02 June 2015

Bonefishing Oahu, Hawaii

Cody and I were celebrating the graduation of one of the Fab 5 with a trip to Hawai'i, so we set aside one day to fly fish.  We booked a guided trip with Captain Rick Lee out of Bonefish Hawaii.  We fished the east coast of Oahu at Kāneʽohe Bay between the Chinaman’s Hat and Kualoa Point, Oahu.  At the day’s start, we fished the morning after a full moon, so we were fishing a low, incoming Spring Tide.  Spotting Bones was difficult, since we fished over reefs instead of sandbars, but the winds were calm, clouds were minimal, temperatures excellent, and conditions were perfectly ideal.

Cody fished first, and not long after rigging up, Cody casted to Bonefish.  Shrimp patterns were the fly of the day.  About 15 minutes in to fishing, Rick spotted a group of four Golden Trevally, and Cody casted about 35 feet.  Retrieving so that the shrimp fly jumped and fell, it was FishOn!  Cody hooked into one of the Goldens in no time and off that Trevally ran.  The Trevally’s first run simulated that of a Bonefish’s first run; however, the Trevally did not make subsequent Bonefish-esque runs.  It did however make short, deep runs, putting a good bend in Cody’s rod.  I had a blast watching Cody add to his species list!

Afterwards, it was my turn to fish, and being all of 5’2”, spotting Bones over the reef was next to impossible.  I just was not tall enough to get a good angle, so I listened to Rick and casted as close to where he was calling.  I got in a good cast and had three followers.  BAM! a nice Bonefish picked it up and ran—all 100’ of line and about 150’ of backing zinged off my reel quickly.  Rick said it was a good 10 pounder.  I reeled in most of the backing, when BAM! run #2 occurred, which was harder than the first run.  Having reeled to just where the fly line was coming in through the tip guide, the line snapped and landed at my feet.  That Bone cut the leader on a reef, leaving me about 3’.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Cody casted next, but as the tide was incoming, retrieves became a little more difficult, because the boat began to bump off the Bones.  What was a nice tight line, quickly became slack and retrieving produced no fly movement with the skiff bearing in on the schools and singles.  

Frustrated, Cody let me fish, and while I never saw any fish to which I casted, I put the fly where Rick was telling me, and it paid off.  I landed a nice 6.5 pounder, whose turquoise-tipped fins, I never tire of seeing.

Cody fished next, and with the rising tides, the Bones were moving away lest they fall to their predators, which we saw no sharks.  Bored, Cody casted his line, and ended up hooking another species first, a Trumpetfish.  Due to its elongated mouth, the fly was taken out through its gills instead of its mouth.  Until Cody caught it, I had never seen one. 

We ate anchored at Coconut Island, and watched the Navy boys practice touch-n-gos at The Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.  High tide blew out the fishing for the rest of the day, as we never saw another Bonefish even though we moved over the sandbar flats.  The low Spring tides were definitely the productive waters for the day.  Having not fished since retiring, this was a good way to break-in to retirement fishing! 


  1. Great trip!
    I've wanted to try a bonefish ever since I used to watch "Gadabout Gaddis" who flew all over the Keys and Bahama fishing mostly for bones. I don't think he fly fished. That show was way back in the late 50's, always came on before Yankee games.

    1. Cody has talked about that show before, but I personally have never seen it. Bonefishing is addicting and tiring. They take so much line off the reel and make many runs. Trick is to reel in with your dominant hand. I think Cody got a video of line going out; if so, I'll post it.


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