Saturday, February 15, 2014

French Polynesia (Tahanea, Motutunga, Tepoto) Dec 2013

A place that was not seen and touched by human a remarkable adventure that will always be remembered as long as I live,
for the past 4 years and on every occasion that our friend and client Carlos stopped at the shop he offer us to join him on one of his trip, his boat (Latitude ) has been in French Polynesia for the past 3 years with a range and  ability to go far and beyond than any other boat or operator, Latitude is a self-sufficient vessel with 55 days nonstop operation at a time, a 5 star live aboard with a service that make the other 5 star look like 3 star with no exaggeration. 

The whole planning started when Carlos visited the Cape to fish with Captain Eric for Bluefin tuna and we set up the date but for some reason we had to reschedule it and finally the day came to take the flight under bad noreast weather condition, I was a bit stressed out on that day as many flight was cancelled,
the plane took off and after 6 hours I meet Eric and Edu in LA,
Edu is going to be our Captain for the whole trip and will be running all the fishing boat on board,
the flight was empty and every one of us end up with 4 seat for himself, so we all end up sleeping very well, upon our arrival to Papeete we get greeted by our driver that took us to the hotel for a short break to meet up with Carlos, around noon we had to catch another flight from Papeete to Fakarava where the boat is waiting for us to start our journey.
The boat set sail around 6:00pm and we reached Tahanea at 8:00am 14 hours of sailing to be greeted by angry waves right at the entrance of the passage to the Atoll, the visibility and the clarity of the water is hard to describe, we set up the equipment to start fishing for the 2nd day and it was so hard to sleep as the excitement is taking over.

At 8:00AM we took off to start fishing, Carlos along our local guide J suggested to jig the passage for dogtooth tuna, the drop off at the entrance goes from 60 feet to 900 feet with a 200 feet distance from shore, on the first drop we get smoked by non-stoppable fish while every one of us screaming in every direction, it was a such ciaos and a scenario that accompanied us for the whole day, we could not succeed to land any doggy on that day due to cut off and sharks, when we had a successful hook up the shark came in to claim it, it was very frustrating but the action was the best I had ever seen and I recall that we lost a bit over 40 jigs on that day between the 3 of us,
J suggested to replace the Kevlar cord by wire leader, I was not on favor but there was no other option and it will be good to try something new and see if it work, so we set up all the jigging rods with wire cable connected to the hook and the Fluorocarbon leader was ranging from 130lb to 150lb.
couple of fish is been landed on that day but not what we came in for.
The guys decided to travel up north and pop for GT ‘s in the north but Carlos gave us the chance to fish the early AM if we wanted, I took the offer and at 5:00AM we were at the passage and at the first drop we get smoked again, Eric is on as well and after a short fight he loose the fish.
in the other hand mine doesn’t feel like a doggy but it is heavy, Edu took me out of the reef to the deeper water and after couple of minutes I see a huge napoleon surfacing, I was screaming from joy as this the biggest I had ever seen and I was begging the guys not to lose it, landed the fish with joy and cheer as this the biggest Napoleon I had ever landed and I want it one so bad, I was so happy and thankful for what the early morning brought me, the wire leader did not stop the doggy from performing their daily work, they still manage to cut through the 480lb cable leader, those fish gained so much respect in my book, we end up leaving them in peace and head up north to check another fishing ground, we get greeted by a GT that came off on my popper and we so many other species in that clear water, it was a fun day with a lot species that was caught.

The plan on the 3rd day was to run south to a new passage, we left in the early AM and headed to a different atoll, most passages to the Atolls are deeper in nature giving a unique water flow that comes in and out of the atoll holding all kind of baits and sources of food,
on the first drop me and Carlos get tight and we finally manage to land 2 doggy at the same time, nothing really huge but it finally happen, the action was good and we had some other fish that came in to the deck, Carlos then decided to fish the deep water using his electrical reel,
All reef species are full with Ciguatera and in order to consume any kind of fish you need to get in from 600 feet and deeper, the catch consisted of some red snapper comet grouper and we than called the day off.
Decided to pop a new area today and we headed south east, we had all kind of species on that day from Napoleon to GT’s , the only highlight for the day is Eric’s Napoleon as he want one so bad and finally hooked up a descent size around the 45lb and we end losing it right at boat side when we tried to lift it to put in the boat, it was a heart break for Eric but we called it catch, we had non stoppable action as long as your arms and body allows you to cast and we all had our fair share and satisfaction.
New Atoll on the map for the day, the run is about 30 miles from where Latitude is anchored and the excitement is on everybody’s face, we get to the area and the place look like heaven on earth with a great passage that leads to the Atoll and rushing water, we decided to pop a bit before we head to the breaking waves on the other side but we than had a small problem with the boat and our Captain called in to get us the other boat to keep on fishing, we get the twin cat center console and me and Carlos along J jumped in and the rest of the crew headed back, Eric decided to head back to try some inshore casting.
we popped the area that we wanted but there was no GT at all so I asked J to move the boat to the drop off to cast in the deeper water, J took my OBX-400 and dropped a jig and boom, game on with screaming reel and ciaos taking over, the fish dumped close to 280 meter on the first run and luckily she headed to the deeper water, after about 20 minutes the beast surfaced and celebration took over, another hefty doggy fell to the OBX-400, we took some pictures an jigged a bit and landed some small doggy before we called the day off, as soon we arrived we could see Eric and Edu on the flat having good time and after Eric came back he reported an amazing light tackle action, so we decided to stick to that plan for tomorrow and fish from the small boat.

