The waves were 1 – 3 ft and the wind speed was about 8 – 10 mph on the Eastside, but the water was textured with some rolling swells past the reef. Conditions weren’t as clean as the last two times we fished there but it was still doable.
Frank and I took 8 oama each that were caught 2 weeks previously and pampered in my tubs. They had lost a bit of weight but were still chunky and irresistible looking.
On the way out we saw a monk seal flipping around near the turtles in the channel. That was a rare sight and hopefully indicated a lot of sea life. We headed in the direction I had fished the last time, staying safely away from the back of the waves and going from the dropoff at 40 ft onto the reef shelf. At 20 ft the fish finder showed fish on the bottom and I got a strike on the 1st live oama at 17 ft but it eventually shook off. Frank got a strike a few seconds after mine and landed his. My on-the-water shots were from my hat cam so I didn’t capture any of his action.
While Frank and I were in close proximity talking, I got a strike and my line had to be hand lined by Frank initially. He expertly cleared the line and gave me room to land the omilu. I didn’t plan to put my feet in the water to tag a fish so I bagged it. With a fish each, the pressure was off for us.
We continued down wind and I got a strong hit on my 3rd oama but I was too relaxed in my retrieval and it found some rocks. I could feel it running through the rocks and couldn’t pull it out. I gave it slack, it ran some more but never came out of that hole. It was really hard to break off the 25lb fluoro leader from the kayak. I re-rigged and tightened my drag, vowing not to be rocked again. All this action was within the first 30 mins but after we paddled into a deep sandy channel the bites stopped. U-turning around to head upwind to where we had come from, I got an odd nibble in 40ft of water.
I tightened the line and a fish rocketed out of the water. Awa awa!! I have been trying to catch one all year and was stoked. But it jumped again and was gone. The hooks pulled because my drag was so tight – arrrggggghhhh! Before I had a chance to react Frank got a pull, an awa awa leaped out of the water and it too shook the hook. Excited but bummed, we headed back against the wind and again, when we entered the 20 ft ledge I got a hit. The hook got stuck in my net when I landed the omilu and as I tried to free it I drifted ominously close to the back of the waves. I scampered away, cut the hook off the line and re-tied my rig. Frank radio’d in that he was going up the line to where he had success the last two outings.
He skirted the back of the waves, getting pushed a couple of times, while I stayed in deeper water and didn’t get another bite. The wind picked up to 12 – 15 mph and I headed for the safety of the inner reef. The tide had been dropping and the bite really slowed. Frank’s persistence paid off with another omilu on a halalu and a long trumpetfish on a live oama that was so bright yellow it spooked him.
Live oama proved to be irresistible on the first 1/3 of the falling tide but I “farmed” 3 of my 5 strikes. Hope we get another shot at awa awa before the year is up. Here I am with our combined catch before Frank cleaned them on the beach.