Monday, September 28, 2015

new flies: squimps and specials.

With the easy breezy summer in the islands (well not that breezy this summer) coming to an end.  i thought it would be a good idea to share a few new flies that may just come in handy during the fast approaching fall and winter seasons.  these flies are not exactly new.  they are just slightly tweaked versions of old go to favorites.

the squimp

the squimp is a fly that i like to use on those "tough" late fall and winter days.  over the years it has proven itself as a day saver more times than i can remember.  shallow water bones are always awesome but, as anyone who has done a lot of bonefishing in hawaii knows, sometimes you gotta go big, bright, and deep.  that's where this fella really shines.


the wary golden trevally will also fall for a squimp fished deep (where the golden is perhaps not so wary).  the squimp was definitely a day saver on this winter day.

the specials

the reef special is my all time go to baitfish imitation fly.  i came up with this fly in the mid nineties by combining the attributes of a few of the most popular saltwater flies at the time (and still today).   the reef special incorporates parts of charlie smith's crazy charlie, bob clouser's clouser minnow, and chico fernandez's version of the bendback.


the clouser minnow, crazy charlie, and bendback all influenced the creation of the reef special.

over the years, the reef special also proved itself as a superior bonefish fly for hawaiian waters.  like the flies that it was influenced by, it is one of those "will catch anything that swims" flies.

i tied up a brown/tan version of the reef special combining the two most popular hawaii bonefish fly colors.

"tan and brown" special.

hawaii bones love the reef special and they love tan and brown colors.

i also tied up a "cichlidae" version of the reef special for fall peacock bass on lake wilson.  at times on the lake, bass and peacocks will school up and chase schools of threadfin shad.  known locally as "busting fish"  these feeding frenzies can happen at any time on the lake but generally tend to happen more in the fall months.  usually when the peacocks and bass are "busting" just about anything thrown into the fracas will get bit.  there are, however, those days when you encounter what i call the "tough" bust.  fish will be hitting bait on the surface but for whatever reason, they will not hit shad lures or flies.  in these situations. i have often done well throwing flies that more closely resemble cichlids.  i'm not sure why that is.  maybe they are trying to take out the competition.  maybe in all the excitement, it just triggers their innate hatred of other members of the "family".  peacocks do really seem to hate (and love to eat) other chichlids including other members of their own species.

"cichlidae" special.

try a cichlid colored pattern like the cichlidae special next time you find yourself in the middle of a wahiawa "tough" bust.

well that's it for now.  who knows what will come flying off the ole norvice next... stay tuned to find out and, as always, good times.


brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816


Saturday, September 19, 2015

what i did last summer

There are some fishermen who like to catch big fish, others who like to catch lots of fish, and still others who just want to catch any fish.  me... i just love to fish.

my fishing addiction is to the process much more so than the result.  i just love spending time on the water trying to figure things out.  i also like the time i spend off of the water coming up with ideas to try and dreaming up flies to use.  of course looking at and buying tackle that may be useful (or just plain fun to use) is also a big part of the off water "process".  the tools of the trade.  i do love that too.

the northwest is filled with countless opportunities to fuel my fishing addiction.  with so many options, it is at times hard to focus on any one fish or fishery.  so this past summer i simply picked the closest of these opportunities to me and began my summer journey.

the "home" water.

there are a ton of lakes in the state, much different than oahu that has basically one (lake wilson).  the lake i chose to focus on is not well known for its fishing.  with so many phenomenal lakes in the state, this is not surprising.  i chose to fish this particular lake this summer simply because, being only about six miles away, i could easily spend some quality time on it.  to me, it did not matter how well the lake fished or how big the fish were.  it did not even matter what kind of fish were in it.  it is nearby, there is water and there are fish... that's all i need.

the "home" water.

some days there were these hot air balloons flying overhead.  my absolute worst nightmare would be riding one of those crazy things.  i'd crap my undies for sure!

the water master.
with limited shoreline access to many of the lakes in the area, i knew i would need some kind of personal water craft to effectively fish these waters.  i considered getting a small boat, or float tube, or pontoon.  for days i poured over the many options available to anglers these days.  after much research and decision making i decided to go with the water master kodiak, a frameless float tube/raft hybrid by big sky inflatables.  i chose wisely.  this thing is the sh_t and i absolutely love it!  the water master is ridiculously easy to set up and break down.  it rows easily (and this is coming from a guy who never rowed a boat in his life) and is super stable, extremely comfortable, and great to fish from.  the watermaster folds up incredibly well and takes up very little space when folded which is great for transporting and storing.  folded up, the water master is pretty compact and it weighs in at less than 50lbs., so it can totally be sent as regular luggage on a plane.   i would not say that it is light enough to hike in to remote waters with as they claim, at least not for a weakling like myself, but i do not ever "hike" to remote water or otherwise so that is not a problem for me.  the water master is perfect for me.  this thing is awesome!

