The Path of Honolulu . . .
Hawaii begins borne by flowers. “Aloha” is the aroma and sight of flowers around necks, pinned behind ears, hanging from trees. Gardens, lawns, and copses all in bloom as a collective fragrance carries on a mild warm breath off Pacific seawater.
Inland, behind the two and three block rows of Waikiki, stretching one and a half miles down to Ala Manoa, sits a flow set in city nature; almost a stillwater: the Ala Wai Canal. Bordered by the Ala Wai Golf Course with green mountains to the north, and lined by either palm or plumeria trees on the constructed spots, the canal’s banks provide excellent urban angling water for tenkara equipment. Two steps of concrete, grass and tree plantings, and a sidewalk traveled by small loose waves of pedestrians, mostly runners and dog walkers, together add up to a fishable area for scattered numbers of polite anglers.
Ala Wai Canal with Ala Wai Golf Course beyond.()photo taken 10 2014)
It must be granted this waterway has had a checkered past narrated by several chapters of brief sewage overflows during flood times. Most cities share this same, historical and ongoing, itinerant experience. I did spot a token shopping cart, submerged, yet no surface trash or oil. Stay this way, Ala Wai Canal, please.
My first visit gave me a greeting and affirmation. I believe ever more that nature, in its combined elements, communicates in elemental concepts that provide an accurate barometer of one’s own place in Life with a capital L.
The precipice of the canal’s bank dropped to vigorous schools of curious tilapia looking up, following, actually greeting us. Tilapia is a fish who provides a welcome service in water management when not asking for added handouts from passing people. I am glad to have shared this moment in communication with other species, awareness affirmed once again whilst holding a telescoping graphite rod monogramed on the base: Te with a capital T.
(photo taken 10 2014)
Yamame, 12-feet girth-hitched to my 16-foot saltwater line and leader formula, had handled New York’s snapper bluefish and black sea bass well enough around Manhattan. I just had to try my way along a Honolulu path accessing the yellow, white, and blue Papio of Hawaii. Three little trevally of O’ahu: the juvenile golden, GT, and blue, are encountered in modest numbers around Honolulu’s visited waters.
The status of “Fished Waters” became a bucket list item when other business in October took me to the island of O’ahu. Recreation time over a few days lived there might include a day’s hike around Diamond Head Crater – check, a solemn morning pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor and Ford Island – check, a few surf swims with schooling fish above a sand and coral bottom – check.
Catch a papio; I added that one, too.
First cast was made to work one of Edwin Valentin’s size 6 bonefish kebari along the bank upcanal. The presence of orange kickers gave me confidence this fly would attract attention. My initial try tapered to an ending of two planned twitches of the pattern, made after a pause of 1-2-3. After the penultimate pull of two feet, a papio from the bottom rocks pounced and paused it. The rip away opposite, rod raised between two boughs of plumeria, the bend did double with several insistent added pulses relaying headshakes. Papio are fishes only slightly less vicious as bluefish wrapped in the proportions of a large bluegill. Strength and shape combined to take the Yamame into a cursive condition for over a minute. The final hand-over-hand pull up of the Level Line and fluorocarbon tippet accommodated the necessity to raise the fish five or six feet from the wall base exposed by low tide.
(photo taken 10 2014)
A bright little slab of whitened silver is the juvenile GT. Fins are pointed and sharp and should be noted. A caught fish will behave for a photo before a gasp for oxygen commences. Clipped grunts are a request to expedite release. A pair of forceps grants a papio’s request for freedom more quickly.
Catch and release a papio on tenkara; I added that one, too. The happy ending became rendered in a check mark as sure as an exclamation point.
I continued after to cast in a new search for kaku, the small barracuda. No luck, although a second papio, twice as large as the first, appeared like a UFO near the water column’s top just as my rod tip collided with a plumeria branch. The instant passed with a dropped connection.
Times of this kind are best followed by a pause to contemplate the drop off encrusted with sea life, the friendly schools of tilapia, or the magnificent random passing of a speckled swimming dirigible: the giant porcupine fish. Truly amazing is this immense puffer that when swollen resembles a burdock burr the size of a beach ball. The ones I saw were at peace on a cruise following the shallow curves of the drop off.
Giant Porcupine Fish
(photo taken 10 2014)
Hawaii is a place, astounding; a tremendous, rewarding, alternative place to try tenkara in an additional way: The Path Of Honolulu.
– rPs 10 31 2013
Postscript: Hi Tide Fly Fishing provides an excellent fly fishing experience in Hawaii. http://www.hitideflyfishing.com/