Further information ...


bonefishing hawaii:

shallow bones.


location: x (just kidding, hickam)

rod: sage 890-4 tcx.

reel: abel super 7.

line: beulah elixir 5/6.

leader: 7ft. of mason 20lb. hard mono + 4ft. of seaguar grandmax 20lb. fluorocarbon.

flies: tan charlies and gotchas sz.4.

conditions: full moonish, -.3 to -.4 tide (about the lowest hawaii gets).

game plan: hook and land bones in “stuper” shallow water before the tide comes raging in.

catch: some.

lost fish: yes.

pictures: yes.

fun level:10 out of 10.







good times: always.







bonefishing hawaii:

the weekend and the tfo pro review.


pounded hi kai on saturday with friend of nwff kenny b.  ken fished his beulah switch 7/8 and i fished a meiser 11’ 6” 567 switch with a 480 grain airflo scandi compact.  it was the first time that ken had been out to hi kai.  the south swell pushed the tide hard and we had a bit of a tough time getting on the fish.  we pounded though and in addition to a few trumpets, we managed to score some bones.  ken caught three small rats (shattering his previous record of one small rat).  i got two despite a less than stellar casting day for me (conditions were rough out there).  if you catch fish with a bad cast... does that count?  i’m not exactly sure, i’m still learning what bonefishing in hawaii is all about.


the next day we went out to hickam.  i was totally beat down from the day before but i always live by the offspring mantra “the gang says go... “ so away we went.  we decided to sleep in and fish the falling tide instead of the rise.  i borrowed craigy’s tfo pro 12’ 6” 6wt.  i needed something new to try to motivate me to get on the water again.  so i grabbed a bunch of heads and set off to find a line for this rod.  i waded out to a high rock and started casting the rod.


the tfo pro 12’ 6”, like its single hand brethren is a very smooth and forgiving rod.  not the fastest action but easy loading with a nice casual feel to it.  i tried the airflo compact scandi heads in 360, 390, 420, and 450 grains.  i ended up liking the 450 grain head the best though the rod cast all of them quite nicely.  despite not really "fishing" the rod, i hooked a microbone and a small omilu which were perfect for this rod and reminded me of how fun it is to catch small fish on light rods.  i also hooked a bigger bonefish and the rod just did not have the backbone at all to control the fish nearly as much as i like to geev'um before they get going.  i don’t know exactly how big the fish was but i gave it all the rod had and couldn’t keep it from wrecking me (and my polyleader) in the gnarly hickam reef.  i didn’t think i’d be able to stop a big bonefish with this rod (i wasn’t even expecting to hook one) but it was confirmed anyway.  all in all the tfo 12’6” 6wt. pro gets the thumbs up.  very fun to fish for the smaller stuff or in places where you can let the fish run like a banshee.  it also comes in at a price that’s hard to beat.


brother jose is in town from the ak, so i’ve got a long week and a half ahead.  one of the originals of the nwff crew, jose has been gone for a bunch of years since he transferred.  three kids later, he’s back to fish.  i just hope i can keep up with him... the old grey goose, she ain’t what she used to be.  but as stated before, the gang says go... 


kenny b. with number two.


...that's my boy.


kenny b. and number three gaze toward the west.


letting the boney go.


hawaiian style microbone.


little omilu (bluefin trevally).


big, small, fat, tall... i pretty much just love them all...


and especially great guys and good times...







bonefishing hawaii:

one fast blog... the going ons.


as advertised fishing around here has picked up for bones on the flats around the island.  went out to hi kai on wednesday for a “temperature check”  fished the g. loomis 7wt. roaring river switch with an airflo 450 scandi compact (now, my favorite hi kai set up along with my meiser 11’6” 567 switch with a 480 airflo compact scandi).  i used an orange hi style clouser like fly,  which is actually more like a charlie with a long wing (for the peeps out there who believe in that sort of voodoo).  e.t. was out there guiding a couple, patrick and kate, from oregon (which, in my limited world, is the greatest place on earth).  there were lots of fish around.  e.t. got kate a decent bone and we were all stoked.  i got one myself before the tide bottomed out and the couple called it a day.  i was not quite ready to make the long journey home so i cruised with the peeps for a bit and went back out for a couple of hours.  i ended up catching four more bonefish and a weke (goatfish).  not a bad days work and signs that the fishing is moving toward the anticipated ridicu-bite of summer.  as i drove the long drive home, i felt a strange emptiness as i realized that i had cheated myself and disrespected the bonefish by catching them blind casting.  deep down i knew those fish didn’t count.  i drove home a lesser fly fisherman... with a big satisfied smile on my face (if you don’t get that, don’t worry it’s just stupid stuff).  the bite’s on all so get out there and have some fun.  i’ll see you on the water!


