The most expensive fish in the world

OK, so I know that there are some people who’ll hire a private plane, book rooms at the most exclusive resorts, hire the world’s most expensive guide and charter huge boats in order to catch one fish (which they don’t even get to eat). Still, I think we must be contenders for the “most expensive fish” tournament amongst normal contestants.

With the promise of big game fishing and a life of living off the sea, we stocked up on heavy line and big scary-looking lures with massive hooks that we had no idea what to do with (chuck it behind the boat, presumably), but were assured would be guaranteed to catch tuna, mahimahi, sailfish, marlin, wahoo etc. We dragged these things behind the boat for fact, we trolled pretty much all the 1100 miles from Auckland to Vanuatu. We hooked one large mahimahi and brought it all the way into the boat, when it took one horrified look at me bending over to grab it and decided to spit the lure out. That was all the fishing action we got. Mind you, we weren’t too worried about this as we did have Jason on board, and he’s known by most Aucklanders as the ultimate fishing jinx (sorry to broadcast this little known fact, J, but he managed to fish soft bait for a whole 2 years without a single bite). Poor old Jason took this jinx suggestion somewhat to heart, and spent alot of the passage resetting lures, tweaking lines, reading up on clever trolling techniques and generally starting to lose his sense of humour (colloquially known within the Nolan family as an SHF*) over the whole fishing drought. Once in Vanuatu, we then proceeded to lose two flasher rigs, and very nearly a spear from my gun.

Naturally as soon as Jason leaves us we start to get lucky, altho’ this luck has come at a price. Yesterday we hooked and brought a decent-sized sailfish to the boat, when it promptly bit thru the line and took off with my favourite lure. Lost the lure on the other line by a mysterious fish, also bit thru’. OK, this was clearly “no more mister nice guy” territory, we swapped to steel traces, the preserve of only the most hardened deep sea fishermen, and finally managed to hook and land a medium sized wahoo this afternoon. Luca promptly renamed this fish the “hurray”. So two lures, flasher rigs, much line and Jason’s worn patience later we have finally caught one. Waaahooo!

Trolling behind this boat carries it’s own drama, which we’ve now experienced twice. Both occasions we’ve been tanking downwind with a decent amount of sail up. Yes, the wiser amongst would say “bring in the fishing line”. When the reel makes that unfamiliar “weeeeee” sound indicating a fish, we’re then plunged into the very real challenge – how do we slow the boat down quickly enough before the fish strips the reel? For our first strike we elected to roll up the jib, turn on one engine, and spin the boat into the wind with the mainsail up… all this with the reel screaming as the fish takes off. This worked pretty well, but left us with hundreds of metres of line to retrieve. Today, however, caught us in 25 knots gusting 30 in a decent-sized sea pulling 8-11 knots of boat speed with regular big surfs off waves, when the reel starting screaming. Rounding up into the wind seemed a pretty unattractive option, so I tried centering the mainsail to reduce speed. This was definitely not a good strategy, as it immediately sent the boat careering off in a determined attempt to round up, followed by an uncontrolled gybe and the same the other way. So we dragged that poor wahoo about a mile downwind before being able to bring it in, Rebecca desperately trying to prevent a broach and me furiously trying to wind the thing in, by which time the poor fish was probably pleased to be put out of it’s misery.

Incidentally, for anyone reading this blog who actually wants to know where we are….We have now arrived at Ambryn Island, off a small village called Ranvetlam, which we hope to spend a few days exploring. An active volcano, local wood carvers, and supposed excellent fishing should keep us quiet for a day or so. More soon.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jens
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:15:30

    Wahoooooooo… love the blog Nolan-Starr’s – keep it up. I so understand the numerical challenge Fred. It is a notifiable condition called ‘dyscalculia’. I didn;t manage to connect with your cousin – but thanks for the introduction anyway. I am sure we will be heading back there.


  2. Michael
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 09:01:40

    Hi Crew and Skipperess,
    I showed my boys where you are on Google Earth and they want to know if the Volcano is going to blow?
    Fishing sounds great (not) If it is of any help, an amature angler landed a 305kg Tuna off Port Taranaki yesterday.It is worth $100k on the Japanese market. Maybe that is the one that got away from you.
    Weather here is a bit of a mixed bag on the Kapiti Coast. Today cold southerly about 7knts and 45knts in Wellington. Great for Cook Strait. Last week Wellington had a huge hail storm with golfball sized hail which completely whited out the region.
    I would love to be in the Islands at the moment but a very busy time here. Melissa has said maybe sometime next year after I was dropping very obvious hints.

    Love to you all and look forward to more exciting news. XOXM,M,M&B


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