Oahu monster bonefish with Coach Duff; yeah, baby!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Denny, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Denny

    Denny Active Member

    Last weekend I spent a few days in Oahu, Hawaii, with my wife and 4 year old daughter, and was able to sneak away to fish an afternoon with Coach Duff (washingtonflyfishing.com member).

    Coach Duff (808-292-9680) recently started bonefish guiding on Oahu, and he's told some stories about some monster bonefish. During a layover once in Honolulu on my return trip from Christmas Island, I had a local tell me about some quite large (10 to 12 pound) bonefish he had speared (he's a diver). I wasn't really surprised in some respects, but fly fishing for bonefish in Oahu is a pretty quiet topic.

    Coach took me out to one of his 'secret' spots; there was no else on the flat but Coach and me. We were maybe two minutes in to our stroll across some incredible looking bonefish habitat (flats, mangroves along the edge, coral heads here and there) when a bonefish tail popped up above the surface of the water. I've caught a fair amount of bonefish, and this was a whopper, probably a double digit fish. Coach started laughing, "See, I told you!", while I tried to focus on the fish. We tried to put the sneak on it, but as can often happen with trophy bonefish, it disappeared before we could get a shot at it.

    The tide was nearly out with a fairly extreme low, so we worked our way to the edge of the flat in to 'deeper' water. The bottom was rife with coral heads; great environment for food and a variety of fish. It also made it hard to spot fish and keeping flies from hanging up on rocks. Coach had caught a 27" bonefish on these flats just two days before, and has landed a 32" and 34" bonefish here, as well. Man, those are trophy, Keys-sized once-in-a-lifetime fish.

    Coach and I blind cast to a 'cut' in the coral that we surmised would be a spot where bonefish would sneak from the deeper water on to the flat. It wasn't very long before Coach let out a bellow 'fish'!, and his stout Echo saltwater 9 weight had a nice bend in it and line was zipping through the guides. A few minutes later he brought in for photos a beautifully colored, healthy 20" bonefish to hand (which he called a 'baby'). Though not a huge fish, it was a beauty and still a bonefish. It had put up a nice scrap and let Coach know he had a fish on.

    We cast/fished for maybe 5-10 minutes more when Coach again yelled 'fish!', and this time his rod was flattened out and bucking and line just melting from his reel at a very rapid rate. The fish was still going when it wrapped the line around a coral head and came off. We just stood there slack-jawed guessing how big 'the one that got away' might have been.

    A few minutes later, Coach lets out yet another yip! Same scenario as the last fish; flattened, bucking rod, the bonefish heads to sea for Japan, and comes unbuttoned. This time it opened up the hook. Coach was using 25 pound tippet (not a typo, 25 pound) so he could try to stop the fish, but obviously to no avail. Again, we just shook our heads, Coach re-tied, and started casting.

    Maybe 10 minutes later, it's my turn to yell 'fish!'. My 8 weight GLX just flattened, the rod started bucking, with the line peeling from my reel. This time it's my turn for a big bone to school me; my fish comes unbuttoned after a quick 10-15 seconds of adrenaline rush. Wow! These must be big fish!

    Another 10 minutes goes by, and we hear a predator fish in the shallows near us getting after some baitfish. "Trevally!" Coach yells. "Let's go!" I turn to tell Coach to say "hold on", when I get a big grab on my line and a bonefish again heads out to sea with my bonefish clouser. After watching the last few fish leave without us seeing them, I learned about controlling these fish in this coral rich setting and I pulled hard on this little (relatively) guy and turned him before he could get in the rocks. A sturdy, beautifully colored 22" bonefish (Coach taped 'em) came to hand for a few photos and release.

    Coach lost one more bonefish in the rocks, and we decided to mosey back to the rig and fish the mangroves along the way. We saw a few good-sized blacktip sharks (which zoomed away when we got too close) cruising the flats, and another whopper bonefish tailing in the air near the mangroves, but didn't get a chance at it.

    At the end of the day, for Coach it was bonefish 3, Coach 1; for me it was bonefish 1, Richard 1. Not bad for taking an afternoon off from hanging out on Waikiki beach!

    Oh, Coach and I caught a few other fish; Coach a little mini-grouper, and me a couple of cornet fish.

    I had a great time fishing with Coach and hooking up some monster bonefish. My biggest bonefish to hand to date is about 7-8 pounds, Coach (as noted earlier) has caught some over 30"; though we never saw these Oahu fish, Coach felt that a couple of the bonefish we hooked and lost were in that 30" plus range. A couple of the bones came unbuttoned because they bent out the hooks. WOW!

    When (not if) I get back to Oahu, I definitely will be hitting the flats with Coach Duff again!



    Attached Files:

  2. Randy Knapp

    Randy Knapp Active Member

    To think I used to own a house in Hawaii and all I did was body surf and chase wahinis (single then). Great pictures...changes my whole outlook on a trip with my wife back to Oahu.

  3. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

    That is a awesome report! Richard! You should bring your video camera, at least we can see the powerful zipping line... :)
  4. CoastalCutt

    CoastalCutt Member

    Awesome. Hope I can do it someday.
  5. Porter

    Porter Active Member

  6. EasyE

    EasyE Member

    Now that sounds like fun. Yet another reason to go to Hawaii.
  7. jabseattle

    jabseattle jabs

    Sounds like a fun outing in a awesome setting!
  8. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Here's Coach and one of his pets. If anyone is planning a trip, give the Man a call. And bring a 9 or 10 wt. if you want any chance of landing one.

  9. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    Nice report and pic's! Another reason to get back to Oahu sometime... :beer2:
  10. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

    Nice report. I'm hoping to get my first bone on my honeymoon in Belize.
  11. David Loy

    David Loy Senior Moment

    Outstanding report!!! And great news that Coach is guiding.
    I've heard that the Hawaii Bonefish can be larger than most of the "destination" areas, but not as plentiful. You guys sure had some fun.
    Thanks Richard
  12. spanishfly

    spanishfly Steelberg

    Great report Richard! Congrats on the bonefish and a Hawaii bonefish to boot! Do you think if you had a boat you would have faired better with the ones that got away?
  13. Dick Warnke

    Dick Warnke was Pram-Man

    I'm sorry man but just something about this makes meet want to :rofl::rofl::rofl:
  14. Porter

    Porter Active Member

    :rofl::rofl: good catch :thumb:

    How the hell does a D-1 football coach find time to guide? Loved the report and glad you both had a good time :beer2:
  15. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

    I knew you naughty boys couldn't let that go!!! ;) Good thing I didn't write "boner" like I almost did!!!
  16. Go Fish

    Go Fish Language, its a virus

    Richard, thanks for the great report! I thought I could hear your heart pounding. WOW, David
  17. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Great report and pictures Rich.
  18. YAKIMA

    YAKIMA AKA: Gregory Mine

    2 months to the day, I'm there!!!!!
  19. World Wide Angler

    World Wide Angler www.akflyshop.com

    one week from monday ill be there for 16 days of bonefishing last year fishing was tough but fun
  20. u2ill

    u2ill Playing on the Palouse

    Those were some nice bonefish. Here's a pic of the biggest I've caught on Oahu. I lived there for 10 years up until this past summer when I moved to Pullman with my wife. But my job is still in Hawaii (as are my in-laws), so I get back several times a year.

    This baby was taken about a year ago on the flats of Kaneohe Bay.