FIJI needs no introduction to the fishing world – it’s a highly regarded fishing destination and a popular holiday spot. However, as I discovered, it can be difficult to gauge the quality of fishing on offer from Nadi/Port Denarau on the main island, Viti Levu. Many keen anglers prefer staying on the outer islands as the fishing is considered better. As a result, there’s not that much information out there for the keen fisho who wants to sneak in a few sessions on a family holiday – apart from the information on resort charters that offer ‘reef and game’ fishing for exorbitant prices.
I knew ‘GTs’ (giant trevally) were a popular target species in Fiji and a little research suggested they can be caught year round with the optimal months between October – April. Given the time of year I was going to be there (May) and after some deliberation over time restraints, I came to the conclusion I’d be best to organise a few afternoon sessions casting lures for GTs and Spanish mackerel (another common fish for Fiji at this time of year). With these species in mind, I packed 3 spin outfits: a heavy 100lb popping outfit, a medium 50lb popper/stickbait outfit and a lighter 20lb spin outfit for casting smaller stickbaits and metal slugs. As mentioned earlier, the lack of information on fishing out of Port Denarau meant that I wasn’t too sure on what class of fish to expect; I know some of the outer islands hold GTs to 40kg+, but I suspected these fish were few and far between around Viti Levu. Nevertheless, I packed some larger 150g poppers and some 130 and 150lb leader.
Adrenalin Fiji offer a 4-hour option fishing on board a 25-foot centre console departing Port Denarau – perfect! Accordingly, three afternoon sessions were locked in. The closest barrier reef from Port Denarau was approximately 40 minutes by boat ride, leaving us with about two and a half hours of casting.
On our first session the skipper, Noa, said it might be tough going and we’ll need to patrol the outside edge of the barrier reefs behind the breaking waves to find some bait. It wasn’t long until we found some flighty long tom and after a few casts into the wash with the heavy gear, an angry pack of smaller GTs were climbing all over my popper and I soon had a 10kg GT on the deck. After another couple of hours we had boated about half a dozen GTs around 10kg – not a bad result for the first afternoon and not knowing what to expect.
We fished much the same for the second and third sessions, casting the heavy gear into the wash from behind the breakers and working the poppers over the reef ledge. We focussed on much the same area too, working the reefs in front of Tavarua and Namotu Islands and also the barrier reef outside of Malolo Island. We caught over 20 GTs and one red bass in total over three 4-hour sessions. Most fish were around the 10kg mark with a few bigger models around 20kg+. Highly experienced guides, Mark and Anil, put us on to the largest fish on the last day.
All in all it was a memorable three afternoons and the quality of fishing exceeded expectations. Mark mentioned that the biggest GT caught on the barrier reefs this year was just over 50kg – a trophy class fish! It just goes to show there are some true Fijian beasts only a short boat ride from Port Denarau.