Sunday, February 20, 2011

Random vacation pics

Some random pics from a fine time in Kauai. Highlights included much snorkeling with the kids, excellent food at a luau (plus some really cool fire dancing), stunning scenery and many laughs with kids and family. More fish pics to come later.

We spotted many creatures while snorkeling, including both trivially and a few bonefish. I saw one big monster bone that must have been close to double digits. Amazing what we ran across just swimming around.

Both kids were troupers. Eli a is a fish and quite simply darted around wherever she wanted to go. JJ took right to it as well, though he tended to hold my hand and climb on my back for a short ride when tired. Pretty amazing to see this world with your kids.

The luau was awesome. Pulled pork and a fire dancing show...

The kids loved being buried.

Elia's hair turns curly every time we go somewhere humid.

JJ loved his snorkeling gear!

Kelly with a huge avocado. We ate lots of great local place where we had dinner called the Eastside was particularly awesome!

Just a great vacation...when do we go back?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Family Vacation

Been a great vacation thus far, with most of the highlights involving the smiling faces of my wife and kids (including burying all but JJ's smiling face in the sand today, classic picture) but I did bring the 7 wt and so far have found four occasions to chuck some feathers in the ocean.

Occasion number one occurred the first day here. While playing on the beach in front of the resort with the kids I spotted a bunch of needlefish in the shallows. Not one to be a species snob and knowing full well that needlefish are not likely to eat a fly, I ran back to the room and grabbed the rod anyway. I tied on a clouser and on the second cast I hooked and landed a small barracuda! Not much of a fight, but I was pretty happy to have something to show the kids. A few minutes later I hooked and landed a kidding. Neither fish was very big, but it was a good start.

Occasion two was the only planned fishing day. I hooked up with Rob Arita from Rob is a great guy and we had a nice time wandering the bonefish flats of Kauai. Unfortunately, my lack of luck in guided trips continued. We wandered out on the coral flats and about thirty minutes in Rob spotted a bone at 80 ft. Bonefish in Hawaii are not your typical bones...they are big. According to Rob the average bone is around 6 lbs and he catches them in the ten lb range Only thirty minutes in and I am staring at a big bone moving toward me at a perfect angle. I could clearly see the fish and I locked in on him as I started my cast. I made a false cast or two and dropped the fly in what looked like the right place. Then it got weird. I swear, I had clear vision on the fish and was totally zoned in on that shadow in the midst of the other shadows of the coral flats. When my fly landed though...the fish was simply gone. It was like one of those old ninja movies where the ninja disappears in a cloud of smoke, only no smoke. The fish just vanished. And that...was that. No other fish were spotted as clouds rolled in and conditions turned to shit. A bit disappointing for sure, but I have come to expect this when I hire a guide...I seem to be the "anti-guide". Big thanks to Rob for continuing the search despite no visibility...but that one big bone will haunt me.

Almost as much as the fish from Occasion three. With a big luau event planned one night we stayed in that afternoon so JJ could nap (while I watched the duke game). With some time left to kill after naps, the kids and Kelly took a walk on the beach and I snuck off to a nearby rock pile and started chucking some flies. A few minutes in I felt a strike and then basically hauled in a very strange creature. A trumpetfish. Somehow this thing had swallowed my clouser whole, getting the hook out was a nightmare. I have never seen one up close but it was basically a two foot long tube about 2 inches thick. Crazy. I released the goofy thing and started casting again and stripping the clouser as fast as I could. Out of nowhere something slammed my fly and I was hooked up with a real fish. No baby barracuda, no goofy trumpet or needlefish...this fish was serious. In seconds all the line at my feet had cleared the guides and my reel screamed as the fish took off...with about 20 ft of fly line left and my smile growing with each turn of the reel, the fish came unpinned. Just gone. That was it for the evening of fishing. I have zero clue what that thing was.

Occasion four was today. At this point I have come to realize that unless a guy is sight fishing, saltwater fishing is mostly about booming out a big cast with a clouser, and then stripping as fast as you can. I put that philosophy to use after some reef snorkeling this afternoon, and almost immediately hooked up with a big fish. The trouble with coral is that it is sharp! Ten seconds into the battle and the fish (again unknown) had cut me off on the reef edge. Bummer. I kept casting and stripping the fly as fast as I could and lucked into another smashing take! This time I managed to control the fish (mostly because it was not a beast!) and I kept it up above the reef edge. A few minutes later I waded to shore to show a blue fin trivially to the kids. Not a huge one, but it felt good to land something. I spent some more time poking around the edge of the reef and hooked and lost a couple more fish, nothing that felt huge but just getting the jolt of a strike was great. When the sun would pop out I could see my fly and I saw a few fish chase, including another trumpet fish and what looked like a parrot fish. Fascinating experience.

One day left in Hawaii. We will likely snorkel some more, and if I get the chance I will throw a few more flies as far as I can, and strip as fast as I a can and hopefully hang onto whatever bites.

More pics to come.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Think the staff would notice a guy with polarized glasses and a 9 ft 6 inch 7 weight?

I actually chucked a few flies from the beach already, landing a needlefish and a small barracuda. Saw a four ft long something swim by and changed to a big monster white streamer. A few minutes later a two ft long something chased the fly a few feet. No clue what either fish was, other than a promising start.
Best part was that the kids saw both fish I landed. They were collecting rocks, etc just a few feet away. Great start to a vacation.


The view this morning.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Thanks to the Haddis Catch for spotting a sweet MT blog called Yukon Goes Fishing. Good stuff, and it makes me more than a little homesick. Added to the sidebar if you want to check it out.

Fishpond Cloudburst

Over the past couple of months I have added far more than I should have to my stash of fly fishing gear. I can't help it, I am a total gear junkie. One of the items was the Fishpond Cloudburst, which in a bit of a staggering display of the ridiculous is a gear know, designed to hold, well...gear. Trust me, none of this is lost on me but I have to say that if you are looking for a way to store and organize your stuff, you can't go wrong with the cloudburst. If interested in the features, check out their website but basically, this bag will hold all the stuff you need to cover your bases and is the ideal "grab it and go" bag. I filled mine with a variety of items so in effect, all I have to do is grab the rod of choice and I am ready for any species OR has to offer.