24 Jul 2007

Pop Goes the Shimano Weasle

Its not often I get to fish 4 kilo (8lb) Line Class aboard Bite Me but when the opportunity arises, I jump at the chance. Fishing 4kg around these parts is something akin to snagging a lose thread on your jumper to the grill of a semi truck and then trying to pull it around. If its yellowfin tuna we are talking about, the semi has its parking break on.

With Tim Simpson here for our annual week of 4kg action and my deckie Joe off for a day, my colleague Richard who runs Matava Resort's diving operations (Mad Fish Divers) jumped aboard to lend a helping deckie hand and generally join in the fun.

Richard didn't know what he was letting himself in for. At about 11.00am with three lines set for wahoo, we yet again got jumped by yellowfin tuna. All three rods went off but one fish quickly dropped. Tim dealt with his small yellowfin in a quick and efficient manner but Richard's fish was obviously something more serious as line continued to peel off the reel at an alarming rate. We were fishing the lee side of a prominent point in the barrier reef where the depth plummets to a thousand feet so were in a good position to manoever fast and chase fish. This yellowfin however had other ideas and having helped itself to about 600 yards of line, proceeded to charge off with the current towards the point of the reef where a South East chop met a North Westerly current. Conditions were, to say the least, not ideal for backing down!

Well, on 4 kilo, where the fish goes, you go, so off we went chasing down the fish whilst Richard tried to make some of that lost line back. Upon reaching the patch of ugly chop, the yellowfin proceeded to extend his pectoral wings into the current and pretend it was a brick. A particularily stubborn brick. Over the next two hours we tried all the usual tricks. Getting ahead of the fish and trying to plane him up, changing the angles just to cheese him off and tempt him into making a mistake, praying for divine intervention....nothing gained us more than 50 yards of line which the tuna promptly too back again. This was a yellowfin slugfest on 8 pound line and we were going to have to like it or lump it. In the third hour we got a glimer of hope. We made some line back and started to slowly coax the fish up, inch by inch. We would make ten yards and lose nine but the brick was starting to budge. After three and a half hours we were definately starting to make some headway as Richard slowly began to fill the spool with some deft finger work on the line during rod lifts and wind-downs. I came down from the bridge to stand at the transom next to Richard to get a close look at the spool and how we were doing.

At precicely 3.05pm, four hours and five minutes into the fight with me staring at the spool, The Shimano TLD5 reel exploded. Well, I say exploded, what I really mean is that there was a loud bang, a puff of salt spray, the ratchet blew sideways clean out of the boat and the spool imploded under the massive pressure of line. The monumental strain of 400 yards of stretched line compressed on the spool was just too much for the little TLD, never really designed for such an extreme load. It crunched itself into the scrap pile amid a chorus of colourful language. Richard grabbed the line with the feint hope that we might be able to hand line the fish in but it was never really going to happen. Moments later the big yellowfin bust us off and lived to fight another day. Richard took it like a man though I must confess I was tempted to spit the dummy. Oh well,that's fishing 4 kilo line class in Fiji waters for you. Any takers ?


Dechert said...

nice share...keep it up...

Big Ocean Fish