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
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.