March started as February ended with sunny, calm to often windless and subsequenty hot weather. Right on the 1st German repeater Dietmar enjoyed all that after three years ago he fished here in really bad weather. The half day we did this time was with Brandon on Island Rhythm and the conditions made it a bit tough both jigging as well as for the trolling part. But a trip with a Sailfish released is always a nice one and mate Winsley did an excellent job hooking this very undecided fish.
There were unusually many Sailfish around for this time of the year. Not only the Praslin boats saw and caught them but also German angler Markus´ party had a good day out of Mahe with Bruce releasing two and catching some more fish trolling and jigging.
One more we saw but did not hook on a day with Austrian lady angler Ilse along a trolling and bottom fishing trip with Brandon on the new Island Rhythm. I had not been on the boat since they had bought and redone it and it turned out really nice. Fishing along that again all calm and extremely hot day was okay in the cooler morning hours while we trolled as you can see but the bottom fishing in no drift somewhat slow with Groupers and Shark troubles.
Generally speaking the trolling was working better on the plateau as compared to the Drop Off on most of these days with KawaKawas, Dorados and especially Wahoos pleasing the anglers with frequency like here on Greg`s Amberjack.
Their boat also did a lot of inshore spinning and popping. The GTs were rather uncooperative but really decent Bluefin Trevallies were all over the places and other stuff like big Jobfish, Yellowspotted Trevallies and Bohar Snappers in the mix.
The even better and often spectacular fishing was still to be found at the Drop Off in terms of jigging. With March bringing reliably fishable conditions the jigging groups came in and the boats were busy. Brandon and guests had a fantastic day on Unreel with a vast of quality fish.
And on top came this splendid Doggie he weighed later at 49kg.
Next day it was no such monster but still quality jigging with loads of Amberjacks.
That same day Mervin started to fish with Israeli regulars Erez and his wife on Lady C.
Again one day later I went with Brandon on Unreel for German novice Daniel to troll and jig the Drop. With a bit of wind and slight chop we found some smaller fish activity right inside the edge and then trolled the deep water for something big. Small Yellowfin Tuna were boiling for miles that morning but we did not get a knock from those or anything larger that might have been interested in those. So we went jigging instead just to find the bite also nearly dead and trolling later again had to be happy with a single Wahoo.
We all thought it had been just a slow day but getting home the beautiful Albermarle that I had fished on a few times with the previous owner and that was recently acquired by Martin had just tied up. It was their first Drop Off day with the boat just with friends and it could not have gone better with 2 Sailfish, a Marlin caught and another lost on the leader plus this 77kg Yellowfin. That`s what I call a maiden trip.
We had seen them out there going up and down in our vicinity so were left head scratching. Even more so as they unloaded some quality jigging fish and also Island Rhythm did well that way. Obviously we had managed to manouver past all the fish and the bite times somehow. If the bite came back the next day is unknown as nobody went out there. Instead Mervin and his group popped for GTs raising a few but no luck. The following morning I went with Greg and German repeater Jens for exactly that on Amberjack. And see there: amidst some smaller but still welcome fish along this very hot half day we got one.
Next day the solid jigging bite at the Drop was back and enjoyed by Mervin`s group who had a special day. The smaller of the Doggies he said weighed at 50kg and the bigger one at 73kg.
Again a day later it was not quite as good but still solid and it looks they found a nest of these spectacular Thresher Sharks seeing a few more because they are not so common and catching two in consecutive days is quite special.
Brandon also had been out there once more and did even better.
On the 15th the so far all stable weather changed. Just some rain and a little more northerly wind for a start but the next morning it was suddenly blowing from southeast at around 12 knots. Both Greg with a guest as well as Sandro with Stephan from bluewaterfishing.eu had fished on the plateau around an island south of Praslin and found plain nothing. If just the area had been dead that day or if the shift of wind slowed the fishing everywhere is hard to say as no-one else went out that day. Still Greg got his guest a few fish around Praslin but Stephan also out the next day fishing around the island said it was pretty lifeless.
This shift of the wind cleared up the bay at my place and tides were perfect for early morning fly fishing but as I somehow lifted a townail I was not allowed in the water. Bad enough but it would have been worse if the Bigeye Mackerel had already been here as every year and with them the larger predators. Jens who got that GT spin-fished a lot but without the bait it was a far cry from the perfect situation he experienced three years ago. Nevertheless all that fishing done along the first two weeks would have made for a solid mid month report but with the forecast turning erratic and not knowing what if anything was still to come I refrained from doing it. Indeed the weather got instable with occasional rains and more importantly winds changing in direction and strength all the time. Those few days of southeast up to 12 knots did the fishing no good as French guests Francois-Xavier and his wife Isa found out along two half days of GT popping and plateau jigging on Lady C. The only GT hooked came away and casting catches were limited to a few Sharks and Pickhandle Barracudas. The jigging was also sub par considering the usual high frequency but some Yellowspotted Trevallies and Bludger Kingfish gave them bits to pull.
Along the following days we kept experiencing not only occasional rainfalls but these very shifty winds. Not strong most of the time with just a single day of about 14kn north but some days changing diections multiple times or dying off completely. This gave the boats a rather difficult time. The usual trolling trips on the plateau produced countless KawaKawas but apart from another Sailfish for Brandon on the 24th not much else as the smaller gamefish would hardly show up. Mervin meanwhile had a group for jigging at the Drop Off for a week but complained about at times pumping and else very shiftly current. Catches were okay but not spectacular apart from a Sailfish on popper. Was hoping to get some pics but the guests never sent them. On the 27th Brandon went jigging out there too, and reported pretty much the same. But they had a very special catch in the shape of this absolutely massive Coral Trout.
