The Flats, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 3-22, 2008
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I was in the islands to visit family and friends for a few weeks and since I was there, I also wanted to unload the 9-weight on some large bonefish that cruise the south shore flats.

I tried to fish every morning from 5 to 11am. SteveT was in town from California and my brother Eric and SteveL also joined in. The moon phase was not optimal and the tides were not quite right but I was there to fish, not complain. But it wasn't like there weren't any fish on the flats. The fish were there. we could see them. They just weren't interested in eating what we put in front of them.

On my first day I hooked into two large fish that went screaming off over the outer reef, breaking off 15 and 20-pound tippet. That was to be a teaser. The following days were very frustrating. I hooked several different types of reef fish but no bones, or
oio as the Hawaiians call them.

Our fishing day would begin as the sun was slowly lighting up the night sky. We would spread out and wade slowly out from shore. Usually the fish were in close--thirty yards from the beach and tailing or cruising with their backs exposed in water just a hair over ankle deep. I had fish feeding all around me but none were interested in what I was throwing.

Eric, who has just begun fishing with the long rod, was sometimes surrounded by bonefish swimming around him. SteveT finally caught one a few days later and got rid of the skunk.

It wasn't until a week had passed that I finally landed a south shore bonefish. It hit the fly hard and I was into backing in seconds. The fish ran for the breaker line and sharp coral but I managed to turn it back onto the sand and we brought the fish to net. Eric then measured,
tagged (the yellow tag can be seen sticking up from the fish's back) and released the fish.

I spoke with the folks at Nervous Water and they said the full moon was affecting the bite. There's enough light on the flats for the fish to feed all night and when you catch them tailing and feeding in the shallows, they're extremely picky about the size and shape of the meal they will take.

EQUIPMENT: We used 7, 8 and 9-weight rods rigged with floating line and flies from size 2 to 8. You must be able to cast in high wind because it can really blow on the flats. Trade winds can gust from 15-20 mph and the deep valleys funnel the breeze straight out over the water, so you've got to have equipment and the technical know-how to lay that line out there.