I did get a decent papio on a spin rod popper, but not for lack of trying with the fly rod. The only fish I landed there on flies were hawkfish and saddle wrasse. Reef fish are tough to catch even with bait! Smaller flies would have helped, but still wasnt easy after I picked up some #14 baithooks at the local market.
This is a great comment SilverFly. You just articulated an important reality check for those who have seen my reports over the years and have gotten the wrong impression that Hawai'i's various reef fish are pushovers and you can expect to catch dozens every time you try. One clueless fool even claimed he could easily duplicate my catches (and literally catch every fish in Hawaii) with a fly that imitates a frozen pea (chumming with frozen peas used to be popular among snorkel guides to attract fish to their clients, but has been illegal for over a decade). I called him out and asked him to please try and post up his results. He became extremely quiet after that.
It isn't that easy, even for those who use bait as you said. But it is very fun and every fish is earned. Glad you had a nice trip!
Very true. Not that I was expecting reef fish to be easy, but I have to admit they are much more challenging than I expected. Makes sense though considering the hyper-competitive environment a coral reef is. These fish are the supreme masters of bait stealing. It amazed me how quickly and cleanly they could strip a hook. Often without feeling the slightest tug.Kinda glad I decided to not take a tying kit, since I would have been spending way too much time experimenting with patterns instead of enjoying just being there. Next time I will bring flies tied on much smaller hooks, and maybe using softer materials so they hold on for a millisecond longer before spitting the hook.Great fun any way you slice it!
They also take the insanely huge dumps on the boat!
Cool fish Mingo. Those look a LOT like pile perch. I saw a few while snorkeling and was wondering what kind of fly they would eat. I was thinking something alone the lines of a crazy charlie. Wouldn't have guessed seaweed!