Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Suva Fish Market

I have always wanted to go to the Suva fish market on Saturdays. We finally got up early enough to go and we were rewarded with a plethora of seafood. I have used a slide show because there was too many pictures. All of the seafood is fresh and we tried two different seaweeds, lots of shell fish and some really nice veggies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Video of me catching a GT

A great day fishing out of Pacific Harbour, Fiji

The forecast for Saturday was beautiful. Plans made and gear readied, time to fish. We leave after eight and decide to make a straight run instead of trolling to the fishing grounds that we want to try today. This of course burns a lot of fuel but saves about two hours.
We get to the bottom end of a reef system called Frigates.
It is a very popular surfing spot for locals and tourists alike.

We set out three lines looking for GT’s or mackerels. Trolling right along the reef edge. This method has a great payoff potential but a very high risk of snags.
Not to worry as we did not get a bite.
As we round the top end of Frigates we decide to try a bit of popper fishing. Rosie’s cousin Paul has not done a lot of poppering and is keen on trying it.
After a fair bit of casting practice, that is what I call it when you get no bites, we decide to move.
The sea is flat and the sun is out, there is no wind and no birds in sight. Sounds like a nice day for a picnic on the water but not for fishing.
Bottom fishing with bait is the consensus. First find the bait then find the spot to fish.
Luckily Paul knows a spot that usually holds bait. Within 10 minutes we have bait and are looking for a spot to drop anchor and fish.
Soon we are baiting hooks and dropping to the bottom.
Now this is where everything changes. Rosie can’t stand it, bait fish are breaking the surface right on the edge of the reef. About as far away as a person can cast. She ties a large popper on and fires a long distance cast using a 30lb set up. One pop, two pop, three pops and the surface explodes. The unmistakable scream of braid being taken at will from a reel along with shouts of excitement was all it took to end the bait fishing. The fight is tough but fair and soon a nice Bluefin Trevally is in the net.
Now the rest of us are trying to get our rigs changed from bottom fishing to popper fishing and Rosie is out there with another cast and another huge explosion. This second Trevally is a Bigeye and manages to break the tip of her fishing rod which is actually my rod because hers was blown apart by a very large GT a few months back. Rosie still manages to boat it and by the look on her face has reached nirvana.
This spot is totally turned on. We can see the Bluefin school swimming along the reef and they are all in the 4-7kg range.
Before any one else is out there popping Rosie has landed another three big Bluefin. By this time the rest of us have gotten sorted out and Paul is now casting a popper at the reef as well as myself. Before long there is a massive explosion and my popper disappears in a churning mass of foam. As my line pulls tight and my drag comes to life I feel the unmistakable rush of adrenalin and a giant smile on my face. This fight is different to the rest, it is deep with very hard repeated runs. Big head shakes and a fair bit longer. When we finally see color the beast lets us know it is a Giant Trevally. Pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fishes in the sea.
This fight is followed immediately by an explosion on the end of Paul’s line and the unmistakable shout of, “I’m on!” This is Paul’s first big fish while popping and it lives up to the reputation. He is over the top with the largest Bluefin of the day. Next up to catch a big on was Natasha, Paul’s wife. Being a first timer this was going to be a challenge. Once she is hooked up and with a bit of coaching and a few breath holding moments a nice Bluefin is netted and has its picture taken. There is still one person left to catch a fish, Rosie’s brother Paul, we call him Baba. After a bit of casting he is hooked up and the fight is on. during the entire fishing frenzy we had been seeing a few sharks but we were not being harassed to much. This time would be different. As soon as we see color on his fish we notice another color right on it tail. It looks as though this shark means business. I am at the back of the boat with the net and start telling Paul to reel as fast as he can. As the shark starts to gain on the Trevally I start to slap the water with the net. This buys us enough time to boat another nice fish and Paul is over the top.A bit more fishing and it is time to head back. With non stop chatter about a great day fishing and when to go again, we arrive at the jetty just before dark safe and sound.
Not a bad day for our first real attempt here in Pacific Harbour.

