Fishing Fiji – Words and Images by Brad Dolman

When arranging our recent trip to Fiji in February, my girlfriend Micaela was given strict instructions that wherever we went had to have good fishing. On the advice of various travel agents, we decided that the Coral Coast was the best place for this – and we set up base at Hideaway Resort & Spa (a 1.5 hour trip from Nadi airport, along some average roads but very beautiful scenery).

As well as having good fish close by, I had to be able to fish for them as well! So, another condition of going was that one of our days there would be spent on a fishing charter going after GT, Marlin, Mahi Mahi (Dolphinfish) and Tuna. Knowing how keen I was to get out on the water, I was given the nod to look into charter operators.

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…So in late November I jumped onto google and found “FreeDive Fiji,” who are located at Pacific Harbour on the Coral Coast. An email was sent and within a few hours I had a reply from a friendly lady named Heather, who went through charter options, targeted species, availability and likely weather during our stay. Heather had a customer instantly, and all I had to do from there was decide on a charter option. I decided to go with a private half-day charter, trolling for the first few hours and then moving in on some of the reefs to look for GT’s and other trevally species.

Once we were in Fiji I was bursting out of my skin waiting for the day of the charter, and I am sure that Micaela was sick of hearing about how many fish we would catch and how her arms would be ripped out of their sockets while I looked on!

When the day finally came, a bright and early wake-up followed by a 40 minute trip around some nice coastline and forest took us to Pacific Harbour, where we were greeted by Heather and taken down to the wharf to meet Jaga. Jaga is an Aussie who has lived in Fiji for the last 9 years, where his love for fishing and freedive spearing has cemented Freedive as the premier charter business in the country. Their knowledge of the area and its waters allows FreeDive to target multiple species in a day, and go after the fish of a lifetime.

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My fishing day did not go as planned, but fishing rarely does! We had a fish hit the lure as we were putting the set out and missed the hook up, and then had the line get caught in the clip and cut the line on another. Jaga then took us into the beautiful reefs around Beqa Island and had me throwing poppers and slugs for GT’s. I can honestly say I have never worked so hard for a fish in my life, and after hundreds of casts for nothing, Jaga ripped in and threw just as many to try and wake these awesome fighters up. We had rises, saw bust ups and worked very hard but unfortunately could not get that fish!

I loved every minute of that day and not once did not catching a fish bother me. Jaga and the FreeDive crew looked after Micaela and I (fresh fruit and home-made cakes, cookies and sandwiches kept coming the whole day), and Jaga and his deckhand had plenty of stories to tell about the places they’d been and the monsters they had caught.

Jaga insisted this was the first time ever he had not caught a single thing, and I think he was as frustrated as I was! So, on our arrival back to Pacific Harbour, Jaga offered me a spot on a charter later in the week – and I jumped at the opportunity!

Micaela decided she’d done her time, so I left her by the pool and headed back to Pacific Harbour where I joined a group of Aussie’s to see if I’d be a little more lucky second time around. Jaga’s plan was to stick with something similar to what we had done the previous time, and after trolling for a while with no bites, we went inside the reef and found what we were after! I pulled in a few school mackerel, and Jaga then hooked a big black GT that hammered him into the reef very quickly. This was followed by one of the guys hooking and landing an 8kg Blue-fin Trevally.

FreeDive Fiji has multiple different charters to cater for everyone’s fishing desires – whether it be bottom bashing for mouth watering reef species, trolling for some of the best marlin and tuna fishing in the world, to having your arms ripped off by massive GT – they have it all on their doorstep and know how to tap into it!

FreeDive Fiji offer half and full day shared or private charters, as well as overnight fishing trips where Jaga will take you to some of the best untapped fishing locations in the world! FreeDive is also known around the world for its Freedive spearing experiences, for those of you who want to go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful fish in the ocean such as Dogtooth Tuna and wahoo. Or, if you are more interested in relaxing, they can take you out on self made charters exploring the amazing Fiji islands and reefs!

Thank You Heather, Jaga and the crew at FreeDive Fiji for the great experience. I will be back sometime soon!

Check out the FreeDive Fiji experience for yourself!

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We stayed at Hideaway Resort & Spa, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other travellers. The staff were some of the friendliest people in the world, the food was great and the scenery was just beautiful. Even better, the reef is literally on your doorstep, and we enjoyed world-class snorkelling every day of our stay. Some of the things we saw are below.

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