The Vanuatu Marlin Classic

The Vanuatu Marlin Classic has been run and won. With eighteen local and overseas teams fishing this year the action was a little slow with 20 marlin being raised and 5 marlin being tagged over the seven days. This comp is tag and release only and point are awarded for the most marlin tagged on the lightest tackle which ranges from 60kg down to 15kg. The first fish tagged was on Ultimate Lady putting them in the lead on day one. There was a lot of strikes with no hookups experienced by many teams and a lot of bust offs as a lot of teams were opting to fish 15kg to maximize their point as most teams were only getting one strike a day. Some great yellow fin were popping up occasionally with some in the 70kg range and some wahoo and mahi-mahi changing the pace of each day. One of the bigger marlin tagged during the comp was a 250kg fish on 24kg. This was caught by Demon Jigs, Steve Badman fishing team B on Ultimate Lady. The eventual winners were local anglers fishing on In Deep who were the first team to tag a marlin on 15kg.
Cpt Pete Phillipps

Fishing News Trip a Success.

The Fishing News 30th anniversary reader’s trip to Vanuatu was a great success.
Twelve readers from New Zealand flew into to Vanuatu on Saturday the 6th accompanied by Grant Dixon for what was to be a 5 day fishing trip to Epi Island. Due to high northerly winds and big sea’s it was decided to abandon the Monday morning departure and leave in very favorable conditions on Tuesday. Due to the previous weeks heavy rain there was plenty of logs and debris floating in the water to make the mahi- mahi and wahoo fishing quite good on the trip to Epi. There was several marlin strikes however no hookups. The group was based out of Sunset Paradise Bungalows hosted by Chief Tasso situated in the picturesque Lamen Bay on the north west area of Epi Island. Nevergiveup, V-Factor and Shogun each day took groups of 4 angles jigging the seamounds, casting poppers and trolling some of the most amazing areas Vanuatu has to offer. This was rounded off each day with a beach B.B.Q and a couple of cool drinks and story telling in the evenings. By the time everyone returned to Port Vila’s Moorings Hotel for the Friday night dinner there was some great stories of marlin tagged, marlin lost, people getting smoked on 37kg by dogtooth tuna and many other battle tales. It was a credit to the anglers also on how well the time unfolded as the facilities in Epi are basic and the trip had to be shortened by a day however everyone had a blast and there was plenty of talk about return trips and I’ll get him next time stories.
A special thanks to Air Vanuatu, Brian Death at Mooring’s Hotel, Chief Tasso at Sunset Paradise Bungalows, Leanne Collett from Wild Blue Fishing Charters and especially Fishing News’s own Grant Dixon for pulling all this together.
Good Luck at the Weigh In.
Cpt Peter Phillipps

A Happy Customer: Marks testimonial

Hi Pete,

I’m writing this brief letter to you because I feel the need to express my thanks and appreciation after my six days fishing with you on your boat Shogun.

It’s been eight months since I first planned and booked this trip and I would like to tell you that you’re the greatest angler/captain I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with.

You’re detailed knowledge of the local area, as well as your all round experience, meant we were able to always find fish and, more importantly catch. On the very first morning, there was only about 20 mins between leaving the dock and catching our first tuna!! In fact, your ability to always find fish was amazing. I’ve fished extensively in the world – and you’re number on without a shadow of a doubt.

Your boat is extremely comfortable and clean. Sitting with you on the bridge was brilliant. Seeing you use all the new technology meant Clare and I were in very capable hands.
I know Clare really appreciated having a perfectly clean, flushing toilet on the boat.
Not only was the fishing great, the boat clean and comfortable, the tackle and bait was absolutely first class but also the food and drink would put many hotels to shame. There’s nothing like fresh fruit and vegetables served with that delicious tuna pasta salad to keep you going through the action packed day. And the cold drinks from your fridge were second to none.

I would also like to say that eating cooked fish for my midday meal that was swimming about in the ocean only 20 mins before was awesome. I will never eat tinned fish again.

Once again, thanks Pete – you can guarantee I will be back, I only want to fish with the best and you are the best.

See you again soon.

Calm Seas and North Westerly’s.

In spite of a long period of overcast weather and north westerly wind from 10 to 15 kts, and about a degree too high water temp for this time of the year the fishing has been still good. It has required some extra effort from skippers to find fish.
We are still seeing marlin, one a day rather than the usual two or three. Yellow fin are still popping up 15 to 60kg and mahi-mahi are around the F.A.D’s.
The Port Vila Game Fishing Club hosted Easter 6kg Tournament form Havana Harbor on Easter Saturday and Sunday. A small field of five boats entered this year with most choosing to fish off Nguna Island. Some of the more outstanding captures were Fred Timminck’s 15kg Doggy on 4kg, Michelle Timminck’s 13 .6 wahoo on 6kh backed up by a 17.4 kg wahoo on 6 the following day.
The top boat went to Reel Capture with Half Cut second and Nevergiveup third.
Six new Vanuatu records were claimed for the 2 days.

