Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boneyard




At low tide, calf high water for 600 yards, sand bottom interspersed with coral heads and monsters...

I hooked into a bone that snapped 13 pound tippet.

After regrouping, I then hooked into another that ran the leader into a coral head and snapped off...

These guys are smart and strong.

At least the fight was epic!

I had a dry spell for several minutes before I saw the last pack of the day - three huge bones about the size of my lower leg. Talk about smart - I know they were looking at me and they stayed just upwind of me (and I did cast, but in vain).

I am going to like this place...

One of Each



I caught the Wrasse on a lure with my spinning pole. I had another hard hit - the fish took the lure straight down to the coral and eventually broke of at the leader.

In total I lost two lures (and kept my cool about it), and figured it was time to try different tactics.

I switched to the flyrod. I stalked the fish, but they weren't giving me any love. Just as Rodney was coming over to say it was time to move, I said "DON'T MOVE". Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pack of Bonefish swimming in from the right and I was lucky enough to have my line already in their path. I saw them bolt for the fly and stripped hard - FISH ON! I caught (and released) Bonefish (number two on the fly) and am thankful for the opportunity.

Rodney and I packed up and tried another spot.

After a short drive and a walk through a jungle, Bonefish perfection lay ahead of me...

Stay tuned for the next post

Gyotaku Ulua


So that I can have a reminder of the awesome fight and delicious fish, I did take some time yesterday to make the obligatory gyotaku.

I am still having trouble getting the craft paper to be as supple as Japanese Rice Paper. I can wreck a gyotaku, but I think I got lucky on this one - still, a little bit modern art-ish.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nicks and Scratches



I have been wearing a glove on my right hand while fishing to help mitigate the scrapes from handling braided line (and even repeated monofilament exposure).

I'm now going to go ahead and wear the other glove.

The three pricks are from a goatfish I was taking off the hook to release - jabbed me with his cheek spine repeatedly - obviously a blackbelt in spine-cheek-do.

The slice at the joint was from the big Ulua - got me with his caudal pecundel (part between the body and the tail fin) - large knife like structure. I am happy to report that it works like a knife.

The other picture is me dropping the fish after she took her last shots at me.

The price of fishing isn't just limited to sunburns and lost tackle.

OMG!!!




The first fish I caught this weekend -

A 25# GIANT TREVALLY!!!!

I know it was 25# because I weighed it at the marina scale. It took 15 minutes to land her (she had eggs) and it was an epic battle. Light weight tackle with 30# braid and a 30# leader. It took out a ton of line before it was tired enough for me to start reeling it back in. We went back and forth like that 3 times before I was able to bring it in. This is the largest fish I have caught from shore to date.

After that, I did not think I could top that ulua - so I switched to flyfishing.

I caught three double barred goatfish, a grouper and I had a surgeonfish take and then bite through the hook. I did see some bonefish, but they were not interested in playing.

Today was a good day -

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smile!!!


Hey Little Grouper

Turn that frown upside down!!!!

Don't worry - be happy!!!

Ok - no amount of coaxing will make this guy like his situation. Although I bet he really liked it when I released him back into the water.

He looks like I feel...

I also caught a smaller yellow snapper (and I let him go also).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When You're Not Catching...


You can at least enjoy the painted sunsets

Monday, October 24, 2011

Catch and Release (not by choice)


This is a picture of the fish I have not been landing. For those that don't know, this is a coconut crab.

I will list, in bulletized format, the fishing encounters I have had since this past Friday:
Friday
- Flyfishing at O'Club - landed a small Dart and lost a bonefish (weak tippet)
-Late night fishing at the POL Pier Head. Lots of Big Eyed Scads
Saturday
- Skunked at the POL Pier (but was involved in losing a GT that Mike pulled in)
- Lost two Big Trevally at South Point (the first rode a wave off the treble hook; the second charged me, hooked my surf trunks with the second hook and started to shake until it literally unhooked the treble off the lure - if I didn't have it happen to me, I wouldn't have believed it...
- Lost a third Trevally when it broke off the leader on a coral head and had a barracuda jump until it finally cut the line
- Late night fishing at POL Pier again; a few Big Eyed Scad, then caught a few Soldier Fish that on the fly that were feeding on the surface
Sunday
- Skunked at South Point (despite losing two lures - one to a large steady fighter and a second to a hard hit and dragging through coral)
- Landed two smallish groupers (and let them go) at Donkey Gate
- Landed a medium sized snapper at POL Base; it was neat that before I picked him up, he was being tailed and watched by a medium sized trevally
Monday
- Late afternoon run down to South Point; lost another lure to what was probably a big snapper, then I got a hit off a topwater lure (the teeth marks are pretty gnarly) but no taker

I was paying for some really bad activity in a previous life - in total, I lost 5 lures and landed a minuscule percentage of the hits I had.

