Popping Tonga with 'Poppin Tonga!'

Page  12>
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote falco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Popping Tonga with 'Poppin Tonga!'
    Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:38pm
falco View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Location: Papamoa Beach
Status: Offline
Points: 3315

With the confirmation of a credit card transaction our flights were booked and our trip away had just become an annual event. Last year it was Savaii in Samoa, this year Vava'u - in the Kingdom of Tonga.

I had previously spent time in Vava'u about twelve years ago logging over fifty dives in pristine island surrounds (not to mention catching a blue Marlin,Mahimahi,YFT,wahoo on a day charter!).
 
It is a great place to take off the watch and do nothing slowly - the people are the friendliest I have ever met.
 
I got in touch with Kurt Carlson who runs Poppin Tonga charters,surf trips and runs 'Lucky's Beach Houses' with his wife Lynn and their son Keith.
Scott, William and I formulated a plan to stay for six days. Fishing four of those if we could, chasing GT's from Kurts casting platform 'Lupo'. 
 
The date to depart finally arrived! It had been a long wait and we were really,really ready for some time out from our busy lives.
 
We departed NZ in due course to land in Tongatapu. From there we caught a connection flight that saw us pass over some really spectacular islands and reef formations.
Upon landing we were met by Jame's,a freindly local that had come to take us to Talihau Beach which was to be our home for the next six days.
 
The house's we stayed in were right on the waters edge, the boat is moored right in front also making getting on and off each day a breeze.
 
 
The 'Green House'
 
 
If you really wanted to step back, more basic traditional Fale's are available.
 
 
The first night was spent testing rum,tying knots and talking about tying more knots before more rum was to be tested (I dont think that happened)
We caught up with Kurt about what to expect and here more about some of his experiences in Hawaii,and of course where we were going to be fishing.
 
After a fantastic  three course dinner prepared by Lynn we hit the hay in anticipation of the following day to come.
 
Lupo a 17ft Boston Whaler with the ever reliable F60
 
 
We boarded 'Lupo' in warm but windy condition's and set off for about 20 minutes to the first bommie.It did not produce any fish but I did have a Spanish Mackeral leap out of the water behind my offering to no avail.
The conditions were challenging, setting the tone for the next three days. The wind did not stop for us unfortunatley but we fished on.
Scott got us off the mark with the first GT of around 10kg - it was duley realeased and we moved on.
 
A new spot with big waves,and a bit more tide and wind.I had a fish whack my lure right at the boat,the shoulders were decent it was a nice fish,no hook up... damn.
William was next to hook up,I wound in and Kurt suggested I make a cast while he fought his fish.I did and my lure landed and was engulfed immeadiately - we were on a double.
 
My fish gave the Stella some grief before the hooks pulled,or maybe they were never in...meanwhile William has his fish's head up and a beautiful big GT comes into veiw,his first for the trip and its a beauty.
 
  
 
 
William set the standard and backed this fish up later on with another great fish that hit not far from the boat late in the day.
 
The Nemo 'El Toro' backing up from a star performance in Samoa last year.
 
 
This was a very angry critter
 
 
 
The days that followed, conditions were tougher and we had to really dig deep to keep going,
but we did and were rewarded with a few more fish as well as some stunning scenery.
 
Scott Hooked up on one of his fish.
 
 
 
Humpback whales (Mother and Calf were present)
There are many boats that are licenced to take you whale watching - they are spectacular.
 
 
 
Kurt worked super hard all day,every day,I could feel him willing the fish to eat our offerings..
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kurts operation is 100% catch and realease for GT's
 
 
The entrance to 'Swallow's Cave' - there is writing (Graffiti) dating back to the 1800's.
Amazing scenery and history.
 
 
Inside the cave looking back out
 
 
 
One of the many beautiful islands
 
 
I pulled this fish out of a shallow coral area.
 
 
The veiw from a seat on the porch!
 
 
Lupo on her mooring
 
 
As the last day came and went we reflected on what was a great trip with fantastic hosts.
We landed thirteen GT's,some Bluefin Trevally,Red Bass,and longtoms as well as a very tastey Green Jobfish.
There were numerous fish that didnt hook up or simply fell off each day.
 
We had one last stop for lunch in town on the way to the airport,great food and beer and the best veiw you could get I reckon.
 
 
Back in NZ we were greeted to 12 degrees and the hustle and bustle we had left behind.
 
Thanks to Scott + (Jack) and William another great trip in fantastic company! I look forward to next year! (nothing too weird though Scott!)
 
