There has always been a lot of interest in Game Fishing in Fiji Waters. Over the years early pioneers who had recognized the fishing potential of fish local waters told many a tale of their adventures with elusive Marlin and Sailfish. Billfish species are present in Fiji Waters along with a plethora of other giant sized pelagic species and the famous Fiji wahoo ‘that wouldn’t fit in a bath tub’.
Fiji was always going to be the perfect location to host an International Game Fishing Tournament, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight.
In 1972, the Game Fish Club of Fiji staged an International Billfish Tournament at the then Korolevu Beach Hotel – the only Billfish that was caught in that tournament was a Striped Marlin, which weighed around 93lbs. I was presented with a replica at the Royal Suva Yacht Club by Herb Marlow of Air New Zealand, which was a major sponsor of that first Billfish tournament.
When I set to compiling the Fiji National Records and instituted the Fiji Tournament Records, they were based on all known catches up to 1985. Unsurprisingly, some anglers were skeptical of the weight of the fish recorded by the Game Fish Club of Fiji as there didn’t seem to be anything of that size around anymore.
Fiji was always known for its giant Wahoo and men have set World Records for some monsters at various times. However it’s the Ladies who have been the most successful in setting World Records. Jan Bates and Sharon Light hold current records for Wahoo and Barracuda and Pauline Threadingham added 30lbs to the previous World Record for a Trevally, giant at that time. The 67lbs of fish put up a good long fight but eventually lost to the 30lb tackle. Angler Melvin Threadingham very nearly set a new World Record with the biggest Rod and Reel capture in Fiji waters. His Blue Marlin weighed in at 447kg on 37kg tackle -that’s more than 10 times the strength of the fishing line!
I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1977. However, like many of the teams that went before us, we were not overly successful. By the time I went back again the following year we had encountered enough Billfish of every description in Fiji Waters, but had not landed all that many. It was back at the HIBT, that I met Elwood K Harry the President of The International Game Fish Association who invited me to become an IGFA Representative for Fiji.
Should you be interested in participating in the Tag and Release Program or officially weighing your fish while cruising Fiji waters, then please get in touch with Harvie Probert on: 999 8500, President of the Fiji International Game Fishing Association for more information – or one of the other IGFA Representatives in Fiji, Pat Nelson, John Llanes and Marc McElrath.
The International Game Fish Association maintains and publishes the World Records for recognized Games Fishes and maintains these records for nearly 400 species around the world. Becoming a Member of IGFA is easy; and you can learn more about the various programs, competitions and rules and to receive World Record Publications.
(The History of Game Fishing in Fiji By Albert Threadingham)