patrick holds on to kate so she doesn't go the way of the bonefish.


a nice couple with a nice fish... hope you guys visit us again soon.


me and my buddy.


the ghost of hawaiian waters.


the weke has been making his appearance quite frequently for me these days.


it's all about having fun boys and girls.  this guy sure looks like he's having some.  good times.








fly fishing hawaii:

unfortunately bad pics do not a blog make...


well in clay’s blog they do.


fortunately, since the last blog good numbers of bones have been showing up on all the flats around our little island.


unfortunately, clay has been having a bad time with the camera gods.


fortunately, the bonefish gods have been kind to clay.


unfortunately, the reef has not.


fortunately, clay caught a weke.


unfortunately, that’s all clay caught on that day.


fortunately, clay caught a humuhumunukunukuapua’a (hawaii's state fish, the triggerfish).


unfortunately, he missed the shot.


fortunately, clay got to fish with friend of the shop ken beecroft.


unfortunately, ken hadn’t caught a bonefish yet.


fortunately, ken finally caught one!


unfortunately, clay was not there that day.


fortunately, ken took a picture of his first bone.


unfortunately, his second broke him off.


fortunately, ken did get this cool photo of the omilu (bluefin trevally) he caught.


unfortunately, he didn't get a picture of clay’s barracuda (it cut the line while being held up).


fortunately, e.t. landed a bunch of the bones that he hooked.


unfortunately, e.t. doesn’t take pictures.



fortunately, sean does.


unfortunately, there has been a lot of sharks showing up and they have been a little more aggressive than usual.


fortunately, sharks on the flat are a good sign for bonefishing here in hawaii.


unfortunately, that’s all clay's got for this blog.


fortunately, no one reads this blog so clay won’t be told how stupid this blog entry is.




unfortunately, he will.  good times.







bonefishing in hawaii:

a day at hickam and k flies in the shop.


to make a long story short, e.t. and i got bailed on by the nwff crew.  so we somehow found ourselves fishing at hickam with nwff customer ken beecroft.  the conditions and the light were good for sight fishing and we got a few bones.  i think e.t. hooked five and i managed to hook three using my g loomis 7wt. roaring river switch rod (not the best tool for sight fishing bones, but you gotta do what you gotta do).  the best part of the day was when i found a mullet bobbing on the flat.  the fish was still alive but something had taken its tail off.  maybe a shark, giant trevally, barracuda or giant needlefish.  how exciting!  i held the fish and  marveled at how cruel and awesome nature is before i remembered how stink mullet is.  anyway you don’t see that everyday so it was pretty cool.


in other news, the shop just received a box of limited edition flies tied by kevin faucheux himself.  for those not in the know, kevin is one of the first real pioneers of fly fishing bonefish in hawaii as we know it.  in addition to the immense contributions that he has made to our knowledge of bonefishing in hawaii, he also brought his east coast striped bass style of tying here influencing many of the best local fly tyers.  some of my flies have elements of the types of flies that the k used to chuck around here.  kevin is the artist behind the often commented on artwork in the shop (including the infamous eat it you f_cker watercolor).  absolutely one of the coolest, most unique guys i have ever known.  since he moved to <louisiana and started up his new business green heron woodworks, we have not had his flies in the shop... until now.  so check them out before they are all snapped up by those who know him.


found this unfortunate guy bobbin around on the flat at hickam.


mortal flesh wound.


bonefish flies from one of the best to ever walk the reefs of hawaii with a fly rod.


kev's streamer style can be seen in many of the flies used in hawaii for trevally as well as trolling offshore and whipping inshore.


and that's all i have to say about that... good times.







not exactly fly fishing in hawaii:

tippy and the golden.


went out with greg “pops”, e.t., and todd “tippy” yesterday for a relaxing, horse around, day on kbay.  todd hadn’t been out with us on the bay before so we all wanted to get him some action.  we drifted around the reefs just looking for fish.  we had an ultra light spinner rigged up with six pound test and greg’s tfo deer creek 8wt switch rod with an airflo 540 grain scandi compact.  both the jig used on the ultra light and the fly on the switch rod were originals off the vise of “pops” himself.


we did drift after drift just scanning the water without seeing much.  we were just chillin' and shooting the sh_t when i heard greg calmly say, “there’s two bones.”


i glanced in the direction greg was looking and picked out the two fish in the distance.  as they got nearer i realized that they weren’t bones at all.


”it’s pa’opa’o, it’s pa’opa’o!” (golden trevally) we all yelled almost simultaneously.


