President, Hawaii Pacific University, Fly Fisherman
If he didn’t have the photo to prove it, you might suspect that Chatt Wright was telling you a fish story.
A year ago, Wright journeyed to upper Mongolia and reeled in a 36-pound, monster trout. It was 52 inches long and fought the Hawaii Pacific University president and chief executive officer for nearly a half an hour. The species of trout is so large and voracious that Wright had to use a fly that looked like a small, furry mammal.
Wright has many stories to tell. He has criss-crossed the globe in his pursuit of trout and salmon, everywhere from Mongolia and Kamchatka to Italy and France, from Alaska to Argentina. Fishing gear is a permanent part of the well-traveled university administrator’s carry-on luggage.
“I take my fishing rod on trips like some people take their golf clubs,” says Wright. “If I’ve got a free day, I’ll go fishing. There is always a stream or river close by.”
Recently, Wright discovered that he doesn’t have to hop on a plane to practice his craft anymore. For the past two or three years, Oahu fly fishermen have been casting for bonefish, or oio in Hawaiian, on the sandbars and reefs of Kaneohe, Portlock and Kahala. The oio, one of the greatest fighting fishes in the world, come near shore with the rising tide to feed on shrimp and other crustaceans.
“Fly fishing is a very active sport, you’re always moving and looking and casting,” says Wright. “But sometimes you have a few minutes to look around and you see the Koolaus and the blue sky and realize that Oahu is one of the most beautiful islands on earth.”