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Richard And Bonnie Back Fishing In Vanuatu

With three months of predominantly westerly through to northerly winds or should I say breeze  have kept the sea conditions amazingly calm with not much more than half a meter of gentle swell each day.

The fishing has been good most days with most of the action being to the south of Port Vila. These areas are difficult to get to when our prevailing south easterlies are blowing so it’s been great to get into these regions most days.

Marlin have been turning up in much larger sizes that previous months with most being well over the 100kg mark and some around 200kg.

Yellow fin and bonito are passing through as well however the yellow fin have been under 10 kg and bonito up to 10kg and these schools have been traveling pretty quickly making staying with them a difficult task and they have been also quite difficult to get to hook up.

The Port Vila Game Fishing Club and the Fisheries Department along with several operators are currently in the process of deploying some additional F.A.D’s in the area to replace the ones Green Piece cut off for us in an attempt to improve the world.

Dogtooth tuna have been thick and fast around the reef areas along with good sized wahoo. On a recent live-aboard trip to Erromango Island we were getting smacked by wahoo in excess of 20kg constantly and we have a great day on doggies around Goat Island. Most of these were around the 15kg mark however great fun on the appropriate tackle.

We at Wild Blue fishing charters have started doing our live away trips for the year and the first was a trip to Erromango with Richard and Bonnie

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The first couple of days were spectacular taking advantage of the calm conditions and the fishing was hot with wahoo over 20kg belting us regularly. The yellow fin were on the small size even though they were abundant especially around the Vulcan Seamount.

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A couple of species on Richards wish list even though this was his 6th trip fishing with me in Vanuatu were a sail fish which Bonnie has previously caught and constantly reminded Richard, a dogtooth tuna and a G.T.

First light on day one had us hooked up on a sail and tagged and released shortly after. After a day of fishing Richard landed his first doggie at last light as we were entering Dylans Bay for the night.

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The end of day 2 saw Richard capturing at least 6 good 6 doggies and a G.T . Bonnie had also caught several personal best making for a great couple of days. Day three’s plane was to head on to Tanna and take in the Volcano that evening however at about 6 am Leanne contacted me from Port Vila on the satellite phone  to inform me that a tropical low had formed suddenly and we could expect 40kt plus northerly winds so it was decided to head for home. By lunch time the wind was well up there and getting worse. It turned into a long 14 hour trip home with gale force winds on the nose and it was good to see the lights of Port Vila as we rounded Pango Point.

The weather had blown through a day later so we were on our way again for another couple of days. This time we went north. The fishing on this leg was a little quite however the overnight stay at the new Wahoo Bay at Havanah  Harbour was great. Owner operator Andrew Colautti kept us entertained and his kitchen put on a great feed. The fishing was not good at all straight after the blow but a great time was had by all.

Richard and Bonnie are already talking about the next trip so I have got my thinking cap on to create another adventure for them

Peter Phillipps

Senior Skipper/G.M

Wild Blue Fishing Charters.

Craig has just compled his third trip

Craig Bellgrove and his mates came in to fish Vanuatu for the third time. They took the Kakoola option this trip and caught heaps. Day one we raised three marlin and tagged two. We also picked up a mahi-mahi at the Mosso Fad  that made the dinner table that evening.

Day two had us off to the Eastern Seamound for a blinder. On arrival we were greeted by multiple strikes of yellowfin. The jigging proved just a little slow except for the first drop when Steve caught his first dogtooth at 25kg. We had a lot of fun catching wahoo on jigs close to the surface which was a first for the boys. We spent 3 hour fishing the area and headed home when we were unable to fit any more fish in the storage areas in the boat.

Day three the team opted to only do 1/2 a day as the boys had some business to conduct so we spent a bit of time a Nguna Island with no result. The score for the day was 1 x 20kg wahoo in Undine Bay.

Craig finally caught a dogtooth that he has been chasing for some time on day 4 at Monument Rock near Mataso Island however there wasn’t much else happening there. The Mataso Seamount turned up a few more yellowfin and a wahoo.

Day 5 we headed back to the Eastern Seamound again hoping to repeat the day earlier in the trip in less than favorable conditions. On arrival we found a few birds moving around but we couldn’t get a bite. After getting beaten up in the conditions for some time we decided to shorten the day and hear home. Just to ad insult to injury we had a marlin jump on and off on the way back to Kakoola.

Day six was head home day so we gave the Mosso F.A.D a good work out and caught a heap of good mah-mahi then headed further south. As the day unfolded we picked up another couple of good size mahi-mahi with one at 17kg for Steve. There was plenty of birds working however they were just following the schools of skipjack that were passing through. We picked up a couple around the 10kg mark. A good sized rainbow runner gumped on at Pango Seamound to round out our day and complete the trip. I spit of a couple of rough day the fishing once again in Vanuatu proved to be very good.

