No Frills, Big Thrills
The sound of the flight attendant announcing the landing instructions to the cabin roused me from my dozing nightmare of last week’s miserable weather and work. We were about to land in sunny Rarotonga, the major island in the 15 island group known as the Cook Island for a family wedding. I had other intentions as well as I had heard that the game fishing was great. My son Graeme was with me and I decided to take this opportunity to see for myself.
Wedding done and dusted I took Graeme and mosied down to the wharf to see what was available. I wanted to check the boats first hand and talk to the skipper before I made my decision. As a mad keen fisherman back home I had high expectations. There was only one boat I liked the look of which appeared solid and seaworthy. The skipper was friendly enough and seemed to know his stuff. We were given the option of a shared charter of up to 6 people maximum or a private charter. Since it was my birthday I shouted the son and myself to a private 5 hour charter the following day. It was a glorious day when we arrived at the wharf. We were welcomed aboard and given a briefing about the fish we would be targeting and what to expect. Our first big impression was heading out. The water there is a turquoise colour and so deep. 300 metres out it is 300 meters deep and the lines are fishing the moment you leave the harbour.
We headed for the first FAD which is a Fish aggregate device used to attract little fish which then attracts the bigger fish. Here we picked up a couple of small Yellow fin Tuna then about an hour into the trip the shogun starts to scream. It’s a strike and th the way it is running shes a big one. Graeme jumps into the gamechair and I can see his face as he takes the rod. It’s a big one. Graeme has never neve caught anything bigger bigg than a 12kg snap snapper so this is going to be b good. 20 minutes later with mussels aching and the heart pounding Graeme reels in to the boat a 38kg Wahoo. He is happy to let the deckie gaff the fish and bring it aboard. Hes buggered but mighty happy and im hooked if this is game fishing in Rarotonga I will be back.
I caught up with some old friends when I returned to NZ to see if they would be keen to do a weeks charter on Seafari. All keen fishos they agreed and we were away. It was a fantastic week in July. A blokes dream, to wake up every day and go fishing. Fish was taken on every charter. Mahimahi and Wahoo being in predominance with multiple strikes on lures and local baits. Our morning charters were something else out there where we got to see the sun rise over the horizon. The days got even better as we were here during whale season and several times we got to see the great humpback whales breach so close to the boat. Rarotonga is truly paradise. The week came and went far too quickly so before we left we booked our spots for another week this time waiting until late October to do the trip and tie it in with the Cook Islands Game fishing club tournament. On arrival we took the first charter we could just to practice, just in case we had gone rusty.
Great excitement a short time out while passing one of the FADs the rods goes off and we are hooked into a Marlin jumping crazily out the back of the boat. Cameron jumped into the chair pumping and working the rod. After 20 minutes the marlin came up beside the boat was gafted and hauled on board. Unfortunately for us it was not the competition until the next day.
Last year 2013 we again went back in October and once again the fishing excelled. We caught everything from trolling for yellowfin Tuna with quintuple hook- ups. Our best day saw us come back to the wharf with 27 fish. 5 Mahi, 1 Wahoo, 18 Tuna and 3 Skipjacks. Not bad in our books. While the fish was getting filleted we got to drink a few ales and dine on fresh fillets of Yellowfin Tuna, sashimi style. This is tuna dipped in Kikkoman sauce and wasabi. If you have never tried this put it on your to do list. In Japan they pay a small fortune for this. It doesn’t come any fresher or get any better.
The “Happy Hookers” as we call ourselves keep coming back not just for the fishing but for the hospitality and friendliness of everyone we meet. It is a very special place for us.
Seafari is a great sea boat and has proved it to us on several occasions. The skipper Kevin and crew are excellent and do everything they can to ensure that we catch fish. The gear is well maintained and nothing is too much trouble. The cusine that is sent out on each charter is always plentiful and delicious and is made by Sharon who also organises our accomodation, transport and itinery.
The island is laid back and everything is reasonably priced. Accomodation, at least from our perspective, has been excellent.