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Travel Blog #92 - Peacock Bass fishing with Kauai ATV

Today we did something very unique, that I have never done before in the Hawaiian Islands (or anywhere else for that matter). We went fishing for Peacock Bass. We fished in the Waita reservoir above Koloa town, which is the largest reservoir in the state of Hawaii. Peacock Bass are a type of bass that are from South America that live in very warm water. Because of the Peacock Bass' preference for a warm climate they are not found in the United States except for a few places in Florida and Hawaii. Being a longtime saltwater fisherman I was eager to try something a little different was pretty excited for this bass fishing excursion.

We checked in at the Kauai ATV Tours office in Koloa town where we met our guide for the day. Our guides name was Brian. He greeted us with a large grin and directed us to follow him in our car up to the reservoir. The reservoir was less then a five-minute drive from the main ATV office through the forest. As we came around the last corner and out of the trees, I was startled to see how big the Waita Reservoir actually is. It was constructed to irrigate the cane fields that used to cover this side of the island and is the largest freshwater reservoir in the entire state of Hawaii.

When we got there the boat was already in the water ready to go. This boat was ideal for the shallow waters of the lake. Its shallow draft design enabled it to float in very shallow water. Brian said it could float in water as shallow as ten inches. Brian explained that we were going to try a couple different fishing spots during the afternoon. The first place we were going to go was an area on the far side of the reservoir that had a rock wall submerged in shallow water. This area is known for finding the Peacock Bass because they like to use the rocks as their spawning grounds.

We tried many different kinds of bait and lures. I started out with a lure that resembled a minnow, it didn't do so well so I switched to a silver spinning lure. When the spinner didn't work I decided to try the live bait. Brian had a bait well full of live Tilapia. He rigged it on a fairly short leader that was floated by a red and white bobber. My girlfriend Simone had been using this setup the whole time and had already pulled in three different Peacock Bass onto the boat. I had a couple strikes that robbed my hook of the bait, but unfortunately I was not as lucky as Simone and did not catch any Peacocks.

As we started the motor to move on to the next spot I was curious if I was going to get a fish. The next spot we went to was a much shallower fishing spot called the "inlet". This was a beautiful area that had much calmer water then the previous area we fished. As we came under the bridge into the shallow lagoon I was pleased to see some splashes and circular ripples extending out from where the fish were striking the surface to feed.

Brian explained that this area was a little more advanced because of the shallow water and the large amount of weeds growing out of the water. Here, casting accuracy was going to play a much larger part of the success rate. After a couple casts with a crawdad shaped lure I began to get a good feeling for the tip of the pole and started landing the lure right where I wanted it to go. A couple of times it seemed as if I dropped the lure right on top of the fish and scared it (evidenced by splashing in the water and no bite). Then finally I was able to find a clear line of sight over the reeds and drop the lure right past the fish and drag it backwards over the top of it. Instantaneously the fish struck and I fought it back to the boat. Fighting small fish with light tackle line in a river full of obstacles is a completely different feeling then fighting a larger saltwater fish in the open ocean. It was a much quicker fight that had to be carried out with much more finesse and I really enjoyed the challenge of reeling the fish back over the reeds.

I think in retrospect I might have used the live bait more. Brian had been collecting Tilapia in the live bait tank he had near the dock and we had a plentiful supply throughout the trip. Regardless of how much or how little I caught, the joy for me is the strategy of fishing and I had a great time learning some new things on a lake with one of the most beautiful backdrops I've ever seen.

Travel Blog - Articles #90 to #99

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This is a unique 4 hour bass boat fishing experience. Enjoy a hidden treasure away from crowds on the Waita Reservoir, the largest body of fresh water in the state of Hawai'i.

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