12 Oct 2011

Fiji Winter Season Saltwater Fishing Summary

From the beginning of 2011, the South Pacific experienced strong La Nina weather patterns. Warmer than normal water gathered towards the Western side of the Pacific leading to unusual weather conditions. Normal tropical depression and Cyclone paths shifted West and Australia's long running drought was broken. For the Fiji Islands this meant fine weather but frequent large ground swells from the South West. Normal oceanic currents along Kadavu Island's Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef stalled and the GT Popping season was significantly affected with coloured water outside the barrier reef and GTs moving from regular haunts.

The summer yellowfin tuna run started late but by the end of March, Bite Me was landing excellent yellowfin around 130lb with our best fish weighing in at 165lbs.

Our normal winter Wahoo season begins with the first wahoo packs arriving in May and by June the outer reef slopes are crowded with hundreds of wahoo packing up on reef points and current lines. Not this year. Water temps stayed stubbournly higher than normal. Our June water temp was the highest recorded for that month in 15 years....

Nevertheless we did get a wahoo run, just not as crazy as normal years. Packs averaged 10-15 fish rather than 20-30 and the average size was down from 60lbs to around 40lbs. The Kadavu Seamount proved very patchy wahoo fishing. Some days it was loaded, some days quiet. Very unusual indeed.

The Pacific Sailfish didn't disappoint but with unusual current directions along the reef and a scarcity in normal winter bait, they moved around a lot making my job a little harder than normal. Still, we did manage to take the M-06 (12lb) Fiji National Record with a sail of just over 75lbs.

The new M-06 Pacific Sailfish Fiji Record taken aboard Bite Me

The La Nina weather patterns usually only last 9-12 months so by December, the start of the next summer Popping & Jigging season, we should be back to normal. Looking forward to it.