The first time Brendan and I traveled to Oahu together was last December. We were staying on Maui and only had two days to hop an island flight over to Oahu to fish with Duffer. The weather was just not in our favor, crazy winds and pouring rain… but you get bad weather it’s just the way fishing is sometimes. That being said, though no fish were landed I managed to hook into a big bonefish at the very end of the day and that insane take and short fight before he spit the hook was enough to have Brendan and I planning our next trip to Hawaii. This time spending 2 weeks on Oahu.
Finally October 8th came and after months of planning and prep we were on our way to Hawaii. Oahu is a beautiful island, especially if you get away from the tourist hustle and bustle of Honolulu/Waikiki and take some time to explore the east and north side of the island. The drive on the Kamehameha Hwy has to be one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on in my life. We spent a lot of time fishing with Coach Duff, he has become a good friend of ours over the last year. Not only did he get us into some awesome bonefish but the laughs we had and stories shared over the time on and off the water were just awesome. Meeting people like that while on vacation can make it so much more enjoyable.
As for the fishing, there is no doubt that the bonefish of Hawaii are big. Not just big, like abnormally big. And when they eat your fly, the take is so viscous all you can think of when it happens is A. DONT TROUT SET and B. Hold on. Brendan’s second bonefish was about 9lbs and the run it gave him was one neither of us will forget… getting half way through his backing on the first run and then just when Brendan almost had his backing fully back on the reel the thing ran again. So what do you do when you run out of line? Thankfully after chasing the thing around for a bit in order to keep some line on the reel, Brendan had him in his hands. It’s fights like that which make you want to return to these places, which make months of budgeting and planning worth all of it. It’s a game changer and something that will forever be burned in your memory.
The fishing is tough, there is no doubt. The bonefish aren’t stupid and that’s just fly fishing. You have to be patient and you have to be understanding… the latter proved a little difficult for me on the second last day. I was rejected by a particularly large bone fish.. saw his wake coming to my left only about 20 ft away from me (yes “wake”.. like I figured this was a either a bunch of mullet or a very very large bone) and then I saw him tail. The whole time thinking “holy s**t this is your chance, Amber. Don’t screw it up again. He’s a little close just don’t spook him” I put in a perfect cast 10ft in front of the general direction I thought he was heading (it was probably my only spot on cast of the whole freaking trip) and start lightly stripping in my big spam and eggs. The fish keys in on the fly and chases it. “Is this really happening?” I can see him clear as day and as it looks like he is about to tip on the fly and eat it, “OMG this is it!”... wrong…the jerk looks up and sees this curly haired girl in pink shorts and takes off. AWESOME. Great. Cool. Rejected, just like that. I can’t believe he looked up! The one point in my fly fishing career where I have thought “Maybe I should quit salt water fly fishing.” That thought quickly passed though as I decided that this rejection clearly means I need to come back! That’s the much more logical choice, obviously.
But either way you look at it the trip was a success. We both got bonefish, we both hooked into trevally and I even got myself a Red Devil and my first Largemouth Bass.
Now we sit at home, adjusting to life here in chilly Calgary, realizing winter is only beginning and no other trips are really planned at this point. The fishing season here has basically come to an end and until we reach warmer days, I can just look back at these photos and hope we can return to Oahu again soon.
It’s going to be a long winter…
Thanks for reading,