22 Feb 2010
Jordan Whittaker has been spending the past month gaining some gamefishing boat deck experience aboard Bite Me and Tease Me. Jordan is no stranger to Kadavu Island waters. He and his father Brett have fished the area many times aboard their 25ft Blackwatch and Jordan is no slouch when it comes to fighting some of Kadavu's monster wahoo.
This time though it was all about popper casting for GTs and jigging the outer barrier reef slopes.
This type of fishing requires a whole new skill set and a broad knowledge of heavy duty GT tackle, complex leader knots that cast through guides and the ability to carefully handle big GTs so that they can be released unharmed.
Jordan's toughest challange.... carefully releasing a 40-50kg Grey Reef Shark that was accidentally hooked on a jig.
I am delighted to say Jordan slid the hook out perfectly with a hook release pole and the shark was swam away unharmed.
It wasn't all fun though....Jordan's time was also spent stripping the cooling system on one of Bite Me's Iveco 280HP marine diesel engines, scrubbing the hull and running gear and of course...cleaning the head... Its not all glamour being a deckie...
20 Feb 2010
One day Skipper Joe spotted some birds working off the reef and they headed over to have a go at some yellowfin tuna on a popper or stickbait. First couple of casts and Thorsten had a little yellowfin hooked up but before Joe could whip out his sashimi knife, it was 'sharked'.
Undaunted, Thorsten cast again and was quickly connected to something that screamed off across the surface.....Another shark ?
No ! a Wahoo !!
We are way out of wahoo season here but it just goes to show, you never know what you are going to hook up next.
Yesterday anglers aboard Bite Me were jigging the outer reef slopes for doggies and we hooked up something fairly big... It was a bit of a surprise when our doggie hook-up came screaming up to the surface right behind Bite Me and transformed into an airbourne Pacific sailfish that cavorted about for 10 seconds right in our laps before throwing the hook...
Wahoo and sails in the middle of summer ??? The seasons have gone nuts...
12 Feb 2010
The decidedly unseasonal and rather 'ordinary' weather has led to us picking up all sorts of species as we work inner lagoons, barrier reef passageways and more sheltered drop-offs on the other side of Kadavu Island. Anglers Joseph, Ande and Jonathan from Singapore were unlucky with the weather but made the best of a few bad weather days...
9 Feb 2010
Here's a fun one...
This unfortunate angler fought a nice sized Yellowfin Tuna of around 30kg for 15 minutes or so only to have his much anticipated sashimi somewhat reduced in volume just as the fish was about to be landed. It doesn't happen often but just occasionally a shark decides to take an opportunistic nibble...
What the anglers didn't see whilst they took photos of their catch ( I had a great view of from the bridge ) was the shark was obviously still a bit peckish...
Mates Tim Dave and I fished with Adrian Watt and his awesome deckie Joe out of Matava Resort on the above dates. We had such good weather we fished all 6 days we were there instead of the planned 5.
GT action was consistent to hot. We landed 55 GT to 40kg odd in 6 days, but a big chunk of one day was dedicated to jigging at the sea mount, and we spent part of most days during the low tide jigging the reef edges. We also prob saw and either missed or dropped as many fish again as we landed so the action was good.
Most fish were in the 10-25kg range but I got one that would have nudged 40kg which I was stoked with, Dave got one that would have been just over 40kg and Tim got one in the mid 30's, so we were all really happy. We also lost a couple of good ones
The day we jigged at the sea mount was crazy. We got a few 3-5kg doggies on arrival, plus a reasonabel amberjack. Then Tim got a nicer doggie, then I got one about 25kg. After that all hell broke loose when Tim and I both connected to good fish, his around 45kg mine later weighed at 63kg (I weigh 66kg!). We spent 15 minutes trying to revive mine to no avail, but it did not go to waste with plenty of happy resort guests and local villagers. Whilst that was happening David had hooked up to a 25kg Wahoo which snapped his jig in half, mental stuff.
Next drop Tim and I again hooked up with me landing a solid 25-30kg fish. Tim's went mental and later was weighed at 64kg. Again, it was bleeding badly and obviously suffering from barotrauma. It didn't release.
Given the hot bite, we then made the tough but we thought right decision to go throw poppers as we didn't want to kill any more big doggies and they clearly were not releasing well.
GT highlight for me, apart from my biggest fish, was Dave's. He had a decent red bass on and we saw a GT following it, and Tim was about to put in a cast behind it when the GT just destroyed the whole patch of water where the bass had been, and Dave was on tight to a big GT. He landed it but Tim and I spent the first few minutes of the fight in fits of laughter as it was so awesome, and Dave's shock and pain, on Day 6, were quite funny to us....
Kadavu Island, Fiji, 11-16 Jan 2010
8 Feb 2010
The weather was decidedly 'ordinary' for some of the days..... very unusual for this time of year. Made our life rather difficult but we still managed some decent GTs.
For those of you interested, Randy I believe is now JDM Tackle and Sami has set up his own shop in New York - www.saltywatertackle.com.
Whilst out poppering last week we landed an average sized GT which had some rather nasty looking gashes on its back. Possibly picked a fight with a shark or big barracuda...hard to say. Whatever caused them, the cuts didn't seem to deter the GT actively feeding on our popper !
We snapped off a hasty pic and released this fish as quickly as possible and it swam away seemingly as happy as Larry.
The next day we happened to be passing the same area in Bite Me and having seen a pack of GTs there the previous day we decided to toss a few poppers in the same area. We hooked a GT in exactly the same spot as the previous day. In fact, it turned out to be exactly the same GT !
We have long suspected that we sometimes recapture fish but the distinctive marks on this fish left little doubt. It is, I believe, widely accepted that GTs arenot only slow growing but territorial and stake their claim to a particular bommie or stretch of the reef, fending off others who might wander in.
It follows therefore, if you go out, catch GTs and don't release them, you can wipe out a population in an area.