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Subscriber Kenneth Spint gives a rave review to his bonefishing experience in the Honolulu, Hawaii, area this past January but goes on to warn fellow subscribers that it is a very challenging fishery. He fished two days, he says, with Captain Mike Hennessy and Captain Collin Huff of Hawaii on the Fly (www.hawaiibonefishguides.com), confining his efforts to Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of the island and to the flats around Honolulu International Airport. He says both these guides have “excellent skills, eyes, and equipment, and they are fun to be with on the hunt for big bonefish.”
“This is an amazing fishery,” Spint goes on to write. “For me, this fishing redefines the sport of bonefishing. My first hookup was to a six-pound fish that stripped off more than 250 yards of my backing on its first run. Unfortunately, there are not great numbers of bonefish here, as they are actively netted by the locals. You can find them, shrink-wrapped, sold in the markets. The locals appear to have no interest in reversing this practice, either. I have no data on what effect this has on fishing but I think it is significant that I rarely saw schools of one- to two-pound fish and, after a day of netting on one flat, the number of sighted fish of any size was very much below normal.
“On the plus side, what I did see was very exciting – namely, 10- to 13-pound fish in singles and doubles that I could cast to. The sight casting was from flat boats or from easily walked sandy-grassy flats around the airport. This fishery requires your ‘A’ game. It demands absolute stealth, with no excessive movement in your casting technique, no movement of your feet in the boat – in fact, no noise of any sort from the boat’s casting deck. You absolutely have to have the ability to cast 40 to 50 feet and lay your fly down softly. Both guides told me you can expect to cast to ten sighted fish for every one you hook up. And be aware that it is not easy to bring a bonefish to the boat here. I hooked seven fish in the two fishable days I had, and I brought only three of those to the boat. The big problem is being cut off on one of the many coral heads in the area. Basically, what you had to do was manage your line pressure so a hooked fish is contained on the flats. Once a fish gets off the flats, you have to leave your line slack and chase your fish around the coral heads. Indeed, this is a fishery of many leader and fly changes.”
Spint calls the overall experience “quite special” but he warns against coming here expecting to catch a lot of fish. He gives the cost of a day of guiding here as $600.