Saturday, December 25, 2010

Soft plastics with a bit of popper thrown in

Some times one just needs to try new things in order to break out of a mold.
Rosie and I have been popper fishing for quite awhile now. As you know we love it and do alright in the fish category. The problem is, a lot of the better eating fish are found a little deeper in the water column. Therefore one must try a new style of fishing to get down were the tasty fish live.
So the plan is set to do a bit of deep water soft plastic jigging. Now I have read heaps, watched loads of videos and talked to everyone I know who does this type of fishing. I did not want to fail at this.
We head out of the break water to a flat sea with high hopes and new ideas.
From Soft plastic jigging
The first few spots and drifts produce nothing. We do however encounter a pod of spinner dolphins mucking around. Unfortunately for you all we are we too engrossed in fishing to shoot any photos of them.
We then move to an area that has a lot of small reefs in the 20 to 30mt range.
Right away we find the fish and I work out the technique for catching them.
From Soft plastic jigging
A close up of this beautiful fish.
From Soft plastic jigging
Now that I have figured this out the fish start to come in with every drop of the jig.
From Soft plastic jigging
Now Charlie is getting in on the action.
From Soft plastic jigging
And then Rosie hooks up.
From Soft plastic jigging
Now young cousin Marky has figured it out and he starts to catch fish.
From Soft plastic jigging
From Soft plastic jigging
We continue to catch these cods and trouts for awhile. Then Rosie gets bored with all this jigging and she starts popping.
Tossing around her popper on 30lb gear while surrounded by coral reefs that just beg to break you off.
Of course she is going to hook up. And it is going to be a big fish that takes every trick we know to extract it from the depths.
From Soft plastic jigging
Once we have settled down after Rosies GT the wind starts to really kick. It is getting rough but we fish on.
Of course Rosie is still throwing a popper with her 30lb gear and wouldn't you know it she hooks up to a really big fish this time.
I jump behind the wheel and the chase/fight is on. At first she thought it was foul hooked by the way the fish was fighting, but it turns out it was just a big GT. After a prolonged battle due to fish size and weather conditions we finally boat a big, fat and pregnant GT. We move quickly to minimize out of water time and snap a few pictures. Then with great fanfare she swims away strong.
From Soft plastic jigging
It has now become so rough that we are having trouble standing in the boat without hanging on. That is the sure sign to head for home.
Ice chest full of great eating fish and Rosie with sore arms.
A success by any measure.

Tight lines

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making up for lost time with Brendan and Al

It has been too long since we had a good fish. So the best cure for that is to go fishing, and a fishing we went.
My good friend Brendan and his cousin Al, visiting from Hawaii, joined Rosie and myself for a bit of light tackle in shore fishing. Our target species for the day was, Bluefin trevally and Emperors. We were fishing with 15lb to 30lb line.
Let the fun begin.
First on the board was Brendan with a nice 5.5kg Bluefin.

Then it was my turn. I am usually behind the wheel, but I try to steal a few casts here and there.
So, opportunity presented itself and I cast out with my 30lb gear, on the third pop, my lure gets smashed. At first the fish does not realize it has been hooked or doesn't care. It just keeps on swimming casually away.
Then I set the hooks and hold on, as what appears to be a good size GT, turns on the afterburners and tears off too an unseen, razor sharp, refuge.
The fight was exhilarating while it lasted, which was about 30 seconds.
That which connected me to the fish, parted.
The ever familiar sound of braid breaking, CRACK!
Damn, fish 1 Callan 0.
I sulk back to my place behind the wheel, humbled by a fish. Not just any fish, but a Giant Trevally. Pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fish in all the world.
Time for Al to get on the board. He is using a light 15lb set up.
When he hooks up, even to the small ones, it is a sight to see. Especially with a Brassy Trevally. They pull very hard for their size.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
Right about now I see another chance for me to get a quick cast in. I fire off a cast with a rather expensive lure. As I make my first pop my lure if hammered. I see the slab side of a Red Bass as it takes my lure and finds an unseen, razor sharp, refuge.
That which connected me to the fish, parted.
The ever familiar sound of braid breaking, CRACK!
Damn, fish 2 Callan 0.
I sulk back to my place behind the wheel, humbled by a fish. Granted, the Red Bass is no slouch. You get exactly 1.3 seconds to turn it towards the boat, if no? Then the ever familiar sound of braid breaking, CRACK!
So we now get back to the people that can actually boat fish.
That would be Al.
Here he is with a beauty of a Bluefin Trevally.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
Well now I am feeling a bit out of sorts. With two denied fish and all.
I see another chance, only this time my 30lb is not rigged so I grab my 15lb set up and fire a little stick bait on top of the reef.
I know, what the hell am I thinking, I have been smashed twice already on 30lb, why go to 15lb?
I cannot explain it, but it worked. I finally boat a small Brassy Trevally.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
Now Rosie has been a bit quiet up to this point. She has yet to get on the board.
Rest assured that is not going to last.
She manages to boat a nice Bluefin.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
Followed by another.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
And of course, two in a row was not quite enough to remind us who is boss. She goes and catches Black Tip reef shark.
Now that in and of itself is a good feat, but then Rosie informs me that she wants her popper back.
New ball game.
Namely teeth, and a lot of them, and they are really sharp.
After a great comedy of errors, we manage to extract her popper, leaving the shark without any fishing bling.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
All the while Al is quietly boating fish after fish.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
This one is a Big Eye Trevally.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
A view of our fishing grounds.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
And of course, as if to rub in the fact that I was smoked by a Red Bass, Rosie goes and catches a cracker of a specimen.
From Brendan Al Rosie Callan
A great time was had by all.
We enjoyed Al and his stories immensely.
My next post will be a brand new targeted species as well as a personal best for Rosie.
Until then,
Tight lines

