- By: Cam Sigler Jr.
“Lots of bait on the finder, get ready,” were the words spoken by Captain Adrian just moments before the chaos broke out. Both trolled baits on the left side went down in whitewater explosions and a 60-pound torpedo vaulted into the air completely across the spread to take the long bait on the right side. As the boat went out of gear and everyone scrambled for rods, I cast my fly behind the boat and started stripping only to find that the short right rod was bending double and everyone else occupied.
Putting the fly rod between my knees, I grabbed the bait rod and set the hook hard. That’s when that sinking feeling set in. In my peripheral vision another projectile appeared from the skies and took the fly at the end of its arc and raced for parts unknown. Somehow I managed to grab the fly rod from between my knees before the fly line came tight and I watched as backing disappeared from the reel. As I yelled “I’m bit!,” a strong, calloused ebony hand appeared from behind and relieved me of the bait rod.
Variations on this theme would appear throughout the rest of the day and ones following. The wahoo had packed up on Great Astrolabe Reef.
Friend Bill Boyce, a camera crew and I had somehow been blessed to arrive in this paradise at the right time in early August. The common Fijian word “Vinaka” means thank you. We found our voices easily flowing into this term even with inflection from the minute we arrived in Fiji . I can speak it now and immediately feel the warmth generate through me.
There are those places that you do not often find and that will stick with you forever, and we had found one. Those special places are due in small part by the fishing , the scenery and accommodations . But what truly makes these places special are the people. Matava resort on the island of Kadavu Fiji is one of them.
Capt. Adrian Watt a displaced Englishman and co-owner of Matava resort is passionate about his fishing and his Deep V 31 Bite Me. He and his mate Joe Tuku do not miss a trick and know the waters of the Astralabe Reef like the backyard that it is to them.
Adrian could tell us just about when we would get bit and Joe was always their ever helpful with quick hands and quick wit. You do not often find a captain, mate and anglers that instantly fish well together, but we all found it was like fishing with old friends .
We had luckily hit when the wahoo first packed up on the reef for the year. Trolling the reefs edge a mile or so from land where depths drop to a mind numbing 4,000 feet in places was awesome. When a bait went down we were not sure what might be hitting it. We had rods go down with sails on the left and wahoo on the right .
We were interrupted by 40-pound mackerel and 60-pound barracuda. Casting a popper to the reefs edge could put you into a battle with a GT that you could seat 3 people on? Trolling east between Kandavu and Oni Island put us on schools of yellowfin and though we did not see any marlin of which all 3 species can be found .,they are their and typically bigger than you want on a fly unless you have stock in a fly line company.
Fishing is year round here depending on species you are pursuing. It also a place you can pursue many of these on fly and it wont hurt you to invite a friend who is a conventional fisherman to hook and hold some of these critters and keep his buddies near the boat .
You will need fly rods from 10 weight on up to whatever you can throw. I would suggest 12 and 14 weights. You will need floating lines and some heavy quick sinking ones. Large and small poppers . Big subsurface flies suck as Flashy Profiles and Capt Hook flies, big Deceivers ect.; and lots of them. You will need wire!
Whether it be single strand or multiple bring lots. With all of the wahoo, mackerel and cudas its a must even when targeting other species. Extra fly lines and backing. You will also most likely be the only boat on the reef fishing.
Accommodations are rustic and comfortable with breathtaking views. Food is great with often your catch of the day on the menu. Matava is an eco-friendly resort using lantern light after dark. It does have phone and Internet capability if you really need to contact the outside world.
The local flora and fauna is amazing. Their are numerous species that are found only in Fiji and some only on Kadavu . The Fijian people are always smiling and carefree. (I think they know something we don’t in this modern world.) And they still live in small villages in a tribal governed system. If you want to fish inside the reef you will probably have to meet the chief who’s village governs that bay and pay a small fee for the privilege.
If you or your spouse and kids snorkel and or fish you will keep busy daily. This is also a world class diving destination and Matava is set up with all the equipment and staff needed. Where else can fish or snorkel all day and then sit back with a cold one and watch the fruit bats head back to roost over a vast expanse of reef. You might even get an offer from a grin bearing Fijian to head over to his village for a little Kava drinking and dinner. Just ask whats on the menu first!
If you wan to go contact the resort at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might even see a crazy american their with a long wand. Most likely it will be me as I will be back.
Cammy Sigler lives on an island outside of Seattle.