Islands Beyond the Horizon – Vanuatu Live on Board Expedition
For me there is nothing that compares with spending almost a week away on a live onboard expedition, to fish hard and recharge… Time is different at sea, you’re far away from land and all the details which manage your daily life…
When all things go as planned, the fishing available combined with such spectacular locations, result in incredible experiences that stay with you forever… Plus there is also the hope that fishing further into Vanuatu’s remote islands will deliver the jackpot in the heavyweight tropical sportfish stakes…
So we were 6 anglers bought together for Ocean Blue’s October live on board expedition, the last one planned for 2013. Nick, Rob & Peter fishing onboard Al Dente with guide Eric Festa and decky Tom. Leaving Conor, Vaughan and myself on Azzurra with Andrea Traverso at the helm and Tony in charge of decky duties.
Home was the 60ft Fontaine Pajot sailing catamaran ‘Rendezvous’ which for me is the type of benchmark vessel you need for mothership duties, spacious and beamy for guest comforts, sail power for economy and ideal for trips through the Pacific islands. Enthusiastic skipper Errol has spent years at the helm of superyachts across the globe, plus some fishing guiding himself along the way, and supported by crewman Kevin, they provide great hospitality and service onboard.
We fished a few days in the Maskelyne island group then worked our way down via Epi, Emae, Cooks reef, Matasso, Nguna and Port Havannah, where we were rewarded equally in all of these locations with great sports fishing.
Our boat mixed it up jigging, casting, down rigging baits and trolling between locations. We planned around the wind increasing through the week so we fished comfortably in the lee of many spectacular islands the last 2 days.
We had some epic sessions including double hookups on dogtooth on jig & GT’s on poppers & stickbaits, doggies on light tackle, soft plastics and smaller jigs. Tireless jigger Conor got done by big dogtooth after big dogtooth, Vaughan got some quality fish, a few nice doggie’s and his best GT to date, as well as some great wahoo and plenty of mahi mahi in between. Final morning just out from Trees & Fishes, Conor and Vaughan scored a nice double hookup on mahi mahi on light tackle, both landed. Then Conor lost the biggest dogtooth of the trip and donated yet another of his proven jigs to the depths.
The guys on Al Dente kept us on our toes, doggie’s on popper plus mahi mahi, red bass, GT’s, bluefin trevally, more wahoo & a small marlin for variety. They had some epic dogtooth sessions with fish around the boat responding to soft plastics and poppers, so the bulk of images here are from our boat & really shows only part of the trip through my lens.
Having done this trip and getting a handle on it first hand we are all itching to get back for a return trip!
The mothership expedition ticked every box hoped for and more, & with a top bunch of like minded anglers (and awesome crew) is yet another way to enjoy fishing the remote Vanuatu islands to the fullest….
Footnote: Tackle used.
Rods: Carpenter Coral Viper, Hots Gipang 711MH, Hots Gipang 79XH, Shimano GT Special, Saltiga 63S, Jigging Master, M&W Ocean Star.
Reels: Shimano Stella 8000SW, 14000SW, 18000SW, 20000SW, Saragosa 14000, Shimano TwinPower, Daiwa Saltiga 6500
Surface, ASWB 130SS, Maria Loaded, Hammerhead Tobi 123, Heru Cubera, Halco Roosta Haymaker.
Jigs, Jigging Master Fallings, Patriot Design Cyber Edge, SevenSea Hooker, Saltiga Sacrifice Stick II, Ocean Attitude Tacko, FCL Labo
Edited by Ocean Blue Fishing - 08/Nov/2013 at 9:25pm