Surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean it’s hard to imagine a more versatile fishing destination than Fiji. If you’re a keen angler and can’t land a fish in Fiji, well you’re really not trying. Fishing charter operators offer tag and release opportunities for species like GT’s (giant trevally), mahi mahi (dolphin fish), marlin, wahoo and tuna. GT’s are known to inhabit waters around the Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas as well as Wakaya and Gau Islands in the Koro Sea, For those that want to take home their catch, (or rather, hand it over to their resort chef), Spanish mackerel and coral trout are highly prized catches. Lovo feasts are a unique way to enjoy freshly caught seafood. Cooked in an earth oven, fish, pork, chicken and root vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and left to cook in a pit over hot rocks and coals. A couple of hours later the food is unwrapped containing a moist smoky flavour. It’s a ‘must do’ while in Fiji, made even more special if you can contribute your days catch to the feast.
For some locals, like the 260-odd inhabitants of northern Kia Island for example, fishing provides a much needed source of both income and food. It’s not about sport, it’s about sustaining a family or village. Traditionally subsistence farmers, Fijians have a strong cultural link to fishing. Ownership of fishing grounds which extend to the outer reef in many cases governs who can fish the waters. Just like land rights, traditional fishing area rights are defined by village elders who determine use can fish and in what capacity. Even today, fishermen visiting some sacred fishing sites are required to obtain special permission and to undertake certain rituals before fishing.
The Fijian word for boat is waqa (pronounced wong-a), and there are plenty of opportunities to board a waqa in order to drop a line in. Live aboard charters with a fishing focus depart from Suva, Lautoka or Port Denarau, while smaller day trips are on offer almost everywhere. You could find yourself on any type of boat from the ubiquitous banana boat through to luxury game boats with all the bells and whistles for affluent anglers.
The Yasawa Islands have easy access to offshore blue water on the western side if you’re chasing pelagic species. To the east of the Yasawas Bligh Water is a vast open water fisherman’s playground protected from offshore swells by outer reef to the north, Vanua Levu to the east and Viti Levu to the south. Whether your style is inshore reef fishing or offshore deep sea sport fishing Fiji has most bases covered.
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