Kathy and I visited Oahu from 12/15/2011 – 12/26/2011. Our kids and grandkids (Laina, Matt, Kara and Benet Levy) were invited for an X-Mas gathering by Matt’s sister Sasha and husband Greg, along with ourselves and others. Greg is a Colonel in the US Army, and we stayed at their house on the Wheeler Army Air Force Base, inland on Oahu (attacked by the Japanese along with Pearl Harbor). They and their two kids – Ethan and Brooke – were very gracious hosts.
We visited all of the island except for the western shore, which (we were informed) is a stronghold of Hawaiian nationalism, and intolerant of non-Hawaiian visitors.
It should first be noted that the winter Hawaiian climate is sensational, with moderate temps and moderate rainfall. Rainbows abound!
It is 20 minutes to the North Shore from the Air Force Base, and we first pulled up to the Beach Park at Haleiwa. There we immediately saw two sea turtles grazing on the rocks 30′ from shore. We continued to Sunset Beach and watched some surfing action in large waves. Afterwards, we stopped at the landmark Ted’s Bakery for a late breakfast.
We drove around the NE corner of the island to the NE shore and stopped at various beach parks along the way, including some that were supposed to offer fishing for bonefish at low tide.
We made our way down to Kaneohe Bay and located an access to a flat that also was supposed to have bonefishing possibilities. We spent a while walking on the flat but saw no fish.
A word about Honolulu. It’s a beautiful city but very crowded, and rush hour traffic is a nightmare. It takes an hour and a half to get out of town at these times.
During the next few days (before the kids arrived) we continued to visit other locales, which included: snorkeling at the famous Hanauma Bay which, while very crowded, is still worth it:
… the bonefish flats at Hickam AF Base (but, again, we saw no fish – except for the submarine entering Pearl Harbor a quarter-mile away):
… the “sunken island” in Kaneohe Bay, which we paddled to in a rented two-person kayak:
… a short stroll on the NW coast in the company of our hosts:
… and a morning of fishing for bonefish with guide Mike Hennessy.We met Mike at “Lox of Bagels” at 6 AM. This is the only bagel shop in Honolulu, and is located in the warehouse district, adjacent to Keehi Lagoon. Mike had trailered his boat and we put in at the small boat marina close to the bagel shop. In 5 minutes we were tied off to some mangroves and, as it began to lighten, we commenced to wade on Triangle Flat, in water not over a foot deep. This flat is bounded by dredged channels on three sides, and one channel separates the flat from the airport. We elected to use Mike’s rods and flies. Kathy had a TFO 6 wt and myself a 7 wt. Our flies were very lightly weighted, and fuzzy. Mike called this time of day the “witching hour”, when the fish were more likely to take a fly than later. We soon saw fish, all of them large, with their dorsal fins and tails sticking out of the water. In a few minutes, I hooked a fish that immediately ran at least 200′ and then got off. Shortly thereafter, I had another take, but pulled the fly out of the fish’s mouth. Mike put a crab fly on Kathy’s rod and she hooked a big one (Mike estimated it to be 8 lbs.), which she played successfully. Mike took pix with his Canon (which he carried in a waterproof case). We continued to see fish, but they uniformly spooked when the fly landed. But when we cast further to the side they wouldn’t see the fly. Mike had warned us that this would be “varsity” bonefishing. On one occasion, Kathy cast to a pair of fish. First, one fish mouthed and then spit the fly out, as did the second fish – a double “refusal”. We switched to another close-by flat and saw some fish, but no takes. We returned to the marina at 11 AM. Despite having landed just the one fish between us, we considered the day to have been another “great moment in sports”, in the great outdoors. The bonefish were huge, and we had plenty of shots. It’s just that … they were hard! Mike is a real pro. His normal charge is $400 a half day, but I got the 5 hours for $300. Yes, guided bonefishing is a real luxury for a 99%’er, but, shit, I already got one foot in the grave. Who knows how many more chances I’ll have to spend time on a bonefish flat, after all.
Kathy, I, Matt and Laina did a couple of dives out of Hawaii Kai, a very pretty suburb to the east of Waikiki:
Then it was time to celebrate the Holidays.