|Gad dang pretty water - North Shore|
Naomi and I may be the only people we know who had never been to Hawaii - so we went for 2 weeks.
The hiking and snorkeling were really really good. If the water is clear I would even say Snorkel instead of Fish as you will learn a lot more. And since mid-day fishing is so so sparse and so random due to the clear water and lack of structure that I would say hike all day instead - and fish LATE afternoon and or dusk if you can familyman. Thats pretty much true most fishing places in fair weather... unless you need the water to warm up or you have day-active open-water fish like Mackerel or Bluefish around. But with Hawaii clear water and your target species being very transient mobile blow-by predators it seemed even more true in Kauai.
….so here's the fishing report....
I fished all saltwater - mostly the North Shore of Kauai and a little bit on Ohau.
The North Shores are getting the bigger surf in winter - so I had that as a factor everywhere.
|Dark day had the papio inside a walled lagoon|
Now I use a variety of artificials on a 6’6” 4 piece travel rod rated for 6-12lb. line. It is the beefiest 4 pc. travel rod Cabelas sells and it will fit in carry-on luggage. For gear on Kauai - Hanapepe General had a lot of decent spinning gear and lures and their prices were good. I wish I had found them when I broke my reel on day 3! I ended up fishing most of the trip with a lousy chinese reel - that in all fairness lasted almost the full 10 days that it needed to.
|A coral head teems with life - South Shore|
The highlight of the trip was a Papio in the shorebreak on a popper at first light !!
(The same wooden Hi-Roller popper I caught my biggest snook on in FL)
|Lawrence Kansas on a clear day|
I saw Mullet of various sizes and Needlefish school up in the lagoons in late afternoon in small schools of 20-30 fish or so but never any getting blitzed.
They also have an extremely pretty Trevally in Hawaii called the Bluefin Trevally which I was told fights even harder than the GT’s. And a Surfer at the Surf Shop in Kapaa showed me a photo of 10lb. Bluefin he struggled with on a bass rod.
Apparently they eat Trevally in Hawaii ? Years ago I tried cooking a small Jack Crevalle that I had bled and iced right away after catching - based on a recipe in Florida Sportsman - it was edible but not good and I would never kill one again unless starving.
|Amish man with perfectly ripe Breadfruit|
In Hawaii with lures from shore you are pretty much fishing for Trevally or Bonefish or Barracuda. You kind of have to decide what you are targeting as the Bones are not much of fish eaters right? and the Cuda can bite through any leader material except steel wire. I feel like the only roll-of-the-dice you have for the Trevally is some reef structure or drop off with dawn or dusk lighting and/or murkier water and false dawn/cloudy stormy day and/or all of the above. The few sessions I had with them they blew through really quickly. I would only hook 2 or 3 and land 1 or 2. In Florida we would get them to hang in a small basin on low tide and hammer almost any jig thrown in there for 15 min. sometimes. Maybe Bonefish are more actively feeding mid-day on certain flats.. but alas Kauai has not many flats to speak of...that I saw at least. Anyone feel free to inform me on this Bonefish stuff.
|A good spot on the East side Kauai|
You just don’t have Snappers or Groupers here in Hawaii - which in Florida are your more resident inshore predator and associate with structure. According to my hawaii fish book they do have a fish called a Grey Snapper or Uku on Hawaii that looks like an awesome gamefish - it occurs in 80 - 300’ of water! I did see the largest species of Goatfish - the one with the spot - foraging on the bottom in 10-12 feet of water much like a bonefish. I also saw a massive slowly cruising Bonefish while snorkeling in about 4 feet of slightly milky water. And I saw a single specimen of the introduced Snapper while snorkeling at Lawai.
Small Barracuda zipped right through 55 lb. flouro leader 8 times in about 30 minutes one morning when I left my steel leader in the room ! Rookie mistake or Florida Cuda teeth are not that sharp! dang! In fact I only landed 1 Cuda the whole trip. But if you put on steel in that clear water you can expect less hook ups from bigger smarter leader shy fish. A spinning strategy for the Bonefish would be to put on a Skimmer jig that matches the sand and fish it so that it kicks up some clouds of dust. (more of this next time....) Note: Bring lots of small tan jigs!
|web photo of the introduced Peacock Grouper|
The 9” grouper hit hard and fought really hard briefly as they do ...but this non-native species of grouper does not get very big and a 16” fish would be a big one.
What Hawaii does have a lot of is what a redfisherman would call “Crust” - or plenty of surface ripple to hide your presence. Gin clear water everywhere but never glass calm.
|The Dance Macabre Giant Trevally|
|why do i like this ?|
I saw very few people fishing - ?? Hmmm... why is this. I’ll confess - It is hard to fish here from shore. Maybe because the better season for fishing is March through September. The first mate on the sunset sail we went on out of North Shore Ohau said most of the bait balls happen in August. On the sail in 250’ of water they were dragging a spoon on the top of the water and hooked a 15 lb. Aku or Skipjack Tuna!
|Napali Coast velvet mountains plunging to sea|
The last morning I was there Naomi and I hiked to a quiet beach in the pre-dawn darkness.
I was fishing my red 'n white popper in the dark and between casts - out where I was casting I saw what looked to be 2 or 3 Trevally blow by and and pop and bust the surface and create some big swirls in a few feet of water in the way that fish with big foreheads can....but before I could land a second cast it was over and they were gone.