Experience Popper Bashing…Fishing New Caledonia

Back last week from 6 days fishing in New Caledonia with regular crew Mitch and Marinos and our guide Etienne, the weather was a bit more favourable but the mocha followed me over from Australia I am afraid.

Plan was 2 days GT fishing on the big island and then hop onto an internal domestic flight and hit Ouvea Island in the North for 4 days of flats fishing with light tackle and fly for GT’s, plus chase New Caledonia Bonefish and just about anything that cruised the shallows.

Day one at Nekweta starts out on the reef with us losing 10 fish in a row from pulled hooks and missed strikes. There is nothing more heartbreaking than having hooks pull with fish under the boat in plain sight, fish just about to be traced or pulling hooks after 15 minutes into a fight. One screamer of a fish followed Mitch’s stickbait, took a swipe at it and then swan over and ambushed my popper. I have never had a fish run more than 20 meters on PE12, but this pig ran 50 meters on its first run and just as we were leading it into deeper water the hooks pulled… How do 10/0 trebles miss their mark? Another 40kg plus fish on 170lb goes MIA. We all loose fish like there is no tomorrow!

Day 2 and the hooks start sticking but now we are getting busted up on strikes and on coral bommies as the GT find very clever ways of running the braid over the coral, smart buggers.

2 days GT fishing done and dusted, we pack our bags & gear, shower, shave and sit back with a drink for a 6pm pickup for a night in Noumea and a meal at the premier seafood restaurant in New Cal. We were due to fly out at 8am the next day and start a new adventure on Ouvea when Etienne returns with some bad news. Our host and guide on Ouvea, Joffrey is very ill, a helicopter may be needed to fly him to the mainland, at best a plane the next day. Sh*te!!! what next. All accommodation in Nekweta and Ouano Surf camps are full (school holidays). We manage to find 3 beds in the village and ponder our plans for the next few days as we cancel hotels, flights and restaurant bookings.

The rub here is that we had fly rods, new light tackle rods / reels, flies, boxes of smaller lures and plastics and a mile of other stuff that we packed at the expense of our regular heavy GT tackle. 1 tackle bag of lures for GT’s instead of 3, 2 rods instead of 5 etc.

In the end most of our gear was brought home without touching water as we stayed on the mainland and fished for a few more days after the crowds left Nekweta and Ouano Surf Camps…not that it was a problem. Huge meals, huge pints of 1664, huge laughs and huge sledges were the order of the day. Huge GT, coral trout and huge bustoffs were the norm.

The guys worked their butts off to fit us in, I mean no bookings, shuffling the decks and keeping us happy was a hard task taken all in their stride – well done to the guides and hosts.

How can you get sick of catching GT’s and sharing a laugh and the hospitality of Serge / Maree and Manu / Stephanie whose main goal in life is to feed you until you burst?

Maybe next time as all was not lost and our trip would be the trip of a lifetime for most blokes, but Ouvea looked amazing and we have a date with her early next year…..

One final thing I learned, if Serge asks if you want a big steak, say medium, never go the big as he will see this as a challenge and bury you……

Stan Konstantaras-ANSA NSW President

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Experience Popper Bashing…Fishing New Caledonia

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