Friday, January 23, 2009

My New Fishing Boat

Well it's official, with these photos I can announce the building of my new center console fishing boat.

It seems like forever in the research and design. Looking at countless numbers of other boats, new and used. Liking some hating some.

Ultimately not finding what I wanted made me design it my self.

The hull and basic design is by a Fijian company, The Fiberglass Shop. The boat is an Islander 28 Center Console.

Then I started to make changes and add things.

Like: Built in ice boxes, fresh and salt water washes, The seat in front of the console and the one behind the driver, padded coaming around the aft deck, a custom T-top and bow rail, toe slots and rod holders. The list goes on but I will post photos as the build continues.

I am also having a positive floatation alloy pod by Armstrong Nautical products, installed to mount the Suzuki 200 hp motor on.

All said and done I should get it in a few weeks. Fingers are crossed.

These two shot are before the antifouling and the top rub rail.

Antifouling and rub rail being completed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fishing to get out of the heat

It has been said, "fishing is a relaxing sport", but this is out of hand.

Granted here in Fiji it is summer time and it is hot. Not just a little hot, but really hot, the kind of hot that makes you move slow. The kind of hot where there is no point drying off after a shower, cause you going to be sweating in two minutes.
I was on the beach when I saw Tavaita sitting in knee deep water fishing. Then the little boy, Paris, shows up and starts splashing around and yelling. Now with all that comotion going on we all know that there is not a fish within 100 meters.
Deterred? Never.
Why? It's too damn hot to care.
Besides, if you are in the water you might as well throw in a line, you never know, you just might catch something.

Tight lines and Stay cool
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video of me catching a GT in Oman

GT fishing in Oman

We have just returned from an extended vacation that included Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Fujairah. All of those are part of the United Arab Emirates. Oman, which is not an Emirate. We also toured Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, all of Tasmania
and Sydney. Wow, that was a lot.
Fortunately we got a chance to fish for big GT’s in Oman. Now that in itself is rather special, fishing in exotic locations for Giant Trevally, but here is the kicker, we did this aboard a 41ft center console with twin Suzuki 250hp four strokes. It was fast and quiet.

Before the fish story, a little lead up to it. I was communicating with the fishing company, Ocean Active, about times and pick up when I was informed what I had heard earlier. It was the largest red tide in how many generations. The fishing has been terrible with massive fish die off’s. The deaths are due to low oxygen levels in the ocean. The red tide is so massive and thick that it uses up all of the available oxygen in the water and the fish cannot breath. They literally die of suffocation. So, we are offered our money back or postponement.
It was decided red tide or not we where going fishing.

There was no illusion about our odds of catching fish. It was going to be hard fought and few and far between.
We were picked up at our hotel Le Meridian at 6:30AM. We had to drive from the hotel in Fujairah, 35 minutes up the coast to the border check point into Oman, manned by armed military. Once we entered Oman. It was like a time warp. The United Arab Emirates are very modern and developed. New highways, giant buildings and shopping like you have never seen. Dibba, Oman on the other hand was a little sleepy fishing town. Quiet streets and lots of goats roaming around.
We arrived at the marina just as the sun was rising. What a spectacular sight it was. Giant Dhows every where, which are traditional Arab fishing boats. Long boats and center consoles. The little marina was a hive of activity and this only added to our excitement.
We settled in for a 45minute cruise up the coast to what was hoped to be a good spot to start our morning fishing.
The morning was amazing. Not a could in the sky and dead calm. It was as if we were flying over the water.
We sighted schools of Skip Jack tuna, attempted a few casts, and watched the tuna disappear.
The first spot saw the tides a bit off so it was off and flying for another 15minutes.
The second spot saw us hugging a shipping lane and drifting over a rock that rose from 100mt to 23mt.
Jigging was in order. 250grm knife jigs rigged with a 9/0 suicide hook. Long 200lb leader and 100lb braid. All connected to a Stella 20000 and a T/curve rod.
Drop down 30mt and jig them back up. Now if you have never done this type of fishing, then let me tell you. Go to the gym and start training now and maybe in 3months you will be ready. I am no slouch, but this is hard work. I am glad we did not do it all day.
On what was to be our last drift and drop, my jig was hammered. I mean it was like being connected to a freight train.
As 100lb braid peeled of the reel, I was literally dragged to the edge of the boat where I finally braced myself on the rail with my left had.
It was time for me to gain my composure and put a little hurt on this fish.
I new right away it was a GT. It fought dirty the whole way. I finally got the upper hand and then it was just a matter of pumping it up from the depths. When it finally came to the surface I think we both were done for. My arms were shaking with adrenalin and I new they would be hurting later.
A couple of photos and a quick release saw this big GT swim away stronger than me.
A few more drifts and a couple of bites but no takers. Time to move.
The next spot saw us drifting along a shear wall and chucking giant poppers at the base of it. A couple of follows and then a strike. This time I was hooked up to a Mack truck. As line peeled of again I moved myself to the rear of the boat but it was too late. The big GT found its home and won it freedom.
After that things went quiet again.
We tried a few different spots but to no avail. The water was stained red and getting worse as the tide shifted.
We decided to try a few spots on our way back. This turned into casting practice and arm training. Nothing biting and no sign of bait. It was time to enjoy the boat ride back at a leisurely pace.
Overall we had a great time and I learned a few things.
First, it is a lot of work casting big poppers for giant fish.
Second, even thought our boat was huge, its fish ability left a lot to be desired.
Third, electronics are a must for jigging. The fish finder on board this boat was wholly inadequate and mad finding marks and fish very hard.
I would definitely recommend Ocean Active to anyone wanting to fish in the Emirates. The captain F C Lubbe was knowledgeable and friendly. He even let me drive the boat.
Even though it was an off day, I could see the potential for many big fish.
That seems to be my charter curse. Every charter I have been on turns out to be the worst day of fishing the boat has ever had. Luckily I still have a good time and try to learn something from the crew or captain.
Fishing is like that, so I always keep an open mind and a sense of humor about me. After all that is why it is called fishing and not catching.

Tight lines and screaming drags