30 Mar 2010

Rare Baby Marlin tagged & Released

Last weekend's inaugural Mai TV Tuna Classic Tournament out of the Royal Suva Yacht Club produced an extraordinary catch for anglers Geoff Eden and Matt Davey fishing aboard Kania.
In some rather ropey weather, the anglers boated, tagged and released two juvenile marlin and lost a third fish of similar size.

Marlin this size are rarely caught and two tagged fish an extreme rarity. Lets hope they are one day recaptured and the tags returned for some valuable data.

The two day Tournament saw 15 competing boats raise 9 marlin, one sailfish and several mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna. Kania won the tropy with her two baby marlin and a tagged sail whilst Blo won the 'Hard Luck' wooden spoon after fighting an estimated 300kg black marlin for 5 hours before the line parted.

Next week is the Denarau Tuna Classic and hopes are high for some more big yellowfin Tuna.

29 Mar 2010

Fiji Big Yellowfin Run Continues

For several months now Fiji Island waters have enjoyed an excellent run of big yellowfin tuna in the 50-70kg range (100-150lb). The numbers of small schooling yellowfin seem a little down on average but that is being more than made up for by numerous fish like these....

Melissa from Coffs Harbour GFC fought this yellowfin for two and a half hours aboard Bite Me on stand-up 50lb gear. This 56kg fish was hooked in the upper mouth with a trolled skirted lure and put up quite a stubborn fight.

A little help needed for a photo shot...

The next day Brandan landed this 65kg fish using 15kg stand-up tackle. This fish swallowed a bibbed minnow hampering its ability to fight so Brandan was able to fight the fish to the boat in about half an hour.

Pretty respectable catch on 15kg (30lb) line !

23 Mar 2010

Dogtooth Tuna and GT Tagging Programme

With the kind assistance of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) we have started a programme here around Kadavu Island to Tag and Release primarily Dogtooth Tuna but also some Giant Trevally caught and released aboard our gamefishing boats Bite Me and Tease Me.

Our first Tagged GT measured 37" Short Length and weighed 16kg

Our second GT Tagged measured 46" Short Length and was estimated to weigh 35kg

Tag placement

We also tagged our first Dogtooth Tuna of 15kg but no photos - a quick release...

Although it is believed that GTs and to a certain extent Dogtooth Tuna are terratorial and spend much of their adult lives staking out their particular patch of reef, relatively little is known about them. We hope to shed light on the following grey areas :
1. Release mortality rates - GTs seem to be very hardy fish but how well do they really release ?
Dogtooth tuna are monsterous brutes but do they survive a fight ? Does invisible barotrauma affect release mortality rates ? Do release weights improve the chances of a healthy release ?
2. Movements - Do these species move significant distances ?
3. Growth rates.

It will take a while to get recapture information but we are optimistic...
Last month we caught the same GT two days running, in the same place, on the same lure....
Obviously its first days encounter with anglers didn't seem to cause the fish any great disruption.

Latest GT Popping News

The gang

Some highlights of a 6 day GT Popping trip to Matava Eco-Adventure Resort by Dan, Andy, JT and James, fishing aboard Bite Me.

Dan knocked over a few nice GTs like this one

Weather for the first few days was decidedly unfriendly...

Even when we did get access to the best GT spots we had to put up with some annoying chop but it was usually worth it. Best GT of the week measured 46" SL with several around the 40-45" mark. We tagged and released two GTs, the best of which measured 46" SL as well as a Dogtooth Tuna around 15kg.
We could have tagged many more but the second a fish comes out of the water we start an invisible clock running. If it takes more than 20 seconds to get the hooks out (hooks have barbs crushed) we usually don't risk all the measuring and weighing involved and extra time out of the water when we tag a fish. If in any doubt, release quickly.

JT with his biggest fish that measured 45" Short Length (close to 40kg) taken on a Stickbait

JT also fought a big doggie to the boat but all aboard were dismayed to see it pounced on by three whaler sharks just below the transom. The head alone weighed in at 20kg....

Lunch time and JT demonstrates his preferred water entry method

Double hook-ups

Dan with a nice GT caught off the bow on a Buffalo Popper

Some real chunky Red Bass around....