Vanuatu Marlin Fishing

Marlin fishing is a hugely popular sport through the world. One of the great destinations is Vanuatu. Vanuatu has blue marlin fishing all year round and there are some great boats and operators running day to week long charters out of Port Vila and Santo.

For marlin fishing in Vanuatu the vessels vary in size, some as small as banana boats however the better marlin charter operators are operating vessels from 21ft through to 50ft. There are a number of privately owed vessels large than this however most are not operating commercially.

Tackle on these vessels is usually of very high standard which is essential for marlin fishing because if gear is not spot on the truth is soon revealed. Most operators carry gear from 15kg or 30lb through to 130lb for day charters however a few operators specialise in light and ultra light tackle which can be organized by request. Light and ultra light tackle requires much more experience on the anglers behalf, patience and a lot of shots on blue marlin as one can end up with a lot of bust off’s. Several of the operators in Port Vila are also experienced in Blue Marlin fly fishing. One particular vessel (Nevergiveup) currently holds several world records for marlin on fly.

Some of the more popular techniques used to catch marlin are towing lures, bait and switch, live baiting, skip baiting and drifting dead bait. Most operators will spend time on most charters towing lure or trolling at some stage of a charter. This technique allows you travel to a destination and cover a lot of ground and a lot of area. If for argument sake you wanted to go live baiting at one of the F.A.D,s (Fish Aggregating Device) a lot of skippers would deploy lures on the way and might cover half the 20m trip. This is a great way to utilize travel time and maximises you chances of catching a fish. Another great place for lure fishing is out wide along a trench known as the marlin highway.

The marlin highway has consistently turned up great fishing over many years with marlin, huge yellow fin, wahoo, mahi-mahi, sails and the odd shot billed spear fish turning up. At certain times of the year schools of big yellow fin pass through this area. If you have the good fortune to run across these 40 to 80kh models in schools the size of football fields you are in for an amazing day. When these schools are running the marlin are usually not too far away.

Another exciting technique when you are marlin fishing in Vanuatu is bait and switch. This is a technique where hook less lures or some sort of teaser or teasers are towed and when a marlin appears following or striking the lure or teaser a skilled deckhand or in some cases depending on vessel setup the skipper might retrieve the teaser and the angler then casts or pitches a bait to the fish. If the fish is fired up and keen to eat it will then take the bait and the battle begins. This is a very popular form of fishing as it is a great spectacle seeing the fish follow up to the boat and then take the bait. Usually the hook up rate is fare better that lure fishing as well.

Wild Blue Fishing Charters is one of the leading charter operators in Port Vila. They have 3 charter boats available and run everything from 3 hour reef fishing charters for mum, dad and the kid’s to full on game fishing adventures for up to a week at a time. They also offer on site affordable accommodation for fishing groups that might just want to do day trips out of Port Vila. The fishing ground are within 15 to 20 minutes of the jetty. Vanuatu is still considered to be one of the best blue marlin fisheries in the world and marlin are caught all year round.

For more information on trips like the one above please go to Wild Blue Fishing Charters or Game Fishing Vanuatu: http://gamefishingvanuatu.com/

Blue Marlin at 483.4kg

Big fish story tops them all

4:00AM Saturday Apr 18, 2009  (New Zealand Herald)
By Mathew Dearnaley

Ross Jameson’s giant blue marlin is the first billfish he’s ever caught.

A “virgin” bluewater angler has landed New Zealand’s biggest fish yet – a 483.4kg blue marlin – but isn’t bothered about a bureaucratic technicality stopping him from claiming it as a record.

“I’m not too worried about this record business – that’s their problem really,” Whangarei builder Ross Jameson said of International Game Fishing Association rules requiring him to be a member of an approved club before claiming line honours.

Mr Jameson, who reeled in his catch off the tip of the North Island on Thursday, on the eve of the 58th birthday he was celebrating with friends last night on the Bay of Islands charter vessel Harlequin, admitted never having caught a billfish on three previous expeditions.

“We usually go out diving, and snapper fishing,” he said last night from off Northland’s east coast.

But asked how he would assess his fishing career now, he said: “Well, it certainly got a bit of a boost, didn’t it?”

His catch was more than 10kg larger than the next-biggest marlin caught in New Zealand waters, a 473kg black hooked by Alain Jorion off East Cape in 1963, and 2kg heavier than a 481.26kg mako shark hooked by J. Penwarden in 1969.

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“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime fish, very impressive – everyone up here is really excited,” said Houhora Gamefish Club weigh master Lisa Lilly, who recorded details before Mr Jameson’s marlin was sent to a taxidermist in Tauranga to be mounted.

