I had decided my next trip would be another land based adventure this time targeting the formidable Giant Trevally, commonly known as GTs or in Hawaii ulua.
I had fished many times for other fish from the jack family including black Jacks, and Jack Crevalles that closely resembled GTs and are both extremely hard fighting fish.
But I was looking forwards to the chance to face some potentially bigger fish and the challenge of landing them from shore.
As with other Jacks I had previously targeted I had a pretty good idea of the kind of spots I would need to target them from.
Just about anywhere you go in the world for GTs, like most other fish, stocks are under pressure. Although not considered good table fair by many, for locals it’s certainly good eating and fair game!
Heading for most Islands in the Pacific Ocean means at least 3 flights when coming from Europe , and 2 days travel each way just to get there due to connections.
It made financial sense for me to buy a couple of good quality travel rods, rather than lugging over my Bazuka rod case and spinning rods!
Each flight was a different airline, so rods would have needed to be booked on for each leg coming to a ridiculous price!
Obviously my wife wasn’t too happy about the idea of buying yet more fishing tackle!! But my financial reasoning won through!
The decision was a bit last minute but, I was able to get a couple of Diawa saltiga air portables sent over to me in time for my trip, and I must say they certainly stood up well to all the abuse I put them through. For a 3 piece rod I was more than happy how they handled the bigger GTs.
Two days and 3 flights later, I finally arrived at my destination.
Getting to my digs, I quickly unpacked and like any mad keen angler hit the water!
In all the rush I forgot a butt pad! Which is quite typical for me, but it was more an exploratory session as there was only about 30 minutes left before sundown, and I certainly couldn’t wait until morning!
Sticking on a heavy surface lure I worked my way along the coastline casting over the sand and reef absorbing the evening atmosphere and getting a feel for the place!
Although the sea was virtually flat and clear on this side of the island, I noticed a slightly more milky section of water with a nice rip running out.
With just 10 minutes before sunset I run to the spot 300 meters away with that excited feeling you get when you think you’ve see I nice mark!
I literally couldn’t believe my eyes when after a couple of minutes casting I saw the head of a big GT chasing my lure! Whack he hit the lure and I was on!
I certainly wasn’t expecting that and with my heart racing I set the hook hard!
The fish tore off plenty of line from a heavy set drag.
As he continued the run further towards some heavy reef I decided that if I let it get any further it would probably cut me off.
Grabbing the spool and carefully slowing him down, I turned his head and kept the pressure on!
Not only had I hooked up with my first ever GT, but I knew immediately it was a really good size one, and was just praying It would stay on!
After the initial big run and holding onto my spool to keep the head turned, I felt that familiar pulsing through line, that I had experienced with other Jacks.
I had kind of imagined I would hook a few smaller ones and work my way up to this sort of size fish!
But as any lure fisherman knows you just never know when that big hit will come.
The GT was not ready to give up easily, and took me on a quite a jaunt along the point where I managed to finally land him after a very intense battle, further down the headland.
It was a big relief to get this one in, and a perfect start to my fishing adventure!
Any GT would have been a PB but I knew this one would take some beating.
Over the next days speaking with some fishermen and locals that promised me I wouldn’t catch a bigger fish during my trip I had mixed feelings.
It was hard to sleep that night with not only severe jet leg, but also the constant thoughts of GTs smashing into my lure!
Eventually I dropped off and after just 3 hours sleep the alarm went off. I bolted down a quick breakfast and set out for my next fishing session.
The next couple of days were slow compared to my initial session, but I was still having fun whilst the pressure was off to catch a decent fish!
I knew the lack of any deeper shore marks could be a problem here, so
decided to hire a car and explore the Island further.
With the help of google earth, (as there was no map of the island) I drove along the coast checking out any tracks down to the reef.
Using a compass to work out where I was, and a GPS to mark the location I took notes on how each spot fished, logging catches and others details.
All the spots consisted of a fairly shallow reef that ranged between about 30cm to 90cm depending on the tides and then a drop off to around 4 meters.
Not the ideal set up for targeting big GTs!
I tested some marks at different tides, but due to the size of the waves it was not possible to get near to the edge of the reef!
When the inside reef was around full tide you could still see the big breaking waves hitting hard on fairly shallow reef leaving me wondering how the fish got inside the reef in these conditions!
As the tide went out so did most the fish!
Upon closer inspection at lower tide some days later I noticed how the reef ended in fingers. There were many cuts a little deeper in the reef allowing fish to enter the inside section!
It was still a surprise after wading out to get a better cast I saw a big black tip shark just feet from the shore cruising up and down the gutter searching for dinner!
I remember promising my wife how safe this trip would be and decided on this occasion to cast from the shore instead, unsure if black tips were aggressive towards people.
But for me a sharks a shark and needs to be respected! preferably at a distance!
I very rarely fish for sharks! and have generally only caught them accidentally when they took a lure!
It wasn’t long before I was into a few fun sized GTs. The high tides and early mornings certainly seemed to be the best time!
As soon as the tide started to drop it got noticeably quiet. With shallow water and a the sun getting higher you knew your chances were dropping by the minute!
The reef was so shallow in parts and with many coral heads, I couldn’t help but feel hooking a big GT would be an almost impossible challenge!
For the most part I fished the reefs with my oldest Lure, a reliable long casting Fat Minnow, as being reefed seemed a definite possibility.
The next few sessions resulted in some nice manageable size GTs on the reef, but nothing really big!
In part 2 the fishing was hotting up, and I was fortunate enough to hook up with some really good sized shore GTs!