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Old 09-14-2009, 11:48 PM   #1
Herby
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Tongatapu

Just got back from a week in Tongatapu with 3 mates. We were guided by Ben (coral sniper) aboard his awesome boat 'Diversion'.
We got onto a few fish, including dogtooth tuna, jobfish, emperors, coral trout, mangrove jacks, trevally, several snappers, napolean wrasse, parrots, mu, bream....... the list goes on and on and on.
If you ever end up in Tonga look Ben up, he really knows his stuff.
I went with a list of five fish I wanted and ticked off three of them, the other two give me a reason to go back next year. Stoked with my first mu!







Last edited by Herby; 10-05-2009 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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Re: Tongatapu

Holy ****ing Napoleon, nice fish. What did that pig weigh? Nice doggie as well.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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Re: Tongatapu

Ha ha ha, that Napoleon gonna piss off a lot of divers. I saw one off zanzibar as big as a cow, I also was tempted to plug it, but did not see myself eating 400 pounds of wrasse.

Nice fish.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: Tongatapu

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Ha ha ha, that Napoleon gonna piss off a lot of divers. I saw one off zanzibar as big as a cow, I also was tempted to plug it, but did not see myself eating 400 pounds of wrasse.

Nice fish.

I'm not that much of a diver, but what a fvkin waste!!! the napoleon is already endangered on most of the worlds reefs, and its definatly awesome to see one while diving. It's not like taking a giant trevally or other big fish that may 1) be less endangered and 2) simply be less magestic to just see.
I love spear fishing, but I set my own limits because I know there is a community out there that lives to see these awesome reef fish. It's a shame that others preffer to have a nice trophy picture instead.
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:57 PM   #5
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Re: Tongatapu

Please don't start up the 'its a majestic fish so lets protect it' crap-it is an emotional justification, not a logical one.
In Tongatapu these fish are not endangered like they are in other parts of the world, in fact I saw more of them than I saw jobfish, or dogtooth. They are hunted in Tongatapu, and as such have become very weary of divers.
None of the fish we got was wasted (unless you count burley as waste? if so then yeah we did waste a little bit), all the fish we brought back was consumed by either us, or locals.
If you want to rip into me, by all means go ahead, but I made an informed decision to shoot it, and I stand by it. 63.3kg
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:10 AM   #6
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Re: Tongatapu

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Please don't start up the 'its a majestic fish so lets protect it' crap-it is an emotional justification, not a logical one.
In Tongatapu these fish are not endangered like they are in other parts of the world, in fact I saw more of them than I saw jobfish, or dogtooth. They are hunted in Tongatapu, and as such have become very weary of divers.
None of the fish we got was wasted (unless you count burley as waste? if so then yeah we did waste a little bit), all the fish we brought back was consumed by either us, or locals.
If you want to rip into me, by all means go ahead, but I made an informed decision to shoot it, and I stand by it. 63.3kg
Herby,

Good on you for sticking up for what you have done especially if it's legal. I could go on and on about how many of those I have seen diving around the world.
Sure maybe some places they should not be hunted but like you said some places just have lots of them everywere, and the meat is good eating as well.

And damb you must be a small guy cause your pic makes it look every bit of 200 lbs or better.

Eric
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:12 AM   #7
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Re: Tongatapu

Still, I cant help but "feel" that it's a shame to kill it. Too bad for them being weary of divers because of this.

On a side note, are there any fishing regulations in tongatapu that are at all followed? I ask because in the dominican republic, where I come from, there are none. Years ago there were all sorts of good sized fish all over the island, now you can't find anything over 6" within a mile of the coast. Local spearo's shoot anything big enough to go on the spear and still have an ounce of meat left. Major shame there too.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Tongatapu

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Still, I cant help but "feel" that it's a shame to kill it.
First off, this is not a personal attack. With that said, if you're feeling remorse about the killing of a fish then you're in the wrong sport. If I have chance to kill a personal best and be within legal limits, as well as have it be okay with the locals of wherever you are diving, I damn sure am going to take that bad boy down. Great wrasse, congrats.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:50 AM   #9
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Re: Tongatapu

A few more pics



Not bad for swimming off the beach aye?
Long John, without a camera in hand, dealt to a nice jobbie



Ben shot a hummer of a Mu

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We got a few trout, and I lost an OK sized coronation trout.



