Monday, May 12, 2008

You never know what you will catch

When fishing in the tropics you never really know what you will catch. You can target a specific species of fish but there will always be other takers. This day would prove that.

The plan had been set, we would fish the falling tide until the low at 10AM. We would be on the water at 7AM. This time of year the sun is just clearing Taviuni Island at 7AM and the sky was clear blue with absolutely no breeze. With coffee in hand and gear ready we head out for the morning.

With the electric in the water, Rosie at the rear and myself in front we were off and fishing. Shallow divers and poppers were the lures of choice for the day. First spot would hopefully produce a few good size Emperors. After about 20min I pulled the first fish, a nice little Jack, from his hiding place under a coral head on a 10cm green diver.

We were being pushed along by the falling tide at a pretty good pace, so I used the electric to slow us down so we could work the surrounding coral heads. Another 30 min or so saw a few small cods but nothing to brag about and no Emperors.

A quick meeting of the minds and we decided to move to another favorite spot known to produce drag testing Trevally and freight train Jacks. Another 30 min go by and not even a looker. Otherwise known as casting practice. Next spot is known for some delicious Coral Trout and the odd Jack, lots of sharp coral and rock hiding spots and only a meter deep.

I am busy flicking a shallow diver over the coral while Rosie decides to put a large Chug Bug popper on and take a few casts out over the drop off. With in seconds the water explodes and I hear the oh so lovely sound of her drag screaming. I get my line in and try to give chase with the electric motor but after only 30 seconds it is all over. The GT made it to his home turf and Rosie was left with coral cut braid and a look of bewilderment. After a quick retie we decide to head to a point known for big GT’s.

On the way to the next spot I am casually asked, “Do you think there are any big fish in this deep section?” As I am about to answer with some sophisticated, analytical and philosophical response about fish habits and the largeness of the ocean, the water explodes not 10meters from the boat followed but the unmistakable sound of braid breaking under extreme tension. I turn to see a GT at least a meter long swim away and I am sure he had a smile on his face. As Rosie reels in her limp braid, a quick examination shows the braid double had been cut, more than likely by the scutes on the tail wrist of the GT. Another retie and we are at our next spot.

I had just finished saying how not to cast over the coral edge because the GT’s will swim straight down and break you off, when I saw some bait getting busted up on the surface. What do I do? Cast over the coral edge and get busted up by a GT swimming straight down. Now I deserved that and I was kicking myself for such a stupid move and finishing up another retie when I hear another surface explosion and screaming drag from the back of the boat. As I look up Rosie yells out that there’s a shark and as I see it I realize she is not hooked to the shark but it is going for her fish. After 2 bust offs there is no way she is loosing this one to a shark. Her fish heads straight down and luckily the shark goes the other way. After a decent fight Rosie calls out that her fish is a Spanish mackerel and I had better not drop it. I get it on board and after a round of high fives I let her deal with the prep, as we are keeping this one for the table.

Now it is my turn, the bait is still getting busted up and I am rigged and ready. First cast only lookers, second cast and the typical surface explosion and screaming drag. A good 5 min fight and we boat a nice GT. Not long after the bait disappear as well as the predators.

No complaints from us as it is now 10am and we head home both smiling and with a feed on board.

The gear we use is Cabalas Salt Striker graphite rods, Shimano Symetre 4000FI reel spooled with P-Line 15lb braid, 40lb MOMI leader. I replace all hardware on the lures with heavy duty split ring and VMC 4X saltwater trebles. The boat is a 14ft tinny with a Minn Kota 55lb autopilot electric.
We live in Fiji on the Island of Vanua Levu. We are about 62km from the nearest town and are situated on Fawn Harbour inside the barrier reef.

No comments: