Saturday, December 31, 2011

Afternoon Sailing

Small Craft Warning out all day. No fishing boats allowed out. Alas - there are other ways to enjoy the water!

Today - shore fishing (previous post) and sailing.

Wind is currently offshore in the lagoon, compared to onshore just a few months ago.

Got an hour in before a squall pushed through.

Milking it

Consistency -

Knowing yourself.

Maximizing the time that you have.

Not feeling sorry for yourself.

Transcending perception and interpreting the flow around you -

Pretty heavy stuff huh?

Well - if there's one thing that I have found out it is that I am consistent in the way I apply myself. If I get interested in something, I dive head first into it and won't come up for air until I have absorbed everything I can about it. This blog itself and the patterns I've established should be proof of that - surfing, kiting, studying nature, shaping boards, catching fish, sailing - all of them thoroughly studied and valued for the sense of finding something deeper in all of them...

The "zen" of extracting the energy in a wave with a surfboard. You can find that clarity of thought in anything you do - you just have to know to look for it.

Today I turned down my normal pattern of picking up a spinning rod and pitching a lure. Instead I used the fly gear and waited. Waited for the fish to swim around me. Presented the fly and waited for a reaction. Set the hook and wrestled the fish to the beach. Calmly unhooked it and watched as it swam back to the sea. Time slowed down again as it does while surfing a wave or jumping with a kite overhead. The sense of focus heightened in the seconds between the bonefish turning for the stripped fly and when I felt the hook take hold. That sense of appreciating the moment - it is where you look for it. There was a time I thought it could only be found on a 6 foot Hawaiian barrel. Ten years later, I have learned it is in front of you, you just have to grab it.

Halfway through my current tour, away from my family, halfway across the planet on the eve of 2012, I find myself milking the universe for the stoke that fuels my fire. I will leave this place within six months and am likely to never return. I will get to go home to my family. I will flyfish for bonefish in other parts of the world and teach my kids to do the same. In the way I left the surf of Hawaii and found other ways to focus, I'll adapt. But I will always remember the time between casting flies to and landing these bonefish.

And while I'm still here - I'm going to milk this dry!!!!

Happy New Year!!! May your 2012 be fruitful and productive! Stay consistent and appreciate the world around you! Find the good in the situation you find yourself in and make the most of what precious time you have!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Working Hard - Hardly Working

Last working dive of the year (THANKS TEAM TWO DET A)!

KM37, lots of tools and tons of elbow grease.

There are times that I truly LOVE MY JOB!!!! It's too bad that is the 1%...

The funny thing about work - when you enjoy it, it isn't work anymore...

In case I don't post anymore this year - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Stay safe and we'll see you on the other side!

Big Manta Cruising

I got my last qual dive for the period in today!!!

This guy was checking me out!

Actually he was cruising around seeing what all the noise was...

Still pretty cool to see a Manta gliding around - this is one of those things I'll never take for granted.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fishing Call Signs

This is not common knowledge, but the core guys that are as crazy as I am to go fishing the way and in the frequency that I do are pilots. One Navy, the other Air Force - but neither one has a call sign. From having other Aviators around, I have come to learn carrier aviators and helicopter pilots are the only ones that hang on to call signs.

So today, we had bad weather - but there was a window to get out and we were on the small boats and fishing in a matter of minutes. I brought in a pretty big Jobfish on the offshore trolling reel I have. Good chance to test out the knots I tied between the monofilament and the braid (it held). Then I switched to a smaller lure because we were moving over shallower water - before I could get the lure down, a big mouth came up to the surface and pulled the lure under - and broke off the swivel. We turned around and Mike hooked into a good sized grouper (probably the culprit that took my lure).

Then he got a hit on a second pole he had out with a squid skirt lure on it. When he took it into the boat, it was a pretty small Bonito. This coupled with the barracuda he caught yesterday, establishes a trend of reliably catching smaller fish (when going for the big sea monsters). It is in situations just like this when call signs are born -

And just for the record, here are some rules for fishing call signs:
- people cannot give themselves call signs
- two other people have to agree to the call sign (Rodney agreed with me on this one)
- call signs can change, but only after trends are established/are broken/a profound event occurs

Mike's honorary Navy Call Sign is "Small Fry" (sorry Mike for publishing this, but I couldn't pass this up!!!).

Christmas Gyotaku

I made three of each yesterday - the big Wahoo and the football Yellowfin.

The Yellowfin prints are done. Two are going to friends and the other one (the one singled out in the pictures) I'm keeping for myself.

The Wahoo is raw - no improvements whatsoever.

After touching up the Yellowfin prints that were done on the shoji paper, I am going to take a different approach with the Wahoo print. I used watercolor and acrylic highlights. The watercolor was fine on the craft paper, but in the quantities needed to provide proper coverage in solid color areas, the watercolor was soaking through the rice paper. For the Wahoo, I am going to use acrylic dots to give the image of solid color.

Do not hold your breath for this - I don't think it'll be done for a few weeks. I don't want to screw this one up.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bonus Catch

This is why it is important to watch where you are going -

This guy was most likely running-swimming-flying away from a tuna/wahoo/sailfish and 'we' in a boat just happened to be passing in front of it's escape route. It launched from the water and straight onto the cockpit superstructure.

After a 'thud', I checked the weather deck and this guy fell through to the back of the boat.

Cool fish - from the wingspan and lower fins, gliding along looks like it is an easy affair for this guy.

Pretty colors on it - after some quick pics, I let this one go back to the water.

Nailed a 33 Pound Wahoo!

