It has been a great first week of fishing since we arrived in Port Vila, Vanuatu aboard the sportfishing catamaran, November Rain with 6 crew. Swishy has returned to the salt mines of NZ, leaving 5 of us to fish on.
We have concentrated on the two nearby FADs as well as the shallows of of Hat Island, not far from Port Vila. Total fish for the first week included one blue marlin, est 220 kg on 37 kg line, 2 wahoo, 2 yellow fin tuna, (1 about 30 kg and the other, gutted weight 64 kg), and 1 rainbow runner.
Our first day out, we raised a sailfish on trolling lures, had one unidentifiable hit and Kevin boated a single, but large rainbow runner on a rapala. We blamed the full moon on the poor bite. After dropping anchor for the night in Esema Bay, near Havannah Harbor, we decided to give bottom fishing a go, using rainbow runner chunks as bait. Before Garry could carry the carcass across the deck, a passing local boat filled with a Ni-Vanuatuan family shouted out and raced over as they spotted the fish. After Garry removed just enough flesh for our bait , we make a quick bargain of the remaining carcass in exchange for 2 heads of Bok Choy.
Kevin gets the first fish of the trip
Trading with the natives
Day 2 earned Kevin a large Wahoo which was a slab big enough to feed the five of us heaps, plus give the other side away to yet another village.
Day 3, Jonas got into his first Wahoo. The nearby village sent a canoe out to pick up the prize and later, welcomed Jonas and Keiry for a short tour of their 5-hut village, and showing off the village’s sole pig , even inviting the boys to return for an upcoming wedding in July, when the pig will be slaughtered in celebration. The hospitality of the locals is incredibly genuine and real.
Jonas gets a bath
Blue marlin on the leader
Jonas and his dinner date
Gaz, Jonas and Kiery with the yellowfin tuna
The fish dressed out at 64 kilos, gutted and apparently is the largest yellowfin tuna caught in the area in the past couple of years (the local record is 82 kgs?) (The tuna fishing has been especially good lately and there has been a glut of fish on the market, according to Mitch). We donated the meat to a local organization in Port Vila, after towing it ashore behind the dingy, hoping not to get “sharked” in the dark.
The week was capped off by a nice dinner at the Waterfront Bar & Grill, followed by State of Origin Rugby game at a local sports bar. Today, we are saying good-bye to Kevin as returns home to New Zealand. We are so thankful for his help in bringing the boat up from NZ and hope he comes back for more fishing!
Tomorrow, we head up north to Santo. Fingers crossed that we get into more blues as we travel the next 3 days.
Lori keeps the boat near the reef as the boys cast poppers out the front