At 8:30am we divided the group in 2, Eric and Veto will fish together and Edu and myself on the other panga,
as soon we start casting until we called the day off we had constant topwater action, the grouper where attacking our lures in packs, we had all sort of species that make every fisherman jaws on the floor, It was my best day by far and I enjoyed every bit of it, the shark were so aggressive and they were hitting our lures with vengeance, that night was a full moon.
We’ve seen huge Napoleon following our lures but they had no chance to catch up with the aggressive grouper and shark.
around the afternoon Edu and Carlos went to snorkel in the same area were we fished in the morning and right in the shallow passage, they reported a lot of grouper and big Napoleon with aggressive sharks all around them, they end up calling it off from having too many sharks around them,
at 7:00PM Carlos had a surprised party on board and he wanted to celebrate X-mas with the crew, we had such a lovely evening with full moon shinning on the atoll, the food was spectacular with great atmosphere on board,
unfortunately I went to my room to get something and I end up passing out, Eric came down to check on me and saw me on the bed with my cloth on, I was so tired and I needed to rest.

On our last day we decided to stay in shore targeting the inshore species, no change to the crew Eric with Veto and I and Edu together.
after 10 minutes from our start we hear Eric and Veto screaming and they are calling for us, I knew right away that they had a Napoleon on board we rushed to them to see the joy and the smile on Eri’c face,
he was holding it like a baby and he was so cheerful and happy,
I on the other hand was so happy for him as I know how bad he felt when he lost his Napoleon the other day and this came in as bonus at the last day, Eric landed that Napoleon on the El Maestro 77H prototype rod matched with a Siren prototype lure, I took as many shot I could and he then set him free and we saw him swimming nicely heading to the deeper water, Eric was still screaming from joy.
the action in general was not as good as yesterday and I believe the full moon had to do with it,
we fished the whole surrounded area of the both passages and Eric get reefed by a GT,
Eric and Veto came in close to us to return the PR Bobbin while I am chatting with them I hear Edu screaming I turn to him and I see a huge shadow following his lure 4 feet away from the boat with a massive boil and attack,  game on I ran to the engine to start and ran to the front for the wheel and I start heading to the deeper water, the take was amazing and shadow was green, yes it is a Napoleon.
the fish was stripping some line but we felt the deeper water will give that chance to land it, it fought nicely and I finally had the chance to grab it and had it inside the boat, I ran to Edu and gave him a big hug to congratulate him, it was his biggest Napoleon ever, took as many shot as I could and we released it close to the drop off while Eric had the Go Pro on the water and we watched him going slow and steady, what a day, what can you ask for more, we called the trip off and headed to the boat.
After dinner the Latitude sat sail to Papeete with 290 miles ahead of us to reach Papeete, the calm sea made the journey very enjoyable.
It is very hard to describe my gratitude to Carlos for the invite, I had enjoyed the company and the great fishing and I thank him for his generosity and friendship.
Also a lot of credit goes to Eric Kulin for taking some amazing shots, Eric has been a great supporter, Thank you for your expertise and knowledge that you're always eager to share with me!
In addition I would like to thank Aftco for their sponsorship and for being part of the pro staff team.

Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 150,200,250, CB One VF8215ER, El Maestro Prototype 77H and 710MH, Saltywater Tackle OBX-400 & OBX-300 Prototype rod, MC Works SD538XX
Reel: Shimano Stella SW20000, SW18000,SW10000, SW8000
Line: Sunline, Power Pro, Varivas
Leader: Moimoi Fluoro 130lb & 150lb, Saltywater Tackle twisted leader
Lures: Siren, Shell Shaping, Craft bait, Carpenter
Jigs: Shout, Hot's Drift tune, Haoli, CB One, Deep Liner

Tight lines

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