I know I made it sound like my Hawaiian exploits would come off as some remote, knife-between-my-teeth venture into Tenkara, dehydration, and perhaps some unhealthy conviviality with a volleyball named Wilson. Or maybe I didn’t really actually imply any of that at all, and just managed to make some stupid, mind’s-eye idealization of my attempts.
As I already said, Hawaii’s fishing is perhaps best kept to the bass ponds inland, the bone fishing on it’s various salt flats, and the rest reserved to spearfishing the demoted Humuhumunukunukuapuaa right through the eye.
But since I basically paid the freight to get my bag of fly stuff over there–and since the island of Kauai is the ONLY island that even knows what a trout is (apparently, some icthyian Captain Cook decided to haul some over there in the 1920’s and inbreed them), I figured I’d go looking for them.
Kauai brags some very beautiful, jagged, dangerous and mind-blowing real-estate. One of these places is Waimea Canyon, which basically is a microcosm of Arizona’s bragging rights. Head up there, and you’ll wind up in the Kokee park area. Hook a left at mile marker 12, drive about a half mile on dirt road, and there you are. A reservoir full of hatchery trout–and big ones at that.
This, of course was not what I was interested in at all. A bit slow on the sociological uptake, it took me while to figure out I was the ONLY non-local that managed to clomp his way down there. Sure, I fished. had a couple of strikes. caught nothing. Then the locals cut me to pieces, and erected a monument to the former deity I represented. *
But I watched the locals haul in fish after fish after fish after fish–kids and all–and toss them into coolers. It occurred to me right then and there that I was looking at true, everyday, boilerplate Hawaii–not the one that panders to the tourist class, but the ones who live there; the ones who simply have to find a way to put the food on the table in spite of the ridiculous cost of living.
So I put the rod away and started chatting with locals. “If you want to catch big trout in moving water,” said one, “you’re going to have to head up to Camp Seven.”
Turns out, this little trip would take FOUR hours on foot, and probably an hour with a 4 by 4. I was in the mood for neither. So I bailed. I was simply not prepared–physically–mentally–and especially hydrologically–to venture this. The actual stream was visible from the EC130 helicopter I boarded to see the Napali Coast. I guess I could’ve jumped.
That said, Hawaii nearly killed me. I could write a book on that. And I just might.
* Apparently I cannot refrain from grafting in self-referencing historical benchmarks. The Hawaiians discovered that Captain Cook was NOT a god. They heard him say “ouch” or something. Dismemberment is always logical.