Shogun has been out and about on live–away trips with the return of Richard and Bonnie Lorenzin from Sydney on now their 4th fishing trip through the islands. We spent 3 days fishing out of Epi where it was just a little slow however Bonnie managed to claim a Vanuatu tuna record and tag a nice sail fish. By the end of the trip Bonnie starting to put pressure on Richard to do 5 days live aboard next year and a few less in the resort

Kiwi’s Garry Townley and Justin Stokes flew in from Indonesia where they are currently working for another week of fishing action. With trips to Erromango sea mounts and Nguna Island they managed a full array of species. Justin managed a Vanuatu record with a 33kg G.T on 37kg tackle which was one of the high lights of his trip.
Garry has been fishing with me for about 5 years now and still hasn’t been able to land a good dogtooth tuna and this trip was no exception with continually getting broken off on the reefs by unstoppable fish. These boys have booked another couple of trips for the year so I’m sure he will be successful. Garry brought his son’s out for a couple of days fishing and Sean caught more fish than anyone else on the boat and Alex nailed a couple of junior records for mahi – mahi on light and ultra light tackle.

I am just about to start a 6 day trip with a couple that have just flown in from the U.K so until next time, good luck at the weigh in
Regards Capt Pete Phillipps

Five Marlin in 5 Days

It’s been great again,
I finished September with another trip to Epi with North Queenslanders Doug Cowan, Anthony Richardson, Anthony Florence and Matt Whittering. We left bright and early on Sunday morning for a leisurely troll north up the marlin highway. Within a couple of hours we had our first marlin attached to the shotgun. This fish was dealt to, tagged and released in about 10 minutes. This action was followed up by another 4 marlin bites for a total of 3 tagged for the day and a nice 19.5 kg Mahi-mahi in the fish bin for dinner. The next day we back up with another 2 marlin bites 5 miles out from Lamen bay however we had a day of the dropsy’ with both fish not sticking and further adding insult we dropped a mahi-mahi and a wahoo. The next day was spent casting poppers at the base of Lapevi volcano which is still very active and spectacular. Conditions were less than favourable so we tucked into the lee of a couple of islands and found a wahoo for dinner. On our last fishing day before heading home we headed to De Chauliac Bank for some trolling a jigging. The day started slowly until 11.30 then all hell broke lose. We managed some good dogtooth tuna action, shark, wahoo and managed to get smoked just as many times as we caught fish, all on jigs. The trip home proved to be quite slow as far as fishing action however a lot of laughs were had reflecting on the previous days activities. Great stories come out of these trips with a lot of the action taking place on the veranda of the Lamen Bay guest house that we stay at ion the evenings.
We then completed a few day charters before I started a 5 day charter with the most amazing angler I have had the pleasure to skipper for. Kevin Griffiths become a quadriplegic after a swimming accident at the age of 13 however this has not slowed Kevin in life at all being a very talented artist and designer.

He is also a fanatical game fisherman spending time fishing with his mates in N.Z and travelling abroad chasing big marlin and other pelagic’s. Kev was accompanied by fish rod manufacturer and friend Paul (Radz) Radaly from Auckland and their partners. Kev was fishing 37kg using Command X.9SP fully electric and programmable reels. Day one we started with 5 x lines in the water with 2 being conventional tackle. As it would be the first marlin attached itself to a conventional rig on the shotgun. After an hour and a half Radz finally subdued a very stubborn 180 to190 blue on stand up which was cleanly tagged and released. To increase our chances on achieving Kevin’s goal we only ran the electric reels from there on. For the next 2 days we were getting a marlin bite in the afternoons with the next 2 falling off. Day 4 we went dogtooth and wahoo fishing in the morning of the island of Nguna where Kev managed a good size coral trout on the downrigger. We headed out wide in the afternoon looking for a blue and it all came together at about 2.30pm with a blue hitting the shotgun and missing then eating the long rigger. Kevin battled the fish for an hour and a half before we were able to get a tag shot and finally being released at the back of the boat in great condition.The fish was estimated to be around the 215kh mark. It had been an awesome spectacle with fish going aerial on numerous occasions. Both Radz and Kevin’s marlin were caught within half a mile of each other at a spot local skipper’s call 366 out on the marlin highway and were both caught on a Top Gun medium plunger with pearl white skirts. If you would like to know a little more about Kev and his amazing art work click here.
Congratulations Kev
Until next time good luck at the weigh in.
Regards Capt Pete Phillipps