20 Aug 2008

USA v Australia Ultra-Light Tackle Shootout

Well, its official. Somebody up there likes to have a laugh at my expense every winter. Each year Tim Simpson, Editor of BlueWater magazine (www.bluewatermag.com.au) and I take a 'busman's holiday' and get together for a week of fishing 4kg line class. 

Each year we discuss at length, plan and meticulously prepare tackle, rods, reels and tactics to target the run of big wahoo packs that gather along Kadavu island's Great Astrolabe barrier reef and each year the powers above select a suitably sized spanner and chuck it in the works.

This year's spanner was a straight run of 30 knot winds that began the day Tim arrived and eased the day Tim left.

If we didn't have to wait another year before trying again it would almost be funny.

Fortunately this year we were joined by world renown biologist, photographer, writer and TV show presenter and producer Bill Boyce and his partner in crime Diana Woods. (See some of Bill's hugely entertaining gamefishing TV shows for free at IGFA Angler's Digest www.IgfaAnglersDigest.com).

I have to say that having such knowledgeable fishermen together in the same cockpit was more than just instructional, it was down right entertaining as West Coast USA took on East coast Australia and the ensuing realms of fishing stories that drifted up to the bridge could have filled a novel. A very funny novel, all be it with an '18 - not for sale to minors' certification !

We looked hard for the wahoo but could only find the occasional juvenile fish of about 10lbs sheltering from the rough weather. With the big wahoo packs stubbornly staying on the unfishable wild side of the barrier reef, we turned our attention to the yellowfin and sailfish.

Whilst we trolled teasers and special Bill Boyce kawakawa belly flap circle rigged baits for the sails, (forever known now aboard Bite Me as 'BB Specials') Diana took the opportunity to turn herself from beginner to pro-light tackle angler with every strike and some world class advice and encouragement from the two pros.

By day two she had taken the W-04 Kawakawa and yellowfin tuna Fiji National Records. On day 4 she set the womens 4kg wahoo record and finally, on our last day together she displayed all her new found ultra-light tackle skills by taking the W-04 Giant Trevally Fiji National record. Anyone familiar with GTs will appreciate the skill envolved in taking one of these fish on 4kg (8lb) line class.

One day we were joined by Mike Thomas, angler from California and member of the Tuna Club of Avalon for the light tackle fun. He proceeded to smash the existing M-04 Barracuda Fiji record which was previously held by....er, Tim actually. Ooops !

As to the sails, we found quite a good bite. Bill had a sail hooked up for over an hour and we were getting close to the leader when the hook pulled. Tim fought a lively sail to the transom several times after some hard backing down in nasty chop that sent spray clear over the bridge. (yes I got very wet) We could have tagged several times but the record beckoned.

Just as Bill went in for yet another possible gaff shot the circle hook pulled. We had doubles and tripples but the most entertaining moments were when Tim hooked up to a dancing sail, Bill cranked in a minnow at full drag to clear it and just before it reached the transom, another sail raced in, gobbled the lure and sped away. 'Crack' went the line. The look on his face was just priceless, not to mention the ensuing colourful Californian West Coast string of verbal observations. It was a whole lot of fun. I can't wait to do it again.

See some of Bill's awesome underwater photographs at www.boyceimage.com

19 Aug 2008

Catching your own bait is economical and can be great fun

By Ron Brooks, About.com
Finding bait, other than at the tackle shop of course, is not always the easiest thing to do. We can spend the twenty or thirty dollars for a variety of live bait in a variety of bait boxes and not worry about finding any, but lots of us have a better use for that money.
That is why I carry a cast net and a good supply of Sabiki rigs on my boat. The cast net I use for the bait that is inshore in relatively shallow water. The Sabiki rigs are for the bait we catch offshore.

In the summer, baitfish normally can be found in or close to the surf break along the beaches. They include menhaden shad and mullet, and when they are present, they are easy to catch with a good eight to ten foot radius cast net. In the Intracoastal Waterway or the creeks, a smaller cast net is required, and we catch smaller mullet, mud minnows, and shrimp.

Once we head out and the water is deeper than fifteen or twenty feet, a cast net is essentially useless. It can’t sink fast enough to capture the bait before they swim out from under it. I have watched many a novice throw a five-foot cast net over a school of bait swimming in ninety feet of water. It simply will not work!

In the deeper water we use a Sabiki rig. Made by a number of companies, they consist of a six-foot length of monofilament to which is tied six to eight branches of line with a very small hook on the end. These hooks, from a number 4 to a number 10, have a small piece of tough Mylar tied to them and they do well imitating small shrimp or fish.

As I said, a number of tackle companies offer these rigs. The one I have been most successful with over the last year has been the Daiichi “Bleeding Hook” brand. It is made the same as other brands, except it uses their trademark red hooks. Even as small as they are, these hooks are extremely sharp, and the red color catches more bait than other rigs. I proved it myself several times over this past year.

