Who's been saltwater fly fishing? The Tropics

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Hengemaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2022 at 4:39pm
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Wanted to pick brains around fishing in New Caledonia.

Has anyone fished?

I know about the bonefish in Poingam/Poum area up in the far north. But I can't find any contact details for the Relais de Poingam which where I've seen things based. Does anyone know how viable/acceptable DIY is here. I seem to remember looking into this several years ago and reading about people being chased off flats by angry Kanak. There are apparently guides - anyone know how to contact?

What about the rest of the island for bones, permit and other flats species, there do look to other flats like areas - how do they fish.

And what about land based fishing beaches and the lagoon? 

I guess I am wondering if its a suitable destination for a non-fishing specific holiday that would provide some opportunities for a day or 2 of DIY exploring + maybe a guided day or charter 

Any insights appreciated.

John
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2022 at 8:23pm
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John, as I understand it DIY fishing in the north is not a good idea. There are some areas in the south that people do fish DIY, but I'm not too sure on specific details. A strong grasp of French will be needed wherever you go. Hopefully someone with some recent experience in New Cal will chime in.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2022 at 6:48am
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Bushkid (version 1, 2 or...?) has done a bit up there from memory, would be worth picking his brains I reckon.
You cant eat my toast fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote WillP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2022 at 8:30pm
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I see some pretty big Bones coming out New Caledonia, Probably some of the biggest caught ones i,ve seen. The Natives seem a little more hostile than the friendly cook island locals though. Huge Bonefish Landed Off New Caledonia – Total Fishing (total-fishing.com)
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2022 at 6:55am
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Just over a week to my long awaited Cape York trip.. over 3 years in the making with C19 getting in the way. We have high hopes for some target species and as always its the "have I got the right flies?" and "how many of the right flies have I got" nerves kicking in. Barra bunnies, weed guarded flies of all sorts, gold bombers, permit crabs, candies in case of long tail tuna... it's all a bit of a worry but we figure that between the crew we should have bases covered. I'll report back post trip. 

Things to know when travelling to Au:

- You'll need the Australia DPD app, where you log your flights, passport details, C-19 vax status which will have to be uploaded
- Returning to NZ, pre-departure C-19 test no longer needed
- NZ travel declaration still required https://www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz/
- There is a sh1t ton of things in Far North Queensland that can get you, just be aware (bull shark, salt croc, sea snake, blue ringed octopus, stonefish, cassowary, coneshell, fresh water croc identifying as saltwater croc, stingers, Portugese Man-of-war, some tree that can burn your skin off, all sorts of snakes & spiders, VB, Mitchell Stark - anyhow, listen carefully to the guides if wading is the key point

I'll post a TR when I get back.

You cant eat my toast fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2022 at 11:27am
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That sounds bloody scary One place I've always wanted to go.
Have a great time. Looking forward to a trip report
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote WillP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2022 at 6:04pm
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Awesome give it heaps m8, Inspired. Bring on the photos and reports.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote reel crayze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2022 at 8:28pm
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Have a great trip. Look forward to the report.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote WillP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2022 at 7:30am
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Looks like Aitutaki is becoming an expensive place to visit. I booked a fair for oct a few months ago and paid $1500 return, To book the same fair now on the same dates is $2800 which is going to knock out a whole lot of potential tourists. Its about 2k just to get to Raro and back. Make the best of your own back yard guys.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2022 at 8:38am
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Yep, and it can only get worse. The new port development is going to completely change the island. Cruise ships will be able land their jolly boats and the new marina will have capacity for 200 boats plus basic haul-out facilities. It will become an important stop for yachts sailing the Pacific and these yachts will gain safe access into the lagoon via the new port channel. Private yachts on the lagoon will become a regular sight in the future.

With all this extra activity will come servicing requirements for yachts and people. There will be new shops, restaurants and boat servicing businesses.

At the same time the new boat channel will allow a greater flow of water into the port area. This may actually improve the fishing in that area eventually.

With all the added economic activity on the island I don't expect airfares to come down in price anytime soon. But with a new port a better ferry service from Raro might develop.

Anyway, pic of the new marina alongside the new port is below. Everything under construction at the moment. It could be a year or two before the fishing environment settles down and starts producing fish again.

