We recently escaped for a much-needed (but too brief) break from this freezing cold, grey, dreary garbage Seattle weather and headed over to Hawaii to spend time with friends and do some fishing. We started out by visiting friends on Oahu and then headed over to Kona for another week of fishing and partying. As any fisherman knows, all great escapes must begin with a nutritious breakfast before the flight ……… My buddy Magwa picked us up at the Honolulu airport and we headed over to our usual haunts at The Royal Hawaiian. It was like homecoming, catching up with old friends who work there….and pounding beverages to quench our thirst… A couple days of chilling in the chaises in front of the Royal Hawaiian .... drinking $13 cocktails ....people watching...man you see some WEIRD shit on Waikiki beach!!! Our annual day at Lanikai beach…… Then up to the North Shore to visit favorite haunts and kick Magwa’s ass in our annual MaiTai Invitational Fishing Derby. The rules are simple: nobody gets a drink until they catch their first fish. Size and species are immaterial. The guy who catches the firsts fish gets the first drink, paid for by the other guy who hasn’t caught squat yet. Some years more have joined in….more people = more beverages. All C’n’R of course, barbless flies, choice of pattern decided by a coin toss. I won, so I chose scuds…..which only work there if you know how to fish them heh heh heh……I scored first with this massive 1” hawkfish and started drooling over the thought of my first maitai……. After finishing my drink I scored a whopper 2” wrasse. Remember when you were a kid and you’d dangle a rubber spider in your mom’s peripheral vision to freak her out? Well, that shit works great on buddies using small fish too….I’m off to score my 2nd cocktail……while Magwa tries to tie on a gay pink scud while freaking out over the wiggling leviathan in his ear………… Magwa began to get upset after I nailed these awesome humuhumunukunukuapua’a………..I was building a nice tropical buzz and he was dying of thirst! Finally Magwa is on the board and gets a drink! After all those shenanigans we headed to our next stop…dinner at the awesome Grass Skirt Grill. Now THIS is fresh ass fish! You gotta love a place that doesn’t have a liquor license but lets you drink your own beer inside……………. After our flight to Kona, we checked in and headed down to the reef in front of our condo to unwind….La Minga relaxes by tossing a few flies with her 4 wt….. And scores a damselfish……… I hit a hawkfish soon after…………. And then m’lady hooked a wild wrasse that went apeshit and tore up the reef. These buggers are feisty as hell….my brother in law got into one last year that completely surprised him with how hard it fought. They “fight above their weight”, just like Marciano…. The next day we went to one of our favorite Big Island beaches. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify this beach! I hit some Damselfish on reverse spiders…… And a fat Hawkfish on a …….huh? wazzat? Yep……a big globug! They smack it because it looks like a sponge with baby Nemo hiding inside!! With morning Starbucks firmly in hand we headed out for a day of bluewater fishing on the Lepika with the awesome Russ Nitta…… I brought my Elephant Gun…….just in case something fierce wanted to eat some feathers…… About 30 minutes into the day we took a blind strike on a lure and my wife settled in for her first-ever marlin battle…battling sailfish and other pelagic species in Panama got her totally jazzed about big game fishing. She told me before we left Honokohau Harbor that she wanted to tangle with a marlin…she got her wish…. My girls’ marlin at the boat, lit up neon blue and gorgeous……. You never forget your first marlin! Time for a quick pose! (dang, that is a perfect flyrod size heh!) Nice work girl! “your turn Mingo, I need to hydrate” After another hour of zip action we got into some crazy fun on a school of mahimahi lurking near a floating pallet……we had several doubles that can’t be shown as there were only the two of us on Russ’s boat that day…nobody was left to snap those photos and Russ had to run the boat…it happens! The action was awesome. My wife took 9 on spinning tackle and bait and I caught mine casting to fish chasing hers in close to the boat or by bait-and-switching with Russ. He’d get them fired up with hookless ballyhoo. Good times! Her fish cames boatside and I snapped this shot right as a bubble covered it’s eyeball, making it look like a blind mahimahi…freaky! The action kept up for two hours straight! I’ll never get tired of catching these awesome fish…………… Hellz yeah!!!! Crank up the grill, fish for dinner tonight! I got fish on a crease fly and a grey/white baitfish pattern but this is the fly that did most of the damage….. Mrs Mingo working hard on something that bulldogged her deep…….she’s thinking “this doesn’t feel like a mahimahi…..” Sashimi time! putting the heat on another opponent…… La Minga battling another mahi…. Putting the muscles to work! A blue missile rockets away from the boat….. I tangled with some small AJs that showed up to crash the party….very strong for their size. “EH? This feels different…grunt…….”…. Ha, I knew it!!!!! Mrs. Mingo fighting some odd type of jack……….. The old tradition at day’s end………..you gotta love bluewater fishing. We landed 14 mahimahi, released many, kept some, got several tuna and small AJs and my wife landed her first marlin. A perfect day with a great guy. Thanks Russ! After that we had a couple total “chill” days ahead to spend on our favorite beaches………….. Butterflyfish are beautifull but very hard to hook with that tiny protruding yapper. It is 100% visual. The only thing I could get them to hit was a tiny Miyawaki euphasid, better known as a winter searun fly (thanks Leland). Believe me, hooking these fish is much harder than it looks….. Amazing…….there’s no law that says you can’t enjoy nature’s beauty with barbless flies heh heh heh……….. This wrasse tore the place a new one and rocked me twice, a feisty specimen! Entertaining the next generation of Hawaiian fishermen…..Uncle Mingo up to his usual tricks….. Honu cocktail party…… After some Huggo’s ribs, nothing spells “dessert” like a Plantation Maitai from Don the Beachcomber’s…. This guy kept trying to talk to us, bragging about how he was “going to catch some big Moke iceheads” blah blah and “do you know any crooks with outstanding warrants?” blah blah blah. :rofl: he's a funny dude..... Another perfect Kona sunset…….Aloha.