Sunday, 27 April 2014

Wednesday 16th April

A pretty awesome day of fishing today, but I will go back to what’s happened since the last entry.  Early afternoon Monday we arrived at South Minerva Reef, a magical coral atoll in the pacific.  After nearly a week of nothing but open ocean and depths of over 2 km, we arrived to a stunning reef and lagoon hundreds of miles from anywhere.  It was almost bittersweet, cruising past all these amazing places to cast a lure at and knowing it probably won’t be happening.   It was akin to taking your kid to Disneyland and then making him stand outside the gate all day!

We sailed into the lagoon to set anchor for the night, a magnificent display of nature and water so crystal clear we could see the bottom easily in over 20 meters of water.  But before entering the passage to the lagoon I was hooked up to a monster on the trolled lure, but due to some dubious driving and zero knowledge fishermen on board, another lure and great fish were lost.  ‘sigh’, my all time favourite go-to lure!

Not much else to report from this first atoll, we spent the afternoon and night there while I stared out like a lost child at all the awesome reefs I could be casting at!  We continued North to the next atoll in the Minerva group, another amazing coral lagoon only 25 miles from the last one.  The water and view were spectacular and we unloaded the RIB and went for a cruise to explore the now dry reef at low tide.

Jean-Paul had a snorkel and found some lobster while I walked along this dry reef somewhere in the vast Pacific Ocean finally getting to have a cast!  It was quite surreal really, standing on that ledge in the middle of nowhere, by myself casting a popper, another moment I’ll never forget in this strange world I call my everyday life now!

It wasn’t long before I hooked up, using fairly light gear considering I was fishing in razor sharp coral bombie infested water only a meter deep.  I landed him and it was the biggest Blue Fin Trevally I have ever seen, I didn’t even know they got that big!

 I was pumped and was soon hooked up to another solid fish, this one even bigger, big enough to straighten out my hook and get free!  Never mind, while retrieving the lure after that one got away, still on the same cast, I was on again, this time a nice Coral Trout!

Finally I was getting to do some real fishing and was basking in the strange yet awesome experience of walking along that dry reef ledge in the middle of the ocean.  But the sun was nearly down and it was time to head back to the boat for a cold beer and dinner.  

Just as I sat down to eat a beautiful lobster dinner, I heard my reel zinging away, I had put a bait out earlier and had forgotten about it, thinking there wouldn’t be anything around that area.  But it was a good sized snapper of some sort and after dinner he was soon cleaned and ready for the next night’s dinner.

Later I went out to the back step for a smoke and looked up to notice there was a lunar eclipse happening! It was very cool and I really couldn’t picture anywhere better to have seen it from.

The next morning, today actually, we went for a cruise in the RIB and I was having a cast over shallow reef while we slowly made our way.  I was soon into a good fish on the popper and loving every minute of it, this is how I could spend the whole trip!  I had 2 fish landed before the George and Jean-Paul had even had their snorkelling gear on and were in the water.

I had another huge hookup but was busted off on that fish, damn, another lure.  No, wait, I could see it from the boat, floating on the surface.  Too easy, I just jumped in, swam over and got my lure back!  The benefit of barbless hooks.  I also landed another good trevally, it smashing my lure only 2 meters from the boat as Jean-Paul looked on in amazement!  I could have done this all day but it was decided we would head over to the passage into the lagoon.

While lunch was being prepared (we take it in turns each day to cook lunch and dinner) I was casting poppers of course, and after a few missed strikes and one little trevally, I had a huge hit and was on.  I thought it looked like a shark when it hit so was a bit casual about it until I felt some serious headshakes, when it got nearer to the boat I saw it.  Monster Red Bass!!  I gave a hoot as it was an absolute thumper, my biggest yet and another personal best, I have been racking them up already. 

A couple of quick photos and I released him, to some strange looks from George & JP, to them fishing is nothing more than getting something to eat.  I have too much respect for a fish as beautiful as this and would much rather see it swim off to be caught again by somebody that appreciates it.  I only caught a couple of sharks after that, but JP came back to the boat with a fish he had speared.  He’s cleaning it now as I type.

We are back inside the lagoon on the anchor after a pretty amazing day of fishing and exploring, think it’s time for a beer! 
Minerva Reef

Fell for the old River to Sea Dumbell, a fave of mine for casting.  That's the biggest size too
Pics don't do him justice, this thing was nearly a meter!
It's a tough life out here...
The water was pristine
Our home on the water
Lighthouse on the reef
Yeah,  the weather was ok....
Mmmmm  dinner
Check out how shallow and nasty that ground is
Minerva Atoll's from the air