Fine weather, great fish­ing

Our run of poor weather con­tin­ued for the first week of May, with very strong south­east­er­lies keep­ing even the die-hards at home. Now, with cy­clone sea­son fi­nally be­hind us, we have much fish­ing ground to catch up on. Van­u­atu

NZ Fishing News - - Pacific Hotspots - By Peter Phillipps

Queen’s Birth­day Week­end sig­nals the of­fi­cial start of our main sea­son for me, and I have no rea­son to be­lieve it will be any dif­fer­ent this year. It is a time when the flood­gates seem­ingly break open and a mas­sive in­flux of wa­hoo and mahimahi ap­pears – and they are as equally fam­ished for a bait/lure as we are for them!

All the in­di­ca­tors are good, and wa­hoo num­bers are slowly build­ing, as are the sizes. I ex­pect by the time this goes to print, we will have seen some mon­ster wa­hoo landed, as well as catch to­tals in­creas­ing sig­nif­i­cantly upon the weather set­tling.

Yel­lowfin num­bers have dropped to their low­est for some time, with only a few in the 15-25kg range be­ing landed over the past month. The most no­tice­able con­trib­u­tor to the de­cline in tuna catches must surely be the loss of many of our long-term FADS over the past five months. Un­like many of our neigh­bours, who have clus­ters of small Is­lands and other suit­able nurs­ery grounds for bait re­cruit­ment, we rely quite heav­ily on sea­sonal mi­gra­tory bait­fish. Hav­ing FADS as a means of hold­ing the bait­fish, and in turn the preda­tors, is im­por­tant to our fish­ery. So hope­fully the fish­eries de­part­ment can de­ploy re­place­ment FADS to en­sure an­other great sea­son of fish­ing, par­tic­u­larly af­ter what has been a lengthy dry spell for many lo­cals.

We lost one of our deep-wa­ter FADS dur­ing the last big blow and the VSFC is work­ing on a re­place­ment for June de­ploy­ment.

Boats that man­aged to get out in the weather breaks re­ported mixed re­sults, with catches in­clud­ing blue mar­lin (av­er­age size 100kg), mahimahi, wa­hoo and a few good yel­lowfin in the 45-50kg range.

The most con­sis­tent fish­ing was well north of Vava’u around the Toku Is­land drop-offs, no doubt due to the loads of bait­fish present. The reef fish­ing was also ex­cel­lent, with reports of dog­tooth tuna, job fish, GTS and co­ral trout.

This month should bring much im­proved fish­ing con­di­tions with SE trades and a strong SW cur­rent that should sweep in good con­cen­tra­tions of bait­fish and as­so­ci­ated preda­tors.

Wa­hoo sea­son is due to kick off in Niue, with fish like this 47kg mon­ster, caught by Paul Pa­sisi last sea­son, an­tic­i­pated. The FADS at Van­u­atu are still pro­duc­ing yel­lowfin up to about 40kg.

Boats that man­aged to get out in the weather breaks re­ported mixed re­sults, in­clud­ing wa­hoo. A qual­ity sam­son fish, taken on a fresh mack­erel fished in 120 me­tres at Nor­folk Is­land.

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