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I have a tripped booked to do a little island hopping and fishing in Hawaii this summer. I have guides booked on each island where I will be fishing, but half of them do not provide gear so I will be bringing my own. Having asked them what to bring, I've gotten varied answers suggesting I need at least a 9wt if not a 10wt, others recommending an 8wt, and others still suggesting a 10wt is overgunned and I could "probably get away with an 8wt." Different islands, different fish I suppose.

The common denominator seems to be a 9wt. I have plenty of 8s and 10s, but no 9s. I'm not worried about wind - I've fished Molokai and plenty of windy places just fine with an 8wt, but I am curious about the appropriate sized rod for the fish. We're obviously looking for big bones, but I'm really interested in bluefin trevally. I hooked one once, but the guide poled the skiff directly over it as it started its first run and it broke off pretty immediately, so I really don't know what to expect. So I guess my question is, if I get lucky enough to hook up with a decent sized bluefin trevally, am I going to wish I had a 9wt? Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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I have a tripped booked to do a little island hopping and fishing in Hawaii this summer. I have guides booked on each island where I will be fishing, but half of them do not provide gear so I will be bringing my own. Having asked them what to bring, I've gotten varied answers suggesting I need at least a 9wt if not a 10wt, others recommending an 8wt, and others still suggesting a 10wt is overgunned and I could "probably get away with an 8wt." Different islands, different fish I suppose.

The common denominator seems to be a 9wt. I have plenty of 8s and 10s, but no 9s. I'm not worried about wind - I've fished Molokai and plenty of windy places just fine with an 8wt, but I am curious about the appropriate sized rod for the fish. We're obviously looking for big bones, but I'm really interested in bluefin trevally. I hooked one once, but the guide poled the skiff directly over it as it started its first run and it broke off pretty immediately, so I really don't know what to expect. So I guess my question is, if I get lucky enough to hook up with a decent sized bluefin trevally, am I going to wish I had a 9wt? Thanks for your thoughts.
Depth determines weight of fly. Back that into weight/taper of flyline, and necessary leader length. Adequate butt strength for the big ones pulling against a heavy drag, in a rod that won’t break, gives you the answer. 9 wt NRX Plus.
 

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I’d take two rods. Seems like a lot of traveling to suddenly find yourself with a broken rod. Then just fish the one that seems best that day.

OTOH, its always time for a new rod. Especially one you don’t already own.
 

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This doesn't apply to Hawaii specifically, but I rarely find that "too heavy" of a rod stops me from catching fish. On the other hand, too light of a rod can mess me up when trying to be accurate in strong winds, or with bushy/heavier flies.

If you want to save the coin (and bring only 1 rod), I'd bring the 10. If you want to buy a new rod, grab a 9. If it's calm, shallow water, you can always lengthen the leader and try to be delicate with your cast. If you bring the 8 and you're throwing big bushy flies in high winds, the adjustments to keep the cast on point are more difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Definitely not taking just one rod - I've got 4 8wts and 2 10wts that I'm planning to take, hoping/expecting to have an 8 in my hand most of the time. I'd rather not drop the scratch on another rod or two, but I can. I'm really trying to figure out if a 9wt is the "right" rod for HI and bluefin trevally or if I'd be find with an 8wt and occasionally grabbing the 10.
 

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A 9 wt axiom 2 is a great mid priced rod for the occasional trip. Understand not wanting to buy expensive for a rod you may not use very often. Can always spool up a 9 wt line on one of your 8 wt reels, saves buying a new reel.
 

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I haven’t fished in Hawaii but a good buddy of mine was there two years ago. Fished out of Oahu with a guide. He said the wind was pretty constant, however the fish are super super spooky and presentation was everything. He used an 8wt and said his guide liked fishing 6s and 7s whenever he could make it happen on less breezy days. As far as bluefin trevally goes, I’m sure you wouldn’t feel over powered on a 10wt.
 

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In regards to Pudldux suggestion about the TFO Axiom. I’d have to agree, although my suggestion would be the Axiom II-X, I have it in a 10wt and it’s spectacular for a $370 rod. For a 9wt that gets occasional use I have no doubt it would be a great addition for the trip.
 

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You have 8’s and 10’s I wouldn’t mind f it to much and just take what you have. A change in one line size prolly isn’t going to be the difference in you catching a fish or not assuming you can make the cast in the conditions that day.

If it’s windy a lot there you could have one guide telling you a 10wt cause he is tired of poling people that can’t cast the needed distance with smaller rods in the wind.

Good luck sounds like a great trip.
 

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When I waded with a guide off Oahu we used an 8wt for bones and he carried a 12wt just in case we stumbled across GTs working the reef line on the upcoming tide.

Reading your email...I'd bring an 8wt and a 10wt if that's what you have. Use the 8wt and have the guide carry your 10wt until you determine you need something heavier.

I will say...it was amusing when he handed me the 12wt and had me cast it a few times, standing knee deep on the marl, so he could gauge my ability with it. I asked, "Why did you bring a 12wt back up?" His response, "If I see a GT and give this to you, just do what I tell you to do immediately without asking any questions..."

We didn't see a GT on the flat that day, but the 8wt was plenty for the 5 bones I caught. The ones that broke off (3) were entirely my fault and user error...
 

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I fished Oahu and Kauai. On Oahu I had an 8wt for bonefish (which was too heavy). The fish get a ton of pressure and I ended up using a guides 6wt most of the time. When I fished on my own I used my 8 and still lucked into a few fish but the larger bonefish there will spook on an 8wt line landing. Oahu was cool, caught a lot of small triggerfish, bluefin trevally (Papio) and baby GT's (Ulua). I even had a few bonefish shots blown by aggressive smaller fish. Best flies were Gotcha's in smaller sizes and Avalon Flies in smaller profiles. Orange and Pink were more productive then tan in the Gotcha pattern and Tan and white/orange for the Avalon flies. As for the trevally, EP Baitfish or anything you can rip through that water, you cannot pull it fast enough.

Kauai was more reef fishing, caught more small trevally and triggers. I couldn't find any solid flats there, but I also DIY'd Kauai. The fishing was pretty straight forward on both islands. WF Floating salt lines, Flouro leaders, I brought 12, 10 and 8lb. As for shock tippet I had 20, 40 and 80lb. Never touched the 80lb. A good pair of flats sneakers is a must, lots of urchins and other hard coral to ruin your wading. Killer sunglasses, long leaders and you'll be good to go. If you have any questions just let me know. Here was the box I brought.

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171957


171958
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Awesome info, just what I needed. My wife will also be jazzed when I pack her 7wt. Many thanks!
 
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