Tonga part 3: my big fish must be somewhere

Our last day we didn’t have a planned whale swim, since when we booked the trip we thought we would want some variety.  So instead we booked a day of sport fishing. Tonga is world famous for its sport fish – particularly Marlin, yellow-fin tuna, sailfish, and giant trevally.

We got picked up by our captain and set off in the beautiful sunny morning (looking back at Eue’iki island)We didn’t have high hopes for catching anything, as we were already twice duds at fishing.  It was clear our crew – captain Henk and Teau of Target One – were experts though, as they set about getting lines baited for trawling, anticipation filling the air.
Given our poor fishing track record, we were suprised by a bite early on as we were headed to deeper waterThe fish pulled pretty hard and there was some false starts and some moments where we thought he got away, but Jen eventually managed to reel it in… a Giant Trevally! At 18kg, it set the year’s Ladies record for the line strength.

An interesting side note on Giant Trevally- they are known to be challenges to catch, having “outstanding strength, speed, and endurance once hooked”, according to Wikipedia. The Hawaiians also greatly prized the fish, comparing it to a “fine man and strong warrior”, forbidding women from eating it. Fitting therefore, that Jen was the one to haul this beauty in.
Teau with the Trevally (he was the only one strong enough to hold it up!).  This fish has razor sharp dorsal and tail fins, and Teau got a little scraped up despite his protective gloves while posing here.A beautiful fish.  He swallowed the bait pretty deeply, and there was no chance of getting him off for a catch and release.
Jesse giving some constructive feedback on how to reel in for next time Our trawling bait attracted the attention of some fishing boobies, but they were smarter than the fishes, quickly determining that the lures were not real fish to be eaten.We saw way more whales on our fishing trip than on our whale swims, probably because we were out for longer, travelling faster, and went out way further into deeper water.  The whales seemed very playful, with lots of tail slapping displays, fin waving, and breaching.  There were also many groups with babies, getting very close to the boat.  Pity we couldn’t swim with all of them.It was very relaxing hanging out on a boat on a beautiful sunny day on the water, sealife everywhere. We were hopeful that the presence of many birds signaled fish feeding in the area.but alas, just more whales.The island Fatumanga was the furthest out before open water and was the start of the Southern bank, a deep water sea shelf.  We had gone up and down looking for Marlin, but there were none biting today.  It wasn’t just us – of all the boats out that day, only one other group besides ours caught any fish at all, and it was a small Marlin very, very far away from where we were. As we were headed back into shallower water, Jesse got a bite! it was a beautiful sail fish!Teau brought it to the side of boat to tag it, with the plan to release this handsome guy.The pictures don’t do justice to the sail – in real life it was iridescent purple and blueA spectacular fishing outing, we completely redeemed ourselves!  Our fishing luck finally turned.


“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea


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