I’ve just returned with Jay and Adam from a great 6 day trip with Ra Anglers Fiji. Ryan Keith offers guided fishing trips based out of Volivoli Beach Resort at the very northern tip of Viti Levu, the largest of Fiji’s islands. Here’s how our trip unfolded…
After a one day working week, we departed at a leisurely hour on a Tuesday morning and arrived after our flight into Nadi with plenty of time for dinner, drinks and the all important tackle preparation and planning for the days ahead.
Ryan met us on arrival and after check-in we got stuck into the charts and maps of the extensive reef systems that surround Volivoli. Ryan has a background in marine science and education (including a doctorate!) coupled with extensive experience as a topwater angler. To top this off, he has been fishing the reefs around Volivoli for many years. As a result he has excellent knowledge of the structure, movement of currents and the impact of weather over the local grounds, and most importantly what that means for our target species - giant trevally (GTs), dogtooth tuna and just about anything else that swims in and around the reef. We had a great time chatting with Ryan over the course of the trip, sharing our mutual obsession for topwater fishing and discussing ideas and learnings around what makes our quarry tick (and how to get them to eat!).
After surveying the weather for the days ahead we made plans to attack a northern reef structure on the first day, while winds favoured this location. Day one did not disappoint and after a comfortable run in great conditions aboard Ra Anglers’ purpose built 10 metre centre console ‘Half Cast’, the session commenced. It didn’t take long for the first GT to make an explosive appearance, a trend that continued throughout the day with many fish missed and landed.
Plenty of bycatch was encountered in between, with red bass, bluefin trevally and barracuda being the most common alternatives. Ryan’s knowledge allowed us to ‘follow’ the bite each day as the current shifted to different areas of reef. This a challenging skill to master, but a key factor in ensuring that we had near constant action and success every day.
When the tide and current movements slowed we would shift our focus from GTs. Some days the grounds favoured flats fishing and this yielded some great captures, including a rare buffalo emperor for Jay. Other days we would jig deeper ledges and points in search of dogtooth and deeper water species. Our first session saw me connect, briefly, to a very large dogtooth that quickly found the reef. We did manage to extract dogs to ~30kg in the little time we spent doing this. We get the impression that this is an excellent and largely untapped fishery for these beasts.
Over the course of the trip we landed a large number of GTs on topwater from reef ledges, surf breaks, channels, and bommies. Jay managed the two largest fish of the trip, both pushing close to the 30kg mark, with a number of other large fish encountered on the cast. Rob managed some welcome bycatch on day three in the form of a large Napoleon wrasse, which was carefully released back to its reefy home.
Overall this was a really memorable trip for our group, due to Ryan’s efforts keep us on the bite. We all felt we learned from him and appreciated his conservation focus to help ensure the fishery here will stay healthy in the long term. Importantly, Volivoli is really well placed to access an array of local grounds that allowed us to move around and keep fishing even when the weather was suboptimal. We had unseasonal trade winds of >20 knots for 4 of our 6 days, but could still fish quality grounds safely and comfortably from Half Cast.
Volivoli itself is a lovely resort, reasonably priced with accommodation ranging from simple and comfortable rooms, to luxurious family villas. It was great to return to this comfort each day and ever more importantly, excellent food and a cold drink! The food was fantastic and another highlight of our trip.
Overall this was a fantastic trip and one that we plan to repeat again soon! Big thanks to Ryan for making it one for the books!
For more information on the trips and with prices and dates please visit https://www.raanglers.com/