The fish took a pink lure just past the “The Hook”, a pinnacle between the northern tip of the North Island and the Three Kings Islands, from the boat Harlequin under the command of skipper John Douglas.

It took just 80 minutes to be landed on the vessel, with others of Mr Jameson’s five-member party of “senior gentlemen” pitching in with giant meat-hooks to bring it on board.

“Most people have a blue on for hours [before it is landed],” Ms Lilly said. Fishing guide Chris Ash said it took about 20 minutes longer for the seven on board to heave the fish through the boat’s cockpit door from the deck.

“There were seven of us pulling on it,” said Mr Ash of Ahipara, who was also a crew member of a boat skippered by his father, Bob Ash, which landed a 456.7kg blue marlin over the “The Hook” in the late 1990s.

He said that fish retained the New Zealand record for a blue marlin caught on a 37kg line, but the fact that Mr Jameson was not eligible to claim a new record was of as little concern to his father as to the latest charter party.

“He doesn’t think it matters, he’s just rapt that I’m on the boat that did it again – I just told him to move his thing off the wall [of the Houhora Gamefish Club] – we’ve got a new one to put there.”

Mr Ash said he was proud of his charter party, all aged over 60 apart from Mr Jameson.

“I’ll tell you what, these old gentlemen know how to gaff a fish all right – they couldn’t miss because there was a lot of fish.”


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Article curticy of the New Zealand Herald

Vanuatu Game Fishing

Vanuatu is still regarded as one of the best blue marlin fisheries in the world. There have been several world records broken here on fly rods and numerous other fish caught weighing in over the magic 1000lb. If you were to fish these waters for a couple of days you would be unlucky not to at least see a blue marlin or two and most of the busy operators catch 80 to 100 per year. Tag and release is the most popular method of marlin fishing in the islands.

Where to fish in Vanuatu

Many of the islands offer some sort of fishing expeditions however you might be fishing from a banana boat or some other small vessel.  The better game fishing boats operating in Vanuatu are found in Port Vila (on the island of Efate) and in Luganville (on Santo). Most of the large fishing operators work out of Port Vila as it is a short run to start fishing, sail fish frequent Mele Bay as do yellow fin when they are in season and this is all 10 minutes from the jetty. . From Santo, the journey is considerably longer; however there is good fishing along the way.

Fish can be caught anywhere in the waters out from Port Vila however the most productive areas are the Marlin Highway, Blue Hat, 366,  Nguna Volcano, the Erromango Sea Mounts and Hat Island and there is usually 2 or more F.A.D’s in place to improve your chances and each area is known for particular types of fish.

Types of fish that frequent the waters of Vanuatu

The fish that both Port Vila and Santo are most famous for is the Blue Marlina magnificent fighting fish. Gun fishermen come from all around the world just for the Blue Marlin game fishing in Vanuatu, often resulting in Blue Marlin catches with average weights of 200-500lb, with the largest ever caught weighed in at 515kg or 1135lb. Santo fishing turn up great fish as well however there hasn’t been a grander caught there and that might be due to less boats operating there.

In addition to Blue Marlin, the Vanuatu fishery offers a huge range of other species being Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Yellow fin Tuna, Mahi Mahi , Wahoo, Sailfish, Dog Tooth Tuna,Coral Trout, job fish and red bass as well. The dog tooth tuna have been known to reach 80kg+ while the yellow fin tuna grows even larger, sometimes up to 90kg.

The best time to fish in Vanuatu

Game fishing in Vanuatu is brilliant all year round, however the species vary during the different months of the year. A lot of fishing takes place from March to November to avoid the wet season which can bring rough weather however the seasons in Vanuatu seem to have changes as has the rest of the world. A lot of fishing is done by New Zealander’s and Australian’s during their winter or off season as the fishing is great here in Vanuatu during that time.

Fishing trips in Vanuatu

Game fishing in Vanuatu has been a large part of the tourism industry for many years now and there are some great operators running trip almost days of the year. Even if the general conditions are a little unfavorable there is almost always somewhere you can tuck in in the lee of and island and fish. The fishing boats are generally first class and most provide all the equipment you would need to successfully go game fishing.

A lot of the larger operators run day trips which would have you back in the comfort of your resort or hotel each night or you can opt for the live-aboard option and some operators prove a liveaway program where you get to stay on outer island in locally run guest houses. One operator in particular has on site accommodation on the waterfront in Port Vila so it is out of your room and onto the boat to make thing very easy.

Vanuatu fishing tournaments and club events

The Port Vila Game Fishing Club runs six competitions a year. Some of the larger ones such as the Marlin Classic attract lots of international anglers, as well as the locals. The tournaments are held in February through to November. There are competitions for everyone from a great day out in February with the ladies fishing comp, the Yellow Fin Shootout, through to the big money Marlin Classic or the Tusker Game Fishing Classic held in November.