21 Mar 2010

The Life of a Gamefishing Charterboat Skipper on a Remote Fijian Island

I am sitting on my house front deck just tapping away at the keyboard and uploading a new blog item and happen to glance out at the spectaculor view in front of Matava Eco-Adventure Resort and look what's right out in front of me...

See anything ? Take a closer look.....

How about with the contrast 'tweaked' ?

Is this a cool place to live or what !!!

Brazil takes on the Kadavu GTs

Team Brazil

A first for Bite Me as 4 anglers from Brazil travel a very very long way to visit the Fiji Islands and take on the Kadavu Island GTs with popper casting gear.

Weather was a bit ordinary but we did get a few reasonable days and got stuck into some nice fish.Jin's best fish of the trip

We had a few Double-Headers

Jr's first GT

and of course plenty of chunky red bass....

18 Mar 2010

Mr Craft Bait Fishes Aboard Bite Me

We recently had the honour and privilige to have Mr Tomohide Kashiwagi fish aboard Bite Me with some of his angling friends from Japan. Tomo is one of the two owners of Craft Bait and together with Mr Takeshi Taniguchi are the men behind their superb range of Poppers and stickbaits.

The unseasonal ropey weather made for some tough GT popping conditions but we still managed some reasonable fish. Tomo took the opportunity to test out some new prototype rod designs as well as a couple of new design Craft Bait Stickbaits. One will go home for more developement but the other proved to be dynamite on the GTs and the mackerel too !

A nice 20kg+ Mackerel for Tomo

We hooked a few monster fish on the jigs, almost certainly big dogtooth tuna, but with bite-offs and bust-offs, no big doggies released this time. Pleanty of coral trout and groupers for dinner though !

Matava is fully operational after Cyclone TOMAS

Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort is 100% fully open after the cyclone passed Fiji on Tuesday 16th March 2010
KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS - 17 December 2009 - On Monday 15th March 2010 Fiji was hit by a Category 4 Tropical Cyclone, TC TOMAS. The cyclone passed over the northern islands and well to the East of Kadavu Island.
Matava - Fiji's Premier 
Eco-Adventure  Resort Although the resort experienced high winds and heavy rain, no damage was done to the resort at all, apart from the loss of some thatch from the corner of the roof of the dive centre.

Extreme shore diving by Linda G!The guests and staff spent the whole day playing cards, board games and reading books safely in the Main Bure while Maggie served breakfast, lunch and dinner as normal. We even had some divers toughen up and go shore diving in the 'teeth' of the bad weather on Monday and Tuesday and get some great pics of critters on The Critter Junction dive site!

By Tuesday 16th March we were once again fishing, diving and trekking as normal, in glorious sunshine with not even a slight breeze!

The cyclone passed well east of Kadavu and was over in a couple of days of strong winds and grey weather.

Due to flight safety reasons, Pacific Sun did postpone its flights for a couple of days, but have now fully resumed services to Kadavu from Nadi.  All flights to and from Kadavu from Nadi International Airport are currently fully resumed and we have have had clients fly in and out of Kadavu today (Wednesday 18th March 2010).

We appreciate your patience in these matters, and rest assured that we are all fine and 100% fully operational at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort.Wednesday morning at Matava

Here is a pic taken by Adrian this morning from the deck of Mango, one of our Honeymoon Bures:

Richard, Adrian, Jeanie, Stuart & The Team @ Matava

Tropical Cyclone Tomas Gone

The weather today is....... Glorious..

I am going looking for swordfish...

16 Mar 2010

TC Tomas doesn't stop Divers

As TC Tomas passes East of Kadavu Island and Matava Eco-Adventure Resort, our diving guests clearly demonstrate an adventurous streak.....by going for a shore dive....

Well.....we are an Eco-Adventure Resort !

Tropical Cyclone Tomas - Latest Update

Tourism Fiji update – 1130hours, Nadi, Fiji, 16 March 2010

Worst appears over as TC Tomas moving away from Fiji

- Main commercial and tourism hubs unscathed

- International airlines resuming flights

Nadi, Fiji islands – While tropical Cyclone Tomas continues to linger in the Fijian islands, government and tourism officials are confident the worst is over with the cyclone now tracking south and east away from the main commercial and tourist areas of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands.