Tight lines and screaming drags

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diving, Towing and Fishing, all in a days work

I finally got to go out to sea. On Friday one of my in laws, Charlie, asked me if I could help out on his charter boat, the Beqa Princess. He had a group of 11 divers from Russia going out and needed someone to handle tanks and watch the boat while they all were down. Of course I said yes, any chance to be on the sea and I am there. We left Saturday morning at 8am. After much ado of getting all the equipment and people sorted, language barriers exasperated the problems, we make it to the dive site by 9:30am. By 10am all of the divers are down and my cousin Paul and I are left on the boat.
The weather is outstanding, the seas are flat and we decide to have a bit of a fish. Paul lands a small barracuda and a little snapper while I reel in my lure many times over with a whole lotta nothing. That’s all right by me at least I am out on the sea.
Second dive goes smooth and we are back on the jetty by 2:30pm.
Sunday is set to be a repeat of Saturday just a new spot.
By 8am the weather has turned to crap. It is blowing 25knots and threatening to rain. This of course makes our job 10 times harder as the boat is pitching all over the place and some of the divers are getting sea sick.
After we get them all down for the first dive Paul and I decide to fish again. This time it is my turn to catch a few. After a couple of small barracudas I boat a Trumpet fish, a first for me. This is one strange fish. About 3ft long with a long face and a mouth on the end. Not a good eater but not bad for bait. Soon after the divers come up and we are off to the next site. Unfortunately no fishing there. After the second dive it is back to the jetty.

Tuesday morning around 10am I get a call from Charlie again, this time he has to go to an island and tow a sail boat back to the jetty. He says for me to bring my fishing gear and we will troll on the way there. Don’t have to tell me twice.
Before we leave the jetty a guy named Victor and his son Ronny from Australia enquire about a fishing trip before they board their cruise ship at 6pm. Charlie agrees to take them after we tow the sail boat. This being Fiji, they jump on board for the ride.
The trip over is a little choppy but not bad at all. We do not catch anything but once again I am out at sea.
We tow the sail boat to the jetty without much drama and get them secured and squared away. It is time to take Victor out fishing. His son is going to go fishing with Charlie’s son in a small dinghy on the river.
Once we get to the reef where we are going to fish it is down to business. Luckily Victor knows what he is doing and is fishing within minutes of the boat stopping. Time is short for us and Victor lands a nice Job fish followed by a nice jack. Then time runs out and it is a mad dash to get them back to their cruise ship before it leaves. All ends well and we all had a good time. Maybe next time I will get to catch some big fish. Until then tight lines and screaming drags.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fishing the web, you never know what you will catch

Here are a couple of items that got my attention in the news. The first is a "Man caught fishing for womens panties". This one really got me laughing. I guess you would call that panty poaching.

The second one is from Blogfish, a fish, ocean, conservation blog that I follow. Fishing protest not for the squeamish is about a shark fishing protest.
For the original story:
"Alice Newstead took the drastic action in protest at the practice of finning – where sharks are impaled on hooks, before their fins are sliced off to harvest meat for shark fin soup. The sharks are then thrown back into the ocean still alive. "
I feel that she got her point across. Mainly because the news wire picked it up as well as the blog world. She has drawn attention to an issue and got the public involved.
What do you think? Did it work or just a side show?
Panty on and hanging from a hook.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How to drive dolphins to extinction

The destructive power of human being is amazing. It is not bad enough that we over fish until a species is almost extinct, now these guys are trying to kill off a species we don't even eat.

Then these "fishermen" go on to say, "The Federation of Commercial Fishermen and a number of fishing companies challenged the restrictions, saying they would cost jobs in areas where the dolphins were never seen. The federation did not want to harm the dolphins but sought seasonal relief where jobs were under immediate threat."

What are we talking about here, 10-20 jobs. Let get real, these jobs are on their way out anyways. With the predatory fishing practices and greed these guys have already fished themselves out of a job. Time to find something else to do.