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twisted Leaders Fishing Club Competition

Our newly formed fishing club just had its first fishing comp.
We had 57 entries and a total of 37 fish caught.
The rules were simple, no boats, nets, explosives or poisons allowed.
I put together this video collage with the best fish tale at the end.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Global Wetting

Oh the weather. Mother nature has a way of letting us know who is boss. She has been giving us the one, two punch combo for a couple of weeks now. If it is not raining it is blowing and when it stops blowing it starts raining. Ahhhhhhh......... global wetting.
Needless to say I have not been out much. I do not mind a little wind or rain but there comes a point when enough is enough.
Take for instance our last session out with Richard and his brother in-law Perry.
The plan was for us to fish on Thursday. A little heavy tackle a little light tackle, catch a few fish, have a good time.
I am up at 5am and head down to the water to see the conditions. Looks ok, but a little rough in the channel. I call Richard at around 6am and he says we go for it.
We load up the boat and head out.
It does not take long for the weather to head south on us and before we know it, everyone is wet from the rain. Credit must be given to Richard and Perry as they persevered in the wet and continued to fish.
From fishing with Richard
Richard in action with the reef barely visible in the background.

From fishing with Richard
Perry showing the proper way to cast in a tropical down pour. Notice you can not see the reef.

We were soon chased inside the reef as it got too rough and the wind was howling. Once inside we switched to lighter tackle and calmer waters. It was still tough going and in the end only one fish was brought to the boat.
From fishing with Richard
A small Bluefin Trevally.

We gave it our best shoot and stayed out until our underwear were wet. At that point I had to call it quits and Richard and Perry had to head of to the airport.
Our trip home was interesting. Zero visibility, driving rain and rough seas. Thank Garmin for GPS.

Tight lines and dry skivvies

Thursday, September 30, 2010

To film or not to film? That is the question.

We set out with the intention of filming some how to videos. How to tie a bimini, how to cast big poppers etc. Unfortunately our camera man brought his new fishing pole and wanted to give it a try. And who am I to say no you can not fish?
As we left the river mouth it looked to be a cracker of a day.
From Inshore with Brendan
But as usual that was just a teaser. Within 5 minutes the wind was blowing 20 knots and the chop had picked up. We headed to a sheltered bay to do a bit of filming. Brendan (the videographer) grabbed his new 15 lb rod and reel and proceeded to cast a small popper to the shallow reefs surrounding us.
Before I could tie a bimini twist he was on, and it was a good fish.
From Inshore with Brendan
The Trevally had him doing circles around the boat. I knew at that very instant that he would not be filming on this day. After a good fight by both angler and fish, the angler was victorious. A nice 4kg trevally.
So it was to be, that Brendan was now sporting a grin that would not soon go away.
We then moved out to a bit deeper reef system which of course means a bit larger fish. Time to switch to the 30 lb gear. Of course just to make his point clear that he had no intentions on filming, Brendan went on to catch a very nice 6 kg Bluefin Trevally.
From Inshore with Brendan
Now this next picture of the same fish, only a close up, is for a reason. It is the last time Brendan's popper was ever seen.
From Inshore with Brendan
Very soon after a giant cod or Red bass engulfed the popper, split ring, and swivel in one smooth, explosive move. It bit right though the twisted double leader. Of course Brendan was devistated. I felt his pain for exactly one second, then I realized he would be buying another from my shop. I know, I'm a little bit evil.
Next up was Rosie with a nice Bluefin.
From Inshore with Brendan
Followed by another Trevally.
From Inshore with Brendan
Look closely at Rosie's popper because it is no more. Taken in the same unceremonious way as Brendan's. A big rampaging something that was unstoppable.
After all the fish these two were catching it made me hungry.
Corned beef and crackers, a clasic Fijian lunch.
From Inshore with Brendan
After lunch it was the captains turn to catch a fish, no matter how small.
From Inshore with Brendan
On our way home we tucked into a small sheltered bay again and Brendan proceeded to catch a few small Trevally's and a baby Goatfish.
From Inshore with Brendan
After that we pounded our way into the wind and chop to make it home before dark.
We had a great day despite no filming.
Oh and Brendan has decided he wants to go out again this Sunday, to fish.