While two of us catch the bait, the third and fourth angler removes the bait from the hooks and tosses them into the live well or if a bit too damaged into the bait box. It is a well-orchestrated affair that consumes less time than all four anglers catching bait. With the Daiichi Bleeding Hook rigs I would invariably come up with six or baitfish – on eon every hook – while my partner brought up two or three. We even traded rods to see if it was the Daiichi rigs or me. Much as I want to say it was me – it was not. Those red hooks won out. In fact, I have even moved to the bleeding hooks for most all of my terminal tackle. Simply put - they work.

Cast nets can run well over a hundred dollars for a large one, and around fifty for a small one. Bait rigs run around three bucks apiece. While the cast nets can be used for years if you care for them properly, the bait rigs are only good for one trip. The hassle of trying to wind up eight very small, very sharp hooks without tangling them is not worth the fight in my book. Someone needs to come up with a way to store them for use again another day!
Even with the initial costs, if you fish a lot, catching your own bait is far more cost effective in the long run. If you only fish occasionally, buying your bait is obviously cheaper. The problem is a lot of the bait we catch is unavailable in tackle shops.

Heck, it’s actually fun to catch your own bait. On a recent trip that netted only a handful of fish, my party told his wife we had caught over a hundred fish. I was puzzled until I realized he was including the bait! He had as much fun catching the bait as he did anything else!

The Right Bait By Ron Brooks, on Saltfishing.About.com

13 Aug 2008

Info on Gamefishing

New Squidoo Page by Adrian...

Information on the great sport of game fishing. Including salt water fishing, fly fishing, game fishing, sport fishing and popping.

This is one place to find a good selection of info on all fishing incluiding salt water fishing, fly fishing, game fishing, sport fishing and popping.

Info on Gamefishing

8 Aug 2008

Anglers ready to fish at Denarau’s first International tournament

Anglers ready to fish

The Denarau Game & Sports Fishing Club is hosting Fiji’s largest ever fishing tournament and Denarau’s first International tournament.

The tournament started yesterday with registration and captains briefing followed by a Calcutta and the fishing proper is scheduled to begin this morning and continue until Friday, August 8th with one rest day in between.

The official prize giving ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 9 at the Cardo’s Steakhouse.

The event is hosting twenty fishing boats, with at least 120 anglers (recreational fishers) participating in the tournament – local anglers will mix with competitors that are traveling from as far a field as Texas, Brisbane, Sydney, and New Zealand.

Over $30,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs, including Fishing Rods & Reels, assorted Fishing Gear, Holiday Packages with Airfares, and a host of other prizes.

The competition will be run from Denarau Marina, which was selected due to its close proximity to deepwater fishing grounds and world class facilities.

Members of the public are invited to come along to the official ‘weigh-ins’ that will be held each afternoon of the tournament. During the ‘weigh-in’ each competitor presents their catch for the day, the fish are weighed and each team is assigned its score.

The ‘weigh-ins’ are an exciting way to follow the competition and to witness the variety of fish that can be found in the waters of the Mamanucas.

The weigh-ins also have a festive atmosphere with live music and a bar. The weigh-ins will be held at 5.30pm on Monday, August 4 to Friday, August 8 (excluding Wednesday, August 6), on the deck of Cardo’s Restaurant, Denarau Marina.

The prize-giving ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 9 at 12.30pm (lunchtime) at Cardo’s restaurant. Members of the public are invited to witness the culmination of the competition for free.

Tickets to the prize-giving lunch are also available from the tournament desk at Cardo’s Restaurant Deck at Port Denarau from Sunday, August 3 onwards.

For further information log onto the Denarau Game & Sports Fishing website at www.dgsfcfiji.com or contact Marc McElrath on mobile 9997 230.

For media queries contact Craig McElrath on mobile 9997 235 or Nicky Thomson on mobile 9923 182.


The tournament’s main sponsor is Riviera Fiji.

Other significant sponsors include Air Pacific, Pacific Sun, Island Hoppers, McDonalds, Gamefish Fiji, Marine Power, Terry Allen Construction, Cardo’s Steakhouse, Mokosoi Soaps, Asco Motors, Marshall Sails, Tourist Transport of Fiji, Savusavu Hot Springs Hotel, Uprising Resort, Sofitel Resort & Spa, Awesome Adventures, Kilwell NZ, NZ Fishing News, Wellesly Tackle, Pacific Harbour Gamefishing Club, Coca Cola Amatil, Saltwater Real Estate, Demar Fishing Ltd, Imported Marine Accessories, Xtsea Fishing Charters, Biz Clothing, BP Aviation, Lawhill Wines, Fiji Daily Post, Ice Man, M Recht Accessories, SK Davey Ltd and Fiji Gas.


Fiji Daily Post News - Anglers ready to fish