Honolulu, Hawaii, January 3, 2019
It was a New Year and the weather still wasn’t so great on the southwest shore so Eric and I decided to try fishing a particular flat on the other side of the island.

It was early morning and the tide was on the way down when we stepped onto the huge reef hugging the shoreline. Wind was minimal and the water was very clear. Eric headed for the deep drop off while I decided to circle out and approach the mangrove line with the wind at my back. There were two other fly fishers way, way, way out in the distance and I stopped to see which way they were going—didn’t want to mess up their fishing if they were headed my way. After a few minutes I saw them take a couple of casts then wind up and head for shore, so I continued to slog across the sandy bottom towards the line of mangroves in the distance.

About almost a half hour later I was finally there. The wind had picked up a bit but it wasn’t too crazy. I began fishing a heavier fly along the edge of a sandy drop off that gradually merged into the mangroves that lined the shore. It looked like a natural highway for any bonefish looking to transition from deep water to shallow so I spent some time blind casting into the deeper spots to see if anyone was interested in the fly.

After spending another half hour fishing this spot and getting only a tiny pipefish to bite, I began to slowly move among the mangroves, watching the water for any slow-cruising shadows. The water was about knee deep and although the wind had picked up a bit more and the sun was ducking in and out of the clouds, it was still possible to see clearly. The only problem was—there was nothing to look at. I guess all the bonefish were still on holiday.

After an hour I finished my walk in and around the mangroves so I decided to head for another spot on the flats. I passed Eric and he said he was going to try his luck fishing the mangroves. We planned to call it a day a bit past noon, so I hustled to my area to begin fishing.

Along the way I kept coming across huge holes in the sandy bottom. Bonefish blows. They rooted around in these spots, disturbing the bottom and leaving a huge crater as they chomped down on tasty crustaceans or invertebrates.
I fished and fished and fished but all I got was a lot of practice casting, tying leaders and changing flies. The bonefish just werent around. I saw one large balloon fish cruising the shallows, but that was it. I looked up and saw Eric heading for shore, so I reeled up and began my own walk to the exit point. It was a tough way to start the new year.

EQUIPMENT: Fast action 7 to 9 weight rods with floating lines and heavy leaders to withstand runs through the coral. Fly sizes from 2 to 10, weighted and unweighted depending on water depth and fishing condition.