Thursday, July 30, 2015
I used my time after work yesterday to wrap up a few outstanding projects. I switched my 300 grain intermediate fly line from one reel to another, including switching out the backing from the chartreuse I used to use to the orange I've switched to. I used the remainder of the spool of orange 20# I had - turned out to be 628 ft (about 209 yards). That's just at the critical point to stop a double digit bonefish. But I don't like packing my reels too full so I can have some play in getting the fly line back on the reel during a fight, so this all worked out well. I also finished off the hand plane I've been working on. I got the foam pad in place and the strap tied on. Now to get some time off to line up with a fun sized swell to try this thing out!!!
Monday, July 27, 2015
After catching that bonefish on Saturday, I figured I'd try again on Sunday morning. Also the surf on the South Shore was huge and I didn't buy a new leash yet so no surfing made the fishing decision even easier. I setup the Epic 686 and lined it up with a RIO Perception 6wt line. I had also tied up another of the Mantis Shrimp flies and had that on. I think I'm going to call this fly the "Nom Nom Mantis" since several types of fish are taking it. This is quickly becoming the universal flats fly I was looking for. Seems like everything likes to eat mantis shrimp. I really like the Epic 686 - I can cast really nice loops without trying excessively hard. I can even tell when I've messed up the cast before I see the line pass me - I don't have that connection with every flyrod. I ended up catching only one fish - but what an unusual catch. A Hawaiian Stonefish. I had cast over an opening in the reef flat and thought I got hung up. I don't like yanking on hung up flies so I always end up walking over and unhooking them. As I reached down to unhook this fly, the fish let go of the rock it was clinging to and I was able to pull it up. Not a fighter at all - hardly even dead weight, but a rare catch on the fly. When I released the fish it dropped to the bottom and just disappeared. It's there, but I took the picture and I can't even find it anymore. It should be right in the center of the photos....
Sunday, July 26, 2015
It only took me seven months to do it, but I finally brought a Hawaiian Bonefish to hand!!!!!! I used a mantis shrimp fly I tied a while back and blind casted at another part of the Hickam Flat. The bonefish inhaled the fly - I had to use forceps to pull the fly out! It made three runs - the first two taking me into the backing. This fish totally reminded me that I love catching bonefish on the fly!!! I can honestly say this was the best day of fishing I've had out here! I also had a papio, but it shook off the Enrico Puglisi micro crab fly. And I caught a humuhumunukunukuapuaa using the same mantis fly that the oio (bonefish) took. I have been telling myself that once I caught an oio on the fly, that I would be free to start fishing other spots. I do think I'll still fish Hickam a lot - I need to make sure this was not a fluke. GREAT DAY!!!
Saturday, July 25, 2015
I caught a few good ones in between getting hammered. I mostly went left today to avoid the crowds (and the jackass shortboarder mouthing off like he was the next best surfer to Duke Kahanamoku), but there isn't a well defined channel on that side of the wave - that means a beating during the sets. The set waves were well overhead - super fun!!! I decided to wear a solar shirt to avoid getting fried. I hate swimming with a shirt on (flashbacks to dive school...), but I didn't get burned! I didn't get barreled in this wave - the bottom doesn't incline fast enough to drive the waves over, but I did escape a mauling at the end of the ride. If the waves were any bigger, I would have not been able to turn this board. The rails at the back half of the board are too thick to dig into the wave face - good thing I like this size wave ;) The gopro battery died after this wave. And then my leash popped with a necking failure (technical term thrown in here since I am an Engineer) shortly after that. I don't know what's up with leashes these days - I used to go a year and a half before snapping leashes. I am barely getting 4 months out of the leashes sold these days... Anyways - good session despite the small setbacks.
We have been blessed with another good sized, longer period swell from the Southern Hemisphere. We surfed at Hickam this morning and although it was crowded, we got some good ones. Here's CB cashing in his 'rhino' tag! I wasn't in position to take shots of his other rides - I seemed to be getting clobbered by the sets today.
Friday, July 24, 2015
I saw this on youtube through a link La and the kids sent me. A friend of mine just lost her AC and she was saying she and her husband would stay out late just to avoid the heat at their house. They had been out to Costco and other places to look for portable ACs since their association doesn't allow window shakers, but they weren't having luck finding any (since everyone else is out there looking). I made this for them. I tested it with a little ice and it definitely blows cool air. I think with a lot of ice, it should be cold enough for a couple of people trying to get to sleep. Hopefully it works for them.
