February 6, 2016

2016 Hawaii - Hawaii (Day 16)

When Jeffery, a member on the Ulua-fishing.com forum, heard that I was visiting the Big Island, he invited me to fish South Point. I did not expect that he would prepare a full local fishing experience for us.

Michael and I left Kona at 7:30am and it took a full 2.5 hours to reach South Point behind some slow traffic.

Jeffery and his friend Peterson, had already arrived and set up camp. Together, we put up the 8-man tent and military cot that would be our sleeping arrangements for the night. We then settled down to talk story and had some sandwiches. It was just a great time that we had no hurry to fish at all.

Before long, it was already 2pm. Michael and I left camp to head toward Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

Big Island has 11 micro climates...and on our drive, the landscape changed from grassland fit for ranching...

...to rugged coastlines with lava outcrops...

...including the black sand beach at Punaluu, where Green Sea Turtle basked on the beach...

...and finally the tropical rainforest on the slopes of Kilaeua.

Unfortunately, you can plan for everything but the weather. We happened to visit on a cloudy day and the entire area was enveloped in a blinding fog. Still, we did the tourist thing.

Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)

A Kalij Pheasant we saw on the trail

Sulphur Banks (Ha'akulamanu)

Steam vents along the 'Iliahi Trail

Watch me Nene...

Beautiful paintings at Jagger Museum

Stare into the eyes of Pele

Unfortunately, it was even more foggy at sunset. We never got a view of Kilauea Crater glowing in the dark. Well, it means I will have to return one day to check that off the list.

By the time we returned back to camp, it was well after 9pm. Jeffery, the great host that he was, got to work to heat up dinner for us.

After dinner, we got down to work. South Point was supposed to be a great location for Glasseye (Aweoweo) and Soldierfish (Menpachi). But the weather shifted, sending strong north winds gusting to 50mph overnight. It was a bit scary clinging to the edge of the 40ft sea cliff whipping for our targets. At least we didn't have to deal with huge swells. I give props to all the ulua hunters who deal with tough conditions all the time.

Now watch me whip...

Plenty Bandfin Cardinalfish

I felt a little tap on the line but there was no weight on the end. Then another tap and yet nothing again. I thought the fish had finally stripped my bait when I reeled in to a tiny but welcoming new species.

Shy Soldierfish (Plectrypops lima) - Species #537

Almost past midnight, we had yet to find any Menpachi aside from my one Shy Soldierfish, until Michael and I finally each caught one at the very end.

Shoulderbar Soldierfish (Myripristis kuntee) - Species #538

* Hawaiian Soldierfish are difficult to identify. The Shoulderbar Soldierfish, aka Pearly Soldierfish, has all red fins all edged in white except for the spiny dorsal fin, a silvery pink background, narrow scales and a narrow caudal pedencle.

Before we went to bed, Michael and I had to move the tent since our door was facing the wind. It was pretty difficult to rotate it in the dark in 30mph sustained wind and the few 50mph gusts.

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