What’s better than a great day at the beach in Hawaii? A great day at the beach in Hawaii AFTER some awesome Tenkara fishing with new friends and catching a bucket-list fish (or two).
As many of you can imagine, Hawaii is not really thought of as a destination for freshwater fishing. Most people come here looking for offshore action and big fish. I was looking for the opposite and everyone let me know it when I would ask around for a place to toss a line into a freshwater lake or stream. That said, I managed to finally get some help from a local and off to Wahiawa Reservoir (aka Lake Wilson) I went.
So, on a cool (for Hawaii) overcast day with continuous light rain, I made my way to the lake. It was pretty slow going due to the cooler temps and overcast skies, but I was determined. What also didn’t help was the loose volcanic gravel shore line often presenting itself at a solid 45-degree angle. With no kayak available, this was turning out to be a rough start. After changing spots several times over the first couple of hours, I ran into an employee of the part who directed me to a little-known area where the shore line was flatter and more easily navigated by foot. But, before I set off for that adventure, I thought I would try my hand nearby little inlet grassy area set off the boat launch ramp. I was hoping it would produce something since it was a little later in the morning and all the launching activity in that area was long done.
Man was I glad I did. Within about 45 minutes, I had two Peacock Bass and a Blue stripe Snapper later (yeah that one was a surprise). Not really knowing what to expect, I can definitely tell you, if you hook into a Peacock Bass you won’t be disappointed. I would definitely put it up there as one of the top three fighting (freshwater) fish I’ve had the opportunity to land. They hit hard, and pull like a monster. The first one I landed was about 1.5lbs and was fun, but the second one let me know how they really like to play. I hooked into what ended up be a 3lbs beauty and it fought like a beast. I love catching Large Mouth Bass in Texas, and this fella could have hung with any 5lb’er I have ever hauled in. With consistent catches being recorded of Peacocks above 5-6lbs, I can only hope to hook into a larger one the next time I am there and the weather is better to see how the big-boys fight.
After fight, it looked like the area was dead again, so I took off on my adventure to find the spot I was told about by the park employee. On my way there I was stopped by a couple just pulling into the park and shocked by what they asked... “how’s the Tenkara fishing going?”. I was almost stunned into silence. After all the conversations I had with locals about Tenkara fishing, looking for fresh water and being on this lake around other anglers for several hours, this was the first time ANYONE knew what Tenkara was… and what made it even more impressive was the fact that I had my Tenkara rod collapsed and only a little canvas bag with my flies in it.
So, needless to say, I made some new friends and we all headed off to the hidden area. Unfortunately, the weather and day wasn’t with us at the next location, but I see why he turned me onto it. I geo-marked it for next time and plan to give it another go when I’m there again. Although I zeroed out the rest of the day, I was still fishing in paradise, and marked off a couple of fish from the ‘ole bucket list while getting to know some great people and making new friends - you can't ask for more. Thanks to Mike and Tina (by way of Decoma, Washington) for such enjoyable company and conversation. I hope to see you guys again.
Last thoughts. If you get a chance to get to Oahu, you don’t have to go offshore to enjoy a good fight. Take some time to hit the fresh water and you will enjoy a relaxed lake atmosphere while you hunt and search for a variety of over seventeen different species of fish including Large Mouth Bass, Small Mouth Bass, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Snakehead (Pungi), Oscar, Tilapia, Red Devil, and the most popular and tough-fighting of them all, the Tucanare, or Peacock Bass, known for it's distinctive tail spot and brilliant colors. By the way, unlike “mainlander” Large Mouth Bass, Peacock Bass love warmer waters so you get great action in the middle of the day. The warmer the weather, it seems the livelier the action.
Experience an adventure like none other in Hawaii! you’ll find and well worth the time. THEN, go hit the saltwater and get some big offshore action.
Until next time, cheers to you and tight lines!