Tight lines

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ika Tavu or Fish cooked on an open fire

,There is a swell in Fiji. And I mean a big swell. Apparently there was a huge storm in New Zealand and it sent a giant swell to us. When I say giant I mean 4+ meters measured on the backside. That makes the face up to 8 meters. That's big. It also means we are not fishing out on the reefs, way too dangerous.
So we head down to a protected river mouth with a truck load of people, gear and the dog, for a Sunday on the beach.
We get to the beach at the bottom of the tide so we can fish the incoming. 15lb gear is on tap for the day and the first to jump on a hook is a Beltfish (Largehead Hairtail).
From Ika tavu
We have never caught one of these, so this creepy looking sea creature got us all excited. Luckily there was a fellow hanging around that new what it was and wanted it for his dinner.
We fished with such intensity that no fish had a chance if it even wanted to swim by.
From Ika tavu
A good friend Erik, showed up on his scooter and decided to stick around. We had an extra pole so he took it and proceeded to catch a nice Trevally.
From Ika tavu
We had plans for any fish we caught for today. Those plans involved a beach fire and a not so happy ending for the fish.
From Ika tavu
Preparing the feast.
From Ika tavu
I can taste it already.
From Ika tavu
Almost done.
From Ika tavu

It is amazing what you find inside the bellies of fish. This one had the stomache of the trevally bloated and misshapen.
From Ika tavu
Ahhhhhh Ika Tavu (fish cooked on the fire) with lemon and chillie.
From Ika tavu
Lou with one of the many catches of the day.
From Ika tavu
Tight lines

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Blowing dog's off chain's" or "Making the best of a windy situation"

The weather, what can you say? It is what it is and I should be glad I am not cold. That being said, it has been blowing for a week and a half, non stop. My friend Brendan likes to say, "blowing dogs off chains", very appropriate.
We decided to skip work and go for a fish, after all, we own the business and it has been so long since we fished I needed to see if I still knew how.
We headed out at 7:00 on the nose. The water was rather calm and as I throttled up, I was thinking, this is gonna be good.
I wanted to try some new spots and since it was so calm I figured why not.
We headed East, got out side the reef and was met by a ferocious swell and a wind that was picking up. After about 5 minutes of running into this I decided to stop the boat and see just how rough it was. After all popper fishing involves standing while casting and retrieving.
It became very obvious that that was not going to happen out here. The boat was being tossed around like it was in a washing machine.
A quick change of plans and we headed back West to some familiar grounds that are fishable in wind and swell.
We finally arrived to the new spot and wasted no time in wetting our lines. Unfortunately there was no one there to bite.
We fished until the low tide then made the decision to move. Another 20 minute ride and we are at the new location. The tide is moving again and then the bite comes on.
First up is Loren, he catches his first GT on his new rod and reel.
Rosie moves in to leader and land the fish.
This is one happy camper.
Next up, Rosie lands a Red Bass. Too bad they are poisoned.
By now it is getting really rough outside of the reef so we decide to make a move inside and switch to lighter tackle, 30lb.
First up is Loren again and he catches a whopper of a fish, a Leather Jacket.
We manage to catch a few Bluefin Trevally's, the take home and eat size. Then Rosie hooks onto a large Red Bass that tries to pull her rod into the water. After a good fight she is smiling and the Bass is photographed and released.
This is then followed by Loren getting smoked on some 8lb tackle. But it gave us all a good laugh.
Then in the worst possible location, with wind, tide and current all working in opposite directions, Rosie hooks up to a GT on her 30lb. Normally we would be fishing for GT's with 50-80lb tackle but not this time. A hell of a fight ensues and after nearly 8 minutes the fish is boated and Rosie is smiling again if not a little worse for wear.
Here is a short video of the fight.
That finished us off for the day. Until next time.
Tight lines