This is how I spent my Christmas Day - literally the whole day from trolling for pelagics, gyotakuing, filleting, cooking and eating.

This guy wouldn't give up! Pulled line and made me work (just like I like it!!!). Just when I got it to the boat, it dove again and worked hard against the drag - pulled out a bunch more line. I got it close again and it dove a third time and yanked the pole out of my fighting belt. A fight that was well worth the price of admission!!!

Measured in at 51.5 inches and 33 pounds -

I'll post pictures of the gyotaku I made of this Wahoo and a small Yellowfin Tuna in a bit (after they've been touched up).

Man I love fishing out here!

Sunday Morning Teaser

Went trolling on the offshore boats today. While we were waiting, I checked out the morning party at the marina pier. Several different types of fish were hanging out. I saw the following:
- Threadfin (Moi)
- Bonefish (only one)
- Darts
- Yellowstripe Goatfish
- Flagtails
- Parrotfish (the one that has befuddled me)
- Yellowfin Surgeonfish
- Bluefin Trevally (Omilu)

I should have brought my flyrod...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Dang It"

I grew up mostly in Northern Florida.

"Dang" was a word that expressed shock, amazement or the unbelievability of the situation at hand.

In these pictures of the first Pinfish I caught yesterday, I bet it isn't thinking "cheese!" - I bet it's got "dang it!!!" on it's mind.

What Goes Up -

Must go down.

Sunrise looking East over the Southern most point of the island.

Sunset looking West.

Flying Down South

Flyfishing this morning down at the Southern part of the island.

I hooked into a bonefish that subsequently broke off not only the fly, but the entire tippet.

After that, I thought I hooked into another one, but instead it turned out to be a pinfish. I caught a second (bigger one). These guys have some fight in them - not as intense as a bonefish but good nonetheless. They even look similar to bonefish in the water - olive/electric green backs, narrow profile, travels in schools, etc.

As I was dealing with the second pinfish I hooked, I saw an entire schools of bonefish breeze on by - like they were waiting for me to get distracted. That was the last I saw of them.

I was walking back along the shoreline and I saw some darts schooling within a few feet. I cast the fly and just pulled the rod back - WHACK! The dart went hysterical for the bitter fly! I landed a fish each time I cast - about ten of them by the time I reached the starting point.

All fish were caught and released.

Awesome fishing morning!

First Fly I Tied

I put this red and tan clouser together during lunch on Friday.

Tying isn't as hard as it may seem, but tying well is hard. I didn't tie this too well. The part ahead of the eyes is too thick. The hair bunched up as I was tying it down - I have alot to learn in this area (which is why I'm fascinated by this stuff).

I did throw this fly around a bit in the afternoon - the hairs broke where they cross the eye dumbbell.

Practice makes perfect!!!

Friday Afternoon Fishing

Late afternoon pitching surface lures (with no luck) and casting the fly. I caught two red two-barred goatfish off a bonefish bitter (such an awesome fly!!!).

I saw three smaller bluefin trevallys running the shallows, but I didn't see a single bonefish.

Still good fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Qual Diving

Man I miss this stuff (clean for the kids)!!!!!


Drilled a bunch of holes and locked down equal amounts of bolts with hydraulic tools.


Did I say how much I miss this???

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fully Appreciated

Fully appreciated is what this jobfish is...

From the fight with the rod and reel -

The gyotaku made -

To the sashimi enjoyed -

I certainly appreciated this jobfish!

Pompano Gyotaku

Small print - the flatter the fish, the easier it is to make a gyotaku.

This series of two, I finally added some watercolor for contrast - especially around the eyes.

I also blotted out a bunch of the ink before pressing. I still had a few mistakes (paper bunching up, not pressing some parts, etc) but these came out better than the last.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Fishing - Lost Lure, Tenkara and Trolling

It was raining today but I still went out (nothing else to do).

I pitched a topwater bomber out at the first spot. On the second cast, I got a big hit. I tightened down on the drag and rode it out. After a few minutes of fighting, the fish had undone the swivel and took the lure.

I lost another lure on some rocks and decided to cut my losses right there. I went to fish the flats with the tenkara rod - except that I wasn't using flies. Instead I tied on a tiny hook and put on some wahoo belly.

I hooked into two Sergeant Majors and a small snapper - nice fights even from these tiny guys.

For lunch I ate the pompano I caught yesterday - masarap!!!

After a while - the fishing addicts I hang out with asked if I wanted to go back on the boat - how can I say "no". We only caught one fish (another strawberry grouper) and it rained on us the whole time - that's fishing...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The rest of the day

Came back from trolling and cleaned the fish we caught.

Ate some BFT as sashimi and poke.

Went fishing again (shoreline - with tenkara pole) and caught my first pompano! Just a small guy but good fun especially on the tenkara pole! Also caught a dart (but let it go).

I hooked up a parrotfish three times - the same parrotfish - and it broke me off three times. I am going to have to figure out another rig to catch it with....

The "Eyes" Have it!!!

I'm feeling more confident about the gyotaku that I'm making to keep a record of the fish I have caught (and eaten).

Part of that is trying to be more realistic with the eyes when I paint them on.

Here are the eyes from the grouper, trevally and jobfish shown on the previous post.

Mako Fishing

Great day of fishing -

Bluefin Trevally (3)
Strawberry Grouper

Driving boats feels good.

Driving boats on a day of decent weather (and without a blaring sun beating down on you) feels great!

Driving boats in decent weather while catching fish - awesome!!!

Mike's lure took all the fish!!! Just goes to show that nothing about fishing is predictable (except the tide).