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Fishing with John and Bubba at Makaira

I'm not a good fisherman and I can't say in all honesty, that I've found much joy from the sport.  There I said it.  I know it's a bit sacreligious to write such thoughts, but I think it only fair to disclose my disposition from the start.  Maybe if I was a good fisherman, things would be different, but to-date, such is not the case.

 
I grew-up in the heart of fresh water fishing heaven: Redding, California.  Surrounded by mountains, rivers, and fish-filled streams, my childhood was one fishing adventure after another.  Unfortunately, it was not all pleasure on my part.  One too many visual sightings of rattlesnakes and black widow spiders kept me on guard walking along a waters edge.  Hornets (meat bees) swarmed me and my catch and the fish tasted just awful (from a child's perspective).  
 
In addition, I grew up on 1970's trash television:  Sasquatch ("Big Foot" or the mythical big primate whose cousin is Yeti) was supposedly roaming the very woods I fished.  Thus, not only was I watching out for snakes and spiders, but I was constantly scanning the tree line for the mythical boogeyman.  I can laugh in retrospect, but that's the story.
 
A few years ago, I returned to Redding and the sport.  The Sacramento River runs right through the heart of downtown and I've spent many a summer evening casting for rainbow trout, steelhead, or salmon.  To date, I've actually had no luck catching a fish.  But I find solace in the beer I stash in my waders and the nature that surrounds me:  beaver, otters, bald eagles, and water fowl.

 

So today, I'm going deep water (salt) fishing with John and co-captain "Bubba".  My salt water fishing experiences have been in Hawaii and off the coast of California.  All have involved varying degrees of intense sea-sicknss (the degree is measured by the number of hours/days it takes to recover), so I'm a little apprehensive about the trip.  We're going out onto Somosomo Strait, the very waters where I dive (without any sea sickness) so there should be no problem, hypothetically.

  

The beginning of the trip begins with filling up The Huntress with petrol.  Two huge containers are poured into the boat's tanks.  Then the tackle is brought out, organized, and put on the lines.  Large rubber bands are attached to a gadget on the roof of the pilot house; it prevents the lines from crossing.  


Somosomo Strait is glass smooth.  Out to the north, a large low pressure system is pouring rain, wind, and lightning down onto the South Pacific.  We're heading straight for it and before I know it we're in it - or the storm came to us.  Tough to tell.  John and Bubba grab the rain gear and hand me a jacket.  The rain is pelting my face - stinging intensity.  I'm yelling out questions to John and Bubba, but it's hard to hear the responses.  I'm not sure they can actually hear my questions.  


We're circling a pinnacle that rises to within a few meters of the surface.  I'm salivating at the prospect of diving this place, especially since it's not on any diving map. The pelagics here must be incredible if John fishes here with consistently good results.  The rain has stopped and we're starting to get nibbles.

 One hour after our departure, we get a bite.  Bubba takes the pole and instructs me on how to reel in the fish.  By the way the line is acting, John thinks it's a wahoo.  John puts a plastic belt around me that has a divot where I can rest the pole.  It's hard work reeling this fish in and within a few minutes I'm too tired to continue.  I don't want to sound like a whimp, so I make up a good excuse:  "John, if I'm going to film this experience, I've got to hand off the pole to either you or Bubba."  They both appriase my argument as legitimate and I'm soon relieved of my burden.  Wahoo!!!!!

 
I put the camera down into the water as the fish's silvery presence gets close.  I have no idea if I'm actually catching the fish on film.  I ask John if it'd be OK to jump over the side so I can film the fish from underwater.  John pauses and says, "Uhm, maybe not.  We sometimes have bronze whaler sharks following the fish to the boat."  Enough said, I don't want to be chum.  I put the camera into the water again and aim it at the fish as it is pulled from the water.
 
The wahoo is sparkling blue - with irridescent stripes.  It's a gorgeous fish.  Truly spectacular colors.  And the teeth!  No wonder it's called "WAHOO" - if you're not careful, you'll be saying "WAHOO!  I just lost a finger!"
 
Today was actually fun - much to my surprise.  Of course, I didn't technically catch the fish, but that's O.K.  It was a great experience - and I didn't get sea sick!

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