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In the heart of the Austral Archipelago and in about 500 miles south of Papeete a small island by the name of Raivavae stood like a solid rock in the middle of the South pacific ocean, the island will strike the visitors eyes with it is high Mountains, blue lagoon and it is belt of coral reef, approaching the island put us on a speechless mood with an open jaw, I could only think what is hiding on the reef and what it is going to bite my jig beneath the drop off.
A place that looked like a dream but became reality as soon as the plane landed, we get greeted by our Captain Edmond and his wife Maitu, chain of roses with a breathtaking smells surrounded our neck, the hospitality on the island is in their nature.


I have Raymond and Aneil that joined me on this trip, I made sure to mention to Aneil that this is an Exploratory trip and we don’t know what to expect and how good the trip could be but from the info that I gathered in the past 6 month and with the help of our guide G I was sure that this is the place for the big boys that we’re after,
it was proven on Paul’s trip 3 weeks ago when they landed a handful of doggies for up to 85KG on jigs ,
Aneil was cool about it and wanted to join my trip knowing from the past that our trips are always successful and it is a learning curve for him, 4 GT trips in the past 2 years and Aneil is on the top of it with some massive catches!
The plan was to fish for 6 days, but due to religion observation Sunday is sacred on the island and everybody chill and enjoys Sunday.


We started our first day with a beautiful calm sea with big swells; the yellowfin tuna were presents with a couple of takers on topwater , nothing big but a lot of fun on the lighter gear.
The doggies were not finicky with a bite on every drift but after a while we decided to pop.
we entered the lagoon from a small passage, the boat barely made it through the passage with coral bommies in every direction you look at, the structure get my attention but in the meantime I was sure it is going to be hard to pull a fish from a harsh terrain like that,
with all those fact taking into consideration I still couldn’t resist to pop the area , so I asked Edmond to stop the boat and pop a bit before we head out to the drop off, after a few cast a big shadow hit my popper and inhaled it, at first there was not much resistance but then the fish turned into a beast and I was there for a brutal fight with a locked drag, the fish was running around the structure and the bommies trying to cut me off and at certain time I felt my line getting rubbed to the structure, I was hoping for a miracle but unfortunately I ended up losing the fish 15 feet away from the boat and my twisty was shredded, the fish manage to free herself, It was devastating but very challenging.


On Sunday we took a bike tour around the island and the ride was very enjoyable and relaxing, the water temperature at the beach was cold but I couldn’t resist the clarity and I end up convincing Aneil to join me for a swim. On the way we stooped at every opportunity to take pictures or grab a wild fruits from the trees, it was simply great to feel the tranquility & the freedom for once.
Edmond decided to take us to his secret spot for the GT inside the lagoon, he pointed to cast at a certain direction and after a couple of cast I saw the fish coming and missing my lure, I slow down and game on,
landed the fish and went back again for another drift,
Aneil decided to fish with the lighter rod and in about 30 feet from the boat he get a massive attack, game on and after a struggle as the fish is trying to dig in itself to the rock he manage to land it with a big surprise, there was another fish with the same class accompanying the hooked fish and it didn’t leave the premises till we put the hooked fish in the boat, we got it all on video.
Aneil’s fish was huge and I was very happy that he landed the fish on the El Maestro 77H prototype, the fish measured at 140cm and took a Bertox lure, a very respectful fish by all means, took a few photo and release it in good shape, took another drift and Raymond get the bite but he didn’t have time to set the hook and the fish dropped the lure, we had couple of fish on that day with a bit of jigging till we called the day off.


The weather start to change with falling temperature and gusting wind for up to 28 knot, definitely a scenario that crippled us and kept us inside the lagoon with no luck at all.
The bright side was the dinner that Maitu cooked for us, the lady is an amazing cook with a lot of talents, despite our fear from the ciguatera but we eat fish every day and I enjoyed her cooking a lot, one of the great dishes was the Parrot fish with the eggplant, it was very delicious & tasty!