Matto drilled a monty bi-colour parrot, only a couple of hundred grams off the world record



We had a bit of fun on the sand with schools of these critters



Sitting your ass on the sand and busting out a wee bit of bottom time and in they'd come. It was great fun, similar to shooting tarakihi (jackass morwong) here.

Of course as soon as I picked up a camera the fish were all over me. I had a doggie come say hi, and found a school of maybe 50 spangleys milling around me. Its a shame I'm no good at taking photos, this was the best I could manage:



Anyone with half decent camera skills would have had a ball!



Apart from the orthodox 25-35 metre viz tropicl diving you'd expect, we also did a bit of inshore wreck diving in viz that maxed out at 5 metres.... much like we are used to in NZ.
one wreck was sitting in 30 metres, with the top at about 20. We got a few mangrove jacks and a few fat trout off it;





The other wrecks were in about 20 metres with the tops in 16. they all had a lot of life on them but a bit of extre viz wouldn't have gone amiss, the shallow ones gave us baracuda, surgeons, mangrove jacks and 2-3 meters viz.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:56 AM   #11
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Re: Tongatapu

Looks like an awesome trip! Congrats on the toad Napolean
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:10 AM   #12
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Re: Tongatapu

real cool pics man! any more......
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: Tongatapu

I like the bamboo outriggers! Great fish
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:09 PM   #14
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Re: Tongatapu

Awesome fish man! I live and hunt in the Marshall Islands. I guess dependin on location and their numbers its not so bad after all. On a recent dive I counted 10 of them. they're awesome and very tuff to catch.

on a funny note, my local dive buddy was dragged in the water after shooting one with a 3prong!!! thats' how islanders roll!!!
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:29 AM   #15
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Re: Tongatapu

Miami Spear,

How did that decision to go to the Marshalls turn out? Must be awesome!

Nice fish. The Spangled Emporer in particular is a prize. If you want those underwater photos to "Pop" try changing the "levels" in a photoshop or another photo program.

Herby.... I'm trying not to sound like a jerk here, I've had some experiences in the past with visiting spearfishermen coming over to Indonesia thinking they are in the middle of nowhere, and shooting Big Napoleons that were near tame and that we used to enjoy diving with for years..if you come over to Indonesia, the local fisherman would encourage you to shoot the Napoleons as well. It's tough for them to get them with the dynamite or cyanide since their usually a bit deep or in the current. But, you will definitely piss off the local spearfishermen myself included and we might encourage you to dive elsewhere.. My problem with killing Napoleons is that they are residential and don't seem to re-populate.. I wonder how old that fish was?.. we used to have quite a few of them. Then one by one, visiting divers checked them off their list. Now, I can't bring my 1Oyr old son out and let him feed them bannanas. I guess that's not a concern for visitors. Atleast you landed that one........ did you plug any others and have them break off or head for the reef in 15Oft of water with a shaft through them? Come clean.. I'm all for shooting what you are going to eat. Those other fish are great. Dogtooth Tuna and Jobfish are great eating, semi pelagic species that run in schools. When was the last time you saw a school of giant Napoleons? I just don't see the reason for shooting a 2OOlb Napoleon when you are visiting an island, on a trip, and have a boat full of snapper and tuna. It's just a trophy, a photo.. and ofcourse if you post up a photo of yourself holding a big Napoleon, you already know you are going to catch some flak. Hopefully you filleted that big beautiful Napoleon yourself and ate it rather than just passing it off to some local fishermen..
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