Thanks to Kurt and Lynn you are great hosts, and Kurt I admire your passion for the sport and the lengths you went to,to ensure we had a memorable trip - it certainly was.
The dvd of our trip and t-shirts are very cool too - thanks
 
I will be back! 
 
Andrew
 
as dead as dead is
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kenshin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:46pm
Kenshin View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 01 Feb 2008
Location: JAFA Land
Status: Offline
Points: 2963

Awesome report with great pics to boot!! thanks for sharing falco. Clap
Be patient and calm – for no one can catch fish in anger. –Herbert Hoover
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kaveman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:47pm
kaveman View Drop Down
Forum Sponsor
Forum Sponsor
Avatar

Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Location: Whangamata
Status: Offline
Points: 9704
Great photos,awesome location.  shame about the weather though Andrew
www.kavemantackle.co.nz
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Accident Prone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:48pm
Accident Prone View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Location: Rotorua
Status: Offline
Points: 2836
Well done fellas some very nice fish!
 
Did Kurt take you out jigging at all Andrew?
 
That cave is pretty awesome eh! I have a pretty cool underwater shot from inside the cave looking out through the opening.
 
Definitely agree that Kurt runs a very cool operation over there and works his arse off to put you on the fish. He was sick as when we first arrived but he still put in the hard yards with 10hour days of casting. I highly recommend Kurts operation to anyone who is wanting an introduction to GT fishing along with the relaxing island lifestyle.
 
Nice oneThumbs Up
 
Josh
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote wanabe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:49pm
wanabe View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum


Joined: 07 Jun 2009
Status: Offline
Points: 2310
great pics they made it look like fun , I was there 2 years ago with the fishing news readers comp for marlin and had a great time like you did congrats on the good fish
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:53pm
brown View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Location: Whangarei
Status: Offline
Points: 2671
that's a great read Andrew, awesome pics too. Definitely put that on my to do list very soon 
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote falco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:58pm
falco View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Location: Papamoa Beach
Status: Offline
Points: 3315
Thanks guys,really recommend it!
 
We didnt do any jigging Josh,didnt take any gear.We talked about it prior, but really wanted to focus on casting.
Last year we carted alot of heavy gear around for not much return,but,the dogs are calling somewhere...I can hear them and I want one!
as dead as dead is
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Titahi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 9:58pm
Titahi View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 09 Aug 2009
Location: Mount sinai
Status: Offline
Points: 3573
Thats a cool read Andrew, and some mint photos. Sounds ike a good trip, made memorable by good company and hosts.  Thumbs Up
"I love standing by the ocean and just knowing what its for"
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Accident Prone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 10:01pm
Accident Prone View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Location: Rotorua
Status: Offline
Points: 2836
Yeah I was thinking of going back and doing 2 days jigging for doggies with Jeff from Hakula and 3 days casting with Kurt. They definitely out there, Jeff gets his fair share when they target them over the reefs some 30+ miles out from VaVa'u some nice ones too from what I have heard.
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote carlostairua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 10:27pm
carlostairua View Drop Down
Moderator - Brown Belt
Moderator - Brown Belt
Avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Location: Tairua
Status: Offline
Points: 4084
choice photos!  looks like a mean holiday
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Red Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 10:38pm
Red Hunter View Drop Down
Silver
Silver


Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Location: Cape York Auss
Status: Offline
Points: 298

Great post , some excelent GTs .

Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Capt Asparagus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2011 at 10:56pm
Capt Asparagus View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2002
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 13158
Some great scenery there. Damn, you gotta love the tropics when you see pics like that eh.
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Catchelot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 8:45am
Catchelot View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 07 Oct 2008
Location: Whanga-Vegas
Status: Offline
Points: 47774
A fantastic read Falco, great pics and GT's.ClapClap
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Boulder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 9:30am
Boulder View Drop Down
Moderator - Ninja
Moderator - Ninja
Avatar

Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 11941
Great set of pictures and a cool report Falco. I loved the trip I did to Vauvau
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Seadoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 1:30pm
Seadoc View Drop Down
Silver
Silver


Joined: 17 Jul 2002
Status: Offline
Points: 504
Great report Andrew! I cannot believe I was there 1 week ago and here I am sitting now at work behind a desk and grinding through the work load. Last year's Mexican looks like a hijacker this year. How did we get him through customs??
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote falco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 1:47pm
falco View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Location: Papamoa Beach
Status: Offline
Points: 3315
Originally posted by Seadoc Seadoc wrote:

Great report Andrew! I cannot believe I was there 1 week ago and here I am sitting now at work behind a desk and grinding through the work load. Last year's Mexican looks like a hijacker this year. How did we get him through customs??
 
