6 Apr 2010
I have been waiting for the opportunity to have a go at a Broadbill Swordfish here in the waters around Kadavu Island. I have done my research, talked to many experts and have a good idea of swordfish rigs and techniques. Yesterday afternoon we got our chance to try some out. With my deckie Joe as the designated angler, colleague Richard as photographer / deckie and friend Glen Gardener from the Sydney based charterboat Bounty Hunter as wireman, we set out with some very heavy weights and hit the deep water with a bent butt 130lb outfit.
This method of fishing was new to us but after stuffing up our first deep drop and learning a lot, we got our second drop just right and positioned our bait for a broadbill...
In less than 10 minutes we had our first bite though we didn't realise it at first. The bend in the rod from the deep set weight just eased and we considered the possibility that the weight had touched down on an uneven seafloor. Just as we were discussing the possibility of a 'lifting bite' when glen yelled "There's a big fish jumping over there !" We all looked out at a big ball of spray some 70 yards away......then a huge Mako shark erupted from the ocean surface and launched itself straight up at least 15ft into the air.......
For a second we all stared gobsmacked....an unbelievable sight...
Then Glen spots a leader on the fish and yells "We are on !" and I ball "We are freaking connected to that thing !!!" (or words of a similar theme...)
(Bedlam... bedlam.... bedlam.... in the cockpit)
Joe grabs the 130, straps himself into the chair and starts cranking in a huge belly of line in high gear. About 30 minutes later we have the Mako alongside and what an awesome fish it is... I have never seen anything quite like it !
Fortunately it behaves itself. (I have heard some scary stories about these sharks)
We check for a tag and after a couple of quick photos, we cut the leader right on the circle hook which is neatly tucked in the jaw corner using a safety knife/ release pole .
The smallest estimate of weight from all aboard was 150kg (I'm always a bit conservative) and the highest was 200kg. The fish was almost certainly a new Fiji Islands M-60 and All-Tackle National Record for Joe.
I am however delighted to say that there is no way in hell any of us would have harmed such a magnificent creature, even if it had been a World Record so the fish was released unharmed, save for a small new piece of jewelry in the corner jaw that shouldn't cause any harm and should be shed in the near future.
I consider myself privileged to have had such a close look at this magnificent and awe inspiring fish.