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Game Fishing, On the Hook

Country girl Tiffany Carroll admits to being a little inept when it comes to game fishing but that doesn’t stop her getting hooked in Nauru where the experts claim you’re guaranteed success.

March 27, 2019
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Tiffany Carroll

Tiffany Carroll

March 27, 2019

For a country girl, I’ve always had a pretty weak stomach. Memories of upending the worm bucket on a summer river fishing trip ensured I would never be invited back again.

Years later, on my very first trip to Nauru I was told the island nation had some of the best sport and game fishing in the world. You’re all but guaranteed to catch a marlin, they told me.

“Maybe next time,” was always my response.

If I couldn’t handle worms being put on a hook, how was I going to go on the high seas fishing for the kings of the ocean?

But this time, my fifth visit to Nauru I’d run out of excuses.

Equatorial Game Fishing Charters, part of the Capelle and Partner conglomerate is operated by the Oppenheimer family. This long term Nauruan/Irish family is well regarded on the island, with patriarch Sean recently being elected to parliament in Nauru.

Sean’s eldest son Kenneth has taken the reigns of the charter business and is doing so with a stride and a smile.

“Okay Kenneth, it’s time for me to see what you’ve been on about,” I said on arrival to Nauru.

Before I could find my sea legs, the boats were polished and prepared and I was headed for the equator.

“We normally fish on Sundays – my only day off,” Kenneth said.

“But for special charters, I’m happy to go out,” he said with a cheeky grin.

Nauruans are known for their fishing skills, the island nation has very little vegetation (with the exception of a new hydroponic business featured elsewhere in Pacific Island Living) so the locals have been casting lines for years.

The waters are supposedly full of sport and game fish and with the depth dropping down to over 2000m just 50m from shore, tales of catching tuna from the mainland are believable.

On the Saturday we went out, Kenneth and his team of jovial deckhands had loaded the boats full of refreshments, sunscreen and state of the art fishing equipment.

Catch of the day. Rebecca and Danial

Professional fisherman Danial would be our guide, preparing gear and reassuring us we were in good hands. Danial fishes seven days a week and there’s rarely a day he doesn’t catch ‘the big one’.

Deckhand George, a super fit and super cheeky Nauruan was quick with a drink and to take over the line when it got too much for our inexperienced hands. Later in the day he showed us the ‘jigging’ technique of fishing. I must admit I thought he was having a lend of us at the time, but later found jigging to be a tried and tested method of fishing that whilst looking rather ridiculous, actually works.

Jigging is the practice of fishing with a jig, a type of fishing lure. A jig consists of a lead sinker with a hook moulded into it and usually covered by a soft body to attract fish. Jigs are intended to create a jerky, vertical motion, as opposed to spinnerbaits which move through the water horizontally.

Ocean transport for the day.

The 6.2m Bar Crusher (Big day out) and 7m Australian Master Marine (True Blue) boats both comfortably carry five fishermen each. Equatorial Game Fishing can arrange full catering, or you can bring your own snacks and drinks.

Today we were chasing Yellowfin tuna, Sailfish and Marlin. The latter two would prove elusive but the tuna were biting.

In just four hours my colleague Rebecca had hooked several tuna and whilst she was delighted with the results, Kenneth and the crew seemed disappointed.

“Sorry we couldn’t get a marlin for you,” they said.

It didn’t bother us at all.

All fish caught are eaten, no species goes to waste and the crew is diligent in ensuring small catch are returned to the sea.

During our trip we stayed at Capelle’s Ewa Lodge, a purpose built guesthouse for fishermen and women, business travellers and visitors to Nauru.

Rooms range from oversized fully self-contained apartments to smaller business rooms. With back-up generators and the island’s best water pumps, guests are assured of getting home from a hot day at work (or fishing) to a cold beer in the fridge, a hot shower and welcome air conditioning.

The Lodge is located behind Capelle and Partner supermarket, which has recently expanded to include a Bakers Delight standard bakery, café, bottle shop and Digicel outlet.

Full and half-day charters are available and packages to Nauru including fishing, flights and accommodation at Ewa Lodge are available through Nauru Airlines.

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