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Jedi Seadog
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:25 am    Post subject: Vanuatu birthday bash

What do you do when 4 old school mates turn 50? You plan a big fishing trip, what else 8)

And so it was, over many beers several years ago, that myself and 3 other old Darwin High mates decided we were going to celebrate in style. Fishing of course would be a central theme along with a bit of international travel so a plan was hatched for our Boys Own adventure. First step was stashing some cash away on a regular basis, the next was to pick a destination. After much surfing of the web and emails back and forth Trees & Fishes resort in Vanuatu was chosen as the final destination fishing with the crew from Ocean Blue Fishing Adventures. Good call :clap:
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From the time we arrived at the airport at Port Vila till the time we were dropped to our resort for a few days follow up R&R nothing was too much trouble. The setting, nestled into the protected waters of Havannah Harbour was spectacular , the 32ft Edgewater boats we fished out of were awesome craft and the skipper, deckie and gear were top shelf. Accommodation, meals and everything else was also first class. High praise indeed but really, it was very hard to find fault. Maybe some better coffee...... At least we left our mark on the tree Darwin style. Most chose to leave a lure, we donated a stubby cooler.....
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The important stuff, ie the fishing, didn’t disappoint either. With FADs deployed at regular intervals along the coast it was only a short run from the lodge before lines were in and if one FADs not firing its only a short run or casual troll to the next. Big Yellowfin and Mahi Mahi are mainstay on the FADs and we had a ball knocking over quality examples of both. The tuna were taken trolling big poppers which was a workout in its own right. With the poppers set back 70 - 80mt, they were worked with short jabs that became quite a chore after 20 or 30 minutes which was invariably when you took the massive surface strike........... Cannot tell a lie, we did tag out on several occasions :P . Fishing in 800m+ when they decided they didn’t like the sight of the boat it was nothing to lose 150m in the blink of an eye and it was back to the start all over again.
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Most of the Dollies were taken on stickbaits tossed at the FAD or baits of Skipjack strips tossed back at fish teased up on a skipping bait. Amazing looking fish, big neon blue bars slicing through the waves and crazy action when you hook up. Didn’t seem to be any small ones amongst them either. One I caught came on board and displayed colours like I’ve never seen before, the shades of blue were mad. Cookie Cutter Sharks must be in plague proportions there as not too many Tuna or Dollies came over the side without having been tagged by one of those snipers.
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We struggled with the weather for a couple of days but managed to catch quality fish each day. The variety is endless and we did everything from trolling tiny (2.5cm) soft plastics for flying fish to use as live bait to downrigging big live Mack Tuna for Doggies and GTs. We ended up with a few small Doggies jigging but the big ones eluded us. I did end up with a quality GT and a solid Bronze Whaler for my efforts however .....
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There were times when the sounder would be lit up like a Christmas tree but you couldn’t buy a bite, pretty sure we’ve all been there before :banghead:
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We had a semi serious crack at trolling up some Billies a couple of times but it was not to be for us however several were caught on the days prior to and after our trip and a small Blue was caught on one of the other boats while we were there.

Dropping lighter jigs in shallower water saw all sorts come onboard including Rainbow Runners, Blue Trevally, Coral Trout and Pike.
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All in all it was an amazing trip to an amazing fishery. The 5 days afterwards just kicking around the island was a great way to wind down. Necking a few Tuskers and retelling tales tall and true with good mates, reckon I’m nearly ready to go again :catch:

:cheers:
Melv


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Jedi Seadog
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:57 am    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Wow, awesome report and trip. That blue dolphin fish in the photo is amazing


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:21 am    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Awesome trip.. Can't wait to get there myself..


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Jedi Seadog
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

WOW Melv what a great trip , cool pic of the blue Mahi Mahi as well as the rest of the beasts.
Bulk jealous mate . Great post to say good bye , hope we see some monster Trout pics from
Taz .
Fair well old mate , its been a pleasure fishing with you over the years ,

Cheers :drinking8: :applause: :drinking5:

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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Yes very jealous. Well done mate on a great trip


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Happy 50th Melv!


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Great idea for a bash. Probably cheaper than here as well


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Did a cruise from Sydney back in 2013 all through the islands and did a few short charters due to time constraints but a bit lonely without mates. Great story and great pics Melv. Brought some memories back and I wish we had Coconut Crabs around Darwin - Yum.....

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:47 am    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

jeffish wrote:
WOW Melv what a great trip , cool pic of the blue Mahi Mahi as well as the rest of the beasts.
Bulk jealous mate . Great post to say good bye , hope we see some monster Trout pics from
Taz .
Fair well old mate , its been a pleasure fishing with you over the years ,

Cheers :drinking8: :applause: :drinking5:


Cheers mate :cheers:. Yeah we had a few frothy, fun and fruitful trips didnt we :D I’ll make sure I keep in the loop when I’m in Tassie, already got a contact down there that tell me they’ve cracked the code on some big whiting. Looking forward to that, the trout can wait........

nomad wrote:
Great idea for a bash. Probably cheaper than here as well


Total cost for 5 nights 4 1/2 days Fishing was $3450 including all meals etc which was quite a bit cheaper than similar offerings out of NQ. As I said, boats, gear and guides were all faultless and the staff back on shore were very friendly and attentive. The Ni Vanuatu are really nice people. We never went long without a Tusker that’s for sure.......
Sometimes just little things like a cool moist towel to wipe down with as you step off the boat make a difference as well. Especially to a bunch of old farts who’ve just raised their bats for a half century :cool:

I’d recommend it to anyone.

:cheers:
Melv


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:09 am    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

That looks like the ultimate trip! Thanks for sharing, next family holiday might have to be to Vanuatu......HAHA!!!

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

What a fantastic trip. Never seen a dolly that colour either!

And who'd swim with those cookie cutters around, there was a case of a bloke getting bitten.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Great report Melv..that blue Dolphin fish wow!

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Post Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

It is definitely on the bucket list after seeing those photos might have to start organizing a trip for my 50th,


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Post Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Vanuatu birthday bash

Good one Melv. Plenty of quality fish in that lot. :mrgreen:

Cheers grumpy

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