Dateline: June 21, 2010 – Honolulu, Hawaii
The plan for my last day on Oahu: Spend the first 45 minutes of the day in a Honolulu park where there is a freshwater stream rumored to harbor interesting cichlids and some tropical catfish. And then we were supposed to go spend all day on the north shore pursuing the elusive sharpjaw bonefish.
Oahu certainly has some lovely corners, and this park was not one of them. While it did have a picturesque stream and foliage, there was also a homeless couple doing their laundry in said stream and following up with a spirited argument over who lost the crack pipe. But there were new fish here, and no risk or inconvenience is too great for a new species.
Ben Affleck Memorial Park
And so we picked our way along a rocky gully, heading for an inviting pool at the bottom of a small waterfall. Along the way, I noticed a few minnow-sized fish in the creek pools. “Are those mosquitofish?” I asked Wade. Jaime answered. “Yep.” I continued walking. I mean, no one actually catches mosquitofish, right? I usually can’t pass up even a drainage ditch with a few fish in it, but these things are tiny with tiny mouths and I hadn’t made the link between seeing them and actually catching them.
But Jaime just had to say it. “Aren’t you going to catch one?” I smiled at her with as much condescension as possible. “They’re mosquitofish.” She replied “Right. I catch them all the time.” And then she took my fishing rod, which was rigged with hooks far too big for this purpose, and she caught one. I reminded her that nobody likes a smartass.
Jaime maliciously taunts me with her trophy mosquitofish
I sighed. How hard could it be if a 12 year-old did it that quickly? So I set to trying to catch a mosquitofish.
(Footage of clock spinning by the hours.)
(Footage of calendar flipping past the months.)
Two hours and 28 minutes later, I finally caught a one. During the course of this clinic on high blood pressure, I actually had to take a breather and I went and fished the big pool for a few minutes. And I did catch a Barred Jewel Cichlid – see attached photo. But back in the shallow creek, I stuck at it until I finally got a mosquitofish.
Barred Jewel Cichlid
My mosquitofish. Yes, it’s smaller than Jaime’s. What’s your point?
Note from the future – many years later, it turned out this wasn’t a mosquitofish at all, but rather some sort of livebearer, likely gruesomely hybridized. Luckily, in June of 2016, I corrected this and caught a real mosquitofish.
Jaime smiled and said “Nice job, Steve,” But when her father wasn’t looking, she spun her little head around 360 degrees and spit pea soup at me.
Of course, all this meant that we have a very limited trip to the north shore before I had to get to the airport. We actually did get a bite, but it was a huge stingray that broke me off in the reef. “Maybe next time!” Jaime offered unhelpfully. Still, that’s two more for the team. The total stands at 988*, and now I am in full-on planning mode for Europe. (Starting July 5, Germany, England, Norway.)
I also need to mention that Jaime has moved up into the big leagues of fishing practical jokes. On my arrival home, I noticed my bag smelled bad. World class, old hockey gear kind of bad. The kind of bad that can only result from a 12 year-old girl, with the tacit approval of her father, placing a dead crab in my tackle box.
This is war, you little snot.
*That means I have 12 more to go, Chuck.
Wade and Jaime at home, after I had awarded her a prized “Bat Brothers” hat.
They are smiling because they have just placed a dead crab in my tackle bag,
a fact I would not discover for almost 24 hours.