Fd: Can you tell us a bit about how the idea of setting up a fly-fishing operation in Hawaii came up?
Growing up in Hawaii provided for lots of year-round outdoor activities; surfing, outrigger canoe paddling, sailing, free diving and of course fishing. We were in the ocean every day as kids. We got interested in fly fishing back in the late 70’s on a summer trip to the Rocky Mountains. Upon our return to Honolulu my brother and I soon put our grandfathers old fly rods into action for a variety of reef fish including giant trevally and bonefish.
I got really into fly fishing when I was in college in the mid 1980’s and started guiding as a summer gig. Since then I have been super fortunate to be involved with some of the worlds best destination fly fishing lodges from Argentina, to Colorado, to Russia. Whenever we made it home to Hawaii we fished for bones like crazy, never seeing another fly angler. It was great while it lasted.
As interest in both fly fishing and bonefishing grew, more friends and clients asked us to take them out to give it a try here on Oahu. Before too long we were fishing from a skiff to access more water and began taking a few charters to pay for gas and beer.
For the past 10 years or so, we have been in Hawaii full-time and on the water quite a bit. We are always stoked to see guests from previous lodges as well as making new friends who are visiting Hawaii and want to check it out.
Fd: Why do you think every fly fisherman should visit your destinations?
Hawaii is widely known for having the “best weather on the planet.” We enjoy a year-round fishery and some MONSTER bonefish. There is never any shortage of opportunity but the fish can be very challenging at times. The challenge/reward calculus is not for everyone but if you are crazy into beast bonefish like we are, there are few better places on the planet.
Additionally, Hawaii is just a short charter flight away from Christmas Island in the Republic of Kiribati. We travel to both Christmas Island and Fanning Island regularly to host groups. We have been visiting this remote Pacific Atoll since 1979 and would love to spend a week with your group fishing the incredible 144 square miles of wadeable flats, lagoon and offshore.
Fd: During which months is the season open over there?
We fish all year in Hawaii which is great news for anglers travelling from coldweather climates to visit. More good news is that Hawaii does not require a saltwater fishing license. There are lots of places on Oahu you can make a few casts to big tailing bonefish along the 100+ miles of sandy beaches.
Fd: What kind of fly-fishing gear should anglers take for a week over there?
We generally like a 9 foot number 7 or 8 rod with a saltwater taper floating line. Make sure you have a reel with a great drag and at least 150 yards of backing. On our charters we provide Sage Saltwater rods Nautilus and Hatch reels. We have found through experience that using gelspun or #30 dacron backing will payoff. There are may reef flats that are lined with sharp coral that will slice through 20 pound dacron like butter.
Fd: What are the top 5 flies that should be included in our boxes?
Popular flies in Hawaii are generally larger with lead eyes. This is due to the fact that fish are often found in knee-deep water and you need to get the fly in the zone fast. Tan or light brown are always a good bet. More important than pattern is to pick a fly from your box that matches the bottom color you are fishing and has the right sink rate. Mantis Shrimp patterns will get you in the game, as will Crab and Attractor Bonefish flies. Best advice for flies is to experiment, when you pick right Hawaiian fish are as aggressive as Bonefish get. Don’t forget #15 pound tippet, lighter leader will be toast on the first big run the fish takes though the reef.
Fd: How's the program for a typical fly-fishing day?
We make a different plan every day as the conditions in Hawaii are continually changing. Most days you can plan on 15 mile per hour trade winds and passing cloud cover. Most Hawaii flats have a limited tidal window so you need to plan accordingly.
We provide a great lunch, cold drinks, top shelf fly gear, and a Maverick flats skiff (the only one in Hawaii).
Fd: How is the lodging in terms of accommodation and facilities?
There is lots to choose from in Honolulu and surrounding areas. Everything from resort high rise hotels to out-of-the-way beach rentals. We generally meet guests with the skiff at a predetermined time and place to take advantage of prevailing conditions. For the most part everything is close by so getting around with a rental car or by Uber is easy.
Fd: How long before should anglers contact the lodge for reservations?
We generally book up well in advance as we enjoy quite a few return guests each year. Drop us a note on our website BonfishHawaii.com and we can get you more info.
Fd: Any other advice for those visiting your area?
Although we have a great fishery here in Hawaii please don’t come just to fish. There are a ton of other great adventures and things to see. Check online as there is lots to do. ALOHA.
Contact Bonefish Hawaii through our Travel directory, right here: Go.