28 Apr 2008

Fiji Grander Blue Marlin

Its not common but occasionally I have the pleasure of taking a guest marlin fishing who's aim is not so much to catch a marlin, but to catch a BIG marlin. Some guests have been marlin fishing all around the world and are more interested in achieving a catch of note, rather than just another notch on the tag stick. To exclusively target that fish of a lifetime and by-pass all others takes dedication and an appreciation of all aspects of going out big game fishing, from planning and preparation to just plain enjoying being out at sea searching for that elusive monster.

I have yet to clap eyes on a grander in my spread though a colleague of mine of great experience tagged a blue last year in Kadavu waters. To quote him directly ' It was the biggest blue I have ever seen. Frightened the ******* life out of the crew when they saw her size. I recon she went 900lbs at least'. She was tagged and released. On a trip to the Kadavu seamount in November last year we saw an angry blue jump that would have easily gone 700lbs and a couple of years ago a colleague of mine tagged and released a black marlin on the Kadavu seamount that was estimated by the then editor of BlueWater magazine as being just shy of a grander. The Fiji All Tackle National Record for blue marlin is 447kg (983lbs) which was caught in 1997 on 80lb class gear.

It is clear that Fiji's elusive grander is out there but with very few charter boats with good quality heavy gear out looking for her, the landmark Fiji grander has yet to be caught.

When we do get that rare opportunity to exclusively target a monster, these are the lures we most commonly use:Top ' BFG ' 22 inch - MBT Lures
Left to right
Mouldcraft - Wide Range ' 12 inch
Marlin Magic - Mirror Big Dog ' 14 inch
John Lau - Linda ' 14inch - John Lau
John Lau - GoodHead ' 14 inch
Pakula - Smokin' Joe ' 14 inch

These are our main 'go to' lures for targeting the super-sized marlin. I should add that aboard Bite Me, we have a selection of some 40 odd lures of 12 inches or more. Guests sometimes ask us to run a full spread of Pakula lures such as the big Smokin Joe, Sprocket, Wombat etc or we sometimes run a full spread of 14 inch John Lau lures. A couple of other lures should get a mention. We often reach for the smaller but extremely effective Joe Yee Apollo but this does draw strikes from all sizes of marlin and worringly, a fair few wahoo as well. The big Top Gun ball bearing Nightmare has accounted for a number of large fish in other countries including an 800lb blue off Bimini in the Bahamas in 1999. The John Lau 12 inch Talibung in black / red / yellow is also very effective and has accounted for a number of very large blue marlin in Hawaii.

I have mixed feelings about targeting a trophy marlin. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to try, but know that I will be saddened if we ever have to weigh such a magnificent fish. One of my guests will catch that grander of a lifetime, set the Fiji National Record and I'll leave it at that. Having done so, I will be firmly back in the tag & release corner. Until that day, I intend on thoroughly enjoying seeing my anglers tag and releas all those 'nearly the one's.....

21 Apr 2008

Walu on YouTube

A narrow barred spanish mackeral (aka Walu) taken at Kadavu aboard Bite Me.

Angler: Magdeline Ko
Species: Walu
Weight: 9.4kg
Place: Kadavu
Boat: Bite Me

Skipper: Capt Adrian Watts
Deckie: Glen Gardner

Well done Magdeline!

15 Apr 2008

Yellowfin Season full on!

A yellowfin tuna caught aboard Bite Me at Matava, Kadavu. Capt Adrian Watts & Deckhand Glen Gardner.

12 Apr 2008

Head about to explode girl who is going to fiji next week - TripAdvisor

Fiji forums: Head about to explode girl who is going to fiji next week - TripAdvisor

"-Kadavu Island. Great island! Rugged, untamed, adventurous. Matava is wonderful - they have a dorm, also a private bure with shared bathroom facilities for a great price.

They have the best on site owners/managers, wonderful staff, the most awesome food, and they'll take you gamefishing, snorkeling, kayaking, picnicing.

It's not a real backpacker type place, so that might fit the bill for you.

They don't have a white sand beach, but if you paddle a few meters away, there's a private island with a great beach and they'll pack you a lunch you can take with you.


Fiji forums: Head about to explode girl who is going to fiji next week - TripAdvisor

Fiji Saltwater Fishing Report - April-May 2008

For the waters around Kadavu Island- Fiji Islands - South Pacific.

Charter Operator - Matava Resort Gamefishing

Boat Names - Bite Me (Offshore) and Offensive Tackle (Inshore)

Average Water Temp - 29.5

Average Sea State - 40% Wind chop to 2ft, groundswell to 4ft / 60% calm

Average Winds - 50% 5-10kts / 50% calm

Water Clarity - Variable inshore after tropical rain, good offshore

The summer Yellowfin run has proved to be plentiful with many fish to 100Lbs. Large schools of smaller fish offered great sport on the light tackle and plenty of bait for the heavy tackle marlin enthusiasts.

Blue marlin to 200kgs have been regularly seen with some much bigger fish mixed in. Bite Me fought a blue conservatively estimated at 700lbs for almost two hours only to have the line eventually part under sunset drag.

With the water temp now at almost 30 degrees, the blue bite is quiet but will fire up again from the end of April when water temperatures start to ease. The GTs however are loving it with a superb bite all month - especially around the full moon when they went completely berserk. Anglers aboard Bite Me made the most of it taking three new Fiji National Records on the poppers.

