Op­tions aplenty for vis­i­tors who wish to fish

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - MARK JOHN­STON

Many of us have fam­ily or friends com­ing to visit the state of Hawaii this win­ter sea­son that may wish to go fish­ing, or maybe you would like to get out and have some fun on the wa­ter your­self.

Be­ing home to eight prin­ci­pal is­lands that en­com­pass a di­ver­sity of un­der­sea to­pog­ra­phy, coast­lines, tides and cur­rents, the state of Hawaii has it all.

Fish­ing around this trop­i­cal par­adise is con­sis­tently good year-round, both in­shore and off­shore.

This week I’d like to talk about a few ex­cel­lent, eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties you, or those vis­it­ing, might be in­ter­ested in found in Hawai­ian wa­ters.

Specif­i­cally, the un­be­liev­able bone­fish­ing in Oahu and Molokai, and the off­shore fish­ing found off Kona.

Rest as­sured su­perb fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able — re­gard­less of what Hawai­ian is­land you go too.

BONEFISH IN HAWAII?

Did you know Hawaii has in­cred­i­ble bone­fish­ing? I didn’t un­til I did a story on a grander blue mar­lin caught off Oahu in 2009. Af­ter dis­cussing the mon­ster blue, the con­ver­sa­tion some­how switched to big bonefish.

Spend­ing a good por­tion of my life fish­ing in the Bahamas, I was a lit­tle skep­ti­cal of the claims of round jaw (com­mon) bonefish up to 20 pounds, shots at fish every day over 10 pounds, and the av­er­age fish weigh­ing in the 6-9pound range. That is un­til I saw it for my­self and con­tinue to see it with reg­u­lar up­dates from the area.

While big bonefish are found on the Big Is­land, they are not easy to catch, and you need to know where you are go­ing.

If you or a vis­i­tor is in­ter­ested in catch­ing big bonefish on fly­rod or light spin­ning gear, there are two lo­ca­tions I would highly rec­om­mend.

They are the gor­geous flats found off of Oahu and Molokai. The bone­fish­ing on th­ese two is­lands may be one of Hawaii’s best-kept se­crets,

and the guides on th­ese is­lands are su­perb.

IN­SHORE OAHU

Bone­fish­ing on Oahu is a must-do! Oahu has ex­ten­sive flats and four large ar­eas to fish, with over 30 flats rang­ing in size from small pan­cake flats to 6-mile con­nect­ing flats and bar­rier reefs.

Sight fish­ing is in­cred­i­bly fun, and on the right tides big fish will tail up in the shal­low wa­ter chas­ing man­tis shrimp and crabs.

Bluefin trevally and golden trevally are abound and will eat the same man­tis shrimp fly pat­terns used for big bonefish. The trevally can get up to 15 pounds. You might even get a shot at the rare sharp jaw bonefish.

My best sug­ges­tion would be to con­tact Mike Hen­nessy for in­for­ma­tion – he is the man when it comes to bone­fish­ing on Oahu. If you’re com­ing in from Kona or an­other Hawai­ian is­land, Mike or one of his guides, will pick you up and drop you back off at the air­port free of charge. Kona has mul­ti­ple flights to Honolulu every day.

If in­ter­ested, visit hawai­ion­the­fly.com or email mike@ hawai­ion­the­fly.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Be ad­vised — great off­shore fish­ing trips can be found on Oahu too.

IN­SHORE MOLOKAI

Molokai is a hid­den gem, just north of Maui. The flats off this se­cluded is­land are pro­tected by a fring­ing reef along the en­tire south shore of the is­land. With very lit­tle boat traf­fic and fish­ing pres­sure, the bone­fish­ing ar­eas are pris­tine.

Molokai is a beau­ti­ful is­land. There are no traf­fic lights, no build­ings higher than the sur­round­ing palm trees and it’s home to Hawaii’s long­est beach, which is 2.2 miles long.

Molokai cer­tainly doesn’t have all the ameni­ties like Oahu, but it does have all the ameni­ties needed for one to have a su­pe­rior bone­fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. And like Oahu, the bonefish around Molokai are big, with the av­er­age catch weigh­ing 5-9 pounds.

From the is­lands of Maui or Oahu, it is easy to make a sin­gle or mul­ti­ple day trips to Molokai for a bonefish ad­ven­ture. There are daily flights, and a ferry from Maui, that go to this en­chanted is­land.

If you are in­ter­ested in a great bone­fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on Molokai, I would rec­om­mend Clay Ching of Hal­lelu­jah Hou Fish­ing 336-1870 or visit hal­lelu­jah­houfish­ing.com.

OFF­SHORE KONA

Kona is one of the world’s great­est fish­ing des­ti­na­tions. If you have fam­ily or friends who like to fish com­ing to visit, they are in the right place. Honoko­hau Har­bor has char­ter fish­ing boats of all shapes and sizes and is home to some of the world’s finest cap­tains and crews

You may have heard the off­shore fish­ing slows down in the win­ter here, but that’s a rel­a­tive state­ment – it’s com­par­ing the win­ter bite to the red-hot spring and sum­mer spawn­ing sea­son.

In real­ity, even in the win­ter, a day fish­ing the calm wa­ters off the coast of West Hawaii of­fers greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for an amaz­ing catch than 80 per­cent of the world’s fish­eries dur­ing their prime sea­sons.

In Kona, when we say we have the “win­ter blues,” it means the blue mar­lin are bit­ing, and right now they are, the blue mar­lin bite has been great. Last week alone, there were over 20 re­ported mar­lin catches — and those are only the ones that were re­ported.

The big­gest fish of the week was caught by Greg Low. Low weighed a 622-pound blue mar­lin he caught with Capt. Ge­orge Kiss­ner on the Laakea. Two other boats also had nice blue mar­lin over 500 pounds that were tagged and re­leased, with Gregg Mar­so­lias reel­ing in his catch fish­ing with Capt. McGrew Rice on the Ihu Nui, and Kally Couzens, fish­ing with Capt. Mar­lin Parker on the Mar­lin Magic II.

Kona is one of the world’s only fish­ing des­ti­na­tions where it’s pos­si­ble to catch a blue or striped mar­lin, short­bill spearfish, big ahi, mahi-mahi, ono, along with the pos­si­bil­ity of a black mar­lin or Pa­cific sail­fish on any given day.

If you read my grander ar­ti­cle last week, you’ll know that grander blue mar­lin have been caught off Kona year­round, so you never know what you might find fish­ing the beau­ti­ful wa­ters of West Hawaii.

This time of the year is also the time for big ahi. The say­ing for ahi goes like this — if you want quan­tity, fish the spring; if you want qual­ity, fish the fall. Huge ahi over 200 pounds can be found around por­poise schools in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Win­ter is also a good time for short­bill spearfish, mahimahi and ono. Ex­cel­lent ta­ble fare and a real treat for any hol­i­day guest.

Th­ese are just a few op­tions for some fun on the wa­ter in our won­der­ful state.

Trust me, once you have a great day fish­ing, you’ll be hooked.

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