i knew the water master would be perfect when i saw a picture of this old friend of mine on the boat's brochure.  how could i say no to a sales pitch like that!  the devil inside, the devil inside, every single one of us the devil inside.

ready for action.

go ducks!  of course.

the "fish finder"
i call my ultra light spinning set up my fish finder.  i use it to locate fish on new water by trolling an inline spinner.  i learned early on in my fishing career that, for reasons that are still a mystery to me, fish love to eat metal blades that are whirling around a wire shaft.  they just do.  so i'll troll a spinner in fishy looking waters then when i hook a fish, i'll use that as a starting point and figure out how to get those fish on the fly.  trolling allows me to cover a ton more water than blind casting a fly or even casting a spinner.  trolling also makes me row more which makes up for at least some of my swimming time that i miss out on when i fish.

the ultra light "fish finder" is a very effective (and fun) way to locate fish.

the yellow perch
the first magazine i ever had a subscription to as a kid was "field and stream".  that magazine introduced me to many fish and fisheries that were very foreign to a pudgy island boy in the middle of the pacific ocean.  one fish i remember always seeing in the magazine (and thus always wanting to catch) was the yellow perch.  flash forward some forty years and here was my opportunity.  just so happens the lake i fished had yellow perch in it.  i learned as much as i could about this fish then one day went out on a mission to try and get one and the first time out...

...i did. i was STOKED!

game on!  it didn't take long before i started getting them on the fly as well.

these fish don't get very big and i have not caught any that would be considered big by yellow perch standards yet.  still for me, it was like one of my lesser lifetime dreams come true.  awesome.


the trout
trout are stocked in the lake as the state does in many lakes in the spring.  having caught quite a few trout during my days as a trout bum in oregon, trout were not at the top of my target list.  still this summer, i caught a bunch of them both trolling with the spinner and on the fly.  always fun to catch them, especially on new water.  trout are always welcome to jump on my line.  i had not caught trout in a while so it is very nice to be near so much trouty water again.  they are, after all, at the roots of all fly fishing as we know it.

rainbows and cuttys.

other characters
some of the other fun characters in the hood that i had fly encounters with this summer include the pumpkinseed and largemouth bass.


one day i ran into a marauding horde of these tiny bass.  i did not fish for bass this summer, but with so many of these ambitious little guys around there's got to be some big guns lurking around.

crappie fishing
not to be confused with "crappy" fishing (if such a thing even exists), just this past week i decided to try to focus on catching this fish on the fly.  i once caught a crappie by accident in oregon but never really targeted them.  i did a little research on this "new to me" fish and tied up some flies for them.

prototypes of the chain minnow.  this fly is still very much a work in progress.  follow me on instagram to see this and multitudes of my other vise dreams. 

i knew there were crappie in the lake that i was fishing but after fishing it numerous times this summer i hadn't had an encounter with a single one.  i reasoned that because i had not caught one fishing the areas that i usually fished, they must be somewhere that i am not fishing so i decided to chuck my chain minnow fly at areas on the lake i had not fished before.  on my second cast of the day i hooked a fish.  as i was fighting the fish i thought, "wouldn't it be crazy if this was a crappie?"

it would be crazy and it WAS a crappie.

black crappie.

i was so amazed to see this crappie fluttering around at the end of the line trying to dodge my net, that i drifted right over the spot i had hooked it.  apparently a no no if the fish are schooling.  later i found another one at a different spot and was careful not to "spoil the water".  i did not hook another one off that same spot.  so once again my (always correct) favorite answer to every fishing question applied.  

Q: "do crappies school?"

A: sometimes.

Q: "will you catch multiple crappies from the same spot once you find one?" 

A: sometimes.

sometimes not.  the last time i fished was this past wednesday.  i went out and i pounded the same two spots i had caught the crappie at.  i got crappie bolos (i didn't catch any).  more research required... and like i always say, never rely on the "last time".  it was another great day on the water though, and i got into some trout feeding on the surface.  trout on top.  i'll take that.

little surface feeding torpedoes.

if you threw a dart at a map of washington, chances are very good that you would hit some kind of body of water.  i am a (not so) young newbie to the wonderful world of fishing the great northwest, so it looks like i have my work cut out for me...

how exciting!!!  i had better be getting back to the good times.


brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.  
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816