All necessary progress I suppose
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote WillP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2022 at 3:31pm
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yes it will be interesting how it plays out. lets hope for the best. it may be cheaper to sail there at this rate :)
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2022 at 1:30pm
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Wow Ouchbased on ^ I'm glad I booked my flights late last year. Dont think I'll travel abroad until 2024 at this rate.

Anyhow! FNQ trip report. I cant post photos from work (and not really inclined to use my home time as its a major pain in the behind) and anyhow you guys will have seen them on FB where I'm posting in the TGA Saltfly page.

Day 0. I Flew Ak-Brisbane-Cairns. At the time I booked there was nor flight direct into Cairns and the absolute "must not miss" flight from Cairns to Weipa on day 2 dictated that overnighting in Cairns was the only sensible option. 

Day 1. - Cairns-Weipa-Mapoon. The home of Bauxite. Just literally billions of tonnes mined and shipped all over the place inc a derivative, Alumina which comes to Tiwai Pt. Our group jumped on the mothership and we headed north. Arriving in the afternoon refreshed with mudcrab and beers, we got our gear together as the sun dropped.

Day 2. With 6 anglers (4 of us a 'core' group of mates) and 3 tenders we decided to rotate anglers and guides over the next 6 days. After a BIG brekkie (food was abundant..) Steve and I headed out with Clint our host guide and went looking for tuna. Every Aussie angler wants a longtail tuna on their line and so as bustups were found we'd head over to get upwind. Thing is, most of the bustups are from Mackerel Tuna which for some reason are treated as 'sh1t fish'. They are in fact awesome bundles of line stretching muscle and soo we were into them on very small Candies to match the bait. What awesome fun. We went north to look for other 'things' and found large bait balls being herded by all sorts of fish. Unlike the tuna workups, the predators on the big bait were very orderly, shadowing and picking off odd fish. My mate Steve picked up a large Golden Trev which fought like crazy. Later I hooked a horse of a goldie from the top of a bait ball, saw the eat and hit the fly in. The fish first went went deep, then wide and simply swam away at walking pace. I couldn't stop it. We trundled after it in the boat, I had my #9 Sage Salt HD bent as hard as I dared and the drag on the Abel at what I thought was an ideal setting to protect the 8kg tippet. It just kept swimming. And swimming. Clint told me to up the drag 2 clicks and I really wish I'd just said no. The hook pulled soon after. On the next bait ball I hit a fish that behaved strangely, first shooting away at pace then circling and circling.  After a decent fight we saw a Spanish Mack under the boat - with my leader being straight 8kg fluoro this just shouldn't have happened and I couldn't believe it when we boated the fish. He went into the hold for dinner. With the sun setting we headed back to base. So, species 2 firsts - Spanish Mack and Mack Tuna. Also, dropped a rod locker hatch on my Sage X #8 breaking it in 2 places. I'd (luckily) packed an exact spare...

Day 3. I was teamed with Gaz and we were on Wade's boat. Wade runs the opp and is a wealth of fishing info having left school at 15 to just go fishing. We ran out to look for tuna and soon Gaz and I had rods bent on Mack Tuna. The Longtails were present but popped up and down randomly, a pattern that repeated all week. They would be elusive... I threw an olive clouser on a long cast and as it sank below the tuna it was picked up. I fit that fish hard. It went away at an alarming pace and with Gaz hooked up on a tuna going in a different direction I made the call to chase and subdue Gaz's fish which when done we focused on mine. I'd been hooked up for 15 mins at that stage and finally began to regain line with small rod pumps. The fish went deep and began to circle.. Tuna or Trev? The answer became apparent when we saw a relatively huge (they max out at 90cm) Bludger Trevally - another first for me! We tried hard for a longtail to no avail, and then spent the rest of the morning up a smaller river in the estuary where we caught Golden Trevs, saw a Dugong, caught queenfish, a catfish, a Stout Tom. Heading back to the main river where our mothership was we found the entire lower river awash with queenfish smashing bait. Each of us caught one or more queens over a metre long. I've never seen them that consistently large in the past. We got into Giant Herring also but I couldnt land any as they threw hook after hook. Species firsts: Bludger Trev, Golden Trev, Catfish, Stout Tom.

