Honolulu, Hawaii, August 23, 2010
I hit the flats--again--at 5:30am, catching a fast-rising tide. As in previous trips I fished the known spots, saw some fish and had a bite which then broke me off--again.

This was getting to be a habit. I would hook into a fish, which would zoom off towards the breakers where it would wrap my leader around coral heads and shred the line. The guys at
Nervous Waters Fly Fishers said there wasn't much I could really do about that. Once the fish got out there, no matter how heavy your leader and tippet, it will be shredded. You could crank down on the drag, but you might pull the hook or straighten the hook bend. Your best option is to let the fish run and pray that it stops before it hits the outer reef. That's almost, but not quite, 200 yards of line.

I called it a day around 10am and picked up my daughter and nephew and took them fishing at the
Makai Pier where the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory parks two of its deep diving research submersibles.

This was not a fly fishing expedition. This was taking the kids bait fishing for some small reef fish, where they'd get to improve their casting and fish-fighting experience. Hopefully without hooking me too deeply in the process. I was not there to fish. I was their guide, equipment hauler, line-tyer, master baiter and fish dehooker. Throw in a bit of not too deep science about fish species they're catching and call it a day. All fish go back into the water after being released from the debarbed hook.

The kids had a blast. We started out with lunch from the taco truck at Sandy Beach before heading to the pier and after devouring the tacos, burritos and other tasty goodies the kids were ready for some serious fishing.

We rigged up and got down to business. Shrimp was the bait of choice. I started them off with a bobber and under that I had 6 feet of 8 pound fluorocarbon and a size 12 'J' hook. I threw it in the water and handed the rod to my daughter and told both kids to keep an eye on the bobber. I went to work on setting up the other rod when I noticed the bobber go down hard. Although my daughter was holding the rod, both kids were jabbering away and not watching the bobber. I told them they had something on the line and my daughter cranked furiously on the reel but whatever was on the line was now gone. We repeated this scenario three times in a row. But finally I got the second rod rigged up and now both kids were fishing. After 15 minutes of absolutely no action it started.

"Uncle, there's no fish here," said my dear nephew.

"Yeah dad, where's all the fish you said were supposed to be here?" said my darling daughter. "Have you ever caught anything here?"

My fishing wisdom was being seriously questioned. I had to step up and do something. I took the rod from my nephew and in 10 seconds had a
Sergeant Major dangling in front of the kids. They concentrated a bit harder and soon both kids were pulling up an assortment of fish. A puffer. Several wrasse. A parrot fish. More Sergeant Majors. The action was pretty good. Then the jacks showed up. As my daughter was wrestling up another Sergeant Major, a group of seven jacks made a pass at the struggling fish. As the kids hauled the fish up off the bottom the jacks would appear from under the pier and make passes at the hooked fish. I had brought a saltwater 5 weight rod along and it was sitting in a tube under all the other stuff we lugged onto the pier from the truck. But it was the kids day to fish so the rod stayed where it was. Besides, my hands were stinky with shrimp bait and I didn't want to mess up my fly rod hand have it smelling like shrimp for the rest of the trip.

Soon it was time for us to head for home. The nephew had a karate class in the evening and we had a dinner date with the grandparents.

EQUIPMENT: The kids used spinners, light action rods and fluorocarbon leaders with a split shot crimped about 18 inches above a size 12 hook. Shrimp was the bait of choice.