The Old Favorite Lake…

I went out to my favorite spot around where I live. This is the “regular” spot, where I will go without plan, a place to stop for a couple of hours when driving by. The day was a nice spring day, with a slight breeze, and a warm sunset about to brew. The lake greeted me well the first day out in 2008, with lots of fish at the end of my line. Like the season, the fish that were getting caught were young, small, and full of curiosity. Basically they were biting on everything I threw in the lake, including some fish biting at my extended line. A few small largemouth bass, a few croppies, and a few blue gills were to be seen. The very first fish from this special lake was a blue gill, caught on a tiny dry fly. I too extra caution to handle the fish minimally to quickly return them to the water. Some of these fish might greet me later in the summer, bigger and stronger. I took a lazy walk around the premise, cleaned up a few cans people left from last year, and was pleased to be back my my old familiar lake.


Aloha! Oio (bone fish)

A large portion of my family was getting together in Hawaii for my father in laws 70th birthday, and I could not pass on this chance to sneak away for a day (or two) to try my luck with meeting some Oio in the Hawaiian flats (Hawaiian word for bonefish: Oio). Many do not know that there are flats in Hawaii, and some are so unbelievably close that it’s wonderful once you discover where they are.

Wasn’t sure where or how to fish Hawaii, but fortunately, I hooked up with the friendly crew at Nervous Water Flyfishers ( and they pretty much provided all the information I needed. If you intend on fly fishing for bonefish in Hawaii, I strongly recommend setting up for a guided service with Nervous Waters, and to visit the shop for some locally relevant gear & flies. (believe me, I took a lot of flies I had bought and tied, but to my surprise the bonefish here seemed to be attracted to a very particular color & pattern). I stopped by the Nervous Water shop a day before my guided trip, and met with the owner Sean to hear about flyfishing in Hawaii, as well as get some help picking up a few of those Hawaiian patterns. Sean was both friendly and informative, and I look forward to seeing him again during my next trip out to Hawaii.

The day started with my guide Ed Tiamai, picking me up at the hotel about 7:30am, then we headed over to the flats meeting up with Nao Toyama, a super hardcore bonefish angler from Japan. Nao’s been flyfishing since he was eight, and he’s also an expert in Kyudo, Japanese Traditional Archery. I could tell he was hardcore about fishing as soon as I met him, and when he geared up ninja style to fish, there was a sense of seriousness in the air. Ed’s been fishing all his life in Hawaii and really does know the waters like the back of his hands. Ed’s been fishing big game Tuna, Marlin, and that sort but picked up fly fishing several years ago. Ed fishes hard and perhaps because of this, he proved to be an excellent guide. We went to two different spots throughout the day, and he taught me to cast in heavy Hawaiian winds to spotting bonefish in different settings/ times. It wasn’t easy casting accurately with the heavy winds, and even according to Ed he considered the winds that day a 8,9 out of 10max. It was pretty cool walking and spotting fish with Ed, and talking about different things in our lives.

Once in a while, Nao will show up from the waters to show us the picture of the barracuda he just caught, or to let us know about the bonefish that got away. Bonefish get spooked easy, but with the winds and noise on the water surface, I was hoping to get the fly close enough for the bonefish to notice. The morning passed on without much luck for me, and although I was finally starting to see all the fish Ed was spotting for me, I had trouble getting the fly accurately in front of it. We moved to a slightly more sheltered spot after lunch, and here is where I first met my first bone fish. I’ve fished different species of fish for some years now, but when the first bonefish took my fly, I understood exactly why people consider this one of the top sporting fish. Ed told me to not “cup the reel” in concern about running out of backing, and I experienced why people do that. The strike was somewhat blunt, but when bonefish started to run, it ran hard and long. Even with the firm drag, it took out all of the fly line and I was into the backing after the 3rd run. That sweet sound of the reel cranking… I brought the fish in and was surprised at the size. From the fight, I thought it would have been slightly larger. It was about a 3.5 pounder, and I was happy to catch my first bonefish ever. After that I had a few takes, but when the fish ran and took the line into the rocks, I lost them. After a few I could tell which ones were the larger fish, with the scream of the reel. All in all, it was a perfect day for me. The next day, Ed broke his 9wt rod on a 8 pounder, and still managed to land the fish. I think it is certain that bonefish will become a regular on the list of fish I seek each year.

