Monday, April 27, 2015
I saw this crab while walking back in from fishing - first time I've seen one like it. The coloring on it reminded me of an East Coast Blue Crab. It even had swimming fins. It's eye stalks were located near the corners of the carapace just like the smaller ones I usually find under the rocks (must me a Hawaiian invertebrate thing). This guy was really pissed at me for picking him up.
After the barracuda strike out, I tied on another orange fly and was able to hook up with this - a cornet fish. I was actually trying to entice some bonefish to bite, but this guy took the fly, splashed around a bit then swam as fast as it could towards me. I got it to hand and had it in the stripping basket just long enough to take a picture. It spat the fly and was off just as quick as it came. These fish are similar to Trumpet Fish, but they are broader than they are taller (opposite of the trumpet fish). I've seen other folks out here catching these on the fly, but usually while fishing rocky outcroppings. I was lucky and got to catch this guy while fishing on a sandy flat. I think the fish would have been more fun to catch if I was using a 6wt - the wind was manageable so I could have used a 6wt setup - maybe next time. I've been using 8wts lately to fight the wind and in anticipation of hooking up a bonefish - but since I haven't been able to do the later, I think I'll tie up smaller, less heavy flies and use one of the 6's. Stay tuned...
I also wanted to cast the flyrod to prevent the onset of rust, so I put away the spinning gear and setup the Helios/Hatch 8 wt. Here's the fly I used. Sometimes the result of tying up a fly makes you wonder... This one looked like a big bird chick after it just hatched out. Well - the local barracuda like to eat big birds - I had cast this fly out and was stripping it in pretty quickly. I saw a barracuda hit it (big splashes and a mouth out of the water), had it hooked for a second and 'ping' it was able to cut itself off. I guess I should tie up more flies to resemble cartoon characters...
It had been a week since I went fishing so I didn't want to get skunked. I took a lightweight spinning setup to Hickam and caught this bluefin trevally (papio sized) on a minnow strip. I like the way these pictures turned out. I didn't even remove the hook - the fish wriggled off while I was taking the pictures. I had a few other hits, but the original hook I had on was not linking up. I think the fish were short striking - that was cured with the hook changeout.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Oh yeah!!! This is one great, fun times boat!!! Super easy to set up, and even easier to sail. Fraction of the time it took to set up the Weta (but it also only has a fraction of the performance of the Weta - which is ok). This boat belongs to the Uyeda Brothers (Gareth and Kevin) and they have modified it heavily. Interesting to see the mods people make - shows you how they like to fish. They hadn't had the boat in the water yet after a couple of weeks or so after picking it up from Windward Boats. Gareth and I went out and this boat handles really well. Where the Weta was more like a technical road bike - fast, precise, demanding - the Hobie was the mountain bike - fun to ride, forgiving and waiting to see if you can go harder than it can. The Mirage pedal drives are really efficient - on the way out it was just me paddling and I did not have a problem going into the wind, through chop and all with decent speed. After sailing around under a reefed main, I asked if we could open it up and see what she can do. With a full sail and stiff trades (17-21 or so) the boat took off and showed it can hold speed. What an amazing ability to have three modes of propulsion - the sail, the Mirage drives and a paddle. Landing couldn't have been easier - retract the centerboard, pull up on the pedal drives, undo the rudder lock and DONE. You'll never worry about dinging the bow since it is rotomolded polyethene and not fiberglass. Everything about this boat is fun and relaxed. I believe we are going to have to get one... (bye bye motorcycle...) to sail, have picnics on offshore islands, to surf and to fish for pelagics. Super fun boat!!!
Back in the late 90's and 2000, I used to frequent this beach so much, I felt like I lived here. I've been back on island now for almost four months, but I haven't spent any real time back here. I had an appointment with Windwards Boats to demo sail a Hobie Adventure Tandem Island sailing kayak at 10:00. And I finished surfing at 8:45 - so I figured I could kill some time walking back over to where the kiters launch. The beach has changed over the years. Sand migration, tons more people, and a deteriorating bath house to name a few, but over all it still feels the same. Kailua mellow...