I've been working some really long hours lately trying to finish up a proposal. I figured I should decompress a bit and decided I've been cheating for too long on the fishing front (spinning gear with bait). Don't get me wrong - I love catching and the best way to do that is using bait and spinning gear (if you are hitting it from shore). Thursday evening I decided to use the flyrod. I broke out the Orvis Helios and used the RIO Bonefish line spooled up on the Hatch 7+. I tied on an Enrico Puglisi micro crab and waded out around 6pm. I had intended on using this setup to hook into a bonefish, but in the late afternoon light, it is nearly impossible to see those fish. I saw a few tailing, but by the time I made it over to them, I had lost track of their position. The neat thing about the EP micro crab fly is it closely resembles the flats crabs I keep finding in the bellies of the papio I harvest (and I only take ones that get mortally wounded when they get hooked which is rare for me). After a few casts where I increased my stripping speed, I had one on!!! The class of papio I have been catching are all roughly the same size - likely because they were all born the same year. I spoke with some fishermen and read some blogs and people are saying last year there were a ton more papio when compared to the several years before. They attributed that to some changes in the offshore currents and that brought more fish back from their larval/planktonic stage. I'm just glad they're here. Since I've been back on Oahu, I've caught so many of these fish and they've just about doubled in size. The weird thing is they are all the same class - I haven't seen the next group of smaller fish coming through, and it's rare to see bigger ones out here because those are the legal size fish that folks can take, but also those fish start to swim and forage in deeper waters. It'll interesting to see what fish are being caught in the January time frame to see if there is a generation coming up behind these current fish. This fish was the first fish I've caught on the fly out here that took my line all the way out of the stripping basket and I got to bring it in on the reel! Great catch and glad to see it swim off strong! That turned out to be the only fish I caught, but I found myself really trying to cast out well formed loops with more consistency. That's whats awesome about flyfishing - even if you are catching on every cast, you are still casting which in itself can be even more rewarding than bringing in a fish. I won't say I'll only bring out flyrods to go fishing, especially since I do enjoy fishing with spinning gear - but what I will say is everything has it's time and place. Yesterday evening was definitely a fly fishing evening. Also of note, yesterday was the first time I got to use the stripping basket I got to replace the bucket shooter that got stolen with my truck. I got it from the same company that made the bucket shooter - Sea Level Fly Fishing. This one is the Belly Bucket and you can see it is curved to fit the hip. I love the way it kept the line from knotting up. It is a solid piece of gear and the bottom doesn't come out like the bucket shooter's did - so it is a little less portable if you are flying to fishing spots. It does a really great job of helping to manage flyline.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I fished the low tide on Hickam Flats on Sunday. I started out casting bait (ika strips) and caught a few good sized papio and another lizardfish (they must be getting active ahead of spawning season - whatever reason, I'm catching more lizardfish). I ran out of bait and the water was still low, so I transitioned to targeting the bonefish. I used a bucktail jig and practiced overshooting the fish, retrieving the lure into sight range of the fish, and waiting for a response. I got several of the bones to turn and take interest, but I think they were intimidated by the size of the 1/2 ounce jig. Most of the interactions took place less than 40' away - all within fly casting range. I had my 8 weight in the truck, but figured I'd just study the fish behavior and not try to hook one. These fish certainly are keeping fishing interesting (frustrating, obsessive - fill in an appropriate word here).
Saturday I got to fishing inside the He'eia Fish Pond. During the summer months they hold a monthly predator eradication day where they open up the pond to the community to help harvest the kaku (barracuda), papio (small trevally), and snapper so the mullet (ama ama) can grow to harvesting size. They still need to finish repairs to the last gate (makaha), but they are pretty close. The water was super low, so the fishing was tough. The first fish I caught was a lizardfish in the low water outside the wall. I did manage to get one kaku inside the wall. This is technically what the fish pond crew wanted done, but with the water levels so low, there weren't many fish to target. I did go wading outside the wall on the flat next to the second makaha - I hooked into several papio, but they were all just under the DLNR 10" minimum. That's ok - I'm in a catch and release phase anyways. A long day spent under the sun, but a great opportunity to fish a place normally off limits. Great way to help out the fish pond (normally I cut down mangrove trees by hand...)