As Fijians, we have an intense awareness
of the skies above our heads,
the waves beneath our feet, and of where the
fish come to feed — says Magnus Mitchell,
Marine Manager at COMO Laucala Island.
It’s ancient knowledge that
helps us pick the right fishing spots.
For thousands of years, the South Pacific was an ocean territory navigated by stars, wind, moon and tides. It’s a tradition that remains strong in Fiji despite modern instruments and technological advances. Many continue to rely on stories and songs told through generations, and first-hand knowledge derived from the observation of celestial patterns. The result is a close connection with the rhythms of the natural world, which you can feel in the intuitive, easygoing pace of a stay on COMO Laucala Island.
According to Fijian oral tradition, there are important signs on land to look for if you’re planning a voyage: frogs calling loudly in the evening is a warning that heavy rain will fall overnight; red clouds in the morning signal a windy, rainy afternoon. When the heron flies inland, or the bees build their hives at low levels, stormy weather is on its way. When the migratory Pacific Golden Plover makes an appearance, and a wineberry or Fijian nutmeg tree flowers, it marks the end of the cyclone season.
When you take a boat trip with our Fijian crews, they will share these stories — and many more, whether you join a sunset cruise on our 1970s classic sailing yacht, or a guided kayaking excursion to see the birds in the channel between COMO Laucala Island and Qamea Island. Our fleet of boats allows for a wide variety of activities, from complimentary inner reef sailing — including Hobie Cats, Phantoms, Nacras, Lasers and Dragon — to skipper-led excursions beyond the limits of the barrier reef.
But of all our marine adventures, it is the fishing traditions which we love talking about most. We want to share how our knowledge of the ocean’s rhythms will help you catch the best fish, travelling in luxury on our Riviera 41 Flybridge yacht. This is the boat we use for our deep-sea fishing trips, or fishing in the inner lagoons. It has two cabins, and can be chartered for overnight excursions.
Although the ocean is warm year-round, the waters around COMO Laucala Island are at their busiest between November and March, when huge shoals of wahoo, tuna, mahi-mahi, marlin, grouper and Spanish mackerel flicker through the depths. This has always been the high season for seafood gathering in Fiji. In the old days, men would fish from canoes, surging beyond the beaches, while women gathered among the reefs, mudflats and freshwater streams. Each year, whole communities would join a yavirau, or fish drive, using tightly woven vines wrapped with coconut fronds to chase the fish towards shallower water to be caught.
The moon’s phases are one of the most important indicators of good or bad fishing. A new moon or a full moon will always herald the best catches because there are big tides. The moon is tied to the tides, and the bigger the tides, the more active the fish. An incoming tide always brings better water clarity and nutrient-rich currents. That’s when the fish are most likely to be searching for a snack. Some prefer to fish during the exact days of the new and full moons; I have always had better luck two days afterwards.
You’ve got to get the time of day right too: our forefathers learned that the best time to fish was early in the morning, while the water is still cool and the sun is just rising. We still practise early-morning fishing at COMO Laucala Island for inshore and deep-sea fishing trips.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for expert-led coaching or an experienced fisher hoping to land one of Fiji’s famous yellowfin tuna, the waters beyond the lagoons offer an abundance of blue marlin, black marlin, wahoo, Pacific sailfish, giant trevally and dolphin fish. Our Riviera 41 Flybridge yacht costs $2000 (four hours) or $3500 (more than four hours).