Milton, Evan, Yaniv, Raymond and myself went on 5 days live on board on the Golden Eagle,
despite the experience that the guys have for Blue fin tuna, this was their 1st GT popping trip,
i have to say that i admired every bit of their consistency and determination to make this trip a successful trip!
we caught a total of 131 fish in 5 days, every person on board had the chance and the opportunity to land a decent fish, of course i don't have to mention beginners luck
we started our journey and headed out from Suva to make it to Gau, Gau is situated east of Suva, the condition on the first day was a bit rough as the wind was blowing close to 25 knots but the reef looked promising,
we had many different species caught on the first day and Evan manage to land a 30kg on the first day on a Craft bait GT3 popper while I lost a very nice fish about the same size as Evan's, with a locked drag the fish manage to reef me and I lost my entire leader rig with the popper at the end of course.
our Chef for the night was Milton, with the restaurant business background that he has, i have to admit that he cooked a great meal on board that was every anglers dream!
we started our 2nd day jigging and nailed a couple of Doggies and yellow fin tuna but nothing really big, later we switched over to popping and start getting some GTs in the 20kg to 25kg from the corner of my eyes I could see Raymond's huffing and puffing, after a couple of brutal minutes Raymond manage to have the fish close to the boat and i can still hear till now Milton's voice ringing in my head..Napoleon!
an estimated 32kg Napoleon wrasse made it to the deck, after couple of picture we released the fish back into the ocean, Raymond fish was the highlight of the day and in my opinion is one of the highlight for the whole trip, i have to admit that through my fishing career i only manage to land 2 Napoleon, i consider luck was in our favor that day and that fish was waiting patiently for Raymond's Shell shaping popper to be put right at it's door step! congrats brother you made my day!!
do i have to mention what we cooked that night? i guess not, the food was great
our 3rd day was planned to be a jigging day but seems that the fish where shy from the jigs, we still manage to lose a good amount of jigs and land some but we did not encounter any decent size fish, we tried to save the day and popped a bit of GT here and there but nothing was exceptional,
the locals from the island came in as usual and we did a bit of trading, we traded fish for Papayas and pineapples, we cooked again onboard and our Captain Tom and mate John went to the village that night for a quick bite and get together with the village chief!
on our 4th day we headed north to Wakaya island and before getting there we stopped and popped Batiki's reef and we saw the best action on this reef,
that day alone we landed 19 GTs and saw bait getting hammered by GTs, Milton had his chance and manage to land an estimated 40kg on his Sevenseas Big Pop 77,
the fish took a black Craft bait ultra big mouth popper and after a nice fight and a bit of yelling and screaming the fish hit the deck with a big smile all around, the guys worked really hard as a team and no matter who hooked up or landed a fish it almost felt it was a group effort, Raymond get his shot as well and had multiple fish in the 30kg+ with a broken Carpenter rod to find out later that it was high sticked, Yaniv had multiples hook up and lost all his fishes to the reef!
that night we took shelter and docked the boat at Wakaya island, it is a beautiful private island for the rich and famous, believe it or not as it was close to shore i had internet access so we manage to Skype Paul from and teased him with all the excitement.
on our last day we decided to pop a bit in the morning and headed to a new jigging spot to try our luck before we call the trip off,
after 10 minutes and my MC-Works SB 556MS hooked up to a monster doggie,
for the first 5 seconds i felt the weight of the fish before it started making the initial run with my heart pumping and my reel screaming.
the reel was on fire and the rod bend was second to none, palming and tightening the drag was not helping at all,
i could not stop that fish and after 40 second the fish manage to chew through the leader and i lost the jig and again my entire leader rig,
after that i had another 2 solid hook up and on one occasion i got reefed while the other chewed through the kevlar and i lost all the opportunity that i had that day,
from my observation on jigging I was getting more hook up then the rest of the guys, thanks to the better presentation that the rod gave me, the softness of the tip allowed the jig to dance and trigger a bite,
i lost 16 jigs and 1 popper for the entire trip.
i would like to thank all the guys that made this trip a memorable one and i know we will do more in the future
as for the Golden Eagles staff a big thank you for Captain Tom and first mate John, thank you guys for the effort and good time on board.
Sevenseas Big Pop 77
Saltywater Tackle Race Point
MC-Works SB 556MS & SB 516SS
Valley Hill 55XXB
Carpenter TBL 711/35RF
Shimano SW18000 & SW20000
Shimano 10000/SOM 16000 spool
Studio Ocean Mark 120
Lines and leaders:
Varivas Avani GT Max
Jerry Brown hollow
Craft Bait real bait and poppers
Hammerheads stick bait and poppers
Shell Shaping lures
Carpenter gamma an bluefish
Yambal GT harrier
Orion Cono Cono, T Rex 150 & Big foot
Deep liner jigs