Tonga Top Water Fishing madness

Topwater Madness

Kurt was only a 40-minute boat drive away from his favourite fishing spots.
As we chatted away and finally approached the spot and it was time to rig up a popper!
When opening my tackle box he was very impressed by the biggest popper; give that black/pink beauty a go.
Straight away the biggest one aye I laughed.

With bait balls surrounding the boat, I nervous started to cast.
After throwing not even a hand full of the cast the first Gt came out of the blue and smashed it spectacular.
For a split second, I felt stunned, I was kind of expecting this but was I ready for this so quick?

The line was peeling off fast but it didn’t take long until my focus regained and started to lock the drag tight as.
With a deep bend in the rod, I was very impressed with the power they took off.
After not even a few minutes fighting sweat started to break out and Kurt laughed; this is only a warm-up guy.
He was right; it wasn’t the 20kg plus GT where I’ve had been dreaming off.
This felt already big and powerful; would my setup handle bigger ones??
With colour coming up towards the boat it didn’t take long until I had my first Toga Gt in my hands.
Not the biggest but a good start, as Kurt had said: a nice warm-up guy!

Clever Giant Travelly

After working the bait balls for another half hour it looked like the GT’s where not there anymore. One more cast and then we move on to another spot. As I was keen to move spots I was retrieving my popper a bit faster than normal and suddenly I saw this big GT caching it and missed a couple of times.
It was obvious; he wanted it and he would get it! While slowing down my retrieve a bit I saw this big mouth opening and gulping the popper away. Then I experienced a real big GT take off!
Line peeled off my screaming reel and he went straight down towards the bottom.

Then I made this big rookie mistake. I wanted to put the rod in the gimblet way to quickly and might not have secured the hook the fully 100%. The fish got away. I looked surprised at Kurt, how that happened? You had to let him run a bit longer and should be jigged the rod few more times before you place the rod in the gimblet. Common rooky mistake, your big one got away Boris!

Run = Fun

As the tide was starting to come in a bit faster I was hoping the big fish really would go on the bite. No run, No fun they say with GT fishing; was it going to fire up big time??

Arrived at this really promising spot I got totally excited to catch now a monster GT. My first cast towards a bommie sticking out of the water got rewarded with a nice Red Bass.
They fight hard and are well-known by catch for GT poppers. Not always loved as they tend to make their way to their coral homes really quick snapping off expensive poppers.
I was really happy to catch this mean looking Red Bass, it stopped me thinking about the big one who got away.

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3 casts later my popper got hammered by a small GT. I had false hooked the fish and when getting the fish close to the boat the popper came undone and shot with a high speed over my head. Wow, that was close… Those moments you realize again how dangerous fishing can be.
The last thing you want is a popper hitting your head followed by a sharp big ass single hooks…

After a few more cast towards the bommie my popper got taken by another littleish GT.
I say now little as there are literally monster swimming around. Those puppies still require a lot of drag and put on a crazy fight and are heaps of fun.

As we drifted off towards other spots with nothing much happening and had got exhausted from working that big black/pink popper on the top water I decided to switch to stickbaits.

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Stickbait fever

Stickbaiting was a totally new thing for me and I was happy to switch over as they are a bit easier for you. I tried first a few sinking stick baits but I didn’t feel right.
After seeing those fish exploding towards the water surface to smash a popper this felt boring.
Popping is just so unbelievably excited because it gets so visual.
Then I decided to try a floating stick bait that also had a bit of a surface so it still blooped and skipped beautiful across the water surface. This was much more fun as I could see what I was doing. Visual fishing always gets me pumped!

We worked a deep channel between 2 reefs for a while and suddenly this big fish was trying to hit the stick bait hard but missed maybe 4 or 5 times. When it finally got a hold of the stick bait I set the hook and the fish shot off with an incredibly high speed.
While I was trying to slow down the fish from the ultra-fast run I could see Kurt also switched on.
Now you got a big one on! Try to stop him and get this angle out of your rod soon as possible.

I cranked the drag full-on tight and slowly I was getting control over the fight again.
After few speedy smoking drags runs it was clear: it wasn’t a GT. It was ad Doggy!
With landing my first Dog Tooth Tuna I was perplexed, I just couldn’t believe the size of it. I had stopped a 25kg Doggy on my awesome light budget gear! So stoked!

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Going out with a boom!

With not much fishing time left, it was almost time to head back to shore. I certainly was happy having caught that big Doggy, those “small GT’s ” and Red Bass but I still couldn’t stop thinking about that one big one who got away in the beginning.
That was going to be the highlight of my fishing expedition. That’s why I had come to Tonga, to catch a GT heavier than 20 kg.

My body was exhausted and my mind was satisfied with catching those fish but with still fishing time left I was hoping to get that big last GT. I was contemplating to switch back to a popper and then halfway down my retrieve, my stick bait got taken down.
In a flash, I’ve had seen this big mouth opening to grab the bait down into the blue.
Without having to think twice I set the hook.
With a good bend in the rod and rapidly line going through the drag, I started to feel excited.
Is this going to be the fish I was hoping for? My 20 kg plus?
This is the one I’m after I could feel it. While getting more excited I also got a bit nervous.
You start thinking about everything that can go wrong.  Would I be able to stop this? Am I putting to much pressure on the fish? Would my knots hold? ….
Hooking a Gt is something but landing one is something else as most Gt fishermen know; You win and you lose some.
You only feel confident and relieved when you get to hold that fish in your arms smiling in front of the camera; I got him!

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Satisfied with my Giant Trivally

With releasing my last fish, a 20 kg plus GT I was totally satisfied. It had been a mint day with unbelievable spectacular catches.
It was time to go back to the main island to let it sink all trough and to order that well deserved cool beer after all that hard work! I was destroyed in a good way # Pop till ya drop!