Oneta Resort, Ono Island, Kadavu, Fiji Islands. Now that’s my kind of address.
Nestled on the North Eastern shore of Ono Island with very few neighbors, with the beautifully clear waters in and around the Astrolabe Reef, the third biggest Barrier Reef in the world surrounding this island. On an amazingly Green Island with Palm Trees and a variety of other flora and fauna that kept our imagination busy from the time we stepped ashore.
I can honestly say that I have now been to Paradise and luckily this time I was allowed to return to this life of normality. My family accompanied me to the fishing wonderland, which is both professionally owned and run by Mr Piero Piva (owner) and Mr John Flatt (Manager).
The Fijian staff of Oneta include: Simeli (the Fijian Superman), Elanoa (the chef at the time of our visit), and the delightful Miriama (housekeeper) who looked after everything the girls and I wanted around the resort. We could not forget “Joe” (groundsman) with whom I shared some recollection of Military Service, me with the Australian Army, and Joe a very proud ex member of the 7th Fiji Infantry Battalion.
L-R Miriama, Simeli, Elanoa
Oneta is more of a “traditional” setup where Bure (pronounce Booray to us mere Aussies) accommodation is the norm. Of course, the owners have made the Bure’s very much “Western” internally. We found our accommodation wonderfully comfortable and welcoming.
When a traveller books their experience for Oneta, they pay for all transfers (via the resort’s “Loloa” from Kadavu Airport to Ono Island), drink and food. Alcohol is available under a bar tab. The traveller needs for nothing, all is catered for and every so wonderfully so. The food on Oneta is something to behold, suited to all tastes, and an abundances we rarely reached the end of.
A member of the Australian Kayak Fishing Forum (AKFF) introduced me to Oneta, Derek Kennedy, via a fantastically captured visit report by Derek posted on that forum. His reports are available for reading at www.akff.net . Derek really assisted us in information to do with the visit and the ultimate pleasure of the loan of his Hobie Adventure Island Kayak. He simply could not do enough in terms of providing me information for fishing and kayaking in this area. However; I simply did not pay enough attention to Derek’s comments of “You’re going to need to go heavy”, mentioning the needs of 100 pound lines with 200 pound leaders etc.
A guy who has been for years thinking that 10 pound leader was insanely heavy just did not listen to Derek’s numbers, a very sorry mistake on my behalf, but the experience was still well worth the visit. Me and my 40 pound braid, 40 and 80 pound fluorocarbon leader material on a Shimano Sustain 4000 FE reel were purely and simply under gunned for the brutes of this region. This mistake will simply not happen again. Anyone who should visit this wonderful place, really should listen here. Don’t even pretend to think that light scales, finesse fishing will work in the region. It simply will not.
Before I go on I have to state that I did indeed go to this region with a heavier reel. I had taken a Daiwa 6000 Series “Saltist” spooled with 90-pound braided line. However; somewhere between packing it in my suitcase at home and arriving in Fiji, someone needed it more than I did. Sadly, it had been stolen from my suitcase along the way.
Your requirements for fishing and some of the experiences I had in this region are:
Jigging: Minimum 80 pound braid, 80-100 pound fluorocarbon leader (or steel) on at reel with at least 20 kg of drag. A good jigging rod with the power to quickly turn a brute of a fish from heading under the abundant reefs, something with at least 15 Kgs of power turning flexibility. Enormous Coral Trout, Red Bass, Blue Trevally, Coral Cod, Grouper are among the very many species that were caught during the charters I was a part of.
Casting (Poppers – huge Poppers at that): Same as for the Jigging setup but with a lengthier Rod. I was using a Shimano T Curve 7 foot Travel Rod 10-15 Kgs, this was the one highly suitable piece of kit I had with me. I rated this rod highly for a range of uses. The monstrously sized Giant Trevally (GTs) are the usual targets here. They are brutal on your gear and your skills, something I was sorely found lacking in this time.
Trolling: Heavy heavy heavy. Then when you think you have a heavy enough setup, go heavier. Minimum breaking strain leader material should be 200 pound. I would suggest the braid on the reel you choose (read four wheel drive winch) should be at least 100 pound. The monstrous Giant Trevally (GTs), huge Wahoo, Barracuda, Spanish Mackerel and Yellowfin Tuna were just some of the species I saw on my charters.
As previously mentioned, I was lucky enough to use a Hobie AI for a couple of different fishing sessions around the resort area itself. At one point I made it out to the outer reef (Astrolabe Reef). I felt totally comfortable in the AI, with the simple exception of not having heavy enough gear. I estimate that I lost 14 lures over three sessions in the AI. Not from lack of trying different things, the fish in this region just tore my choice of 40 pound braid and 40 pound fluorocarbon leader to pieces.
There were a few times that I know I managed to turn the fish and experienced some wonderful fights. On the very last of my casts for trolling from the AI, I had a monstrous hit that I managed to move away from a reef but there was simply no stopping this fish and I was soon spooled to the backing on my reel. Oh how I wished I had my 6000 series reel with the stronger line.
The Oneta Staff provides full and half-day charters, along with Snorkeling expeditions. One thing the visitor can be assured of is, if fishing; you will catch fish – huge fish, great fish. If snorkeling you’ll experience some of the clearest water with the most beautifully coloured coral and sea life on earth. Guided at all times by Simeli, the Fijian Superman, everyone has a sense of confidence and as much comfort as can be afforded in the, typically beautiful, conditions.
I will most certainly return to Oneta again in my lifetime. How many times will only be restricted by availability time. Financially, this experience may seem that it would be incredibly expensive. The opposite is true, please contact the Resort via their webpage for rates and packages that can be provided. One very special package that John (the Manager) mentioned to us had to be heard to be believed. I’ll let him do that, somebody would think I have lost my senses if I repeated it here.
I put together a small video of our experience.
Thanks for reading / watching.