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Vanuatu - 3rd Jun 2015
My first Sport fishing adventure, location – Vanuatu!

I’m so excited I can’t keep still and won’t stop talking and asking questions about what was install for us today. We left the dock and were heading out from Port Vila at a slow 10 Knots towards our first destination Devils Point, this particular sea mount was a well known spot for a wide range of fish. We trolled a selection of skirted and hard bodied lures for any big pelagic critters that were interested; unfortunately the only thing that showed interest were some small Tuna however that was enough to get my adrenaline going, due to the lack of interest from bigger fish a decision was made to take a quick trip to the FAD (Fish Attracting Device) to see if the mackerel, wahoo or mahi mahi were active. We were jigging in around 40 meters of water, this was my first attempt at Jigging and it was to be the hardest forms of fishing I’ve experienced by far, my arms, shoulders and back were aching like nothing else, after jigging for around 20 minutes with a 5 minute break because of the hurt I was in. This style of fishing was suggested by the skipper as it would be the most likely way to attract a strike from one of the big Bull mahi mahi or even maybe a wahoo, there were plenty of big Bull males swimming around but these spectacular fish were not hungry and were refusing our jig presentations, after jigging for two hours we came up empty handed which was disappointing because of the effort required to do this type of fishing, however I was still riding on a high because of the uncertainty of what may happen.




It was mid morning now and the wind was blowing around 25 Knots from the South West and starting to become uncomfortable so suggestions were made to throw some large poppers and Stick baits for giant trevally, coral trout and dogtooth tuna on some productive inshore reefs. This excited me even more as I had never actually done this before so I was really keen to give it a try.

We started to make our way back to a small cove on the northern tip of Efate; this was a secluded and sheltered cove which was protected from the now strong South West wind that was blowing. On arrival to the cove we had already selected the poppers and stick baits we would be throwing so once we had arrived it was all action. The reef system we were fishing protruded from the shore line out to some very colourful coral reef; we would cast our poppers as far as possible to the shore line and pop it across the coral reef system, this was hard work also, getting used to throwing large poppers with heavier gear than what I’m usually used to, then training myself to get a good “Popping” action didn’t come easy, however after several casts I started to find a good rhythm.

20 minutes had now past without any sign of a fish, then all off a sudden the explosion I had waited for, a massive boil, splash and what looked like a silver car door climbed all over my popper and it was “Fish on” My adrenaline was so high my knees were shaking the power of this fish was unbelievable to say the least, the reel was screaming, I was screaming and the skipper was screaming, this was a good fish, after a ten minute battle my first ever giant trevally had been boated with a estimated weight of Twenty Kilograms before releasing him back to the reef after some photos. From there a further four giant trevally were hooked and then released with the largest being weighed at a massive 40 Kilograms, I was fascinated and in ore at the size and power of these fish. Having the privilege of being a part of this and having the opportunity of seeing fish of this calibre had me wanting more, today’s action had put plenty of smiles on faces and an end to my first day fishing in Vanuatu.

Well after day ones excitement followed by a hot shower, a beautiful meal with a few Champagnes I slept like a baby. Before I knew it the alarm sounded for day two action, we were up and on our way to the marina where we were greeted by our skipper. After a brief discussion before heading off a decision was made to go straight to the inshore reefs to again target the most powerful fish I have ever had the pleasure of catching... the giant trevally along with the possibility off some coral trout, red bass. After a twenty minute boat ride we had arrived at a shallow coral point, there we started casting large poppers and stick baits, within ten minutes the sight of a big silver slab again was all over my popper and with my arms aching the challenge was on again, because of the water being so shallow it was a battle to keep the fish from the reef, however after a 10 minute struggle I had again boated another awesome giant trevally.



Twenty minutes later we were coming up to some really good looking reef the Skipper yelled for me to throw my popper to the point off a coral outcrop that was nearby, my cast was perfect it was as close to the edge as possible, no sooner had my bail arm clicked over I looked up to see the most unbelievable sight, a giant trevally had breached out of the water onto my popper and was screaming for the reef, my nerves, the rush and excitement at this moment is indescribable, with the worry of the line breaking I was just hanging on and trying to compose myself to fight this beast.

The skipper steered the boat gradually out into some deeper water where I was to play out this fight for another 15 minutes, I could barely turn the fish back towards the boat but wasn’t giving up eventually we could see colour, but unfortunately because of the clarity of the water and the size of this fish we still had around 30-40 meters still yet to go, finally this massive thing was boat side, my amazement to see such a fish was unbelievable this is what you see on TV, it was the best feeling.. It took two guys to get it over the gunnels of the boat, weighing a massive 32 Kilograms this was to be the biggest fish by far I had ever seen let alone being in contact with, I was so overwhelmed I was shaking I had to sit down to take it all in I was lost for words (which isn’t like me). The past two days fishing has made me understand and appreciate how hard this type of fishing is along with the strength you need to fight such strong fish.

Totally exhausted, yet so happy and hungry for more, the skipper decided to yell up lines and we steamed for the FAD once again in search of these massive bulls mahi mahi. We were there no longer than five minutes when several big fish were attracted by the tuna I caught on day one, which was thrown out the back of the boat by the deckie.

Within seconds I was connected to this massive out of control mahi mahi I was yelling ‘Oh my god look at the colours on this fish’, it was glowing bright yellows and blues through the water...stunning, the fish was leaping and tail walking for what seemed like forever, as if I wasn’t exhausted enough, however it’s incredible how your body can react when your adrenalin kicks in, I can’t believe the power of these fish I had to lean my body against the side of the boat and try keep my balance because of the swell, this fish would not give up, the fight went on for ten minutes but felt like hours, finally my first ever mahi mahi had been boated weighing a impressive Seventeen Kilograms.
Over the course of the day many more fish were lost and caught and the biggest was a big Twenty Kilogram mahi mahi, I'm so intrigued how colourful these fish are something unless you see for yourself you just can’t explain. To witness firsthand the sheer size and power of these sportfish has been etched into my memory forever.

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The gear that I used on this trip was second to none; the drag system on the Penn Slammer 760 spooled with 24 Kilogram braid made fighting these mighty fish much easier. The Torque rod / reel had enough power to hold any large GT hooked. With my curiosity consuming me I needed to understand and know how the local people caught these fish so I decided to take a walk along the beautiful coast line to see what was accessible to the locals for land based fishing, this is when I came across these two young children shore based fishing, a deodorant can with what looked like 20 pound line around it..Amazing, the local people always have time for a smile and to say hello.



Every day I would witness the local women wading out onto the reef in a dress to waist deep to fish with their hand lines. Some locals had carved out canoes with attached outriggers, these canoes would get them out to deeper waters and outer reefs where they would use hand lines to troll for bigger fish.
This was to be a most memorable fishing adventure that I would recommend to anyone wanting to witness this type of fishing, it showed me it requires a good deal of strength and endurance, team work and good communication.



Vanuatu is a place that I will be returning too.



 

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