FIJI Fishing Escape

By Shane Murton

With conditions cold and miserable in my home state of SA it didn't take long to start fantasizing of somewhere warmer that was swarming with large tropical speed freaks just waiting to crunch a lure.

With my partner having holidays the same time as myself we researched a lot of areas and eventually settled on Fiji, which seemed the ideal spot for a 'compromise holiday'. Basically somewhere I could sneak in some hardcore fishing for dogtooth, wahoo, GTs and crew, yet with plenty of activities for my partner, or for when I wasn't on the water. With the Aussie dollar worth considerably more over there at the time it further sealed the deal!

After researching the area more we stumbled over Kadavu Island, Fiji's fourth largest island. I'd heard of Kadavu previously, and in fishing circles it's gaining a reputation as one of the more consistent producers of monster class wahoo you'll find, with fish around and over the magical 40 kilo mark relatively common, to go with countless other options. Matava Eco Adventure Resort is the base for most fishos/holiday makers on Kadavu. The idea of getting away from it all on the mainland and staying on an island does make it mighty appealing, and as any fisho knows the further away from 'it all' you are, the greater the chances of getting into some red-hot fishing!

Within half an hour of touching down we were in a small boat blasting down the coast to the resort, watching all manner of fish life scattering in the crystal clear tropical waters along the way. My jaw was already falling off its hinge over the fish we saw and we hadn't even arrived yet!

A place like Matava Resort offers plenty to do for people of all persuasions, with amazing snorkelling on its doorstep, scuba diving, kayaking and hiking through to just grabbing a can of Fiji Bitter and kicking back with a stunning coastal jungle vista in front of you. Traditional Bure style accommodation is great and you get to really immerse yourself in the local culture, from the cooking and singing to slamming back as much kava (a local root-based drink) as you dare.

Guide Joe was skippering Bite Me Too, the resort's charter vessel. Joe is a top bloke and an avid fisho who works hard to put you onto fish. Kadavu is surrounded by coral and great barrier reef with lagoons, pinnacles and crazy drop-offs all within easy reach of the resort.

Amazingly the water was actually too warm when I visited, and the winter schools of sailfish and wahoo weren't pushing in like they normally would. This being said we still had some great wahoo sessions, encounters with monster GTs and dogtooth and got a small sample of the potential.

After decking a few really solid wahoo trolling skirts around, we kept pushing hard to get a genuine Kadavu giant. I set a diver out the back on the Stella 10000 on a TCurve Deep Jig 200 and had just put the outfit in the rod holder when it hunched over and went berserk. While the 15 to 20 kilo wahoo we'd been catching were putting on a good show, they really only had a couple of runs in them, this fish on the other hand went deep and just kept ripping line from me and wouldn't give in, and it soon became apparent that it was something special. After a long and hard fight we had the beast next to the boat and seeing the length and bulk of a genuine 40 kilo wahoo sure does make the eyes pop. I could hardly lift the fish off the deck for a photo which is always a great problem to have! This place truly is wahoo heaven.

Over the couple of days fishing we had we explored the island's waters. You can see the potential of the place as we'd be jigging for dogtooth one minute over steep sided pinnacles, to popping for GTs in protected lagoons to trolling open water for dolphin fish, tuna and others. Joe mentioned the phenomenal run of cow yellowfin tuna and marlin they get over the summer months which really got the mouth watering, and there's plenty of incentive to book a return trip.

Overall, the Kadavu Island experience is one we won't forget. You'll meet some of the friendliest people on earth which almost become family in a week, and just from the perspective of having a relaxing and fun filled holiday you could come here time and time again, but throw in some XOS fish and you have a brilliant destination. Check it out sometime!