I took the new paddle for a surf this morning at Flat Island. The wind was up so even the short paddle over to the break from the parking lot was challenging. Even with all that, the paddle felt really good. The shaft didn't even feel like it was deflecting at all (I was hoping for a little give - makes it easier for the shoulders and elbows you know). For the next paddle, I think I can thin down the shaft diameter even more. We'll see - for now, this one is a winner.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Okay - here we go. First off - find a hook that you like and will give you some room to tie on a bunch of stuff. For my horderves (all two f them), I have been using Gamakatsu SL11-3H - they have a slightly longer shank than the Mustad 34007 that I normally use for saltwater flies. Get your thread bed going and tie on some medium bead chain eyes pretty far back on the hook close to the eye. You're going to also tie on a piece of mono to act as a weed guard and wrap some lead wire across from the hook point. You are going to want this fly to get down to the bottom fairly quick. The weight front and back will help it get down, but you shouldn't be sacrificing presentation since all the parts that stick outwards and the foam body will help soften the landing. For the weed guard, I recommend using #12 mono. Last time I used 25# Mason and I think it was way to rigid - I believe I had the fly mouthed by two different bonefish and both times I tried strip setting the hook to no avail. The lighter, more flexible mono (#12 in this case), should resolve that problem and still help keep the point from getting fouled. Now take a second and prepare the eyes. I use tiny glass beads on mono. Melt the ends of the mono, getting the bead to the burnt end while the mono is still hot and you're done. Because these eye stalks are going to be epoxied on later, it's ok if the bead slip a little. The melting is just to make sure they can't fall off the mono. Put the eye stalks aside from now and tie on 4 strands of rubber legs. These get tied on to the bottom of the hook, close to the bead chain. In the pictures, I tied these going toward the hook point. After the majority of the fly was built, I pulled them backwards. In the future, I'll just tie them so they go straight out from the hook (so they are closer to the final product). Now flip the hook over and tie on the material you will be using for the crabs pinchers. This goes on roughly opposite the legs. I use McFlyon, but you can use whatever - hackle would be good too. Now comes the hard part - set the eye stalks on the foam body. The points opposite the eye stalks should point to the back center of the fly - these will become tie down spots shortly. You'll want to get them over the bead chain. When you get it laid out, get some epoxy on it. If you are lucky, you can get the epoxy covered crab on in one step (remember it goes on the top of the hook). This one landed a hair too far forward. Ideally the body would have been another couple of millimeters back toward the hook eye. Tie in the mono weed guard and at the same time wrap over the mono stalk ends. Use some more epoxy and coat the pinchers. Trim to your preference and put some 'v' markings on the ends to make them look a little more like pinchers. Lastly I put half a velcro tab on the top of the crab foam body, mostly for looks, but on the first horderve, the foam started ripping along the stressed areas. I believe the velcro should stop the splitting. Another difference from the first fly is that I didn't poke the eye stalks through the foam body - that was where the stressed areas emerged from. I may try that again in the future (that step made epoxying the body on to the hook way easier), but for now this is how I plan on building these flies. I am looking forward to casting this to the bones this weekend!!!
I went to the monthly meeting of Trout Unlimited Hawaii Chapter yesterday evening and asked about what flies catch o'io out here. Twice I got the answer "orange Crazy Charlies". Tonight I tied up a handful of flies that I hope will appease the snobby bonefish. There is one charlie in size 4, three of them in size 6 and one size 4 (slightly longer shanked Gamakatsu) Horderve. The Horderve is the new and improved version - I'll post the step-by-step recipe next.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
The forecast didn't call for any notable surf, I went out fishing again this morning. This time I brought a bag of cut squid. I wanted to see if the bonefish would go for this type of bait - I'd rather catch than not catch and if I have to use bait, I'm good with that. I did catch some fish - a few small, fiesty papios, but no bonefish. I saw several, but again, no takers. I think to use bait for the oio, you have to cast it out and leave it alone. When bone finds it and starts taking the baited hook, only then can you pick up the rod and try and set the hook. My gopro battery died so no fish pictures today. I think the next time the forecast predicts super calm winds, I'm going to snorkel the entire flats area so I can see what terrain the fish prefer. Even though I've seen the flats dry on super low spring tides, I think there is no substitute for watching the fish swim around.
