It had only been a year since my last venture to Efate, Vanuatu, but it felt like a lifetime. The fishing there is so wild and virtually unexplored in terms of popping and jigging in and around the countless islands and sea mounts surrounding the main island – it’s a place that is seriously begging for angling attention!
Last month I had the opportunity to close the office door and jump on a plane to revisit the islands in search of some big dogtooth tuna, GTs, bluefin trevally, wahoo, job fish, coral trout and many other large reef dwelling creatures…
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My hosts for the trip were Ocean Blue Fishing Adventures (founded almost two decades ago) who had just reopened their unique Trees & Fishes angling lodge on the shores of Port Havannah, and I was lucky to be one of its first guests.
Trees & Fishes Anglers Retreat is the ideal location for anyone wishing to sample the quiet side of the island. With brand new, very comfortable accommodation, personalised service, incredible meals and access to some of the best fishing in the world – it has to be sampled first hand to really get what I am on about. I spent the best part of a week at the lodge with the owners and crew from Ocean Blue, heading out daily on their new 32ft EdgeWater to tackle some of Vanuatu’s largest bluewater inhabitants.
The fishing was outstanding to say the least. We were dropping jigs into between 40-120m of the bluest ocean I’ve ever seen, coming up trumps on many occasions, while being handed my backside on a platter on others. I also got to test the Saltiga jigging and popping gear on these big bruisers in the process – awesome stuff! With the weather conditions so good during my visit, we were able to travel to many distant locations including Mataso Island, Cooks Reef, Scott’s Rock and the amazing Monument Rock (pictured below) which all produced the goods.
By the end of the week, I had eaten some of the finest cooked fish & local meats, feasted daily on fresh sashimi, witnessed some of the best sunrise/sunsets and come face-to-face with a number of large-toothed monsters, as well as meeting my match against some deep-water unstoppables. The team from Ocean Blue provide a professional and personal service which I highly recommend to any travelling angler.
I’ll be putting hands to keyboard soon for a more in-depth view of my Ocean Blue Vanuatu experience – stay tuned!
Fishing Photojournalist & Ocean Photographer