Fishing with the California Crew


It never ceases to amaze me how learning how to fly fish has shaped my life. One aspect I really enjoy about the sport is meeting people from all over the planet with common interests. One of the people I had the pleasure of meeting is my friend Ken. I met him a few years ago through a mutual friend that mentioned he knew someone from California that was in the process of renovating a house on Oahu. Ken is fortunate to have the ability to live part time in California and the rest of the time on Oahu. What I found out about Ken was that he was an accomplished gear fisherman that owned and captained his own boat. He would take his friends out on multiple day boat trips in search of big game; but deep down he had a great desire to learn how to chase bonefish on the fly. Ken initially started pursuing bonefish with a single-hand rod but found it difficult to fish long hours due to a lingering shoulder injury. After I heard about his shoulder I was able to introduce him to a switch rod.

The switch rod is a wonderful tool that bridges the gap between single-hand and spey rods. Typically, switch rods range in length between 10 - 11ft and has an upper and lower handle to facilitate casting with two hands. In my humble opinion, I consider a "true" switch rod as one that can be cast well in all three styles: single, double overhead, and spey. The casting style I thought would allow him to make long casts and pound the water all day without the adverse affects to his shoulder was the double overhead cast. Once he became proficient in this casting style and learned the basics of bonefish behavior, he enthusiastically started the path to bonefish mastery. Ken has spent countless hours on the water and has paid his dues to garner his knowledge about the local fishery. His passion now days include sharing his knowledge and "enlightening" the rest of his California gear fishing buddies on the merits of fly fishing. It is exciting to see and hear about his friends getting involved in the sport.

The most recent visitors to the islands are Denny and Glenn. Denny has been here multiple times while this is Glennís first trip. Both Denny and Glenn had a great start for their trip by scoring bones on their first day.

I was fortunate to fish one morning with the California Trio. We met early and the three amigos turned into two amigos for a little while as Denny had to go back to Ken's house to grab a rod.

Glenn wanted to focus on sight fishing so Ken pointed him to a good starting spot. It had been a while since I lasted fish with Ken so I decided followed him around. He brought his ladder and went to his normal starting spot while I went to look for a nice rock to stand on. The ladder is an idea that the California Boys got from fishing Pyramid Lake. It gives them a stable fishing platform to fish from in deeper water.

I started casting but as the sun came up I quickly realized that I wasn't in the right spot.

We fished for a little while and then I saw Denny make his way out to the right of me. As time went on and since I wasnít getting any bites, I walked down the flats to a spot Denny vacated. Ken also made his way down the flats as well. That's where I hooked and landed my first bone of the day. I was lucky Ken was nearby so he could take a picture of my fish.

After he got a picture of my fish he walked back to his spot. I stripped out line and made another cast. As I started stripping the line in I hooked my second bone.

This one was much bigger and put up a nice fight.

Ken took a picture and after I released my fish we both settled back into our casting routine. That's when I looked over to Ken and his rod was doubled over.

I wasnít the only one in the water cheering him on as a crowd quickly gathered.

I made my way over to him and documented his catch which was a nice healthy bone.

After he released his fish, I tied on a gurgler fly to fish for trevally as I made my way over to see what Denny was up to.

I caught a couple trevally and when I was on the inside of Denny, I switched to a bonefish fly. I hooked a huge mongoose fish that came off as I was trying to take a picture. It was about 20 inches long and by far the largest one I have seen in a while.  By that time, Glenn made his way to where I was. Since the lighting got a little better, I asked if he wanted to check out a sight fishing spot. He said he had a few shots earlier but because the lighting was bad he wasnít able to hook up. As we made our way to the spot, we saw a couple fish; but the poor visibility made it difficult to track them. After a little while, we saw Ken and Denny on shore so we made our way in.

In all, it was a nice morning with good friends. -Dean


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