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The Fly Fisherman’s Omen

Bob sent me a message that he wanted to catch some bonefish before departing on his 9:00pm flight back to the East Coast.  He had just spent the week hunting for deer on Lanai with some buddies and he had an 11-hour layover. 

I fished the day before to plan for our trip and get a sense of where the fish were.  I hooked 2 and landed zero.  The fish were all over the place, but not biting.  I thought the next day might be tough, but you never know unless you go.  The winds were light from the North East.  I had a game plan!   

Bob met me at the dock at around 11:30 am.  The winds were swirling and coming from the South and Southwest, which were perfect for the time we started.  It was sunny, which meant spotting the fish would be ideal!  We got to our spot just as the tide was bottoming out.  I had just anchored the boat and looked to the opposite side of the boat to see a small he’e, or octopus, swimming at us.  I didn’t think anything of it. We investigated it, shot a quick video, and headed out to the spot.   

The tide was low, which exposed the majority of the reef.  As we walked to our spot, I pointed out a couple of bonefish swimming in the deeper ponds. It took a few shots for Bob to get accustom to seeing the bonefish.

We fished an area where a channel opened up onto the reef.  We posted up and waited.  It did not take long for Bob to start seeing the fish.  The wind and the sun were at our back and the fish were swimming at us. Perfect conditions!

Makani:  “Bob, cast 15 yards. Right there!”

Bob placed the cast perfectly.  I see the fish swimming at the fly looking at it.  I take out my camera in preparation for the fish to start taking the fly.   

Makani:  “Take it! Take it! Shit!”

At this point, I’m only hoping this is not a repeat of the day prior.  Without time to talk about it, another fish came in.  Bob casts again and this time gets a solid hook up. This fish was big.  It started running, but within a few seconds we lost it to the reef monster.  Thrilled and stoked to get a solid hookup we exchange high-fives in a jovial celebration of our partial success.  We were already an hour into fishing and were excited to have gotten at least one hook up. Knowing that these fish are finicky, Bob had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  We re-rigged and were ready for the next attempt.  

The next hour proved to be magical.  He hooked two more bonefish within the next 30 minutes.   We lost each one to the reef monster, even snapping the main line.  After hooking a fish, it took less than 5 minutes for the next bonefish to show up.  Bob was in the zone!  

I responded in shock, “that was number four! You might want to start running after the fish if you want to land it.”

The tide was creeping in and we had a lot of area to cover.  We moved about 100 yards down the reef, when it happened.  A bone was coming straight at us.  The wind and sun rays were in the front of us which made seeing fish super difficult.   

Makani:   “Bob, there is a fish about 15 yards to our front. Cast 10 yards out.”

Bob laid out the cast perfectly.  The fish reacted quickly, and the fight was on!  Bob started to weave his way around the little coral heads to keep the line clear. For the next 5 minutes, it was an all-out-run-in knee-deep water.  Bob was not about to lose another fish to the reef monster. He demonstrated his angling ability with this fish.  As the fish started to round a coral head, he would lift the rod high and move toward the coral head in the opposite direction.   With each obstacle presenting a new challenge, he reacted perfectly.  After missing 4, we finally had the 5thbonefish at leader.  SUCCESS!

True joy!  Bob said the fight with that bonefish was harder than hiking up and down the valleys during his week-long hunt.  What a rush!  It was an awesome moment and to be a part of it was even better.   

We moved another 100 yards down the reef and saw a few more bonefish.  We hooked another and lost it, taking the total count to 6.  After that, we hooked another and even got the initial take on video.  Then, we landed number 7 and lost it again.

Altogether, we hooked 8 bonefish.  This was my record with a client!  It doesn’t happen often. We are usually stoked with just 1 bonefish.  I suggested that Bob stop by Las Vegas on his way back to the East Coast.    

As we walked back to the boat, we talked about seeing the octopus earlier that day.  Bob mentioned that the octopus had 8 legs, and we caught 8 bonefish.  Was the he’e an omen?  This day turned into a spiritual moment.  The stars had aligned, the guardians of the ocean were with us, and the elements in our favor.  So, if you ever see an octopus, or he’e, before you start your fishing adventure, the odds may be in your favor.  

Check out the video here.

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