Praise for Papio

I donít really love bonefish. There I said it. And itís true. Despite spending countless hours fishing for them, designing and tying flies for them, and basically making my living off them, I canít honestly say theyíre my favorite fish to fish for. I understand why others love them and spend their lives chasing them to the extent of tattooing them on their bodies, but somehow I donít share quite that level of passion. I sometimes wonder why that is.

Maybe itís because I grew up on Oahu where the king of all inshore species is and will forever be the ulua or GT. Donít believe me? Spend a few minutes in any Hawaii parking lot and look at the trucks and SUVs that might belong to fishermen. Chances are 20% or more will have a fish sticker on them. And of those, 80% will be an ulua (the other 20% will probably be a tuna). Youíll almost never see a bonefish sticker unless youíre in one of the bonefish guidesí vehicles. Why is this? Sure the ulua get much bigger, but for me the reason I think most Hawaii people love trevally so much is because you can catch them by many different methods, they fight so hard, and theyíre generally better eating (at least the small ones) than bonefish. The reason I love them is because they hit topwater lures unlike anything else in the world.

Back when I was finishing up in high school and starting college, I switched my fishing from primarily soaking bait to using lures on light spinning tackle. First our ubiquitous curly tailed soft plastic grubs, then lead headed jigs, and finally topwater lures. That was it. From then on I decided that was the best game in the world. In fact, the whole reason I met Clay and Kevin in the first place was to special order a fancy new spinning rod through their fly shop. (Crazy right?) Several years and many bonefish later, Iíve switched to primarily fishing with flies and most of my spinning tackle has been sold, given away, or is gathering dust in the back of a closet. But now and then I still get the urge to fish topwater. Iím not joining the GT Fight Club anytime soon, (although I did my share of that kind of fishing on Christmas Island) but lately I have been spending more and more time away from the bonefish flats in search of aggressive small trevally that will hit streamers, poppers, and deer hair sliders on the surface.

It doesnít require the stealth and concentration like stalking bonefish in shallow water, but to me itís relaxing and I can fish for just a few hours in the evening and get my fix. The rhythm of casting and retrieving a fly meant to resemble a wounded baitfish can lull you into a trance only to be broken by the surface explosion of an attacking fish. How can a fish so small be so strong and so angry? I sometimes feel bad for ruining the bonefishís feeding sessions when theyíre minding their own business and happily grubbing along the bottom. I never feel bad for picking a fight with a trevally, since heís the one who decided to swim over and kill my fly. Sadly, because we tend to overfish trevally here I donít find many around over a few pounds, but like any fishing in the deep blue sea, you never know what might bite your next cast. Hope youíre spending some quality time with your favorite fish too. Aloha


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