The night start to get colder and the temperature in the early morning is very chilly, that was not the sign I was looking for to target GT’s, the winter season is about to start and we are at the edge if not at the end of the season.
we went straight to the lagoon to pop for GT’s and with all the effort we put up there, we was no sign for them, so we headed to jig as this was our alternative and we end up with the local catch but Aneil end up with a massive coral trout, by the end of this trip Aneil is at the stage of breaking all his past records.
It was a fun day with a lot of jigging from 120 meter to the shallower spot at 30 meter.

The last day was promising with a calm sea and good conditions as the wind is about to switch to our favor, we headed out and start jigging but the action was pretty much slow till we start catching a bit of fish in the shallower water, most of the bites was happening in less than 50 meter, surprisingly the doggies were not on the menu and we had problem locating them till Raymond end up with one.
The water clarity was astonishing as we can literally see the bottom at 30 meters deep, I turn to G and I said the condition is in our favor to pop the deep water but he said to wait till the sun goes down more, so again we start jigging and all of a sudden Aneil get a hit close to the boat side and end up with a doggy, I grabbed my popping rod and I start popping , on the first cast and after couple of big massive splashes from the popper a strikes comes out of nowhere followed by another and game on, I turn to the guys and ask them to put their jigging rod aside and start casting, but Ray was already tight on the OBX-300 prototype and the fish looked very descent, after 15 minutes of struggle a massive shark end up to be Raymond’s catch, G estimated that shark to be around the 250lb plus and he manage to get the jig and hook out of his mouth and released it safely,
In the mean time we were getting smashed by Doggies in every direction, it was what we wanted and what we wished for, up to 60KG doggies chasing our lures to the boat side, the ciaos is taking place with more and more doggies around the boat,
Aneil get a massive fish on his Shell Shaping popper and manage to land what we came in for, an estimated 50KG doggie hit the deck while Raymond is running the Gopro at all times,
took a quick photo and went back again to the same drift, the doggies were following us and we were getting strikes in 50 meter but the problem was the tax collector (the shark) they were making it very hard on us to land and they were pushing the doggies down , we played to Gopro for a second and we were fascinated from what we saw but that gave us the boost to keep going, Raymond get closer to me and we were both popping till all of a sudden I saw a big shadow completely out of the water inhaling Raymond’s popper game on but not for too long, the fish dropped the popper leaving a big disappointments on Raymond’s face, I have to say that he got his shot.
We kept on playing with them till we had no lures on our popping rods and the night is about to fall which is going to make it harder for Edmond to make it through the passage into the lagoon, we called it off and end it up the trip with a smile on everybody’s face.
We had found what we came in for and it is a learning curve for us as we are popping new untouched ground and we need time and effort to understand and gain the knowledge of the area, this is the beginning of many planned trip for the future.
Saltywater Tackle will be running charter trips to Raivavae from October 2014 till March 2015, they will be 1 trip per month and I promise you not to be disappointed, if any is interested to join us please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
I would like to take the opportunity to thank our guide G for his knowledge to the area and most important his friendship, without you buddy I wouldn’t be able to make it to Raivavae.
I am sure it is the beginning of many exploratory trips for the future, as you say French Polynesia is so big and there is a lot of untouched ground to explore.
Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 250, 150, 100 Prototype, El Maestro 710 & El Maestro 77H Prototype, OBX 500, OBX 400, OBX 300 Prototype, MC Works 536HS
Reel: Shimano Stella STL14000SWBXG,STL18000SWBHG,STL20000SWBPG, SW8000, SW10000, Maxel reel
Line: Power Pro Hollow Ace 80lb, 130lb, Jerry Brown 130lb, Sunline PE Jigger 8HG PE8, PE10
Leader: Saltywater Tackle System leader, Yucatan Knot
Lures: Bertox, Craft Bait, Hammerhead, Shell Shaping, Siren, Carpenter
Jigs: Shout, Hot’s drift tune, Marine bait, CB One,

Tight lines
Sami
 
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