The bonefish is the type species of the Albulidae, or bonefishes. It is amphidromous, living in inshore tropical waters, moving onto shallow tidal flats to feed with the incoming tide, and retreating to deeper water as the tide ebbs. Juvenile bonefish may be observed in large shoals of like-sized individuals with large mature fish swimming in smaller groups or in pairs. Bonefish are considered to be among the world's premier game fish and are highly sought after by anglers. Although it is caught for sport its flesh is not considered particularly good to eat.


Season Kick Off

A few days ago, I received a call from my friend Charles “the fish finder” from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I could tell from his voice that he’s caught something significant, and he did. It was a 150+ pound stripped marlin he called to tell me about, and the pictures below are some of the photos he shared with me. Although some would disagree, he made good use of the fish and ate half of it between nine people, and made food for the local kids with the other half. Congratulations Charles, looks like an awsome trip! Looking forward to the fishing we’ll do this year.


winter of 2007

This past winter has been a cold one in Illinois. It was a time for a lot of personal changes for me, and it’s one that broke my promise that I will fish through the winter (may sound like an excuse, but mainly because the rivers completely froze shut). I went out several times, sometimes in the hardest days with heavy snow and fierce winds. I am not sure if I went out to catch fish, or to test my will against seemingly un-fishable conditions. I am sure people in Canada or Alaska will consider winters here mild and completely fishable, but for a beginner like myself, it was certainly a challenge. Friends here tell me there’s two ways to do this if I want to continue fishing around here…one is to go ice fishing and the other is to clean & put away my gear till spring. I have never gone ice fishing but still claim I won’t like it, and the winter is just too many months to put away gear for that long. This seasons been good in a few ways, and it’s taught me a thing or two.

First I have learned to like the saying, “there is no poor weather, only poor clothing”. I have stocked up on winter gear like there’s no tomorrow. I have bought gear and clothing to a degree, that no matter how cold, I could be standing outside (in comfort) for several hours. I’ve bought so much gear that if winter like this doesn’t come back, then I might have to fly somewhere cold, just to use all this equipment and clothing. Second, I have come to terms with myself flying to different parts of the country (or world) to fish, when seasons at home doesn’t agree with my fishing schedule. I have flown to more places seeking fish, and I have come to become much better at planning my schedules/ trips thanks to this winter. I have also learned that you can basically fish anywhere, as long as you keep your mind open about the fish you catch. Third, and probably most importantly, I have a new found & deep appreciation for the other 3 seasons of the year. With passing of this winter I know for sure that I will greet the coming spring differently than I have greeted springs in the past. I will cherish each blossom on the trees, and finally start to see the wonder of mother nature, as it turns itself over again from its deep sleep. I will fish during the summer, and no matter how hot or humid (or filled with mosquito) I will welcome each and every sweat from my pores. I think about fall, and it already fills my heart with excitement and joy. And as winter approaches, I will know what to expect (and give myself reason to get all dressed up like I am going to explore the North Pole). And the reading we catch up with in the winter is like soothing smell of smoke for the soul. Of all the books I’ve read throughout this winter, “Dances With Trout” by John Gierach must be my favorite. I have discovered a truly a brilliant writer that I will enjoy for years to come.

I took a walk around my favorite lake today, and remembered all the wonderful moments from last season. I feel spring in the breeze, and although they say it will snow again next week, I know that spring is finally here in my neighborhood. So this entry is for the winter of 2007, a true winter in my book.


Spring arrives...finally.

Once in a long while, we have days out on the water, where everything just fits right. Good weather, good conversations, and good fishing. For me and my friend, this was a recent Sunday. My friend and I started out early, trying hard to recover from the vodka shots from the previous night. We had only a short pocket of time, so all of our movement (eating, driving, hiking) was done with efficiency in mind. We drove to as far as a car can go, then proceeded to a short hike over some smaller mountains. During the way, we were both excited but chose not to express this as we feared disappointment. We have never fished this mountain lake/ stream before and we were ready to test our luck with the limited knowledge we gained from the small shop prior to the visit. We arrived and then we knew we were at the right place. This is a small mountain lake, and was unknown to many anglers, either because it was smaller, or because it required some navigating to get to. In any case, this was just the type of lake we were looking for…quiet and less pressured.

Gearing up and posing before the day starts.

First few catches were smaller, but enjoyable.

A short but sweet spring day.