Day 4. Gaz and I fished with Lee from his well appointed boat. Side scan was mint!  Again we chased tuna first thing. I was hooked to presumably a Mack Tuna which went deep when there was a bump and everything went slack. I knew straight away that the flyline was gone, along with leader, fly and fish. We surmised that  Spanish Mack had hit the loop to loop between line and backing. I had spare lines onboard so quickly rigged a 24 turn bimini and got a new line on. We caught smaller bludgers from a school under the boat and mack tuna before going looking for permit. (They just weren't there and later speaking to guys on other trips they had none with. I figured that there were approx 15 anglers in the general vicinity and none got permit in the week we were there).  Up the river I was playing a small queenie when a grouper simply smashed it beside the boat... pointing the rod I broke it off. We later caught goldies and small GTs, queens and various odds and sods. Lee had to leave for home so we jumped off and grabbed gins while the other crews fished on.

Day 5. Dion and I fished with Clint. This morning the tuna schools were different, with longtails circling the mack tuna carnage. We consistently were able to get in front of schools and put flies in front of the longtails and finally, I set the hook on one. The fight was more sedate than the mack tuna fight and after a while my longie was circling the boat. Clint leadered it and was about to tail it when it gave a thrust and the leader hit the prop. Leadered is caught in fly fishing, but I'd have loved a photo.  Dion soon hooked and landed a great longtail, after which we decided to go and look for permit. We worked some great flats to no avail. New species: Longtail tuna

Day 6. Steve and I fished with Wade. We went sth to a large river system, and setup an ambush zone, nailing GTs, Goldens and queenies in the rapid current where 2 systems met. This was the day of the biggest tides so getting over river bars needed good timing. With not much going on (full moon maybe?) we headed back to our home river system. Wade parked us on a sandbank near creek which we had driven up the afternoon before with 8' of water under the boat - BIG tides. We wandered up to a series of pools and began to cast at snags. Wade casually told me he'd spotted an 8' croc at the bottom of one pool downstream of me... I didn't go in more than ankle deep. Soon I hooked a wirenet cod and a little later on landed a barra. Turned out to be me only barra of the trip as our barra plan would be thwarted on the morrow. New species: Wirenet cod

Day 7. Last night the mothership sailed south on the high tide. The plan was to park and fish the Wenlock River for barra and threadfin salmon. Dion and I set off with the new guide Duane and soon I had a Fingermark aboard. Cool fish it ate a jerkily retrieved tan clouser. We went EVERYWHERE but the huge tides had displaced tons of mud and every side stream, creek, hollow for kms upstream was just a mess of murk. Only one boat scored fish this day, and they'd found a patch of clean water no longer than 200m and experienced 30 minutes of barra chaos. Hard to be disappointed after such epic fishing. 

Day 8 - Mapoon-Weipa-Carins. Moving day. Always a bit sad when a trip ends. Day 9 - Cairns-Ak.

Alright, let's talk flies. In effect I fished 2 main patterns: Candies in size 2 for tuna and (suigh) Clousers in various sizes for everything else. I *sigh* because I just hate fishing clousers, they are so ... well boring. But they were the most effective fly by miles. Hints: Tie the guide version without an underbody/tail on shank. One queenie bit and even if you set the body with UV epoxy or superglue your fly is as good as wrecked. Use synthetics for the wings, they last longer than natural bucktail. For the candies a white tail and body is perfect, we had mack tuna spew up their breakfast and it was like small pure white whitebait. Surface flies for queenies: Hard body poppers, again to resist teeth. I used a crease fly that lasted one bite before ditching that idea.

Finally. I'd go back. I probably will when travel costs are less silly. Best fishing place I've ever been to.

You cant eat my toast fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote WillP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2022 at 8:20pm
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wow what an awesome experience. An amazing variety of fishes. Have seen some of the photos and looks absolutely like heaven.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2022 at 4:04pm
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You cant eat my toast fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2022 at 4:05pm
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some trip shots
You cant eat my toast fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Jaapie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2022 at 8:30am
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Awesome results mate!

Should stay up there - there's nothing but rain here in Auckland.
"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2022 at 6:19am
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Kev, second half of the week was 'chilly' - I wore a puffer jacket on the boat one morning #snowflake Big smile
But man yeah, this rain....
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