Scaling Down for Bigger Fun
So May is here, and with it the usual summertime weather here in Hawaii. That means mostly sunny skies, maybe a passing shower in the afternoon, and 10- 20 knot trade winds keeping things cool. While the wind might freak out visitors to our island, we locals are used to the trades, and they generally mean better than average fishing on the shallow reef flats of Oahu.
The funny thing about this May is the major low tide in the middle of the day. What to do about this? Do we venture out into the waves and live coral in search of deep enough water to hold bonefish and risk ruining our leaders and flylines? If you’re Andrew, Ed, and myself, you preserve your gear and scale down your tackle to rods more appropriate for a trout stream and target some of the little critters happy to cruise the extra skinny fringes of the flat.
One of our major targets is the weke or goatfish. Fishing for these little guys really reminds me of fishing for bonefish on Christmas Island. They’re small, lighter colored, and require more concentration to spot than our usual fat Hawaii bones. This exactly mirrors my experience while fishing for small CI bones on extra shallow sand flats. The hungry weke hit a well placed fly quite aggressively, which also jives with my CI bonefishing.
On the low tide, even the flat we’re fishing looks a bit like Christmas. Ignore the breakwater jacks on the left and the airplanes flying overhead and we could be outside Paris point on the low tide.
Ed giving a fat weke the business. He bought a cheap 5wt last week at a big box store in Vegas despite getting the hookup from G Loomis (wtf).
He was more stoked to catch these little fish than I’ve seen him in a long time.
Andrew putting in work with a nice weke of his own. The new Sage Salt 5wt is perfect for going small on the reef. The Hatch 4 Plus has the power to slow down bigger fish too.
He also caught a moano, which is a cousin of the weke who prefers to live in more rocky areas.
We also got a bunch of these lil’ crumbsnatchers. I tried and failed to entice their older brothers with carefully tied streamers, but I know the onset of summer means I’ll have plenty more chances to get rejected by them yet again. Sigh.
The humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or reef triggerfish. While not the bruisers found on Christmas, these little fish are still triggers, which means they are bastards. I encourage/ challenge any boneheads out there to try hooking one of these “rubbish” fish sight casting in skinny water. Prepare to be humbled.
Oh yeah, and I also caught a bonefish. It happens.
I hope you’re having a great start to your May and summertime fishing too! Aloha