2019


Sacred Hill, Taunovo (Nanuku), Pacific Harbor, Fiji.


Spearfishing on Hamish's boat.
A Jack(Trevally), looks kinda like a blue Jack (Omilu)(Caranx melampygus) that's lost the blue...?
Further research necessary to solve this epic conundrum,
but it's almost certainly in the Caranx genus of Jacks(Carangidae).


Hamish showing off the moves.




Fox on the wakeboard.


The Pearl, Feb.


10kg Walu.


Taunovo reef fun.




A pod of Pilot Whales.








February: another incredible solo dive(63m) off the walls of TLL !
Probably the best dive in Fiji to date !
Lots of Sharks (C.amblyrynchos & obesus), blue Jacks, black Jacks, Eagle Ray, Dogtooth Tuna and amazing
leather, soft(Dendronephthya), hard(Acropora), Sun(Tubastraea micranthus) & fire(Millepora) Corals,
magnificent Gorgonians & Anemones....pristine !!!


Heading to Vatulele, same day.


The very flat Vatulele Island.




and no Mahis !?...


B's new hair.



An amazing day in March ! Lots of Sharks! Another wall dive at Thakau LekaLeka to 65m,
and an incredible fight with a giant Marlin for half an hour !
I finally got to test my new rod & reel to the limit, and to my great surprise (& relief)
the reel, rod & rigging went toe-to-toe with one of the giants of the sea, and did not falter.
I am amazed a 16 class reel can do this ! Just a testament to modern engineering & materials.
I must have had over 100lbs of drag on it as it tailwalked a few hundred yards away, with 3/4
of the line out ! (45lbs with full reel). 'twas impossible to reel in anything in high drive,
only low drive (1.3x on the Mak 16 in "winch" mode). Stand-up pumping = very difficult for non-
experts, with 50-100lbs drag! Easy to get pulled overboard! Ended up rail-rodding most of the time.
It bemuses me that I did not have a break-off with an enormous belly on the the line and around
100lbs of drag...? It should've snapped the 100lbs line !? I guess these superbraids are of such fine diameter
that the friction logic of the days of yore, when people used primitive nylon(mono) lines of twice the diameter
of these braids, no longer apply. Ricktheswede equation: Line half the dia.= H2O half the viscosity...?
The lure was a 7" Yo-Zuri deep diver with (3xstrong)trebles!!!??...the Marlin must've swallowed the lure...?

Splicing 100lbs hollowcore to fluoro - definitely the way to go (100% connection) + a perfectly tied
Palomar(or Erwin) directly to a strong lure, no weak(& visible) links. And if using wobblers(as I mostly do),
via a top quality split ring. I suspect that's probably stronger than a Kreh loop with a Flemish eye,
especially on a violently vibrating wobbler like the Nomad DTX, which chews through steel & titanium
wire flemish eyes as if they were made of hemp. Though, if I ever have access to a knot testing machine, I will
test a loop knot I dreamt up the other night, but have not tied yet, the "Rickloop". It should be superstrong,
maybe stronger than the Kreh loop...?! It's a nail-to-nail loop with a Flemish eye: first a loose nail on the
standing line - then a Flemish eye(loose) around the lure - then pass tag end through loose nail & tie another
nail - tighten nails - form the Flemish eye. For peaceful lures(Braid marauder/Bonita), that should be a good
loop knot to cut out the middle man (split rings-snaps-clips etc.) & avoid large/bulky(albeit strong) Bimini loops.

More terminal tackle rigging reflections: It may be wise to give up crimping/swaging as research/testing has
shown it's almost impossible to maintain anywhere near full line strength unless you are an expert with a
$500 machine in your workshop. Even so, fluoro/mono stretches(&dia. reduces) under extreme pressure, but the
swage/crimp does not flex,... so the only way to avoid slippage, logically, is to, inevitably, crush the line
to the point that the stretching(under heavy pressure) is going to thin the line to. It makes no sense to me,
how can that work? Seems utterly incompatible. I think I'll only crimp metal leaders from now on, even though,
on this riveting occasion my lure was crimped (double crimp & flemish eye) ! I must've done a good job of it..?

Oh, and by the way, the Makaira 16 seems a far superior reel, compared to my Tiagra 16.

Back to the fight.
The reason for "no foto" is that this conniving beast decided to execute a catch-and-release
manoeuvre before officially being allowed to do so! It did so by scraping the braid with 45lbs of drag
against the crusty bottom of my boat by surfacing on the opposite side of the boat from where I was stuck,
panting away. Tis the curse of solo Marlin fishing, no way to manoeuvre the boat to avoid such calamity,
but that just makes it fair play, I guess... Should've released the drag of course, enabled him to swim off
to a less hazardous position...? Though Murphy's law says he would've ended up wrapping around the engine
anyway...but maybe not...
How big was it? Well, I saw it tailwalking a few hundred yards away. It looked a lot bigger than me, hard
to tell with only one good eye...I saw it 15m under the boat during the end battle, it still looked a lot
bigger than me. Water magnifies, I know, as does the fisherman's ego, but this fish was no Sardine !
It was a lot more powerful than a 60kg Ahi, at least for the first three quarters of the fight.
Cant wait for the next Marlin, to the boat. Then I can compare notes with this one, & file it
in the appropriate category; big, humongous, gigantic, xxx king size, or truly immense "grander".
High drama on the high seas! Mano a mano in the Big Blue! Testosterone! Adrenaline! Extreme danger!
My first Marlin to the boat! 100lb drag/gear test! 30 min! Solo! Well done! Man! Gear! I'm happy.
Hasta luego, cabron! We will meet again! Then I will get that lure back!




NEXT fishing trip, a day in May, was a historic day also....
not for this Ono (16kg),


...but for this Mahimahi(Coryphaena hippurus)!!! Finally! Even though its reputation suggests otherwise,
I have found this fish to be about as illusive as a mermaid ! It's related to Jacks (Carangids).
It sure is an acrobat of legendary infamy, I could not even gaff it, it does not stop moving!
I just ended up lifting her in (it's a female) with the rod (only 7kg). It is probably the most beautiful
fish in the world, or at least the most gaudy, amazing colorification!!! It is also the tastiest fish in the
tropical seas. No wonder the ancient Hawaiians named it twice. Mahi Mahi indeed....!
(crappy cellphone photo does not do it justice)