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bonefishing hawaii:

the "method" to the madness.


since the last blog things have been slowly but surely trending back toward the abnormal normal that is the life of our superhero.  two things of note worth blabbing, i mean blogging, about this past week is the new sage method series rod and the state of the molassesed water.  for you english freaks (matt), yeah, that’s my new adjective for anything that gets absolutely ridiculously covered in molasses.  deal with it.


this past week i spent a day fishing the sage method 691-4.  sean had fished the sage 790-4 method earlier (click here for his review of it), but i didn’t get a chance to try it.  i chose the 691-4 method because i have been using the sage 691-4 one, sage 691-4 tcx and 6wt. g loomis classic quite a bit for my sight fishing duties this year.  cosmetically, the first thing you notice about this rod is its deep red color, magma red as sage calls it.  i gotta say i wasn’t sure about a red rod but this rod looks tight.  the red has tones in it that, to me, harkens back its “chilli pepper” colored forefather the tcr series.  the second thing you notice cosmetically is the giant fighting butt.  this is a real sticking point with sean.  i noticed the gigantic foam chunk of a fighting butt myself (it is the same fighting butt on the six weight as it is on the ten weight).  when i actually took the rod out and fished it, though, i didn’t even notice it while casting or fighting fish which is really all that matters to me.  so while it may look larger than it should be it didn’t make an impression on me one way or another where it counts.  the rest of the cosmetics, guides, thread wraps, and finish are all of sage's recognizable high standards.


gone are the days of the classic sage brown that we all knew and loved.


today sage rods "pop" with vibrant colors.  rod color, however, does not a great rod make.


what did make a big impression on the water was that the sage method has a ton of feel for an “ultra fast” rod.  way more than the tcr, which you pretty much had to trust that your timing was right and the rod was loading and unloading properly.  it even has a bit more feel to it than its predecessor the tcx.  definitely crisper and livelier than the tcx, to use two industry terms which are often used to describe that characteristic of rods that we all know and love, but can’t really explain.  of the sage rods currently available i have now fished the 5,6,and 8wt. one rods, the 6 and 7wt. two handed one rods and now this 6wt. method rod.  i gotta say, i think there is something about this konnetic technology that sage uses.  i am a real skeptic whenever i hear the term “new graphite technology”.  to me this usually just means more fancy diagrams, photos, graphs, charts, and other scientific b.s., increases in prices, and rods that are marginally better (and often times worse) than the rods that they replace.  sage’s konnetic technology just may be the exception to this industry rule.  when you cast and fish these new sage rods there is definitely a noticeable difference (a surprisingly good one).  you can actually see and feel what all those diagrams and mambo jambo are talking about.  the best rod ever?  i definitely am a big fan of these new rods, but i like a lot of rods old and new.  to me great rods are all great, they are just different and fishing different great rods (and to a certain extent not so great rods) is a big part of my love of fly fishing.  if you like ultra fast rods that cast lasers, have arrow accuracy and an unprecedented amount of feel and connectivity at twenty feet to a hundred feet… the new sage methods may just be the "best rod ever" to you.


sage 691-4 method and abel tr3.  yes it has a big fighting butt.  it didn't, however, make an impression on me one way or the other where it counts... casting and fighting fishing.


as mentioned earlier i finally got around to checking out ground zero of the big matson molasses spill which occurred on september 9, 2013.  i had heard from e.t. and others that there were still fish around but had not seen the damage first hand.  the boat launch at ke’ehi seemed the same but upon closer inspection i noticed a lot less reef fish swimming around the rocks.  there were a few manini (convict tang) and i saw one tiny pualu (yellowfin sugeon fish) and one a’ama crab.  definitely less than the plethora of critters i am used to seeing while doug parks the trailer.