May will see the start of the much anticipated wahoo and sailfish run that Fiji is famous for. Packs of sails start to congregate and the big packs of marauding wahoo gather along the Great Astrolabe barrier reef from May. These pack wahoo average about 50lbs with fish to 100lbs.

This season, anglers aboard Bite Me will be making several attempts an the IGFA World Records on line class and on the fly. Amazingly, the first wahoo pack has already turned up on the Kadavu seamount and the first sails tagged. Very early but very welcome and the coming light tackle mayhem is eagerly anticipated by all.


Blue marlin - Bite easing but will fire up again in May

Yellowfin - Thinning out now but still some big fish on the seamount

Sailfish - First few of the season starting to turn up

Wahoo - First pack on the seamount - More soon

Mahi Mahi - Bit thin on the ground with just the occasional pair here and there

Mackerel - Good quantities with some nice fish to 50lbs landed recently

GTs - Crazy bite on at the moment with excellent weather conditions for popper casting

Cpt Adrian Watt

Director, Matava Resort Gamefishing,

Tel: + (679) 333 7222 or 333 6098



10 Apr 2008

Fiji National Record Released

IGFA Rep Tam and his wife Dee Little took a break from their excellent home town Australian NT barra & inshore reef fishing to have some fun with the bluewater gamefishing around Kadavu Island.

Blue marlin were the target choice and with excellent weather, we headed out to the Kadavu seamount to tow some big lures and skipbaits.

We had a skipjack skip-bait set on the short rigger and a small tuna lure out to catch a second tuna for another marlin skipbait to be set on the long rigger.

Using 80lb chair tackle, we had an 18ft 500lb wind-on to a 9ft mono leader to 16/O circle hook, rigged just in front of the skip-bait's nose with a short dacron bridle.

In no time, the tuna rod went off, Tam began to bring in the next marlin bait and Bite Me slowed to a halt. After about 10 seconds, line started ticking off the Penn International 80STW set on the short rigger with the first skip-bait. Tam quickly passed the tuna rod to deckie Joe and climbed into the chair. After a good 15 seconds of controled free-spool, Tam eased the drag up and Bite Me edged forwards. The rod loaded up and we all waited for the marlin to explode on the surface.....

No exploding marlin...just heavy pressure....

Now blues have done this to us before, but nine times out of ten on the Kadavu seamount, no marlin leaping across the surface equals shark, and usually not for long as we use mono leaders.
This one was different. About an hour later we bullied the shark into view and found out why.

Bizzarely, we had managed to hook a good sized Bronze Whaler, with a circle hook, on the leading edge of its left pectoral fin. It must have chowed down on the sinking skip-bait, nipped off the tuna and the belly of line had pulled the circle hook back along past its gills and perfectly set onto the pectoral fin.

Amazing what you see out there.

Although this shark smashed the existing Fiji National Record for Whaler shark, I am happy to say that Tam elected to release the fish unharmed. Testament to the spirit and ethics of the members and Reps of the IGFA.

7 Apr 2008

TBF Launches Conservation Plan with Peru

Yesterday Peru's President Allan Garcia and Minister of Production Rafael Rey finalized a Presidential Order that decommercializes marlins and sailfish - no further commercial harvest or sale will be allowed - and begins a national commitment to ocean conservation and the development of a sustainable sportfishing tourism industry. The plan will allow only catch-and-release recreational fishing and an allowance for world record attempts will be crafted in the near future.

TBF President Ellen Peel and Chief Scientist Russell Nelson met with the Garcia and Rey to observe the signing and make a commitment to continued TBF scientific support for Peru's visionary fisheries conservation and development project. "We are proud to stand with the great country of Peru as the world's eyes look to this extraordinary billfish conservation effort," said Peel. "We will continue to provide support to sustain and expand the impacts of this action."
The completion of the Presidential Order, which has the effect of law, came after two weeks of work and negotiations between Nelson and Peruvian fisheries and marine science staff.

The action is intended to revitalize the once premier blue and black marlin sportfishery in the extremely productive area around Cabo Blanco on Peru's north coast. "Tell the angling world that we are back," said Minister Rey.

Visit the President's web site for details in Spanish: http://www.presidencia.gob.pe/

TBF in Peru
Pictured above: Dave Ferrell (Marlin magazine), President Garcia, Ministers of Production and Tourism Rafael Rey and Mercedes Araoz, and Ellen Peel discuss Peru's exciting billfishing future

2 Apr 2008

The wahoo have started running in 2008!

26kg Wahoo caught by Malcom.

Thanks Capt Adrian Watts & Glen Gardner

1 Apr 2008

Misty Gorillas of Kadavu - New Research

Misty Gorillas of Kadavu - New Research

One fact usually overlooked by visitors to Kadavu Island are the rarely seen primates that inhabit the inaccessible jungle covered interior mountains.

The original black & white movie 'King Kong' was filmed on the island's South West shore in the shadow of Mt Delainabukelevu, the island's extinct volcano. A nearby world famous surf break is also named after the movie and surfers from around the world come to surf the left hand reef break - King Kong.

Though never seen near the coast, some villagers with plantations on the upper mountain slopes occasionally see evidence that the gorillas have raided their plantations for fruit.

A new scientific mission has been launched to try to track down and research these secretive animals. Head scientist Dr Jouve binhad and his team of researchers and biologists arrived this week on their research ship and set up their base camp anchored off Matava Resort.We will bring more news if their attempts prove successful.