Fly Fishing in Hawaii

I just got back from a vacation to Maui with my family, and this year I decided to bring the fly rod. In summary, fly fishing from the shore was a little tougher than I thought it would be. My main goal was to catch some Papio (as the Hawaiians call them).
There is a little reef up the beach from the condo we stayed at that looked promising, so the second morning there, I went to check it out. There was a nice reef shelf out in front of me, but I could only wade out about 10-20ft because I was constantly being pounded by the surf. On a good cast, I could get the fly just outside of the shelf, but getting a good cast was very difficult with the waves, rocks below me and behind me and trees behind me. I ended up getting a few follows from unknown fish, but that was it. After a few hours I headed back. The next day I tried again, but with similar results.
A few days later I tried casting off of a small jetty that was just down the beach. This was much easier, but I had to share it with 2-3 other guys fishing bait. I had a few smaller fish on for a few seconds, but they got off, which was fine because they were not what I was after. There was a guy there that claimed he caught a ton of Papio on the outside of a nearby harbor the day before, so I left to go check it out. It sounded too good to be true, but I had to see for myself. Well, I was right. He was there when I arrived, but the Papio were "not in today". :hmmm: Instead I ended up catching a ton of Needlefish (see below) which I was trying to avoid. There were so many around there, that I couldn't avoid catching them. So, after an hour or so I left.
A few days later I went to go try another part of the island on the outside of a marine preserve (popular fishing spot). I walked along an area of shoreline and fished for a few hours but was only able to catch one Needlefish and get a few boils from unknown fish. Casting here was extremely tough because of the constant surf, wind and rocks behind me. I was getting out plenty of good casts though, to no avail. I talked to a few locals camping out there, and they said that they had been going out spearfishing every afternoon and only coming up with some various reef fishes.
On my last day there, I went back to the jetty to give it one more shot. I got there right at dawn and started casting. Within 15 min, I had a hookup and it was no Needlefish! The excess line ripped out of my hands and the fish took off for deeper water. After a few good runs, I got it closer and saw that it was a nice Papio. Finally! I got it in, snapped a quick pic and sent it on its way (see below). I fished for another hour or so, but only got follows from Needlefish, so I called it a day.
Next time I think I would rent a kayak to get out further and reach more areas.
I also included a few random pics including a trip to a sweet blowhole.


Nice pictures and thanks for sharing your story. Glad that you were successful in catching at least one of the Papio that you sought. Congrats!:thumb:


New Member
Primary periods for papio on artificial will be your low light hours, crack of dawn and dusk. May catch them throughout the day (more omilu - another type of papio - blue fin trevally), but extremely random. Poppers @ dawn and evening excite them also, and can create some vicious takes on the surface. Kayak will certainly expand your range, I do the same, however bear caution around the surf. Tight lines.......