February 3, 2016

2016 Hawaii - Oahu (Day 13)

Our last day on Oahu before we went island hopping, we decided to spend a few early morning hours at He'eia Pier.

In the past, the reef fish were very quick to swarm my bait, leaving me with little chance to get the shy Yellowfin Goatfish to bite. This time, I used two hooks - one close to the bottom and the other about 8" higher. The higher hook, theoretically, acted as a sacrific dummy bait where the other reef fish can swarm to leave the bottom hook sitting right above the coral fingers where the Goatfish feeds. It was nice to turn a theory into concrete result.

Yellowfin Goatfish (Mulloidichthys vanicolensis) - Species #524

The Sea Chub (Enenue) have been avoiding me the entire time, but this morning, I finally scored.

Hawaiian Chub (Kyphosus hawaiiensis) - Species #525

* The Sea Chub in Hawaii are notoriously difficult to differentiate. This is identified as a Hawaiian Chub by the steep angle of the anal fin. When a line is drawn from the steep rear edge of the anal fin, the imaginary line passes through the caudal peduncle between the soft dorsal fin and the caudal fin.

I next turned my attention to the Moorish Idol again. Reef fish often have a home range, and I know where to find the willing Moorish Idol. It took a bit of chumming with bread until the fish would show. I started with a larger piece of bread on the hook to let the Moorish Idol steal the bait and lose a bit of its wariness. Slowly, I used smaller and smaller pieces of bread until I finally were able to hook the fish!

No cheating here either!

Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) - Species #526

We meant to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, but it was closed due to jellyfish. So instead, we went to Makai Pier again.

I tried for Brown Surgeonfish and Goldring Tang for a while but couldn't convert the quick bites into a hook up. Luckily, I did find a Spider-eye Puffer, aka Ambon Puffer, that took the bread.

Spider-eye Puffer (Canthigaster amboinensis) - Species #527

Almost running out of time to fish, I was fishing the bread close to the bottom when something took the bait hard and started running. When I saw a 12" Common Parrotfish on the line, I didn't know if it could be landed on the 2lb line and #26 hook. The situation went from bad to worse when the fish wrapped me around a barnacle-encrusted pylon twice. I was expecting to lose the fish until the fish decided to come back around. Michael finally hopped down to the jetty and grabbed it.

The male Common Parrotfish (Scarus psittacus), aka Palenose Parrotfish, is especially beautiful.

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