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.