Honolulu, Hawaii, July 25, 2014
Fly fishing is tough on an angler. Breaking a treasured rod or reel, a run of bad weather while fishing in an exotic location or missing that "fish of a lifetime" can make someone feel miserable. But the absolute worst thing that can happen to anyone who slings a line is losing your mojo.

I fished with the two Steves and we began the day early, wading out across the flats as the sun was beginning to rise and setting ourselves up at one of our favorite bonefish avenues. During our walk along the beach we talked about his run of bad luck earlier in the year, a run of fishless trips to the flats that ran so long he was thinking about putting his saltwater gear up for sale on Craigslist. Eric and SteveL were piling up the numbers while SteveT never got a nibble. It was so bad that on one trip SteveL caught a bonefish 50 feet behind him and Eric said he tried not to cast a lot so SteveT would have a better chance of hooking a fish.

"Just really bad luck," said Eric, although he admitted he kept checking Craigslist for the fishing gear just in case SteveT wasn't joking.

However SteveT was in a pretty good mood because he felt that since I was now in the Islands, the bad mojo that was dogging him would transfer to me since I was now the new guy on the flats.

"Tag," he said as he touched my shoulder. "You're it."

We strapped on our stripping baskets, unrolled the fly line, straightened the leaders and waded out as the sun began to rise over the flats. SteveT immediately hooked up and landed a fish before I even stripped in my first cast. He caught a nice five pounder and I moved further to the right to avoid the area where he had recently fought his fish.

SteveT, however, stayed in the same spot then, after a few casts, hooked and landed another fish. I went over to take a look and it was a nice fat bonefish, possibly another five pounder if I judged it correctly. He generously offered me his spot then moved about a hundred yards behind me, further towards shore, and we both began to fish again.

I turned around when I heard the buzz of his reel's drag. He had another fish. After letting that one go he got another one.

"The fish are all inside," he shouted as he fought another fish.

By this time SteveL had arrived and waded out to join us. He set up on a rock to my left while I kept moving and fishing to the right. SteveT kept moving and catching fish. Every time I looked at him he had a fish on the line. SteveL joined me and said he didn't have much luck. We both stood there and watched SteveT fight his fish.

"He's just making up for lost time," said SteveL. He told me the same story about Steve's run of bad fishing mojo. As I watched SteveT release his fish I remembered being tagged on the beach. Although the tropical sun was out, I suddenly felt very cold.

By the time we headed in, SteveT had caught seven fish in about three hours of fishing. SteveL and I turned in doughnuts.

Over the next couple of days, fishing was miserable for me. I went from catching two to three fish per outing to zero while SteveT ran wild across the flats. We joked that I should transfer the bad mojo to Eric when he returned from a trip to Micronesia at the end of the week. I laughed, but in the back of my mind I shamefully thought that was a very good idea.

We fished hard, but only SteveT was rewarded. SteveL knocked off a couple of bonefish but was not piling them up like the other Steve. I finally broke the jinx two days later, hooking and landing an average flats bonefish just before heading to the parking lot.

On the final day of SteveT's stay in the islands we were again walking along the beach just before dawn. We half jokingly referred to his run of luck and the disappearance of my mojo then seriously discussed fishing techniques and theory.

SteveT said it really "comes down to fishing with confidence. Believe in yourself and what you are doing and don't keep changing--trying a new fly or a new line or another rod."

"You know you've caught fish here before using the same flies, same line, same rod," said SteveT. "Believe in the fly and believe in yourself."

He took out his nippers and gave me his fly. It looked just like the other flies in my box but this one was different.

"That fly has caught 14 fish," he declared as I grasped it tightly, feeling the mojo flooding back into me.

I caught a bunch of fish after SteveT left the islands but I lost the "Magic Fly" to a huge bonefish that cut me off when a loop of line went flying out of the stripping basket and wrapped itself tightly around the reel foot. When that happened I momentarily considered jumping into the water and swimming after that fish to retrieve the fly.

EQUIPMENT: We used 8 and 9 weight rods, weight forwards floating lines and heavy leaders and tippet. We used a variety of flies in shrimp and Charlie patterns, from size 10 to 2/0, tied specifically for use on this section of the flats.