That's fishing....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Report Card


Okay - I haven't been posting lately.

I broke my camera the day I took the pictures from my last post - a little wave gentle lapped the camera and "poof".

But, I have been working, and I have been making time in the evenings to go fishing as well.

SO - here's the report card for the past week:

The day after the last set of pictures (on the last post), I caught several sergeant majors and a few flagtails all on the tenkara yamame rod (at rock pier). I also caught a triggerfish earlier in the day (at Cables) - there is an interesting story behind that - something about being happy to not be skunked, kissing the fish and getting bit on the lower lip... good thing I have a high pain tolerance.

This picture is actually from Tuesday. I caught two trigger fish and a decent sized bonefish at Short Pier. Sonny caught six more larger sized fish (do I hear lumpia being made???) after wards (beginner's luck).

Thursday evening, I fish out behind the barracks and caught a tiny sized dart with the tenkara ito. I had a bonefish on the line, but it broke off the tippet. While I was there, one of the contractor personnel caught a massive Black Trevally - most likely a 50 pounder! What makes it even more incredible was he caught it on a hand line. There is certainly something to be said for simplicity. Moved to a different location later in the evening - caught a bunch of big eyed scads (about 6) and a couple of glassy sweepers (a type of cardinal fish) on a sabiki rig - the hooks weren't much smaller than the fish...

And now we get to today.

One big eyed scad (on a tiny spoon) and two soldierfish (or a type of snapper) taken on the fly (a gotcha). I was trying my hardest to get a scad on the fly, but no takers.

Tomorrow I am going to buy a replacement camera so I can start taking pictures again.

Work hard - Play harder!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Quality Not Quantity



One of my mottos -

I finally got to get out and fish (crazy busy at work).

Went down South (14.5) and pitched some new lures across the surf hoping the Trevally took a liking to the offerings.

I lost a 1 ounce Oama colored Mark White Surface Plug (dang it - I hate it when that happens), but regrouped and pitched out a 1/2 ounce version.

I got a nice hit and landed this Omilu (Bluefin Trevally)! I had a couple more hits, but the hook did not set.

I was able to take these pictures, but the inevitable happened - a wave got me and the camera got wet. I'll have to work the GoPro to continue with the fishing photo evidence.

On the way back in (the surf was a bit rough), I saw a big Pompano (or possibly a Permit, I'll have to research if they live out here) running through the flats - which brings me to the next part...

Up to Donkey Gate -

The surf height made the tactics we used last weekend ineffective (cast beyond the surf to the drop). I decided to breakout the fly gear.

I saw a group of fish and pitched a brown and white clouser to them. I got some nosing (the fish following but not trying to eat the fly). I thought "this is good - now how do I get them to close the deal?"

I switched the fly out to a pink gotcha. I relocated the silvery-green torpedos and started casting again.

On the second cast, I had the whole group of Bonefish following. I was stripping the line and would get to the point where I was going to run out soon so I lifted the rod and then....


The hooked Bonefish ran and fought like heavyweight UFC champ - it brought all the tricks out and made three really long runs! This is the stuff of fishing dreams!

Not the biggest bonefish, but definitely a fight that washed away all the worries of the week. So if last weekend's catches made me a bone fide flyfishing person, today's catch made me a humble flyfisherman. I'm spoiled for life now...

Omilu Colors


Truly magnificent creatures.

To hunt them, fight with them and then consume them as nourishment is an incredible privilege.

Here is a closeup of their cool camo pattern. These colors are pretty much the same as the ocean itself!

Evening Fishing with Old Friends




Just another way to blow off steam after a really long day at work -

Jimmy and Nick were out here this past week. The three of us were back in Hawaii back in the late 90's. Jimmy came to Hawaii from the island and never left.

10+ years later and here we are again. What a really small world.

We didn't catch anything, but we did some small sharks swimming in the shallows (cool!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Weekends are Better than Others




And this one (in terms of fishing) kicked arse!!!

Went on an early dawn patrol to the southern part of the island with Mike.

My Rattling Rapala that has repeatedly caught big fish, met its end at mile marker 14. I got a big hit in the surf and for fear of snapping the line, I loosened the drag and the fish kept taking. It seemed like it was getting tired so I started taking the line back. As the fish was coming in from the drop off, the line went limp - looking at the frayed line at the bitter end, the Trevally (what else out there would pull like that, this close to shore???) cut the line off on a coral head. Smart bugger - it deserves to live another day (so I can fight it again).

With the last of my surface lures swimming in the Indian Ocean, I decided to push the flyline. Last night I switched out the leader for a Blue Sky furled leader. I also paid attention to an experienced flyfisherman yesterday that was fishing with us. His casts were longer on the stroke distance (0930 to 1430) and a lot slower than mine. With the leader swapout, the longer stroke and the slowing of the cast, I was delivering much better.