International airlines including national carrier Air Pacific, Air New Zealand and V-Australia have all announced flights in and out of Nadi will resume today albeit on delayed schedules.

And while schools across the destination remain closed until further notice, it is anticipated that the country’s essential services in the larger populated areas will be fully operational later today (Tuesday).

Most shops are also expected to open for business today.

In a brief issued earlier today by the Fiji Meteorological Service’s director of meteorology, Rajendra Prasad at 9am today the eye and core feature of the cyclone were now moving over the Northern Lau Group and would reach Central and Southern Lau later today.

In the Central division, including the capital city Suva, damaging gale force winds with gusts of up to 85km/hr would be expected today with periods of rain.

Mr Prasad said some flash flooding was possible in the Central division but not on a large scale.

TC Tomas, he said, would maintain its intensity for another 12 hours before commencing a gradual weakening trend, he said.

However the cyclone will probably maintain its category three hurricane strength until after leaving Fiji waters in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto said confirmed that while the north-east region of the Fijian archipelago was affected from Tomas, the bulk of the country’s tourism plant located on the big island of Viti Levu (Coral Coast, Denarau, Nadi and Pacific Harbour) and in the nearby Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands had escaped unscathed.

Mr Tuamoto did advise that reports filtering in from hotel and resort operators in the country’s north-east – Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Savusavu - indicated some damage to property but the damage thankfully had been minimal and the national tourist office had not received reports of any tourists having been injured.

However the northern region was continuing to experience strong winds and heavy sea swells.

Mr Tuamoto also confirmed that communication systems cut during the height of the cyclone had now been resumed.

In addition, much of the electrical power in the region shut down for safety reasons in these regions was expected to be resumed in a short time.

Most resorts and hotels in the region had maintained power via generators during the period.

“It would appear that the worst is over,” he said.

“We are moving towards the end of our annual cyclone season and while Tomas is one of the bigger weather fronts we have experienced in recent times, none the less we have become very experienced at preparing for these kinds of events,” he said.

“We’ve also become very experienced at cleaning up after a cyclone and I am confident that once the worst is over and the all clear has been finally sounded, Fiji will be back to normal within days.

“Any inconvenience this situation has incurred for our international visitors has thus far been kept to an absolute minimum, particularly on Viti Levu and in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands which have not been affected by Tomas.”

“Disruption to services in these areas has been limited with the exception of local cruise schedules and inter-island ferry and flight services all of which had been placed on hold until further notice.

“The same applies to all domestic inter-island air services to Savusavu, Taveuni, Kadavu, Lavuka, the Lau Group, Mana Island and Malololailai which are still cancelled until further notice.

“Intra-island services between Nadi and Suva are also on hold until further notice.

“But we are confident normal services will be resumed very quickly indeed,” he said.


Released by Tourism Fiji

For further information contact:

Josefa Tuamoto

CEO - Tourism Fiji

T: + 679 6722433

Mobile: +679 9922941

Visit: www.fijime.com

15 Mar 2010

Tropical Cyclone Tomas

TC Tomas approaches Vanua Levu and Taveuni

Tropical Cyclone Tomas roars into Fiji Island waters but thanks to the RSMC Nadi Weather Centre and the Fiji Broadcasting Service, islanders had excellent early warning.
The storm is forecast to make landfall this evening (Monday 15th) in the vicinity of Eastern Vanua Levu and Taveuni Island as a Category 4 Cyclone.
We are advised that all local flight services are temporarily suspended, as are most international flights into and out of the Fiji Islands.
Our thought and best wishes are with all the Fiji people and visitors who are close to this storm's path.

Down here on Kadavu Island we are expecting gale force winds for the next 24 hours then the storm system will move away very quickly. Marine activities have been suspended for 48 hours however all gamefishing and other resort operations will resume as normal on Wednesday.

8 Mar 2010

Wahoo fishing at Matava, Kadavu Fiji Islands