So you ask what is it that this fight is over. The first is the Hector Dolphin. "The Hector's dolphin is only found off the coast of New Zealand, which means it is endemic to New Zealand.
The Hector's dolphin is the rarest dolphin in the world - not a title to envy! "

The second is the Maui Dolphin. "Numbering around 110, the Maui's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is the world's smallest and rarest marine dolphin. Maui's dolphins are generally found along the North West coast of the North Island of New Zealand, between New Plymouth and Dargaville.

So there is only a few of these little dolphins in existence and what do people want to do to protect them, nothing. Lets just string up a big ol' net and catch them all and be done with it. You gotta love commercial fisherman and politicians. This scenario seems pretty straight forward, protect the Hector and Maui dolphins or they will be extinct. End of story. So by the response of the New Zealand High Court I guess we will just kill them all off. Nice work in the land of the long white cloud and extinct dolphins.

Let's hope some common sense and rational thinking infests their pea brains and they do the right thing.

If you are interested in helping save these dolphins take action here.

Save the Dolphins

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fishing the 10% method and Some Unusual Styles

Fishing, a sport that anyone can participate in. Young, old, male female, big, small it makes no difference to the fish. As far as I am concerned fishing is about putting in the hours. Doing the hard time per se. For first timers there is always an element of luck. Especially when they go out and land a huge fish of a lifetime and it was there first time to ever hold a rod. Such is lady luck.
The reality is a lot less glamorous. Fishing for hours on end without a bite. Fishing for hours on end in the rain without a bite. Then there is the fishing for hours on end without a bite while your fishing buddy is landing fish after fish. That’s the hard time.
I think the saying goes 10 percent of the anglers catch 90 percent of the fish. Reason being, the hard time.
People who catch fish regularly work hard for it. They learn to read the water and fish the tides. They are up at the crack of dawn and sometimes before. They never give up. If their favorite lure is not working then they change it and continue to fish the new one with confidence. If the new one is not working then they change again. It’s a never give up attitude that makes up the 10 percent.
There are many different techniques employed to catch fish and of course some of them are not very conventional but I am not judging.

Now this is what I call pushing the never give up attitude to the limit. Unfortunately I don’t think even lady luck will help this one.

This is what I call the scenting your lure technique. You put the lure in you mouth while carefully avoiding the hooks and get you saliva and scent all over the lure. According to some the fish then think they are kissing you instead of biting a hook. Of course it helps if you had sardines for lunch.

There is a not well known method of getting your lure out farther than you can cast. It involves a sea bird and the knowledge of bird whistling. Once mastered you can get your lure out to the fish without having to cast very far. The trick lies with the release from the bird. I am still unsure of this one but I have seen it employed several times.

Then of course there are those that just prefer to be friends with the fish rather than hook them.

This last method of fishing while standing in quick sand is beyond me. Be glad there are no crocodiles

I would like to say thanks to Katie Longo and Billy Longo for letting me use their images. In addition, I would like to give credit to Katie for putting in the hard time; it is starting to pay off for her.

Tight lines and screaming drags

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Welcome to Sky watch Friday. I was not going to use this site this week but I was half asleep when I posted the link and I posted the wrong one. So here I am scrambling to get a post up. I shot this one at a ferry dock here in Fiji. A local fishing boat with its reflection and of course the reflection of the sky. Have a great weekend and don't forget to visit Sky Watch Friday for more sky photos from around the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Garbage and all that washes up on the beach

I have yet to go fishing since I have moved. Suburbia does not allow me to keep my boat in the water in front of my house. Just one of many draw backs. That being said I have spent a fair bit of time on the beach with my dog, she still needs the exercise and I get a break.
One thing I have noticed is the huge increase of garbage on the shore line. Maybe it is because at my old place I picked up every bit of rubbish every day so it did not seem so much. This new beach that I run my dog on is absolutely littered with garbage. I am talking plastic bottles, cans, bags, VHS tapes, tires, you name it, and it is there.

I have always had an idea that the garbage on the beach is the oceans way of puking up what we humans discard into it. Unfortunately it all does not come back up. Some stays out there and collects into a giant raft. A floating waste land if you will. Some ends up killing birds and turtles. Still more ends up killing fish.