Before I go further, I need to post a disclaimer. I did not use squid on the fly today, so all catches were legitimate flyfishing hits.

Ok - I started with a brown and white Clouser and I landed the grunt (or sweetlips). This guy put up a good fight and had the distinction of being the biggest fish I caught on conventional flyfishing gear to date. And it was the best fighter (although the parrotfish on the Tenkara Ito was also a great fight).

I wasn't getting any followup hits, so I switched to an orange and red Clouser. Second pitch out and WHAM!!! Another fish and this one was running! I let it take some line to get tired and then started bringing it in. It fought every inch of the way! When I saw it was a Bluefin Trevally, I felt a wave of emotion rush over me - with this fish, my much cleaner casts and the smooth hook up, I transformed from a flyfishing pupae into a flyfishing killer bug!!! That was supposed to be a play on words - flyfishing = bug - in case you didn't catch that one...

I pitched the fly out again and soon after I pulled up this eager grouper (it amazes me the size of things a fish will try to eat - plugs and flies bigger than the mouth and stomach trying to take it down). With this guy I hit a triple on the fly!!! The rain moved in and we called it a fishing trip.

So - this was an awesome weekend (in terms of fishing) - I got a wide variety of fish, I landed a good sized Giant Trevally and Bluefin Trevally on a surface lure, and I made legitimate catches on a fly. I have tons of cuts and prick holes in my hands from hooks, fish spines and worn skin from casting and retrieving. I smell like fish from all the fish I've touched this weekend and I can't wash the smell off. I am sore, and tired from fishing and filleting several big fish. But my belly is full (fish burritos that were exquisite) and I can't wipe the smile off my face...

And my gear and tackle are clean and ready for use (not a good work forecast though - busy with a big crowd coming in this week for business).

This weekend did not suck!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bluefin Trevally




Look what I caught today -

I saw it swimming through the waves and I cast a topwater lure to it.

The excitement of working the lure to get a strike is pretty intense.

The Trevally made a quick dash a hit the lure hard. Water splashing everywhere! And what a fight!

I've seen these guys while diving - in fact I regularly see them and not the GTs.

Well, now I've caught a great one and I can say that I won't soon forget the experience!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Fishing - Round Two



After some work, two lunches and a great nap, back out for round two.

O'Club Point - spinning gear with squid.

I caught a bunch of triggerfish, a yellow snapper, a grunt, a small grouper and I got a couple of harder hits that ended up with spit hooks (maybe bonefish). The picture has Mike's grouper in it - my fish was smaller but had the same coloration.

There was a lot of other things going on around the water - frigate birds harassing a booby, schools of baitfish being chased by something big, schools of fishing birds feeding (offshore).

And an awesome sunset - time to clean some fish and get ready for tomorrow (more fishing)!

Not Skunked Saturday




I caught one of the Surgeonfish on a small hook (armed with "a small piece of squid"). It put up a good fight. I spoke to a few people about it and they said it is really good grilled.

I then moved on to fishing for bonefish - I got a smaller one, but shortly after I got hooked onto a really hard fighter. It was an exciting battle, but the bonefish (nothing fights quite like a bonefish so there was no question as to what was on the other end of the line) won with the snap of the line.

About that time, Mike walks up with a decent sized GT (Giant Trevally). "Where'd you get that?" "Over at the foot of the pier"

Of course the rest of us pack up and drive over.

Within 5 minutes of casting a rattling floating lure, I saw a splash and a long pull. FISH ON!!!!

After a long battle, I stand victorious over a magnificent piscine warrior.

For the record, this is currently the biggest fish I've caught from shore. I used lightweight tackle spooled with 12# test and the rush from catching this fish rivaled the focus and buzz after a really good 6' wave at Pupukea.

The lesson here - make the most of where you are at and don't dwell on what you don't have; in the right frame of mind it is all the same.

Skunked on a Friday Afternoon


Same story - different day

I intended to leave early (you know it's bad when leaving at 1600 is considered leaving early), but like always, I left at 1730.

Not a whole lot of time to get fishing in.

I took the Tenkara Yamame out and tried to catch that bog parrotfish at the marina. I used the reverse hackle fly in the picture, but didn't get a look from three fish. I tried going after the Manini (Convict Tang), but they too scoffed at my offering.

I lost my patience and switched to a mullet fly. This time they at least looked at the fly.

The morale of this story is - a small piece of squid on the end of any hook is a good piece of insurance.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Night Dinner


Self explanatory.

Delicious. Especially the parrotfish - light delicate and when cooked with butter and salt, especially delicious. Did I say that already?

I ate this guy to the bone - perfect dinner!

La - you would have loved this!

Gyotaku Technique




An intermediate stop for the two fish I kept to eat on their journey from the end of a fishing pole to the grill (and then my stomach).

