Home' RMYC Yearbook : RMYC Yearbook 2016-17 Contents 66 RMYC YEARBOOK
FISHING IN SAMOA
Just recently Donato emailed me again to say he
had finally gotten hold of his dream boat when he
found out a 37-foot custom-built Merritt was on
the market in the US.The vessel had been shipped
from San Juan in Puer to Rico to Stuar t, Florida in
2006 and had undergone a full restoration and refit
with the renowned Gamefisherman Boat Builders.
After some serious negotiating, Donato purchased
the Merritt and had it shipped across to Samoa.
After that par ticular message, I thought it was
definitely time to revisit Samoa!
Formerly known as Western Samoa, these islands lie
just south of the equator and approximately halfway
between the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand.
From the east coast of Australia, it’s not that difficult
to get there these days as a couple of air carriers
even have direct flights out of Sydney, which only
take about five hour s. I quickly jumped online and
booked some tickets for myself and two of my fishing
buddies, Ross Newton and Peter McNally.
The flight we boarded got into Faleolo International
airpor t in the islands capital of Apia around 7am
and Donato was there to greet us. The drive across
the island took an hour or so, but time went quickly
as we chatted about his newly acquired Merritt and,
of course, the fishing over the previous week. Our
timing sounded perfect as the bite was on and the
weather was cer tainly looking good for our five
days on the water.
Donato’s quaint little resor t is made up of 10 neat
bungalows and a large meeting/dining/bar area.
It’s situated right near the mouth of the Mulivai
Fagatoloa River and the good par t about it is that
the Merritt is moored at a small dock just minutes
away. Christened Leilani (after Donato’s lovely
Polynesian wife), the Merritt is a real pretty vessel
and well equipped with all the tackle to handle
whatever fish comes along. With blue marlin heavily
on our minds. we quickly made the decision to go
with the heavy gear as the chance of hooking a
beast of a marlin was a real possibility considering it
was prime summer time in December.
From the dock, the opening in the reef is only
minutes away, and as we edged our way to sea one
could quickly understand why the area is also ver y
popular for surfing. A continuous line of long, lazy
swells rolled up and crashed on the reef either side
of the deep opening where nature has provided
safe access to and from the wide blue yonder. Once
outside the reef, I watched the depth recorder
quickly plummet to over 500 fathoms, and Donato
was right when he said the marlin grounds are so
close. The throttles were soon pulled back to a
steady, nine-knot trolling speed, and the crew quickly
went to work setting up the lures. We all settled
back and waited for a bite.
The ocean was flat with just a cooling five-knot
breeze to ruffle the surface. We could see a flock
of sea birds in the distance working over patches
of skipjack tuna that were bursting up along the
current lines. I made the comment to the boys
just how fishy it looked and hardly got the words
out when the sound of a screaming reel rang out.
Although the bite wasn’t from a billfish, we were all
jumping with excitement. Newton even made the
comment, “Crikey, we were in Sydney only 10 hours
ago and now we have a fish to catch off Samoa.”
The jet-head lure on the 80 pound outfit had been
smashed by something fairly large, and one of the
angler s was about to catch his first-ever wahoo. As
quick as a flash, McNally was in the fighting chair
and he fought the 40 pound wahoo to a standstill.
He was like a kid in a candy shop when the fish was
boated, and was eager to be photographed with his
catch. While this was happening, the crew quickly
set up the lures again and the search was on for
something bigger. There was a Fad (fish aggregation
device) a few miles to the south, and as we headed
that direction our first bite from a marlin was
experienced. A lively blue about 400 pounds smashed
the lure on the right outrigger, but unfor tunately the
hook came out as it jumped about wildly.
Donato circled the boat back around the area for
half an hour before heading back towards the Fad.
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