It is said that the South Pacific waters of Tahiti is the best place to catch Marlins and it’s true. Dozens of sportfishing magazines, open sea anglers and marine biologists all agree that the natural coral reefs of the South Pacific islands make marine life thrive in millions! It’s the best catch and release adventure anyone could ask for. The food chain is constantly replenished here that there’s more than enough room for humans – especially anglers – to pry. Even the great Zane Grey was so pleased when he reached Tahiti while he was looking for the most pristine waters to fish during his early expeditions. Lucky for us today logistics in that part of the world is now within reach, in fact, Tahiti has become one of the best tourist destinations in the world too!
Zane Grey caught the world’s first 1,000-pound Blue Marlin somewhere off the coast of Tahiti back in the 1930s; Tahiti boasts some amazing blue-water and open sea fishing. Grey’s exploits about the capture of that fish is recorded in his book and is very exciting to read, even more so exciting was the chance to get to fish in the same waters almost a hundred years later. However, it was in the outer French Polynesian island groups where his real adventures were realized, particularly in the Austral Islands to the south and Tuamotu Archipelago to the east.
Sportfishing is now among the most sought after commercial amenities in the French Polynesia these days and you can book a trip as well as a reservation for a sportfishing adventure also. The hotels and resorts are world class with matching white sand beaches and breathtaking natural forest in the backdrop. Specially designed 40 – 90 foot long boats for anglers are always at your service! The boats are equipped with the latest sonar technology to scan for schools of fish and even cater to some of your fishing equipment needs. Experts would easily spot a Blue Marlin and let you know when to cast your fishing poles and fishing reel. When heading out into the reef the captain would blast the engines at over 30 knots, but once you get to where the fish are lingering then he’ll slow it down to 12 knots to prepare the bait and allow the fish to follow the lures behind the boat.
With a lot of buzz about this place and my feet itching every day to get there and see and feel what it’s really like, I finally book a flight to Tahiti. I made hotel reservations and of course joined a team of amateur and pro anglers on a boat trip for 3-4 days. Captain Timish took us out in a pre-planned excursion in his boat – the Eloise II – where we’ll start off to fish the blue-water walls and drop-offs surrounding Hao for about 1-3 days tops, then head east looking for coral atolls to catch a variety of tropical game fish. But our final destination was Fakarava Island where the Captain thinks is where the Blue Marlins occasionally feed. Some of the anglers on board even taught me their secret fishing techniques.
So off we went with about 15 other anglers, one of them named Matt Siu, who has been fishing in those areas for more than 4 years now, told me that the giant Trevally and Dogtooth Tuna will give me the fight of my life. Matt has been in salt water fishing for almost a decade now. No matter how much preparation I made Matt was eventually right and I was nearly pulled overboard by a 900 lbs Dogtooth Tuna monster! As the boat went off the shore, the crystal-blue waters beneath reveal dozens of fish silhouette and we were even able to identify some of them like the Wahoo, Skipjack and Yellow-fin Tuna. A true champion of sportfishing and he’s not even competing. Indeed Capt. Timish knows these waters like the back of his hand! And with the highly sensitive sonar equipment there’s no way we’ll miss the Blue Marlin today.
It took no more than 4 hours for me to haul in my first catch with my fishing reel and it was like the catch of a lifetime for me, even though the fish was only a decent 300 – 400 pounder Blue Marlin. Edmund, who is the Captain’s first mate, was on deck and reassured us that the 700 – 900 pounders were common in that area and all we have to do is be patient and wait. So we let five Accurate 130s and three Shimano’s from our fishing equipment tethered to our lures just to be sure. Captain Timish and his crew have prepared us live baits even before we departed; however, the artificial minnows worked so well with the Blue Marlins that I got my first bite at around 6 hours after we left port.
From day 2 up to our last day in Tahiti, I was able to catch 2 Blue Marlins which were a 600 and a 800 pounders respectively; 1 Dogtooth Tuna (740 lbs), 4 giant Trevally (400, 650, 830 and 908 lbs) and 1 unlucky 250 lbs Grouper fish. The other 15 anglers made a lot of healthy catches too but we only kept 1 or 2 fish as our prize and we released the rest of them back into their natural habitat. I can’t wait to book my second sportfishing vacation next summer.