Bonefish and Hawaii

I have said, and maybe even believed, I would not go back to chase bonefish in Hawaii. This video has me rethinking that.

I know it is tough. I’ve known very good anglers who have gone smelled of skunk, but I also know others who have smacked the fish of a lifetime.

My own Hawaiian experience is maybe colored by life experiences which have have nothing at all to do with bonefishing. I saw my first bonefish, to this day maybe the biggest bone I’ve ever seen, on a flat, on THE flat on Kauai. I had been looking for them all week and suddenly they were in front of me. My heart was in my throat. My hands were shaking as if I’d had a quadruple shot espresso. I sucked. I knew almost nothing about bonefishing, but I was casting at them (and being ignored by them). And then… then I heard the (increasingly in my memory) shrill cry from the shore from my ex-wife telling me it was time to come in and watch the baby.

This was the bonefish I caught in Hawaii.

This was the bonefish I caught in Hawaii.

Defeat… in many senses of the word.

Kauai was where we had honeymooned and it was where my parents were celebrating their 40th anniversary, bringing the whole family along.

Post separation I went back to Kauai to seek out the fish I had been called away from. I camped, cheaply and legally, a cast from the beach. I went out every day, all day, for three days. I got 4 casts. All brief. All failures. In the rain and just after the rain and just before it rained again.

Oh, and there was rain... lots of rain.

Oh, and there was rain… lots of rain.

I called it quits on Hawaii. I figured I had filled up the Island state with enough failures and I vowed not to return.

But, see… I never went to Oahu. I never fished where the fish are more consistently targeted. And videos like this one from Mike Hennessy of Hawaii On The Fly… well… maybe we could head to Hawaii. Maybe I should go out there, on those more well traveled flats to try my luck against one of the monsters.

I’d either fail or succeed and by now I’ve gotten more acquainted with failure and know it isn’t so much a life-long tag. I think I’ll put it back on the list.

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  1. Kauai is not exactly the bonefish capital of the world. Man, if you had caught one there you’d have to stick a feather in your cap. That would be like getting a hole in one – on a par 5…the islands of Molokai or even Lanai have better bonefishing flats than Kauai. The only reasonable place to go is Oahu. There are more than a few flats here. All are easily accessible for a DIY trip. With a little research and homework you’ll find them. There are a half dozen or so guides there as well. I winter in south Florida so am bonefishing all the time. I also make a trip or two each year to both the Bahamas and to the Yucatan. But nothing & I mean NOTHING gets the juices flowing like being out on the flats of Oahu. I’ve mentioned Hawaii to you in past posts when you were trolling for suggestions of where to take a trip. Easier to get there from SFO than to Congo Town or Belize City and cheaper if you do it right. The bonefishing in Hawaii isn’t easy. For the most part it’s extremely & insanely difficult, but Tiger Woods didn’t get to be a stud by playing on putt putt playgrounds. He did shoot an 83 in Phoenix the other day which makes me feel better about blowing a cast to a bonefish that was slightly smaller than my living room couch last week…

  2. Yeah, I know it is tough there… and I stand a good shot at blowing more shots there. I am thinking about it. The wife has informed me she is interested in going to Hawaii… so… it is possible.

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