The hurricane season has kept the weather dark and humid through the early fall. It’s not as though we have the extreme seasonal changes like those futher from the equator, but, the return to “normal” tropical weather is somewhat of a relief. I’m restless, funny, I see the ocean everyday on my drive to work yet I miss her and feel the need to get to the shoreline somewhere.  The ulua bite has been good this year and I feel like I’m wasting a good year not hitting it as hard as I should. Here I sit in the waiting room at my wife’s ob/gyn. …

My workhorse rod, the 12 foot spinner has a broken reel seat, new guides and grip sit on my workbench waiting for some love, remnants of duct tape glue from a summer adhoc repair still visible.

I haven’t been out with my light-medium set up for a while. It may be a good time to give it a go!

A 14 foot Daiwa Sealine Surf rod with the trusty old Penn 550ss.

It’s a great rod for the shallow flats I have in mind. The 15lb test will keep things interesting. Papio, Barracuda and Oio are among the list of regular catches out there and an Ulua is not out of the question, but, something I’ve yet to catch both out there and on this rod and reel set up. Only running 15lb test, but, have it backed up with 20lb braid. Looking to use leadhead jigs in the sand pockets during the rise, I’m feeling the pearl white grubs today. We’ll see how it goes!

The surf is calm, maybe flat to a foot, the water is pretty clear. I see the patches of invasive seaweed making a come back in the calmer inside reef. I head for a channel that has produced for me before.

I question my choice of the curlytail grub, is it big enough to entice my target size oio? The last time was an anamoly, I took a 6 pounder on a Rapala X-Rap of all things! A pale green color, kinda oama’ish. I had put a large wooden floater on and attached a 5 or 6 foot leader to the X-rap. I worked it in the channel letting it drop knowing the floater would keep the line off the reef. A semi-slow retrieve twitching and the occasional jerk to hopefully kick up some sand to catch the attention of a large bone. While not widely accepted as a valid tactic for oio, over the years we’ve learned that the bigger ones seem to show more canivoric tendencies than the typical 2 to 4lbers.

8.9 on a digital scale caught with a live hinalea, if that aint lucky.....

8.9 on a digital scale caught with a live hinalea, if that aint lucky…..

We’ll have to see what if anything takes a liking to the pearl grub.

It’s about an hour and a half after the turn of the tide, the water’s moving a bit and I feel the energy building.

I try, as I always do to look for the oio tailing on the shallow flats, but, as usual, I see no grey ghosts, old eyes. I continue to fish “blind”, using my instincts and looking for sand pockets. Dropping it as close as I can to the opposite edge of the reef and letting sink to the bottom, I twitch the tip of the rod and stop. This time I shake the rod side to side making half turns of the reel handle. No dice…I decide to switch tails and put on a clear with glitter. I also change up the retrieve, a steady, not too fast with side to side and an occasional hard lift of the tip to bring it up and let it flutter back down. This is not totally different, just a little change in tempo.

I feel a little tick, I’m barely even able to react when the Penn starts screaming! I lift the rod and watch as the line rips through the water, there’s a rocket ship on the end of my line! Then the typical Oio tactic, it’s running straight back in at me! I crank furiously to keep some tension. It turns to the right then left, short bursts now, it’s mine!

Waialua oio crop

The drive home is a mental de-brief / plan for next time….as usual.

Dean calls, he and Dan are thinking of an overnighter this week. We set a tentative plan, confirm with Dan. It’s a go!