”cast the jig!”


the jig landed with a plop and i watched as one of the two fish turned and headed toward the offering.


”it’s on it, it’s following!”


as i said that i lost the fish in the glare.  just as soon as i lost the fish, i spotted the jig coming out of the glare and in that same instant i saw the fish roll on it and engulf the jig... way cool!  tippy was on!


greg instinctively started up the motor and expertly positioned the boat so that todd could keep the fish away from the numerous coral heads.  the fish dug in and dogged and todd couldn’t turn it’s head with the super light rod.  i remember telling todd to just stick with him.  so todd kept the pressure on as the fish fought...


...and fought.


...and fought.


it appeared it was going to be a stale mate the fish just kept dogging.  every once in a while it would surge toward a coral head.  this went on for a while (i don’t know exactly how long but i was able to take forty six pictures of just todd fighting the fish).


all of a sudden the fish just popped up at the surface and e.t. put a net on it.  it was bigger than any of us thought it was!  sweet.


an awesome job by “pops” and “tippy”!


high fives all around. an epic battle and an epic fish.





no one really wanted to kill such an awesome creature, so we released it for good karma all around.


we caught a couple of small bones and greg caught this yellow spot papio.


just another great day rolling on the “homewaters” with the nwff crew and as always... good times.







bonefishing hawaii:

tailing fish, blind casting, and questions...oh my.


new nwff customer jon wrote to me with a tailing fish and a blind casting question.  so i thought i’d answer him to the best of my ability in this blog.  before i get into jon’s questions, i want to talk about some of the characteristics that i have noticed that all really good fly fishers or even fishermen in general have in common.


over the years i have had the good fortune to have spent hours on the water with guys that i consider to be the best at bonefishing with a fly rod here on oahu.  guys like kevin faucheux, ty shibayama, dean shirota, jay toyofuku, and, more recently, ed tamai.  one of the most obvious traits that these guys all share is a distinct well developed personal fishing style.  a personal “bag of tricks” to get bit on any flat on any tide in any weather here on the island.  the interesting thing is that what we all do in different situations is different, but overall we all manage to come to the same result.


so i guess the point here to those not in the know is that there is more than one way to skin a bonefish.  all of these personal styles are a unique mixture of skills developed by continually trying new things, as well as what other guys are doing, dropping things that they didn’t like, and keeping and tweaking the things they liked.  the “journey” as deano calls it is an eternal work in progress that has no end.


on the other end of the spectrum there are the guys that do the same thing at the same places on the same tides.  though they may become competent at fishing an area or a couple of places on certain tides when the conditions are right, they often find themselves in situations that they haven’t encountered before or conditions that they’ve never seen.  when these situations occur, they reach into their “bag of tricks” and find that there is nothing else in there (or at least anything that they are confident doing.  so i find it best to always keep an open mind.  try things that other people do or tell you to do, but don’t take anyone’s advice as gospel.  the best of the best know what to do in a lot of different situations but they may not know what is best for you to do.  <also never stop evolving and changing how you fish resist the urge to do the same thing every time out just because you had success doing that.  fish the “bad” tides, the unpleasant conditions in other words just go anytime, all the time.  that’s the only way one can develop their own personal fishing style.  how do you know something works better than something else, if you haven’t tried anything else?


all that i know about bonefishing and fly fishing in general is still a work in progress, that’s why my usual answer to any kind of “how to questions” when it comes to how to present a fly to bonefish is “it depends”.  that doesn’t get received well but it is the most truthful answer that i know of.  lets face it, if fishing were as simple as reading a book or doing exactly what someone else says to do and then instantly becoming a master, none of us would even do it... why bother.  but, it is the quest for the unattainable that makes some of us devote our entire one go around on earth to the pursuit of fish on the fly.<


so back to jon’s question.  he asked,

“when you see a tailing fish where do you cast the fly?  secondly, when blind casting how long do you stay in a spot before you move on.”


i have been running around the waters of oahu pounding it with a fly rod for upwards of seventeen years now and in that time i’ve actually managed to hook a tailing bone or two.  what works best for me is actually not casting at the fish while it is tailing.  when i spot a tailing fish i automatically find myself using the time that it is tailing to position myself (you’ll see a lot of tailing fish that are out of casting range) and concentrating hard on trying to see the fish in the water as well as seeing the area around the fish tailing.  if i can see the fish, i’ll wait until the fish stops tailing and fish it like a normal sighted fish.  i take time to look around the area of the tailing fish to prevent spooking any other fish.  often times when bones feel like tailing,  there will be more than one fish in that area and if one is spooked they will all take off (and frequently not come back).  many times i’ll actually hook another fish that i see that’s not the one tailing but a different fish that i picked up while scanning that happened to be in a better position to present the fly to.  does that count as hooking a tailing fish? i don’t know. but it’s a fish anyway.  imho (learned that on speypages.com), i think people get too fixated on the fish’s tail sticking out of the water.  i don’t blame them.  i’ve spent hours just watching bones tail without even making a cast.  it’s a cool and awesome sight to see and sometimes they look so peaceful and into what they are doing, that you don’t want to be the one to bum their trip.  if you want to catch one, however, quick reactions can make all the difference.  you don’t necessarily have to cast quickly (sometimes you do) but you have to formulate your attack and do what you gotta do the moment you spot one.


