National Billfish and Tuna Tournament
After such great success while Jack was in Tonga the mighty Blah Blah was primed and ready for an assault at the National Championships. Well not so much the National Championships as the Vava’u boys pretty much have that competition wrapped up (they are all professional charter boat Captains and the best fishing is a short trip outside the Vava’u harbour), but the satellite Nuku’alofa competition running concurrently.
With a crew of four we had a late start on the first Saturday due to high winds. We ducked out Piha Passage and headed East, trying to stay sheltered from the wind by the mainland, but the chop of the ocean became the biggest challenge. As we were reaching the corner of the mainland BANG! Off went both the short rods which were trolling deep diving hard bodied lures. Luckily it was my strike so I chose the 15kg Shimano backbone rod, hoping for maximum points as the Penn reel lost line at an alarming rate. Kelvin George, first time fisher had the duty to bring in the 24kg Shimano backbone rod while Fiona drove and Kelvin’s wife Bron cleared the deck of the other rods. With such frantic activity and new personnel onboard everything was a little chaotic, causing me to lose concentration and allow my fish to get into the reef and cut me off. That light line feeling is never worse than when you have over 250m of line to wind in, suggesting I had a fair size fish on. But as luck would have it Kelvin managed to get his 6.8kg Giant Trevally aboard getting Blah Blah among the points on the first day.
As the wind picked up we headed for home only after a few hours on the water and were surprised to find that we were the only boat to land a fish that left from the Nuku’alofa Fishing Club. A great result for us and left me to lament my lost fish, probably the big brother of Kelvin’s GT.
A poor day in the waters in Vava’u left Blah Blah and Kelvin running second in the Nationals, a short lived position but great to be up there on the leader board.
The following Thursday, a public holiday in Tonga saw team Blah Blah rise early and head North to some reefs lying north of ‘Atata island. Upon arriving in the fishing grounds we were welcomed by two other boats in the area. Trolling over a favourite ridge in the reef caused another double hook, with the short corner rod buckling under pressure which was re-enacted up by the rod trolling the shotgun lure, a pink Hawaiian pusher causing.
With one day fishing together under our belts team Blah Blah was a well oiled machine with myself being lucky enough to be on strike again landing a 11.8kg Dogtooth Tuna on 24kg line and Bron landing her 13.4kg Dogtooth on 15kg line shortly after. All this occurred only an hour after we left the harbour. Excited about a good day out we continued fishing for another 6 hours for not much action, and for this added time on the water we were rewarded with a slow 6 knot journey home pounding head on into choppy swells. But again Blah Blah was rewarded with the best two fish of the day for the Nuku’alofa competition. Allowing team Blah Blah to share in a round of celebatory drinks at the fishing club before heading home to wash the boat.
The third and final day fishing saw Blah Blah head out East and turn left towards Tau island. Only registering one strike in the big swells caused us to duck in behind the reef system and troll around the shoals and reefs that inhabit the waters behind Malinoa island. Where we were rewarded with a quadruple hook up, unfortunately this crazy event resulted in us only landing one 8kg Dogtooth Tuna. A poor result but you can’t win them all.
With Fiona landing the doggie on the last day has meant that Blah Blah caught fish every day of the tournament with every angler landing a fish. If this was a measure of success in the tournament we would win for sure, but as it was conducted under IGFA rules we are awaiting the prize giving tournament this Saturday to see how we placed.
Stay tuned for the wrap up of results and find out if Blah Blah or any of the anglers managed to sneak a prize or two…