And so it ends...

It's a strange feeling returning to Port Vila. So much has happened that our six weeks in Vanuatu feels like six months – yet at the same time we feel we've just started, that we could go out again tomorrow.

We've had so much fun, so many adventures that it seems time has been stretched to fit it all in.

Vanuatu is a special place – remote, exotic, beautiful and exciting. There is no doubt the fishing is up there with the best in the world, with a fantastic variety of fighting fish and some of the most majestic scenery in which to seek them. But it is also much more.

It is a land of adventure. Once away from towns like Port Vila and Luganville, there is a constant edge of anticipation of the unknown. This is not day trip fishing, not some well charted ground where the captains and guides know all there is to know and all there ever will be to know. This is wild, this is uncharted, even dangerous for the unprepared and inexperienced.

There is a feeling that you are part of something from another, earlier age when hunters went on safari. Given a boat like Shaka, Ernest Hemingway would have fished the wilds of Vanuatu.

So if you want your fishing mixed with adventure, this is the place.

More marlin

The fine weather continues with the wind at a comfortable 5-15kts and the fishing is great. We were 2-1-1 for the day, with Jonathon being the lucky angler.

Two other tags were recorded nearby, along with a couple of 60-80kg yellowfin.

Better lucky than smart

With fishing, as with many things in life, it’s better to be lucky than smart. And where fishing luck is concerned, my youngest son Matthew takes some beating.

This is a kid who caught his 1st Australian Bass on his first cast after a five minute lesson, caught his 1st Saratoga on his first hookup and tagged a Black Marlin in Cairns on his 1st trip.

A passport screw up meant that Matthew arrived three days late and gave his brother Jonathon and friend Richard Hopkins a head start that they were unable to use to advantage. Knowing Matthew, I was surprised he didn’t pick up a marlin in his first hour on rotation. Maybe he was tired from the midnight flight from Australia. But it didn’t take him long to recover.

About ten minutes into his second hour he hooked up and brought it in with ease.

It would seem Matthew brought luck to share around. Within the two hours after we had released his fish, Richard Hopkins and Jonathon landed two beauties bringing us to 5-3-3 for the day.

These are the 1st blue marlin for the boys. In the tradition of the Great Barrier Reef, we will be throwing them in for a swim tonight. It will be a very wet but very happy boat.

After the initial flurry of activity, the bite seemed to go off and we were thinking about heading back for some serious celebrations. Suddenly, a wahoo launched itself 20ft straight up into the air about 80m from the boat. Captain Jared turned Shaka sharply and we trolled over the location, looking for something big enough to scare a wahoo.

Within seconds we found it and Richard was hooked up for the second time today. Not only that, it was a Black Marlin and it jumped all over the ocean and all the way to the boat. This gave Richard his 1st blue and his 1st black on the same day, which must be some kind of record.

Better weather

Our run of bad weather has finally ended, with the trade winds backing off to a comfortable 15-20kts. We have also begun to find more bait schools and associated tuna activity. This school covered several acres and was fiercely attacked by thousands of skipjack tuna.

We saw three blue marlin and had one hookup but no tags. Tomorrow is another day…

Last day

What you want on every charter is to catch the big one the first morning. What you don’t want is to wake up on the last day with the wind still at 25-30kts and no marlin. So we started early and fished hard and our luck changed.

Approaching mid-afternoon Geoff hooked up, but alas, the big blue jumped the hook. With the clock ticking, we fished on.

Then just off Hat Island, Kim hooked up.

As if to repay our patience, the blue jumped all over the ocean and gave Kim the fight of her life. It was her 1st marlin and she did a great job.

Congratulations Kim – you’re very lucky to have a husband who shares the thrills (even when you show him up every now and then).

We'll try anything

The trade winds continue at 25-30kts and fishing is tough. So when you get in for the night, it’s time for some relaxation. Geoff had brought some fishing kites with him from the US and was keen to show the boys a thing or two.

The tower made a great launch pad and the kite was soon high in the sky, trolling some fresh bait.

We got a few bites but we don’t think it will take on in Cairns…

Geoff & Kim

Geoff & Kim met shooting pistols, raced Formula 5 cars on the same team and now fish together with just a hint of competition. Well, maybe more than just a hint.

With weather conditions still tough, the marlin were scarce. However, there’s always something on. Geoff picked up some good wahoo while Kim, thinking ahead to dinner, landed a nice mahi mahi.

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