in lower light, overcast, or calm and glary situations when you can’t see in the water, i’ll try to focus on the tail itself and focus on which way the fish is facing.  then i’ll wait until the tail drops and cast on the side that the fish was pointing.  this situation is probably the toughest to hook one in and the only thing i can attribute to the bones i've caught this way is luck.  i actually think this is more “blind” than blind casting for them.  you get a read on the fish cast to where you think it’s going, say a little prayer and hope you’ve been good enough that the gods will let you get bit.  these days when i get into this situations i almost never cast, preferring to enjoy the show in front of me instead.


distance in front of the fish to place the fly?  simply put, we all strive to present the fly at a distance that will not spook the fish but the fish will somehow see it.  how far is that?  each shot at a fish is different.  where you place the fly is a culmination of every just about every factor that you can think of.  where you are, the bottom, the tide, the wind, the mood of the fish on that day, and especially your own past experiences.  i’ve asked many people what they try to do and heard all kinds of theories but what i have come up with is that it is more of an instinctive kind of thing.  in general i can say that some guys (like e.t.) tend to lead fish by a lot and get them to “come across” the fly.  i like to get the fish to see the fly sinking, but not all the time.  in reality i find myself doing all kinds of things that i don’t even realize that i am doing until after i’ve hooked the fish (sometimes days or weeks after).  we simply call it “doing what you gotta do” or “making them eat”... and, don't get me wrong, we all still get rejected daily. < obviously, if what you are doing is not working on any particular day, do something else.  the presentation may not be wrong, just wrong for that day, so put it back in your bag and grab something else.


there is also no real answer to when to move when blind casting a spot.  bonefish are not fish that hold in an area they are all over the place.  you can blind cast in the exact same spot for a thousand casts and on the thousanth and one cast hook a fish.  there are some practices that i loosely follow.  in general if it is an incoming tide i’ll spend more time at a spot before moving.  i will almost never blind cast over areas that i can see fish on.  this is because i’ve seen how spooky bones are when sight fishing.  i think that blind casting over these areas tends to spook more fish than the occasional one that i see some guys catch bombing sightfishable areas.  so i tend to stick to the deeper areas of the flat or the dropoffs.  other than that i usually don’t move around too much because that’s just my style and pace of fishing (i've been known to stand in the same place for hours).  if i move it is only because i don’t “feel the love” but that’s just more of a confidence thing than anything else.  for all i know. every single time i ever moved to another spot, i could have caught a fish with one more cast at the spot i just left.


one last point, what i think makes the biggest difference in fishing success, is always having confidence in what you are doing.  i always say if you believe it, then it’s true.  you can’t catch anything if you don’t have confidence.  the dangerous part of this is that there are many guys who experience limited success at a certain spot, with a particular fly or presentation, and that's all they do.  these guys never get to expand their knowlege and experience because they only do one thing.  when they try new things or different things they will try it for a short time before resorting back to what little they know.  i continually strive to become confident in as many situations, places, flies, and techniques as i can.  i've found that the more different things that you honestly try, the more things you will succeed with, and the more confidence you will have.  the biggest problem that the nwff crew has is that we can never decide what to do or where to go because no one has any real strong opinions, it really doesn’t matter where we go or what we do.  we just want to fish and usually pick a spot at random and just go, confident that our “bag of tricks” will have something in it that will get us bit no matter what challenge we may face on the water.  lately i’ve been fishing wherever whoever is giving me a ride is going.


jon, i hope that answers your questions, just keep in mind... i’m as full of sh_t as the next guy.  just keep on enjoying the journey, trying different things and learning from your experiences and one day you’ll be amazed at  what’s in your “bag of tricks”.  it may have similarities with others but it will largely be uniquely your own.


hikai this past saturday afternoon.


... they’ll have theirs, you’ll have yours, and i’ll have mine... and together well be fine.  good times.


Top of page

"Nervous Water Fly Fishers- your guide to fly fishing in Hawaii"