Hawaiian Bones II, Bonefish Fly Rods, Flats Flies, Buff Headwear

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Hawaiian Bonefish with Hawaii on the Fly

The view of tropical storm Ana from our condo.

We arrived in Honolulu right before Ana touched down, she had turned from a category one hurricane into a tropical storm as she swung into Oahu, making the first two days of our trip impossible to fish. It looked more like I was on the Oregon Coast that in Hawaii. 

Fish on!
O'io or Hawaiian Bonefish (Albula vulpe) are very skittish and highly intelligent creatures that typically hunt for food in twos or threes, although I have heard that their schools can be over a hundred.  I traveled back to Oahu to see if I could become part of the 14 pounder club.

A few months before my trip I scheduled a couple of days with Mike Henessey of Hawaii on the Fly, but as luck would have it, he had to go to Cabo San Lucas for the 2014 Bisbee's Black & Blue Marlin Tournament where the top prize is well over $300,000.  He set me up with Kendrick (Kenny) Karas and told me I wouldn't be disappointed.  Again he was dead on, as Kenny is an exceptional guide and fly fisherman.  Kenny is a native Floridian and moved to Hawaii about 12 years ago.  He started guiding with Mike about 2 1/2 years ago, and hasn't looked back yet. 

The first day out we met up at Lox of Bagels near Sand Island at about 5:45 AM and headed for the boat ramp.  The skies were overcast, of course, since I was the one going fishing in Hawaii; and I'm 2 for 2 on the Hurricane in Hawaii. On the other hand it was a good day for tailing, and as we anchored the boat, we started seeing those silvery tails everywhere. 

This guy ran like a bat out of hell!
Because of the size of bonefish on the Hawaiian flats people think you need heavier weight rods like #9. Yes, 9 weights can be beneficial when you hook into a monster 14 pound bonefish, but good luck getting close enough to one of those if you can't present the fly softly and precisely. I believe that Mike Henessey once told me that he prefers 7 weights and I know that Kenny Karas likes 6 weights.
First weapon of choice was the Cross S1 Flatsman 890-4.  This rod was loaded with a RIO Bonefish Quickshooter Line and cast with beautiful precision and strength.  Winds were typically around 15-20 MPH and I had no difficulty casting with this combination.  If you haven't tried a Loop Cross S1, you should because you will fall in love with them, and it will be a lasting and trustworthy relationship.

Love my Simms fingerless gloves!
My next weapon of choice was the TFO Mangrove 890-4, and let me tell you this is a great rod at any price, lucky though, it only costs $260!  I paired this rod with my Lamson Litespeed 3.5 and an Airflo bonefish line.  The thrill you get when an 8 pound bonefish takes your fly and rips through your line and backing like a torpedo, is almost as good as your first kiss. I wasn't surprised about how this rod and reel handled these bonefish, after all, Flip Pallot designed the rod, and I think he knows a little bit about the subject!

Kenny weighed this one just shy of 8 lbs.

My wife Angie told me that she wanted to learn how to fly fish while we were there, and I fell even deeper in love with her.  I put the TFO Mangrove in her hands and proceeded to instruct her on the basics.  She catches on pretty quick, and was casting within minutes.  The TFO is great for people who want high quality gear without breaking the bank. To call this a beginners rod would not do it justice, I'm keeping it in my arsenal. You might be surprised at the price though, only $260-$280 for these rods is a steal in my book.

My wife Angie giving fly fishing a try for the first time!

We encountered a couple of interesting and annoying varieties of fish while teaching Angie to cast. With almost every cast, if I didn't hook into a bonefish, I would go for another try, and notice that my cast was retarded by one of the fish below.

This is a trumpet-fish, what Hawiians call a "nunu" and if you don't get hooked into a bonefish, this annoying thing will snatch your fly.

A flying fish grabbed my fly, dove and wrapped the leader around a pipe.

These little "Papio" Trevally Jack's were pretty much everywhere! One almost hit me in the face on my back cast, because you don't know they are on!

This little GT gave an honorable fight, he was released to grow up to maybe reach over 100 lbs.

Bonefish Fly Rods
These rods come highly recommended from the staff at The Fly Fishing Shop!

