casting with the wind coming from your rod hand side. rods don’t like being cracked by dumbell eyes and neither do human heads for that matter. if the wind is too strong turn around and throw your backcast or switch to your left hand. you can also tip your rod tip toward you on your backcast right before you make the forward cast and have the fly travel on the down wind side of you.
when casting with the wind it’s always a good idea to turn around and see how far you can cast into the wind. this will give you an idea of how much of a backcast you can make. if you can only cast so far into the wind, you will probably not be able to make a backcast any farther before the wind knocks your line down or toward you creating slack in your cast. slack in your cast as we all know robs you of stroke length (you gotta get the slack out first) which in turn robs you of rod load. knowing this you can adjust your stroke and the line you have out on your backcast reducing the slack in your cast. open up the loop on the forward cast (not a hard maneuver for most of us) and let the wind take the giant open loop out.
when casting into the wind, i like to hang my backcast out there as long as i can without the line falling too much. then on the forward cast i make an exaggerated acceleration going pretty slow throughout most of the stroke and ending with a very quick, short, and powerful speed up and stop. this produces maximum load on the rod and a super tight high speed loop. i also like to change the plane of the cast to a high backcast and a foreward cast aimed right at the target in the water. this gives the cast maximum time in the air on the backcast and minimum time in the air on the foreward cast for the wind to blow it around or back at you.
the flats around here get pretty technical when the winds begin to howl and the water starts white capping. fly selection, casting, leader lengths all become more critical to presenting the fly properly weather blind casting or sight fishing. that once serene, peaceful flat becomes a growling angry beast. yesterday, with the pushing tide, was one of those days as i found myself actually mending and fishing currents between the coral. it looks like this week will be a good chance to practice those wind tactics. the fish are there... why not go see if you can get some.
bone in the water.
i also got this hawaiian flounder (paki'i). trippy little fish. they love to eat flies but are usually pretty hard to get a hook in that sideways like mouth.
one of four more little omilus (bluefin trevally) that i caught on sunday while, of course, fishing for bones.
what'cha gonna do? i don't want to start any blasphemous rumors but i think that (fish) gods got a sick sense of humor and when i die i expect to find him (or her) laughing... dm. good times.
all things fly fishing in hawaii:
”the chicken chuckers”
not a whole lot to report. gave the bones a rest and have been doing a little scouting around and getting my gear dialed in for the (quickly) upcoming papio (trevally) season. despite it’s generally low return/effort ratio compared to bonefish here on oahu, i am going to give it a real concerted effort this year. there are a few of the nwff crew (sean, deano, and craig) who sometimes get a little weary of fly fishing bones all the time and are devoting more time to chasing some tougher to get critters (on oahu at least) with the long rod such as the trevally.
so deano, craig, and i have sort of loosely banded together and become a faction of the nwff crew known as “the chicken chuckers”. although far from an expert on the subject, the rod i have been using lately on the quest for anything jack and jack related on oahu has been the sage 8129-4 z-axis two handed rod with a 480 gr. airflo scandi compact. it may be a little on the light side for the bigger fish but it is really easy to cast big flies long distances repeatedly and gives me a chance to practice my spey casting as a bonus. deano likes the beulah 9/10 switch rod with the matching elixir line. i think craig has settled in on the beulah 9/10 surf rod with a 12wt rio outbound short (after getting wrecked by about a fiftteen pound g.t. with his 7/8 beulah switch).
so i spent a day scouting around k bay with greg “pops” with not much success. we knew it was probably a little early but sometimes you just gotta scratch the itch. greg hooked a nice three pound white on a jig but it unbuttoned right at the boat. the rest of the day was “ala alas” as he would say. fished hickam a couple of times with the newly formed “chicken chuckers”. out of those sessions i managed to squeeze out a little omilu (bluefin trevally) and jumped an awa a’ua (ladyfish). not much for hours of pounding but that appears to be the trevally fly rod game in hawaii (at least until we figure more stuff out). it takes some hardcore pounding to get bit, but like i always say after a day of catching nothing, i’m that many casts closer to hooking the next one. when you fish for trevally with a fly rod on oahu you may catch a jack, you may get jacked by a jack, but more often than not, you'll go home not catching jack.
how those guys get underwater photos of fish... i'll never know.
deano put on a bonefish fly for five minutes before we left one day and the bones showed us what we were foregoing on the quest for trevally.
releasing my "catch of the week". i've caught alot of trevally on the fly over the years but most of them have been while fishing for bones. there's just something a bit more satisfying about working hard to catch the fish you want the way you want to catch it, no matter how small it may turn out to be. that's just part of the magic of fly fishing. i wouldn't trade this little guy in for ten ten pound bones... but that's just me. good times.
all things fly fishing in hawaii:<
”clay's week in review.”
