Honolulu, Hawaii, July 15, 2015
When you’re on home water you can fish anytime. Too hot? No problem--turn up the AC. Too cold? Stay home and tie flies. Water not quite right because of heavy rain? Give it a few days to clear. But when you’re in a different state with limited free time and a tight schedule you have no choice. You fish whenever and wherever you can.

I was in Hawaii and lucky for me the family are late risers so I got to chase bonefish on the flats almost every day with the two Steves and Eric from 6am to roughly a little before 10am. The problem? The tide wasn’t the greatest during this time period and with El Nino tearing up the Pacific there was storm after storm blowing past the islands, sweeping the flats with huge surf and high winds. You can complain and whine about the crappy conditions or you can go fishing and use a bit of common sense to improve your chances.

Yeah, the morning tide was not great. During the trip there were only two days out of 30 that it was optimal for fly fishing. But we knew of some spots that were bonefish highways--transit areas used by Mr.
O’io to move between the open ocean and feeding grounds on the flats. Each day we plotted the tide and developed our strategy.
  • Time of the tidal rise and/or fall.
  • Time should we be on the water and fishing and what time should we leave before it gets too deep and we have to swim back to shore.
  • Depending on the tide, what area should we fish first and/or last.
  • Direction of water movement on the flats. Which way will the current be running during the rise or fall.
  • Flies. How big or small, dumbbell eyes or bead chain for deep or skinny water.

Despite the not so hot tides and the howling wind we stuck to our plan and caught fish every day. And every day was different. Some of us would catch A fish while others were blessed and picked up multiple fish. There was a mix of blind casting into deep channels or sight fishing to bones that involved no casting because they were feeding right in front of you. Just drop the fly, give it a twitch, watch the nose go down and tail come up then strip strike and hang on. It was great fun but the absolute worst thing that could happen was catching a bonefish on the first cast of the day. This guaranteed that you would not catch another fish for the rest of your time on the water.

EQUIPMENT: We used a variety of saltwater fly rods in the 7 to 9 weight range. All the reels were designed for heavy saltwater use. Leaders were between 9 and 12 feet long with tippet between 12 and 30 pounds. Flies were between size 2 and 10 with 4 being popular with Mr. Bone.