Molokai Fly Fishing

Josh P

Active Member
I have an opportunity to visit some family on the not so traveled island of Molokai in Hawaii. If I do go I defiantly want chase some fish while im there. However I know nothing about saltwater or fly fishing in Hawaii. I was wondering if anyone has any scoop on fishing on Molokai or maybe a buddy that has? What are some good target species? Bonefish? Any info would help down to what rods/lines/bugs to bring as I am a saltwater virgin and in the initial stages of my research. Thanks in advance.
I've never plied the waters around Molokai, but have fly fished for bonefish and the odd trevally or two on the Oahu flats, which are generally more extensive (and more pressured). So for local knowledge of that island I'd try to find a guide or scour the internet for trip reports.

For gear, though, I'd bring an 8wt with a WF floater (coldwater Rio clouser or outbound have worked for me) if I could only take one rod. Bigger and stouter than normal bonefish flies - size 1 or even 1/0, at least a 2x strong hook. HI bones are big and strong and you don't usually have a lot of space with which to stop them before they run off the edge of a flat and shear off your line/tippet on coral. Flats are also a bit deeper than what you'd be used to normally so I'd bring some decently weighted flies. Orange and tan are always good color choices on Oahu, for clouser and charlie-type flies. You can sight fish for bones out there, though winds and tides can change a sight fishing outing to a blind casting outing in a hurry, so be ready for both/either. 20lb tippet minimum. Lead the bonefish (if sight casting) by at least 6-8 feet. Yeah they might turn off before they get to your fly but any closer and you will spook them. It can be tough fishing out there (winds, spooky fish, etc) but when you're hooked into a 7lb bonefish and your fly line is halfway to the equator, it's pretty fun. Good luck!


Active Member
This is the guy you want to hook up with on Molokai, trust me - Captain Clay Ching. Click on this link and tell him Mingo sent ya!

Call him and set yourself up for a flats trip.
Thanks for posting that link, some beauties on his photo page for sure!

To the OP, as the above guys mentioned, 8wt setup is pretty standard, especially for HI bones, given the size of the fish and the size of the patterns being thrown. Bare in mind, bone fishing in Hi is pure hunting. Not many shots, tricky fish, much more akin to permit fishing than typical bonefishing. I think it's great that you're going to give it a go, I will caution you though, at least the bonefishing I've done in Oahu, well, not the ideal spot for beginners. But when in Rome, well, I say go for it!

BTW, I've bonefished all over the world, and I've never seen bigger specimens than the ones I've seen and hooked in HI. Real toads. Also, you may even want a 9' 9wt.



the Menehune stole my beer
Good advice on the 9 wt Dan. I also use a light 10 wt at times from the shore! (if my CPS 10 wt ever breaks I'm gonna cry). I'd say you should be able to chuck a pretty heavy fly at least 70 feet with an 8 or 9 wt if you want to flyfish Hawaii for bones and other species.
I second Clay Ching- he has Molokai dialed in.
For Hawaii, as stated above, tropical lines aren't needed. I like clear floaters (I use Monics), but the new Cortland ones are supposedly great too for a clear line. If you don't have one, or can't be bothered to pick one up, I like the Rio Outbounds for distance and punching wind.
If I was to bring only one rod, I would take a 9wt. I usually like an 8 for sight casting and leading skinny water bones, and my 10wt when fishing wind-hammered flats and having to turn big fish.
Hawaiian flats aren't your miles long white sand- a good fish could very well run you over the edge of the flat into deep water.
I suggest gel-spun backing for the abrasion resistance.
Saltwater fly fishing doesn't have to be a hard thing- I like to keep it simple: Rod, reel, a handful of bonefish flies and a handful of streamers (you never know when you might run into a small school of papio). Maybe an extra line packed in your suitcase as well (only one fly shop in the whole state- on Oahu) in the rare case a fish runs the edge and cuts your backing.
20lb tapered flouro leaders and 15-20lb flouro tippet.
Maybe Mingo can add to what I said- he seems to be in Hawai'i at the opposite times of me...