|Big seas battered Rarotonga on Friday|
|If it wasn't for the coral reefs, this would've been good surfing weather|
Sure enough, not five minutes into the trip, one of the lines began to scream in protest as something made off with it. By the luck of the draw it was my turn in the fighting chair. The little seat at the back of the boat was quite a precarious spot in the bucking seas. I began to make calculations as to how long it would take me to swim back to shore if I were ingloriously dumped overboard. Whatever it was took a lot of line, and the anticipation rose in the seven of us on board. It was not to be, however. "My fish" wasn't having any of it. "He's spat the dummy, mate," said our deckie as I brought a slightly chewed bait fish back to the stern. And with that it was gone. I had to focus again on the huge waves pouring in from the darkness.
|Rarotonga at sunrise|
There wasn't too much time for idle chat or for a rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis on the boat to get too heated. Our skipper had taken us around to the south of the island and out of the worst of the waves, if not a large swell.
Pretty soon a Kiwi bloke landed the first Skipjack, a big one weighing in at about 30 pounds. Two of the other lines were still being taken out. All hell had broken loose, as the crew shouted instructions to the novice fishermen and made sure the lines didn't cross. "Don't give it any slack. Reel it in going down." Within minutes the second decent-sized "Skippy" had been brought to the boat. But the third one was still heading for Tonga.
A wearying angler kept up the good fight, but after 20 minutes the fish would still take out more line than was being drawn in. There was talk about what it might be, that one of the boats had landed a Marlin the day before, that there were sailfish to be had out here. But it turned out to be just so much wishful thinking; it was another Skipjack.
You can see a short video of the strikes here: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_Z333YXhmU0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
When it was safely aboard, there was much high-fiving and choice language not tempered by the presence of a lady. The morning had got off to a hell of a good start.
|A Skipjack Tuna|