I sought wisdom from my Gyotaku Master - Bong. He graciously obliged and within a couple of hours, I learned the ways of the sumi ink fish printing (even though I started before he did, he has clearly been kicking my @ss - see one of the recent posts) dudes.

We prepared and printed both the parrotfish (on the table in the pictures) and the papio. Well, he prepared and printed them - and after screwing up a bunch of times, I finally produced a successful print.

Practice totally makes perfect when you are talking about gyotaku. And fishing. And cooking (next post)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Marina Dock Fishing, Round Two




Actually, before we went back to the Marina late this afternoon, I went fishing at the O'Club Beach. I caught two triggerfish on squid/spinning gear. Lots of people there - and some good bonefish were taken.

But - the better part was going back to the Marina. I brought the Tenkara Ito out and used one of the Takayama Sakasa Kebari flies. I cheated a bit by putting a small piece of squid tentacle on the hook. Then I looked for some fish hanging around the dock. I dropped the line and after a few slow jigs, I hooked a decent sized fish. Not having a reel to bring in the fish made the experience completely different. I let the rod fight the fish and eventually I brought it to the surface - a parrotfish!!! What a blast!!! Seeing as how I can't cast a conventional flyrod for 54!t, I may just bring this along for some shore fishing.

Steve pulled in a bonefish and was saying he had other hits. At that point I baited up the spinning rig and after casting a few times, I caught a Trevally (Papio)!!!

So taking all the fish I caught (and released those I did not want for food), I had a trifecta of fish I have not yet caught (the Manini Tang, a Parrotfish and a Trevally).

Today's total: Three Darts, One Manini, Two Triggerfish, one Parrotfish and a Papio. Not bad (and way fun!)

Awesome fishing day, even if it was raining the whole day! Did I mention the Parrotfish is La's favorite fish to eat??? There are few things that make her mouth water the way fried parrotfish does... stay tuned -

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Marina Jet-Dock Fishing




I attended a wedding reception yesterday - a few guys were fishing at the O'Club Beach within view of where I was sitting. They were pulling in some good sized bonefish on a regular basis. It made it really hard to sit still. I eventually was able to "tastefully" bow out and Mike, Sonny (new guy) and I made a break for the Marina Dock.

We were initially throwing topwater pencil minnow lures. We got hits from small barracuda. Mike landed two of them, the one in the first picture is the larger of the two. My hit resulted in a cut leader. Nice, quick and intense fights!!!

I took a close look at the teeth and now will use a homemade dehooking device to reduce risk to fingers (and hopefully improve mortality rate - especially of the snapper that sometimes get gut hooked).

For today (Sunday) -

We went back this morning and fished for four hours.

Mike got a small trevally early on.

I brought the fly rod and my light spinning pole.

I hooked up with two larger tangs (Yellowfin Surgeon or Pencilled Surgeon - I didn't pull them up so I couldn't tell) that ended up winning the tug of war game (and are now carrying around some Bonefish Biter flies).

I then started using the spinning pole with squid and got three nice sized pompano.

A big school of mullet moved in (despite there being two rather large Blue Trevally patrolling the area) so I tied up an "algae" fly. The mullet were not showing any love for the fly so I started targeting the manini (convict tangs) that were grazing off the pier. I site casted and nailed one! At least I took one on the fly today - didn't mentally make up for the loss of the two flies, but it was a legitimate fly land.

I ended the session with two hits off the spinning gear - the first was most likely a bonefish and it spit the hook after a good fight. The second was definitely hooked - it was pulling line off the reel and was making me walk up the dock. It was eventually able to undo the leader knot. After cussing up a storm, I conceded a 'tie' to the finned warriors.

I'll try to get another session in later today - it's raining solidly

Working Saturday -




Busy day today -

I was asked to give a tour of the Base today so early up and out.

After that, there was an operation going on that needed my attention so I've been at the shoreline waiting for the tide to come up so the op can go forward.

Well - while waiting for the tide to come up, I decided to check out some more spots that I haven't really spent time at yet. First spot was Turtle Cove. This place was named correctly - lots of small turtles, but there were also lemon sharks (I saw 3), stingrays, a titan triggerfish, several batfish, mullet schools, permit (or pompano) and bonefish. The scenic pictures are the flats (and what a flat it is - flyfishing perfection). However tempting, this is a natural preserve that needs to be respected. Still - I bet even I could catch something on a fly at this spot.

I went back to the work site and the tide still hadn't come up fully yet. So I did what I always do when at the beach with nothing to do - started looking at the beach, the water, the wildlife and anything else out there. I collected some nice shells, but more of interest was this dead moray eel. The eel must have gotten stuck on the reef during low tide. Poor SOB.

I've got a few more obligations to get to today - so much for relaxing on the weekend... (but today is still awesome).