By Capt. Chris Donato
Polynesians have been fishing the waters of Samoa for many centuries, traditionally with homemade canoes, bone hooks and hand lines. Yet only in recent years has sportfishing kicked off in Samoa, an unspoiled Blue Marlin hot spot worthy of attention.
Independent Samoa is located in the Southwestern Pacific and is one of the largest islands in the Polynesian chain. It is located about 600 miles northeast of Fiji and is made up of two main islands, Savaii and Upolu. Our 37-foot Merritt is based out of Salani Surf and Fishing lodge on Upolu’s south side, where we run charters mainly focusing on Blue Marlin.
A Career in Samoa
I have been fishing professionally here in Samoa for eight years. The first few years were spent logging bite locations, current directions, water temps and fish size trends. This logging was the only way to figure out the bite and the seasons here. Not having anyone to go off made the early years a lot of trial and error. It was basically all pioneer days out here for the Blue Marlin fishery. However, over time, trends and seasons began to materialize in my logs.
You can catch Blue Marlin here all year round. But from what I have gathered, our best season in Samoa is November-April, when the Big Blues are spawning. In those months we can average five-six bites a day, but we have had up to 10. Most fish are medium size. However, one in three will be a “real one” (500+ pounds). We caught a 1,025-pound Blue in the month of November, so there are grander class fish here. I even believe there are fish here beyond the 1,000 mark. Having had many a conversation with old-time commercial fisherman in Samoa, its hard not to get excited about their stories of Blue Marlin too big to pull up on their longline vessels, of fish so big they pop breakers on their electronic winches. These are Blues way over 1000+ lbs.
The local boats here have countless stories of having 50 and 80 wides stripped clear of all their line in just under a minute. They all have had many encounters with XL-sized blues. However, most are lost due to tackle. None of the other boats pull heavy tackle, as their primary target is mahi-mahi. Ahi and wahoo of 130 pounds are considered overkill, and leaders over 300 pounds are unheard of.
On Leilani, our 37-foot Merritt we are looking for these bigger fish and only pull 130’s, unless we’re pitch baiting light tackle. I believe Samoa has the potential to produce several shots a year at grander class Blues for serious anglers willing to put in the time on the water. Samoa is most definitely a heavy tackle fishery just waiting to be exposed to the masses. Last February on Leilani, we pulled the hook after 2 hours on another potential grander blue, which made our 1,025-pound fish look small in comparison. So if you’re looking to pioneer a new big fish Blue Marlin destination, then come on down to the treasured Islands of the South Pacific.
Capt Chris Donato