this week for me turned out to be all about trying out new gear. <on saturday, i ran out to hickam for a half hour or so with duff. bob meiser sent him a 9’9” 10/11 switch to use as a trevally rod. we tried it out with the heaviest line we had which happened to be a prototype 600 grain monic skagit. it casted okay. the rod had that sweet magic feel to it that all meiser rods seem to be infused with, but the 600 grain weight felt light for that "stick". it casted a little better when we added a 109 grain tip to the tip that came with the line, but that made the whole system pretty long for a 909 switch. in the end we both decided that maybe a 720 head would work great and i have one on the way. the rod itself feels like quite a fish conquering beast and i’m sure it will man handle pretty much anything we can throw at it (at least here in hawaii). in addition to trevally, i think it would make a superb two hander for shibis (small tuna) and other offshore creatures.
on sunday, the nwff crew e.t., sean, and i went out to ke’ehi with friend of the shop kai and loomis/shimano rep garett. the deal for me on this day was to test drive the sage 990-4 tcx and to get kai a fish. the tide was good and the weather was perfect. the only problem we had was with the fish. for reasons only known by the fish gods and the fish themselves, they just never really showed up. i was not surprised. after fifteen plus years of bonefishing with a fly rod in hawaii you tend to learn a few things. two of the most important things that i have learned is that you’ll never know unless you go and sometimes like that. anyway out of the slim pickin’s that were up on the flat that day e.t. work his magic and got one. later kai, e.t., and i managed to team up and get kai his first bone (which made my day because kai is such a nice guy).
i did get a chance to get down and dirty with the tcx... and i love it. the tcx series is the type of rods that i pesonally really like. i call it fast with feel. there are a multitude of fast rods out there these days but only a handful of them have the "loving feeling" the tcx is no doubt one of them. i used a rio tropical outbound short with a ten foot airflo poly leader and about three feet of tippet. i chose the outbound short because we were going to ke’ehi where short accurate casts are the norm. the extra weight of the outbound short lines up front load up rods nicely in close (often in hawaii it is real close) where many other “bonefish” lines fail. the knock on the ob short for our fishing is that it is basically an integrated shooting head, designed to cast big or heavy flies and is not the most delicate when presenting a fly. the addition of the poly leader really smoothed out the turnover and i was quite pleased with the set up. this will definitely be my choice for sight fishing on those days with poor visibility where the effective sighting range is inside of thirty feet. if you're out there and find you are doing more “leader flipping” than fly casting throughout your sight fishing bonefish day, you may just want to give this set up a try. it actually loads the rod in close and is lazer accurate.
kai from the bonefish's view.
brother kai with his first bone in hi on the fly.
mild mannered e.t. goes into a phone booth and changes into super loomis guide!
the next day sean and nankos mike went out to k bay and sean checked in with this pic of mike and k bay bone.
on wednesday i took a cruise up to the lake with shimano/loomis rep garett and surfa boy craig. i had some trailer maintenance to take care of and the guys wanted to fish. with the help of garett (and his sweet tools, thanks bro) we got the trailer back in shape in a matter of minutes. the lake has come up a lot from the recent rains and, as i expected, the action has slowed quite a bit since the last time i was there. the fish that were beginning to spawn are now either off the spawn or nesting ten feet underwater (no one i asked really knows what happens). i gave the g. loomis 6wt. shore stalker a chuck. the rod was really nice but like many of the newer g. loomis rods was a bit stiffy for my taste. to be fair, we were casting it with an old rio windcutter, and it felt great when you had 50 plus feet of line in the air. we also fished the "now everyone's favorite rod for the lake" sage bass series.
i hooked a nice peacock that weight out just shy of four pounds with the shore stalker near some wood. in classic clay style, i put the brakes on the fish and the rod performed flawlessly, powering the tuc away from the wood from whence it came. the fish never had a chance and the guys were amazed at the bend i put in that rod. we caught a few other small peacocks and a couple of red devils but that was about it... and then the rain came and boy did it ever come. the three of us got annihilated. we stuck it out for another hour or so before realizing that it was not going to stop. on the way back we were treated to the thousand falls of wahiawa as the run off from everywhere in the general vicinity converged upon the lake. i’m sure that it has come up another three feet just from the rain that we experienced and i wouldn’t be surprised if the lake will be up to “pre kaloko dam breaking” levels until the one working pump can drain it back down.
yesterday i went out to hickam for an evening casting session with the boys of the nwff crew deano, craig, and kirksta. the guys all charged out to pound while i inside casting my sage z axis 8129-4. i just got this rod and wanted to get it dialed in. i tried a bunch of heads with it and this versatile rod casted all of them quite well. i tried the rio 8/9 afs, the rio skagit flight 550 (with a 140 grain floating and intermediate tips), and the airflo scandi compact in 450 and 480. i liked them all but i really liked the airflo scandi 450 grain. this was the first time that i tried the rio flight and i really like the line but the 550 felt a little to heavy to me.< i think the 525 will be the ticket. deano caught a little rat with his beulah 12’ 7” spey rod and beulah tonic line.
so not that many fish this week but i always enjoy doing my homework and horsing around with a bunch of different gear. tomorrow's another day and you know the nwff crew and i will be out there searching for more good times.