I saw this snowflake eel out in the open yesterday while flyfishing. Out in the open these eels are usually really spooky and it's hard to get up close. This guy was the opposite and was really tolerant of the camera.
I went flyfishing yesterday to specifically test out the two flies I had recently tied up - the Horderve (yes this is spelled incorrectly IF YOU ARE REFERRING TO THE SNACKS - this is the surfer-redneck spelling of the FLY that I tied - the other spelling is too complicated) and the Fat Belly Minnow Strip. The Horderve as tied did last through the fishing session. It also didn't weigh so much that it affected the casting (it actually cast pretty easily). What did happen though was the back of the body where the eye stalks poke through started to come apart and one of the claws started to come apart. I can fix the first problem with a velcro coin on top of the foam body. The second issue can be solved by using a little more clear cure goo 'hydro' along the length of the claw and not just the tip or pincher. This fly did turn some bonefish heads, but I wasn't able to set the hook. I think the snag guard I set up was too stiff (25# Mason). I think I'll tie the next Horderve with a 15# mono guard instead. I am getting closer the accomplishing this goal (catching a Hawaiian Bonefish). The Fat Belly is a minnow strip that is used for 'whipping'. This one is thicker than the ones I normally use when I go whipping (seems like the papio and other fish like the thinner ones - more undulation action). I put some lead wire on the hook shank, then put some gummi body on the top of the hook shank. Then I put the minnow strip on top of the gummi body. I GENTLY wrapped the portion of the fly that covered the lead wire, whip finished and then reinforced the wrapped body with clear cure goo 'thin'. Too bad the fish didn't hit it.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Bonefish jaws and some of the foods they eat. The booth was to educate the public about tagging (I signed up for a kit). Crab nuggets and Mantis Shrimp butts are among the carnage in the petri dishes. And check out the teeth on the fish jaws!!! Now I just have to "catch" bonefish... hmmmmmmm....
I went to the Blaisdell Center today to check out the Hawaii Ocean Expo. Actually I had wanted to go to the Bishop Museum - the YMCA was sponsoring a free day at the museum - but so did everybody else. I drove around a couple of time to see where I could park and walk to the museum but so did everyone else. So I beat feet to the Ocean Expo. This was the first time in a very long period that I had been to the Blaisdell. When I got there, I stopped by the pond and to my surprise, there were a bunch of trevally (bluefin and black) swimming in about 16" of water. They all were sporting tags, but I wasn't sure of the circumstances that got the fish in the pond. I wonder how many people walk past this pond and think "man - I could come back tonight with my flyrod and have a really good time!!!!" Come on - I can't be the only one!!!!
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Sunday, April 5, 2015
When you think of hors d'oeuvres, you think of a fancy meal. Well - considering the bonefish I've been stalking have snubbed everything I've thrown at them, it has become apparent to me that I have to take it up several levels and bring out the fancy dishes. These fish want to play snobby, I'll lose the redneck and break out the bow tie and toecapped shoes. Behold the "Hor d'oeuvre"!!!! With all the time I've been spending on the flats, I have seen a lot of details that could easily go unnoticed. I've been studying the rocks and what lives on, in and under them and besides the mantis shrimp, these crabs are pretty prevalent. I also tied a "weed guard" on to the fly to prevent the other most frustrating thing on the flats behind the prissy bonefish laughing at you all day long - getting the fly hung up on a rock just as a bonefish is closing in on the fly. We'll see if the bones will eat this crab...