890-4 CROSS S1 Flatsman Length: 9'    Line: 8     Pieces: 4
This is a great choice for the ultimate bonefish rod, it casts with amazing precision and accuracy while feeling light and sturdy in your hands.
Item Series Line Wt. Action   Price To Top
CROF890-4MF CROSS S1 8 Medium Fast   $845 Sale Ended

TFO MANGROVE 08 90 Length: 9'     Line: #8     Pieces: 4
Your all around bonefish cannon. This rod will cast into the wind and deliver the fly with brilliant accuracy.
Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
0890 Mangrove 8 Fast 8 $249.95 Sale Ended

Winston Boron III-SX890

Length: 9'       Line: #8     Pieces: 4   

An excellent choice for fishing with "Clouser" type lines, this rod can shoot line with authority. Great for bonefish, stripers, Atlantic salmon and steelhead.
Rod weight: 4 3/8 Ounces.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
890 Boron III-SX 8 Super Fast Full Wells $835 Sale Ended

Beulah OPAL890-4

Length: 9'    Line: #8     Pieces: 4

Another deadly rod for flats fishing. The fast action blank flexes it's muscles throughout the rod, and reacts beautifully for quick, delicate and accurate presentation. The super-fast recovery keeps you ready for any flashes of green that might appear on the flats.

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
OPAL890-4 Opal 8 Fast Standard $620 Sale Ended

G. Loomis NRX 1088-4 FLY Length: 9'     Line: #8     Pieces: 4

This smooth casting 8-weight 9-foot fly rod for fishing the flats for bones. It has the versatility and quickness of a much lighter rod, with more power than you can ever imagine. Tight loops and great range in such a lightweight package make this, the G. Loomis top choice for bonefish, permit, snook, stripers, blues, salmon, steelhead, pike and any number of big fish.

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
11919-01 NRX
8 Fast   $805 Sale Ended
12036-01 NRX
8 Fast   $805 Sale Ended

Flats Fly Directory

Flats flies are for most fish that live on warm saltwater flats including Hawaiian Bones. These species might include bonefish, permit, redfish, and also fish that are on the flats seasonally such as bluefish, sea trout, jacks, lady fish, cobia, etc. These flies imitate shrimp and crabs, and other closely related critters.
Fly Box Deal = FREE $5 Box With Each $50 Fly Purchase

Avalon Permit Fly
Avalon Permit Fly

Bonafide Crab

Bone Minnow, Gray/White

Bone Minnow, Olive/White

Bone Shrimp, Tan

Bone Wigglers, Pink

Bone Wigglers, Tan

Bonefish Bitters, Amber
Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab
Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab

Bonefish Bitters, Olive

Bonefish, Critter

Bonefish Scampi

Bonefish Slider

Bubble Crab, Orange

Bubble Crab, Tan

Charley, Gold/Brown
Charley, Pink
Charley, Pink

Charley, Tan

Christmas Isl. Sp., Orange

Christmas Isl. Sp., Pink

Christmas Is. Sp., Tan

Class 4 Twister, White

Crafty Shrimp

Crimp, Merkin Brown

Crimp, Tan

Defiant Crab, Brown

Defiant Crab, Olive

Defiant Crab, Tan
EP Spawning Shrimp, Root Beer
EP Spawning Shrimp, RB
EP Spawning Shrimp, Tan
EP Spawning Shrimp, Tan

Hair Shrimp, Tan

Kwan, Chartreuse

Kwan, Tan

Merkin Permit Crab

Mini Krystal Shrimp,  Chart.

Mini Krystal Shrimp, Pink

Natural Crab,Green
Natural Crab,Green
Natural Crab,Tan
Natural Crab,Tan

Puff Shrimp, Orange

Puff Shrimp, Tan/Orange
Raghead Crab
Raghead Crab


Redfish Toad, Bronze
Redfish Toad, Bronze
Redfish Toad, Gold
Redfish Toad, Gold

Redfish Ration, Amber

Redfish Ration, Bronze

Super Shrimp, Borski's

Reefer Mantis

Sand Crab, Bleached


 Super Shrimp

Teeny Bonefish Fly

Turd Fly
Hook Sharpener

Frog Hair Fluorocarbon Tippet

Bluewater   Dorado
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Bluewater Camo Print

Item Description Price To Top
18701 Buff Multifunctional Headwear, COLOR Bluewater Camo Print Buff $23 Sale Ended

Dorado Print

Item Description Price To Top
18930 Buff Multifunctional Headwear, COLOR Dorado Print $23 Sale Ended

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We have been in business since April 21, 1981.

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