South shore, Hawaii, August 27, 2010
There was a huge splash to my left as I was walking up to to talk to SteveT. It startled both of us but all we saw was a spreading puff of sand and mud and a glimpse of a very large grey-green shape shooting off toward the reef edge. "Did you see the size of that thing? That was a torpedo," said SteveT. There are many ways to catch a bonefish on Triangle Flats, but stepping on them is not one of the techniques I would recommend.

The two Steves, my brother and I arrived on Triangle Flats on a falling tide and our plan was to fish this area for most of the day. We tied up the kayaks in the mangroves, geared up and began to spread out across the quarter mile flat. The weather and tide were ideal, giving us over 8 hours of fishing time with bright sun to illuminate the less than knee deep water. Trade winds were blowing a constant 10 to 15 miles per hour.

Unlike other places we fish where it's difficult to spot bonefish and you do a lot of blind casting, Triangle Flats is pure sight fishing. You have line stripped out in your basket and ready to cast as you slowly walk the flats looking for movement or shadows. Bonefish are silver for a reason. Their scales reflect light and allows them to blend into their environment. Often you will see fins or tails sticking out of the water or the swirls of nervous water as the bonefish move and feed on the flats. Or you will see greyish shadows moving slowly between sand patches and brown weed. You look for the contrasting color of the bonefish as it moves between a light and dark colored areas. They often adjust the color of their backs to mimic the color of the bottom they're swimming over so if you look carefully you'll spot the contrasting coloration for a few seconds and will be able to track the fish.
Once the fish is spotted you will try, with great difficulty, to put your fly at least five feet in front ot the fish and not spook it with a splashy presentation. Cast the fly and let it sit. Do not strip. When the fish is close you give it a bit of movement, but not too much or all you'll see is the ass end of a bonefish as it flees across the flats. I saw that a lot. I also almost stepped on a several fish, dropped the fly on the head of a tailing bonefish, put my fly line across fish I did not see while casting to another fish and scared a fish with a large Mantis Shrimp pattern I was trying out.

There was one fish in particular that provided me with a satisfying experience even though I never hooked it. I was just outside a patch of mangroves on the outer edge of the flats when I saw some heavy splashing. The entire back and tail of a large bonefish appeared as it pushed itself over shallow spots, rooting out food on the falling tide. It would push its snout into the soft sand and shake its head back and forth, blowiing and expelling sand as it sucked up food before moving on.

The fish was moving left to right and I had a shot of about 20 feet.I cast and put the fly just in front of the fish but it changed course at the last moment so I picked up the line and continued to track the bonefish. We were moving towards the other end of Triangle Flats with 10 feet still separating us. The fish was on an erratic pattern, feeding here and there but offering no firm course to present a fly. I got off two more casts but the fish passed too far away to spot the fly. About five minutes later I had a decent shot at the fish but placed it too close and it spooked, but did not run. It circled back and I let it settle down and soon it was on a feeding pattern again. I moved slowly ahead of it, and we were still had around 20 to 30 feet separating us. We were now about three quarters of the way across the flats, approaching the drop off on the reef. I took two more shots that were off the mark then the fish began to speed up as it neared the edge of the reef. I took one more cast and placed it in front of the fish but it just swam over the fly and disappeared over the edge of the reef. I had my shots, but just came up blank.
I met up with SteveL on the far end of the flats. We compared notes and figured between just the two of us we saw and cast to at least 30 bonefish and this was just the morning half of the day. SteveT and Eric also saw a good number of fish but all of them seem to have lock jaw--nobody was interested in biting today. SteveL also met two other fly fishers on the flats. It was ET from Nervous Waters Fly Fishers with a client. They reported a similar experience with the bones.

We walked back to the kayaks and downed a quick lunch of spam musubi, water and canned fruit juice before tying on new flies and gearing up for the rising tide. Again, we spread out in a skirmish line across the flats and began a slow walk towards the opposite end.
You usually see more fish on the rising tide than on a falling tide but this time it was different. All of us saw bonefish but not anywhere near the numbers we saw in the morning. I got off a few casts,stepped on a few more fish, but most of them were really spooky and refused the fly or just took off when they heard the fly hit the water.

It was getting close to late evening and we had a planned a chili, burgers and hot dog party at Eric's place so we packed up the kayaks and began our paddle back but not before SteveT stopped to blind cast a cut in the reef that had produced fish before--but just not today.

EQUIPMENT: We used a variety of fast action 8 and 9 weight rods, floating lines and fluorocarbon leaders. We threw the fly box at the fish and although we saw close to 60 fish, some pushing the 10 pound plus range, none were interested in biting today.