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fly fishing hawaii:

the little guy with the big punch.


it’s been a month or so  since i picked up a two handed rod. looking back now it has been exactly a month since i slung around the two hander.  i’ve  been doing quite a bit more sight fishing and lake fishing lately.  no particular reason why, just kind of worked out like that.  so on tuesday i decided to go out and play with my beulah 4/5 classic switch rod.  i got this rod a while back when i was just getting into the whole two handed spey thang.  since i got this rod i’ve only used it on one trip where caught some sea run cutts and mckenzie rainbows with it.  after that it sat in my closet patiently waiting for its turn in the rotation which never came.  last year i used the 5/6 beulah switch quite a bit and even the 6/7 on several occasions but not the little guy. i dug the rod out of the closet, put it together and wiggled it around a bit.


”yeah this will do ,” i thought imagining myself working down a reef edge flicking off sweet short little bombs.


i was beginning to get a little excited at the potential fun factor.  i crammed a 250gr. beulah elixir onto my abel classic reel, tied up a couple little light flies, and headed out the door to meet the boyz.


when we got out on the water, it became painfully obvious to us that it was not going to be one of those pleasant, easy fishing days.    the wind was howling from the south west making the flat a roiled up, choppy, off colored, mess.  you see, the prevalent north east island trade winds and accompanying currents has, over time, molded the reef and its inhabitants to live in perfect harmony with it.  when the wind switches up, comes hard from the wrong direction, and goes against the “natural” grain, it  makes the sea very angry and chaotic.


in short, it was pretty brutal out there.  i knew the small light flies i had tied were not going to cut it in these conditions so i dug through my box and tied on a fly with a heavier lead eye.  i adjusted my anchor setting maneuver to compensate for the strong wind, got the anchor to line up, and began firing off casts.  nothing.  in about an hour i had seen one bone and hooked absolute zeros.  i didn’t care, though, as i had long switched my focus from trying to catch a fish to practicing my casting (which, to me, is just as much fun as catching fish).  casting a two handed rod, or any fly rod for that matter, is like being addicted to drugs.  you make a cast and feel the euphoria only a fly cast can bring. a brief time later, no matter if it was a good or bad cast, you just gotta get another fix.  always chasing the unattainable high of the perfect cast.  that’s what it is all about.


doug rolled up to me to see if i found anything.  i told him the woeful tale of this days dismal fishing situation.  he had pretty much the same report.  i told him, that i wasn’t expecting to catch anything and was just practicing casting already.


i ended by saying, “but you  know, as long as you have the fly in the water... there’s always a chance”.


doug left and i moved to another area not to find fish, but to get the wind off my right shoulder so i could practice my cackhand or cross body cast.  i flicked off a nice cast then just let my arm go limp and hang down at my side with the rod barely cradled in my relaxed hand.  i stood there like that for a while resting, letting the fly sink, reflecting on the chaos of the sea and life...  daydreaming.  with a blink of my eyes, i snapped out of the trance i was in and was back in the real world.  i gave the line a few strips and the line took off, but it wasn’t the familiar wiggle and bullet take off of a bone.  it was slow and powerful like i had hooked a mac truck starting down the road.


”crap, i snagged a turtle,” i thought as line steadily peeled off the little abel classic cradled in my palm.


i leaned into it with everything the 4/5 wt. switch rod had and whatever it was at the end of my line began coming up toward the surface.  i was expecting to see a turtle pop its head out, take a breath and dive again.  instead, i felt a few heavy head shakes.  the thing i had hooked dove for the bottom and again powerfully shook its head.  i had my palm firmly applying pressure to the tiny click pawl reel spool, still the abel classic screamed as the spool spun in my hand.


”very interesting,” i said out loud now knowing this was no turtle.  i knew exactly who was down there.... mr. golden trevally.


the tug of war went on for a few more minutes.  i’d gain some and the fish  would take it back.  wash, rinse, repeat.  i just hoped for a good hook set and that the fish would not find one of the many “line cutters” available to fish in peril in these depths.  we duked it out for a while more before i felt the stalemate breaking and the fish beginning to tire, giving more than it took.  i worked it to just below the surface and saw that indeed it was a golden.  i had’em beat.  now all i had to worry about was the hook being bent out or not hooked well and popping out.  i fumbled around frantically for my camera.  if the fish was going to pop off it would be now.  right at that fine line between a fishing experience and a fish story.  i clicked off a few shots of the fish near the surface in front of me and felt a bit of relief.  now i could go about the business of trying to land this thing.  the fish was tiring but still had a lot of power to keep away from me.  i leaned on him in different directions until i got it to swim in the direction i wanted.  it swam right by me and i tailed it.

the fine line between a fishing experience and a fish story.

how big was it?  i don’t know.  i’ll leave that up to those who care about such trivial things.  i think the whole “size and weight” part of fishing stems from what’s between our legs rather than from the soul.  every fish i hook, regardless of size, becomes a part of me and who i am.  that is what is important.  that’s the real stuff.  i am always grateful for our completely different lives crossing paths at that moment in time.  the fish may have a somewhat less romantic and slightly more terrifying view of the situation.  i can only hope that one day all of them will know how much they have done for me and my short, insignificant existence. i’ll see you on the water.

the 4/5 beulah classic switch rod...

the little guy with the big punch...

absolute... good times.


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