Waimanalo, Hawaii, July 29, 2014
The Girl wanted to go fishing, and I knew exactly where she wanted to go--to a pier in Waimanalo, a place we had fished together often as she was growing up.
We stopped at Serg's Mexican Kitchen Nalo that was located in a small town just past Waimanalo State Park and ordered a healthy helping of Steak Picado and a big Kalua Pork Burrito. We waited a bit for our order to be completed but as the sign on the take out window says, it's "good food, not fast food."
Kalua Pork Burrito from Serg's Mexican Kitchen.
With food in hand we headed for the pier and after unloading the fishing gear and breaking out the soft drinks we settled into a leisurely lunch before tackling some serious fishing.
The Steak Picado plate from Serg's Mexican Kitchen in Waimanalo.
The rig she fished was pretty simple. A straight length of six pound test fluorocarbon about six feet long with another two feet of six pound line blood-knotted to it to act as a stop for a size BB split shot. At the terminal end I tied on a size 14 'J' hook, bent down the barb and, using my pliers, offset the hook point about 1/32 off center. We filled a five gallon bucket with seawater to use as a holding device while I unhooked her catch, baited the hook and began fishing.
It took her a few minutes but she got into the fish-catching groove. She hooked a couple of saddle wrasses then tackled a really difficult target--the Fantail filefish. This is a notorious bait stealer and because of its tiny mouth, very difficult to hook. The fish was a stand-off nibbler. It would peck, peck, peck away at the bait, never taking a big bite, and just tease it off the hook then gobble it up. What made her selected target even more difficult--it was a juvenile filefish so it was extremely tiny with an even tinier mouth. I didn't think the hook was small enough. However after a couple of steals she managed to hook and land it.
She then turned her attention to a school of Threadfin butterflyfish. Another tough customer to hook due to the small mouth. Again, I had my doubts that she would manage to hook one but after several steals she hauled one out that was large enough to put a serious bend on the rod. She had to use two hands to pull it up onto the pier and hit me in the head with the fish before lowering it into the bucket of saltwater. She got pretty good at catching these fish and managed to hook and land five of them.

Her next target showed up as the other fish were starting to show up in force to swarm the bait on the hook. A needlefish cruised in and began making a pass at the bait as it hit the water but broke off the pursuit as it sank below the surface. She wanted that fish. The trick to getting the needlefish to bite was to make it chase the bait then getting the tiny hook to stick in its tough, boney jaws and hope the line isn't cut by its teeth.

The fish was cautious. It would rush the bait but turn away if it sank a few inches below the surface. At that point the other reef fish were all over the bait and she had to pull the hook out of the water to try again. The bait had to be just within the surface film, and moving, if the needlefish was to take the hook. She missed it once. It was barely hooked and fell off after a brief fight but a couple of tries later she had a firm hook set and the needlefish was soon swimming in our bucket.
The business end of a Needlefish. Keep your fingers away!
We caught a lot of fish, mostly wrasses, juvenile jacks and butterflyfish, and after each catch she photographed them and posted it to her Instagram account. She didn't want to get her iPhone all stinky and yucky with bait goo and fish slim so I was the one stuck with baiting the hook, removing the fish and holding it up for her to photograph.
I thought we might fish for only an hour since the attention span of teenagers, when it didn't involve gaming, streaming movies or social media, wasn't really that long. But I was very surprised when she said she wasn't ready to go home and wanted to stay and fish.

After almost five hours, the sun was beginning to set and the air was getting a bit chilly (82 degrees is considered chilly in Hawaii) and she had caught 26 fish! She was happy with the outing so we packed up the rod and headed for home.

EQUIPMENT: We used a fiberglass two piece rod rigged with 6 pound line and a standard size 14 'J' hook with the point slightly offset from center using my fishing pliers.