Why? Why do we as humans feel the need to completely destroy or environment? Do we not think about our actions? Or is it we just don’t give a damn? Have we as humans lost touch completely with our environment? Oh so many questions and still no answers. There are attempts at reducing and even eliminating plastic from our lives but the reality is we will just find something else to through away. I think the answer lies in education. I do not think we will ever get rid of our use and need of plastic and disposables, but we can learn to deal with it without making the environment pay for our excessive use of these byproducts.

Recycling is probably one of our best hopes at doing some good. A massive effort is needed to make a dent. Not just in the developed world but everywhere. All peoples in all countries need to conscientiously make the effort and really do something on a large, make that massive scale.
I live in Fiji and have found it very hard to recycle. The facilities just aren’t here. I am not sure why but am looking into it. Here on these beautiful tropical islands I can spend all day every day picking up trash from the beach and never make a dent. I find this very sad. People, no matter their ethnicity through their garbage in the ocean, it is almost as if they see it as their right.

If you have read this far then I ask a favor of you. If you see garbage on the ground pick it up and if you see someone throwing garbage on the ground say something. If you can recycle then do it and if the facilities are not available then find out why and try to get them available
If we all take these few steps it might actually put a dent in the excessive amount of garbage that is polluting our lives and the environment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Will Be Back Soon

Actually, I wish I was going fishing, but the reality is I'm moving. So for the next week or so I probably will not get a post up. As soon as we are settled I'll go fishing and let you all know what the new waters are like. I am also working on a post about prawning Fiji style and a post on how to service a spinning real. I'll take one apart, clean it and put it back together, all with pictures and comments.

In the mean time please visit my friends blogs on my blog roll. They will appreciate it.

Tight lines and screaming drags

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wolf Herring and Trevally

Well the fishing has been a bit slow. I think this is due to the water tempeture being very cool and me not having a motor to troll deep divers. This lack of motor problem is getting to be a pain in the catch rate. Ok, enough complaining and on to the fishing.
Rosie and I headed out the other day for what was promising to be a beautiful day fishing. There was almost no breeze and the sky was cloudless. After almost an hour of fishing and not even a bite our hopes were being dashed. Being the mad anglers we are, we fished on keeping up the chatter to pass the fishless morning.
We were cruising along a nice sandy drop off with a weed bed in the shallows and some coral heads in the deep when a school of Wolf herrings decided to break up our casting practice.
If you have never seen one of these you can count yourself lucky. The Fijians call them belts because they are long and wide but have no thickness to them, like a belt. They are full of bones and have the nastiest set of teeth I have ever seen. With two fangs pointing almost straight out of their mouth and all the rest of the teeth needle sharp, it is handle with care. Their mouths do not open very far so they tend to throw themselves at your lures. I have never caught one in the mouth, always in the body or face. Once hooked they do put up a good fight with light tackle.
After catching a few Wolf herrings the fishing went quiet again. We were back to casting practice.
Maybe an hour or more later Rosie had a Trevally showing a bit of interest in her surface popper. Unfortunately it was not biting just playing. I was throwing a deep diver and asked her if she would mind if I had a cast at her fish, she said go ahead so I did and caught a nice size Trevally. Luckily I asked before I cast otherwise I would be in deep trouble for stealing a fish.
Not long after that we started to have electric motor problems so it was a beeline back to the shore. At least we had dinner and I got a picture for you all to see.

Fast forward three days to today and the weather has turned a little cloudy with sprinkles. Rosie went to town for a few days so I decided to go wading and see what I could catch. It did not take long and I was hooked into a really nice Trevally. With coral all around, this fish had me chest deep in the water. With my drag screaming and line melting away it made four really nice runs before I could get the upper hand. Finally I led it to the shallows and got a hold of its tail. A beauty of a fish tipping the scales at over 3kg and me with no one around but the dog. Sorry for the picture on the grass but I have not trained my dog to take good pictures yet.

Tight lines and screaming drags