06
Jun 18

Kenny Karas guides the blind (me) in Hawaii

The weather was… well… less than ideal for my day of fishing with Kenny Karas in Oahu. That’s how it is, mostly. The trade-winds do their thing and the island creates its own weather (read “clouds”) and that’s how it is more than it isn’t. The winds blow, the rain rains and when you have one day to fish out of 7, you just never know what you’ll end up with. It’s an adventure.

Dark and stormy

We started early, meeting at 6, and were out on the flats a few minutes later. It isn’t a long haul, no 45 minute ride here. We waded out on the un-sun-soaked flats for a while before we found our first bone, which was uncooperative. These fish tail, which is great, as I’d have very little luck finding them with the lights out. Kenny, on the other hand, sees fish. He just, ya know… SEES fish, man. The first three opportunities I did everything right and the fish were not on the same page.

After that, I reverted to putting the fly too close to the fish and freaking them the F out. This is the land of the 9 foot lead. Eight feet doesn’t do it. Nine or nothing.

Our first pass through the flat didn’t produce and we went around to hit a different part of the flat, walking the long and skinny ridge of flat some of you will know well. By this time our early morning wind advantage was over and the clouds were unrelenting. We’d get a window of sun every 20 minutes or so that would last for 3-20 seconds. As we were walking Kenny spotted a fish, in fairly close (a 20 foot cast) and walked me into the fish.

I never saw it. It ate about 15 feet in front of us and I never saw the fish. At all.

The eat did happen though and the fish ran, dutifully avoiding a bit piling, and came to hand. It was a nice, solid and fat five pound bonefish. We were on the board.

A nice o’io on a cloudy day in Oahu.

The rest of the day was mostly Kenny seeing fish I only had the faintest notions of. We walked the edge of one flat where Kenny must have spotted 5-6 fish that I never saw. I have plenty of excuses. The lights were off, the wind was at about 20 mph and the edge of the flat was a but churned up, but despite all of that Kenny kept finding fish. Sometimes I’d see just that faint light green bonefish back, sometimes I’d see nothing.

I had maybe 3 or 4 shots that seemed like they were going to come tight, but in the end it was just the one fish that ended up in the W column.

That one fish was hard won and I’ll take it.

This was a family trip, not a fishing trip and the family part was pretty much kick-ass.

Chilling at the pool.

Much respect to Kenny. He worked hard for me and found me fish on a tough weather day. I’d bet I had 20 shots, maybe even 30 if I round up. I went 1/1 on hooked:landed and it was still a triumph.

Thanks Kenny. See you next time!


05
Aug 17

Interview with Kenny Karas – Hawaii on the Fly

I tried for many years to catch a bonefish in Hawaii and for many years I failed. I failed for many reasons and I learned many lessons, but it was my trip in the summer of 2017 with Kenny Karas from Hawaii on the Fly (Kenny and Mike Hennesy are the guides there) that finally broke my oi’o (Hawaiian for bonefish) curse. Here’s an interview with the man himself.

Hawaii, as a bonefish destination, didn’t really exist a decade ago. Since then, a lot has been written about chasing bonefish in the Islands. What do you think people have the most wrong about bonefishing in Hawaii?

I think the biggest misconception is people think there are not a lot of bonefish here. Ya they are big, but I get a lot of people saying there isn’t a good population. As you saw that is completely wrong. A lot of dyi guys say that because they don’t know the tides or even where to find them!!!
Hawaii is a place where the possibility of a 20 pound bone gets mentioned. Do you think such a fish exists and if so, could he/she be in Hawaii?
Yes, I definitely think that fish is here. I know of an 18lber caught many years ago on an outer Island on spinning gear!!! I have caught bones up to 14lbs and have seen bigger!!!
What makes or breaks a day of bonefishing in Hawaii?  
Wind and rain play a huge roll!! And I think the angler is the other. You don’t need 70′ cast here. You just have to be accurate and play the fish correctly.
When you are on the water a lot you see some really weird stuff. Anything you’ve seen on the water that other folks probably just have never seen?  
Two things I’ve seen that I thought were pretty nuts. One was a small Cessna  crash land in the water about 150 yds away from the flat!! The other was I caught a mahi mahi in 3″ of water on the flats one day with my bare hands.
You have a local place you recommend for good, non-touristy eats?
Nicos!! Epic fish eats and local kind foods!!!
When you think about the future of bonefishing in Hawaii, what is encouraging? What is discouraging?
The most encouraging thing I still see big numbers and big fish on a regular basis. These fish get pounded hence why they are so psycho!! The most discouraging thing is the lack of conservation.  Gill netting is still practiced here and our local game and fish department is pretty much non existent!!! I really worry about it a lot. But I also think about what these fish have gone through in the last 50years and they are still here. These fish are survivors and find ways to flourish!!!!
Thanks Kenny. I’ll be back and hope to hit the water with you again in 2018.