I dont know, but if he suggest's we go to the US next year I might travel separately!
as dead as dead is
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Stellamoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 2:46pm
Stellamoon View Drop Down
Gold
Gold
Avatar

Joined: 03 Dec 2008
Location: NZ
Status: Offline
Points: 627
Nice report Falco....  Saw some of Scotty's pic's looks like a awesome trip!
Nice GT DOC:)
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote fish i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 3:38pm
fish i View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 11 Aug 2009
Location: ngahinemotu
Status: Offline
Points: 1760
Nice pics and good report there Falco. Love that part of the world, absolutely stunning up there. Did some diving up there and saw some big GTs underwater. Vowed to make it back to take them on but hasn't happened yet. Remember when we first got there going "Look whale! Fluke! "Check out that one breaching!" then after a couple of weeks going "oh yeah, another whale ... ho hum"

Was it the n'westers chopping it up the whole time? Do you know if anyone staying at Lucky's scored that right hander while you were there? Got me all amped to score that place = beautiful.
6th place in the inaugural Te Kauwhata Regionals paddle crab division
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote falco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 4:08pm
falco View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Location: Papamoa Beach
Status: Offline
Points: 3315
Originally posted by fish i fish i wrote:

Nice pics and good report there Falco. Love that part of the world, absolutely stunning up there. Did some diving up there and some some big GTs underwater. Vowed to make it back to take them on but hasn't happened yet. Remember when we first got there going "Look whale! Fluke! "Check out that one breaching!" then after a couple of weeks going "oh yeah, another whale ... ho hum"

Was it the n'westers chopping it up the whole time? Do you know if anyone staying at Lucky's scored that right hander while you were there? Got me all amped to score that place = beautiful.
 
It is a great place and the whales are amazing we didnt see too much of them as the season is tailing off.
 
There is certainly great surf potential there if what we were playing in is anything to go by - Kurt would be your man for that too he knows all the spots.
Not sure of the wind direction as I was all about face over there..no one was surfing while we were there..i would imagine that you would have the ocean to yourself 99.999% of the time..Big smile
 
Out of interest when were you there diving? I was there in 2001 for a month.. 
 
I should add that it is all very affordable,the only thing that is steep is the conection flight,it costs more return than the one from NZ return..but that is what getting off the beaten track is about,well worth it! 
as dead as dead is
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote fish i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2011 at 5:49pm
fish i View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 11 Aug 2009
Location: ngahinemotu
Status: Offline
Points: 1760
Yeah I was last in the northern group in 2002 for about 6 weeks . We sailed up there from Whangarei. Hooked up w a few Arataki Maaori boys that took me out to some rad dive spots who were working for a dive operation out of Neiafu. Actually saw some GT's opposite side of the entrance where that cave is; dive spot where you go through a cave swim through and come up in the island then out the other side of the point. Dive guide reckoned he had never seen a bunch of big ones like that together and inside the waterways, so was pretty special.

That flight back to Tongatapu over the Ha'apai is mind bending; seeing the myriad of islands dotted across the deep blue well off the general tourist path. So much potential. Think Kurt and only one other operator surf that right w punters. Seen some awesome footage of the place. Would be good to hook up w some local knowledge as we often missed the trumps for conditions trying to find our way around those waterways. Only saw one other surfer the whole time we were there. Definitely a magical place.
6th place in the inaugural Te Kauwhata Regionals paddle crab division
Back to Top
Page  12>
Forum Jump
Forum Permissions View Drop Down


This page was generated in 0.328 seconds.

Fishing Reports Visit Reports

Rotorua Fishing Report - 01/12/22

Making the most of the weather windows The last couple of weeks have seen our... Read More >

Bream Bay Fishing Report - 01/12/22

Don’t forget the harbours With the less-than-ideal sea conditions over the last fortnight, it has... Read More >

Bay of Islands Fishing Report - 01/12/22

Southern visitor James Lentjies – captain of the Highlanders – came into Screaming Reels the... Read More >

Raglan Fishing Report - 01/12/22

Spring snapper still hard on the bite With the recent onslaught of winds out west,... Read More >

Fishing bite times Fishing bite times

Major Bites

Minor Bites

Major Bites

Minor Bites