Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alex's Yellowfin Tuna

Merry Christmas everyone, it is such a glorious morning here in Savusavu,  hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas.

Just before Cyclone Evan threatened Fiji, we took out a lovely young couple from Australia.

This is his story.

Luther's Yellow Fin Tuna - Friday 14 December 2012

Arriving into Savusavu on a Tuesday, our first few days were spent getting settled, stocking up on provisions, and figuring out what to do before Cyclone Evan arrived, which was due to hit us some time over the coming weekend. I had to patiently wait for the right conditions before I could spend a day out with Terry & Trevina who run Transtar Charters. 

I rang on Thursday night with only a couple of days left before the storm, hoping that we could get out and get a line wet! We all agreed that the following day was looking much more promising than the previous few days. I had been lucky enough to get out the day prior for a rainy morning spearfishing session off the lighthouse reef. Taking 4 fish in total, I was joined by a few curious white tip reef sharks for most of my dive, only loosing 1 fish to a decent size bronze whaler shark which I had to fend off from taking the rest of my catch before I could get back to the local guides boat. 

I was looking forward to enjoying some sun and getting out past the reefs! I arrived at the wharf at 6:30am with my girlfriend Belinda who had never been game fishing before, we were greeted by Terry & Trevina with their boat Searov prepped and ready to go. It was a calm morning with a fews clouds hovering in the distance, a beautiful day lay ahead of us. 

After cruising through the bay enjoying the view from the water, we hit the point which was the beginning of the reef which I had nicknamed 'Shark Alley' and the Searov engines opened up as we headed South West in search of some birds. All 4 lines were in the water soon enough and it didn't take long before we found some activity. The birds were working a school of baitfish and Searov began dancing its way through the mild swell.

Soon enough the first reel went off and we had our first hook up for the day, a 6kg Yellowfin Tuna. Searov continued her dance and shortly after our first catch, we had all 4 lures hit with a quad hook up! I quickly landed the first Yellowfin Tuna around 5kg to avoid any tangles as Belinda and Terry worked on quickly landing the next 2 Yellowfin of similar size. All of the fish from our first 3 hook ups were landed and I grabbed the last rod, the line starting peeling off again as soon as I picked it up with that magical sound of the reel screaming at me, I knew that it wasn't another 5kg Yellowfin Tuna, we assumed a shark must have grabbed the last fish. 

Taking a reasonably casual approach over the next 20 minutes just trying to win some line back, we watched as a school of Yellowfin Tuna returned with a massive boil up on the surface with plenty of action happening all around us. I quietly cursed the shark on the end of the line. There was still a bit of fight left in the fish and as I brought the line closer to the surface, the fish took one last decent run and went deep. 

I started getting edgy to get stuck into some more Yellowfin Tuna so I turned the pace up on bringing in more line. I finally saw the trace and made the call to Terry who joined me at the back of the boat to cut the line. As the fish drew closer to the surface, the dark object I was expecting to see was much shinier than expected. Terry's confirmation over the sound of the Searov engines made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and the goosebumps were instant "He's a big yellowfin!!!"  

Terry swiftly guided Trevina with orders to manoeuvre the boat so we could land this trophy fish which was now hovering at the back of the boat. Terry guided the fish to the side of the boat and I quickly placed the rod in the holder, grabbed the gaff and prepared to end the fight. My first strike was a miss, I quickly struck again hitting the fish in a perfect position to bring him onboard. With the help of Terry we used our combined strength to awkwardly heave the fish into the boat. We all finally had a chance to see the true size of the fish. At 160cm in length, 108cm girth, this 75kg Yellowfin Tuna was a true specimen, with amazing pectoral fins measuring 60cm & 70cm respectively. 

We continued on for the next couple of hours with a bit of rain on approach, landing 6 smaller Yellowfin Tuna in total, all approximately 5-6kg each and the 1 trophy fish, it was a solid outing. It was a great introduction to fishing in Fiji with Terry & Trevina providing a magical day out on the water, an unforgettable introduction for Belinda's first fishing adventure, and another trophy catch for myself. 

By far, my highlight of the trip however was sitting on the back of a moored Searov in Savusavu Bay, cleaning all of our catch, enjoying a few cold beers in the sun, accompanied with some fresh sashimi, wasabi and soy sauce. Thank you to Terry & Trevina who treated us like family during our stay in Savusavu and showed us what fishing in Fiji is all about. Terry & Trevina compliment each other's skills and are an awesome team out on the water and a must do for any angler visiting Savusavu. I can't wait until our next trip….

Thank you for the wonderful write up Alex ,we really enjoyed the day out with wonderful people.

Many thanks

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cyclone Evan

What a relief this morning to wake up & see the sun & calmer seas.

The last few days have been very hard on the body & mind
We had a fishing  charter on Friday ( more about this in the next blog), then Saturday we had to put Searov on her cyclone mooring, & make her secure.
Then it was back to the property to make the house safe by putting up sheets of plywood against all the glass windows & doors, big job.

Also we had to go around cutting leaves off the banana  trees & coconut trees to try & save them from being blown over, also clearing anything likely to fall on power lines
This did help but we lost a lot of trees, also about 40 small avocados off the tree.

As Evan grew closer on Sunday we just stayed indoor & hoped our preparations were enough.

It was a sleepless night as we heard the wind getting stronger & stronger, not having electricity (went off about 7pm) made it a little more eerie.plus now Internet was out so couldn't get any reports.  Radio stations always get weaker in these situations.

Once it was dawn we could look out to see what damage had been done, the house stood up really well & the ply over the windows stopped the rain blowing up through the louvers
The garden was a mess, but things grow so quick in the tropics it won't be long before it is all back like before, only well trimmed.

After breakfast we went down to see how the boats had faired in the harbour, Searov looked good dancing around on her mooring, the 2 big boats that beached themselves, hadn't hit anyone
One yacht had come off its' mooring & hit 2 boats on the way down, before being secured onto the Copra Shed dock.

It was making a mess of the dock as it was too heavy, so Geof & Terry had to try & make it so it wouldn't take the dock out.
This took about 2 hrs, sometimes really gusty winds would sweep through making it hard for them to do what had to be done.

I think after hearing the reports, we were once again lucky to have escaped the way we did, there was a lot of flooding & damaged to trees in the town but it looked fairly safe.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Savusavu Bay Early Morning

It has been a quiet few weeks for us so Terry is busy giving the cabin of Searov a fresh coat of paint.

This year there are still a lot of boats in port for the cyclone season, a lot more then usual, yes we are into that time of year again.

We have had a scare already, but fortunatly it didn't turn into anything, just very strong winds & lots of rain.

On our trip out the last time, we had another lovely sunrise, but this time it wasn't as red, still beautiful to look at though.  We caught some nice Yellowfin & Mahimahi that day also, so it was another good day out on the water.