we got out to the flat and immediately upon stepping out of the boat my “spidey sense” went crazy screaming at me that something was not right.  as many of you know, when it comes to fishing i tend to rely on my subconscious mind, sixth sense, or gut feeling to guide me when i am on the water.  the subconscious mind relies on a gigantic data base of environmental cues that it has picked up from past experiences.  this data base of sorts is far greater than what the conscious mind could ever comprehend (yobibytes vs. kilobytes).  the subconscious mind is also not clouded by the preconceptions and biases that the conscious mind makes up in its feeble attempt to make sense of what is far too complex for it to comprehend.  anyway that’s just my long winded way of saying something was just not right out there.


feeling quite uncomfortable but not (consciously) knowing exactly why i strung up my rod and began roaming around aimlessly.  i felt like i was walking on the moon or some piece of water that was unlike any others that i had experienced before.  i snapped out of this wandering trance when my gaze recognized a familiar shape in an unfamiliar world.  it was a bonefish.  i realized that i didn’t even have a leader on yet.  so i made myself small and hurried to get a leader and fly tied on keeping one eye on the fish and one eye on the knots i was tying.  full on jackson chameleon style.  amazingly i got the leader and fly on before the fish made me.  i cast at it and the bone moseyed over and ate.  it made a long run and just came unbuttoned.  although i lost it, hooking the first bonefish that you see is never a bad way to start the day.  a little while later i hooked and lost another fish.  once again, the fish ran and just came off.  i checked my hook.  you shouldn’t lose two fish in a row in the exact same way.  the hook was sharp but it could be sharper so i spent a little time sharpening it more.  the next fish that ate i stuck.  the 691-4 method performed well fighting the fish.  as much as you can expect from a six weight.  the abel tr3 that i was using screamed with delight as it spun in the palm of my hand.


sage 691-4 method bent.


one of the bones that didn't get away.


i went on to hook a number of fish.  one of these that i landed bent the hook out.  nice.  i cut that fly off and began to tie another one on to replace it when i saw two more bones heading my way.  i quickly tied on another fly but the fish were closing fast.  instinctively i made a cast before they got too close and placed the fly (and about three inches of mono tag from the knot that i just tied) about six feet in front of the pair of bones.  the bigger of the two bones sped up a tiny bit, ate, and took off for the horizon.  i thought for sure i would lose it, but i used all the fish fighting tricks in my bag, and fortunately the fish had my name on it.  not real big, five or six pounds, but on a six weight in these parts anything in the five pound range and up is pretty risky business.  i quickly got a couple of crappy pictures with the “hard to use camera” i’m stuck with since the camera incident.  this thing has just frustrated me and increased my hatred of cameras and taking pictures, but you gotta do what you gotta do.


this is the kind of pictures you get with a camera that you don't really know how to use.  love fishing, hate hate hate taking pictures.



after that fish i had had enough.  the now high tide, light south winds, and cloudy sky reflecting on the water were making it extremely difficult to see.  so i spent the next few hours just creeping around slowly just observing the bones that unknowingly came into my now narrow window into the world below.  i opened my subconscious as much as possible and let it soak in the data of the post molasses ecosystem.  later while discussing the experience with doug (using my conscious mind) we both agreed that the biggest difference was the lack of critter holes in the sand.  this is an indication of the massive reduction in the population of crustaceans and other critters.  once thriving cities of crabs, shrimps, and gobies were reduced to small scattered villages.  also absent were the anenomies, urchins, and shelled creatures that you never really notice until there are none.  as time passes more settlers will no doubt flow in from the "soup" of juvenile life floating around in the open pacific and repopulate the flat but as of right now the impact of the molasses spill is still quite evident.  bonefish that probably left for cleaner waters during the spill are back but those who could not flee apparently took it in the chin.  what is in store for the area in the future remains to be seen.  all we can do as fishermen is do like every other creature that inhabits the area and adapt and survive.  i’ll keep fishing these waters and rest assured that one day the spill will become a faint memory in our minds as well as natures.  until then, keep casting with your head and fishing with your gut.  i’ll see you on the water.


bone over a decimated landscape.


the sage 691-4 "method" to the madness.  a great rod and definitely a part of post molasses good times.



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