Monday, May 19, 2008

Trevally and Jacks in Fiji

The morning was calm. The clouds were not angry anymore and the sea was like molten glass. I could see blue sky and a small rainbow. I had a good feeling about this fishing trip, after all the last one ended with me being stung by a Sting Ray so anything would be better.

We set out with the electric trolling motor, just cruising along at a nice leisurely pace, Rosie and I casting poppers casually from side to side. We had a few lookers but no takers.

The water was a tinge of swimming pool blue and so clear you could see forever. We were slowly cruising over a series of coral heads in about 5 meters of water when Rosie looked down and saw a nice 2+ meter Bronze Whaler just lying on the bottom. With the most nonchalant flick of its tail it moved on and we resumed fishing.

We decided to skip our first fishing spot, a series of coral heads and rocks in a fast moving tide channel with a sandy bottom. Instead we went straight to another fishy spot where a small river comes to a little bay, known for holding nice Jacks and Trevally.
The water in this bay was a bit murky due to the rain and I was not having any luck with the poppers so I switched to a small dark X-Rap diver with loud rattles.

Rosie persisted with a small dark popper, and a really nice Trevally was the reward. After about a minute the fight ended with the front split ring being pulled straight. She upsized her popper and was back in the water in no time.

As we rounded the back of the bay my diver was absolutely smashed. The fight was dirty from the start, hard deep runs with a late run that made the drag scream in pain. Soon the telltale head thumps told me the fight was almost over. When we finally saw color, it proved why the fight was so good. A deep sided 4kg Trevally was netted and in the boat like clock work.

Things then quieted down for awhile. As we moved out of the bay, the water started to become clear again and we were fishing a deep drop off known for really big Trevally. I switched back to a popper and Rosie moved up to a 30lb spinning outfit. She was taking no chances of a bust off this time.

I was still bragging about my fish and not paying attention to my lure or retrieve when a nice little Emperor took my static lure for a run. These fish can fight. They were described to me by a friend as catching a freight train that wants to go home. This little fish proved it ten times over. Nevertheless, my braid proved victorious in the end.

A few minutes later and my popper was taken again by another nice Trevally. The water was so clear we watched the entire fight from take to finish. One of the bonuses of surface fishing.

We fished on a bit further but things got quiet. There was no surface activity and no bites so we decided to make our way back.
There was a lot of talking going on when all of a sudden off the back of the boat a huge Spanish mackerel launched itself into the air. We both stood there with our mouths open as this massive fish rocketed more that 5 meters into the air, turned around and shot straight back into the water.

If you have never seen this, let me tell you it is a remarkable sight. A big toothy grin and bold stripes gave away the species as well as the free jump.

Now, being a couple of true anglers Rosie and I immediately fire off a couple of casts. Within seconds the mackerel has launched itself out of the water again only this time it has my lure in it mouth. This is where all the years of experience comes into play, no steel leader and a small spinning reel, and a really big toothy fish, I am cut off before it even pulls tight. Luckily my little popper floats up right next to the boat and I retrieve it easily.

Rosie is undaunted by my ordeal and continues to cast out towards the general area. Within a couple of casts she has a massive strike that turns out to be a really big shark. She is still undaunted and continues to cast out there eventually enticing another massive strike from the shark. Now I think it has turned personal and she casts again followed by a white water explosion and as her line pulls tight and her rod loads up the shark proves that when fishing for toothy creature you need steel leader. With her popper now being worn as shark bling we get back to the business of fishing for obtainable fish.

On our way back we fish the little bay we started in. It starts out quiet so I switch to a diver in hopes of another Trevally. Rosie continues with a popper and after a few casts I hear the unmistakable boof of a Mangrove Jack. The fight is dirty by both parties. If you do not turn the Jack quickly you lose. She does it like a textbook fight and before long a beautiful Jack is in the boat.

A perfect end to a great day of fishing.

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