Friday, 16 March 2012

Bomber Jr's Update.

I have been working on these little poppers for a while now, like most lures it takes a fair amount of time to get them how I would like. Currently working on a batch to for a angler in North Queensland AU, I may just put some aside for myself yet... 

This little duck has proven to be a great surface lure with the GT's... I may "upsize" the lure for heavier line classes as it is currently made for "light tackle" GT fishing.

GT Popping, Vava'u Tonga.

Location - Vava'u, Tonga
Date - 20th of February 2012
Number of Days - 5 days
Charter Operator - Poppin' Tonga ( Kurt Carlson )
Number of Anglers - Myself

I was lucky enough to be surprised on Christmas Day with flights and transfers to Vava'u from my partner and daughter to go hunt down my first GT! 

So I started planning and making a few lures for the trip. I had a few poppers I wanted to try out and see how they worked on GT's. With only stick baiting rods in the quiver I contacted the team at Synit to help me out.

Synit came through and I had the rod hand delivered by Graeme the night before flying out. CJ had spun up a Synit Topshot GT, 2 piece, 7' 10" and 25kg Max drag at 45 degrees with a max lure of 260g... Just the ticket.

Landed in Tonga, and after a short taxi ride I arrived at the domestic terminal for the flight to Vava'u. I had a 4 hour wait but there was a great little cafe, took the time to re-fuel...

Getting ready to board.

Flying into Vava'u, checking out the numerous reefs along the way.

Landed safely in Vava'u and was met by Kurt at the airport, the gear was loaded in the 4x4 and we we were off. Stopping in at the local store for some supplies and cold beer we then made our way to Lucky's Beach Houses also run by Kurt and his wife Lyn.

View from my beach front room...

Spent the last of the evening casting from the beach, trying out the new rod and lures. 

Day 1 -

Worked the inshore reefs, and some of the bommies along the way... Kurt gave me a few pointers and we keep working what seems like an endless amount of spots. I was fishing a stick bait hoping to lure a GT, the fishing was slow with a tide change late in the afternoon we kept working. Managed to raise the odd boil but no hook up yet... 

Changed out to a Cubera 100g and worked the reef next to a channel which attracts large numbers of Manta Rays... Kurt saw it well before me, the popper was absolutely inhaled by a Red Bass, I was tight on a fish and it felt good after hours of casting. With the fish at the boat it was clear to see why they fish didn't have a lot of fight, the lure was swallowed deep.

Another Island and reef to explore...

Kurt knows this place very well, some spots you cast a few lures then move on, other you work right along the edges... We kept hitting spots all day long, by now I had dropped 3-4 fish and had fish mouth a few lures... The tide had changed and I changed out to a black popper and finally hooked up... After 8 hours of casting I had my first GT!


All GT's are released with Poppin' Tonga... Too much!

I managed to catch another GT late in the day. By now I was pretty tired, and feeling the effects of casting all day.

Day 2 -

Finding bits of your body that aren't bruised...The wind had picked up and set the tone for the rest of the day.Wind and rain wasn't stopping us.. With a few leader changes due to some very stubborn wind knots I was getting plenty of knot tying practise in... Once again we hit some truly awesome spots, listening to story's of what has been pulled out from these spots always keeps you on edge. Late afternoon tide change was what I was waiting for but Kurt kept working hard, spot after spot, pass after pass. The radio was alive with talk of marlin, YFT, spanish mack's and sail's what a wicked place! I again dropped a few fish, one took a lure really deep, how did it not it not get any hook??

Late afternoon we hit a few small islands, the wind was whipping up but was at my back... Once again my own black 130g popper was the lure of choice...

Only fish for the day, but it was great... We had to really work for this one. We had a few feathered friends intent on eating my popper, it was inevitable the one should end up tangled. These birds were angry, and I mean angry. Biting the gaff, the boat and then Kurts hand as he tried to free the bird... It was a laugh first time round, second time not so cool. We said good bye to the birds and headed home. 

Over the course of the trip Kurt found plenty of bait, large schools of Fusiliers that we struggled to get any bites any where near the bait. But hey that's fishing...

Day 3 - 

I hadn't planned on fishing, I had a half day to kill before flying out but Kurt wandered over and told me not to put all my gear away "We are going fishing". Sweet...

What looked like good water soon turned into angry seas and was blowing hard. We started out at some deep bommies, I decided to fish the 200g /50mm popper all day, and just suck it up...

We had a hit and drop, we moved on casting at the reef on the outside... Good swell running, lots of water moving it looked fishy. 

My favourite spot of the trip.

Having had a hit on day one in this spot, I had high hopes of hooking up. This spot is wicked to say the least... Huge ledge, nice reef section off to the right.

We finally hooked up, it was a good looking cast into some nice water and it was smashed... The fish stayed flat in the reef but eventually came out to the drop off, started to sound, turned back to the reef and rolled out the hook... Wicked, its still cool losing GT's! Kurt was surprised I lost the fish so late in the fight, it was hooked for 4-5 minutes but found its freedom. 

Kurt and Lyn run a great operation, if you stay make sure Lyn cooks your meals as she is a lovely cook and you are well feed. Kurt is a top class guide, and is down to earth he shared plenty of tips and lure designs with me, a few should be out later this year for testing.