Meantime I sat at home nursing that toe and also my left shoulder that became increasingly painful since January but at least got that problem diagnosed and exercises to get it right. Doing these I observed the bay for the Mackerel which never came this year for the first time since I live here. Sort of good timing for me as I could hardly have managed all that casting and fast stripping but it was of course sad for Jens who tried hard here without much success and got a few fish on the other side of the island where a little bait had come in. But it was a short spell and just Erez and his wife who happened to be accommodated just there had a good time shore spinning for a few days.
So unusually for a March report no cool fly catches from Praslin this time. Even Stephan with whom and those Permits we had such a great time last year on the west flat could not find those any more despite trying every day for the week he spent here after his trip to Farquhar with my buddy Marco. Fishing there had also been tough except for a magic day when they both got a Flats Grand Slam. Here is Marco`s.
Stephan actually managed to top his up to a Super Slam as he got that Trigger on top. Fantastic stuff.
The last few days went along rather uneventful. Only Brandon reported solid jigging once more last night.
With my shoulder improving at last and the mooring here at my place prepared I will bring the boat home one of these days. And then while probably not going hardcore right away hopefully be able to fish again.
The first 3 weeks of the month brought nothing but frustration here on the fishing front. While it is normal at this time to have periods of strong winds interrupted by calmer spells those welcome interruptions were completely missing this February. I remember exactly one day when the wind unexpectedly dropped just below 15 knots but just for a few hours. A few boats tried to troll a bit but mostly the anglers couldn`t cope and catches were rather mediocre to be honest with the odd Dorado or a Wahoo like this one caught on Sandro`s Frenzy by Stefan and Lene.
That mentioned slighly calmer day they even went to the Drop Off but conditions were tough and on top all Doggies hooked were taken by the Sharks. Along a few small island excursions and transfers they also jigged a bit in the protection of Praslin which at least produced a couple of better fish.
It was not before the 18th that the weather became realistically fishable and even pleasant so prolific German angler Timo went for a half day GT popping with Mervin on Lady C. We were all eager and optimistic after the long wait but despite all efforts and Mervin stretching that half day to over 7hrs just a handful of Jobfish and Pickhandle Barracudas were caught along with the releases of that Shark and the baby Geet.
Five proper ones raised were not aggressive and the only one hooked up came away. Am feeling really sorry for Timo who fished hard until the very last cast but must say he took it like the pro he is. Next morning another trip was due with Michael and his wife Birge also from Germany but poking the nose out the door at 5:30 meant two quick phone calls and back to the pillows as the weather against the forecast had turned sour again. Only along the afternoon of the 22nd the wind really faltered so next morning we went. Just that by then the wind had reduced to merely a breath and it got so hot the anglers had a hard time. On top the GTs once more were sluggish with just two lackluster ones raised and three Sharks released. Also the usually productive jigging on the plateau was sub par with Groupers and Jobfish, two Rainbow Runners and a small Doggie.
The next day it remained hot which did not help the trolling boats and Brandon was a bit unhappy that his guest`s quest for a Marlin at the Drop Off was not successful but I think getting a handful of smaller gamefish in such weather is a reasonably good result. The following morning greeted with a welcome breeze when we headed out for the first of three trips with Swiss angler Armin and his until then not really fishing Slovakian friend David. So with Mervin we went for GT popping and plateau jigging on Lady C but the Geets remained uncooperative with 3 undetermined ones raised. Jigging though was much better than two days ago in a steady again current. Some 60 or so of the usual suspects were caught and about 30 more stolen by the Sharks. Usually along with the jigs of course. Adrenaline came from a bit of Doggie action with one breaking an ultratiny assist line, one smashing a Jobfish just brought to the surface racing through all other lines causing a proper mess, and this one badly mutilated. Of course caught by David who showed talent and developed quite a liking for the jigging it seemed.
The following morning we all headed to the Drop Off in again a few more knots of wind and finding a strong current in line speeding us from deep to shallow. All in all it turned out a tough day as there was no trace of the Tuna and jigging fish were nearly completely off. Still some 40 or so caught but nearly all rather small and unspectacular despite Mervin trying everything and everywhere.
Only highlight was this GT which is a rather rare catch on the eastern drop. Had witnessed only two along several hundred trips out there so was quite happy to have caught it but same time a bit embarassed that it had to come to me just when I dropped David`s jig as he wanted a little break. But he did not want the fully bent rod back and was honestly happy for me.
Their last trip yesterday provided a very different and much more lively experience for our party literally strengthened by German angler Volker: it was a lot calmer with less drift allowing to jig deeper which was rewarded with a constantly good bite. We lost count but it must have been around 30 Amberjacks released along with some smaller fish and lots more taken away by the Sharks. These absolutely loved Armin who instantly got smashed by an ugly +100kg one that he and Volker brought up after quite a while and ran into more battles long and short until one snapped his rod. Tuna on the surface we only saw once but nearby and wanted to race there. As Armin reeled up his jig it was hit midwater and what we reckon by the style of the run must have been one of the really big Yellows just spooled him but he admirably remained cheerful all along. Add visits of half a dozen Whale Sharks to make it all a really entertaining day with a perfect group.
Back on shore I met Sandro who we had seen jigging a little further inside and later heading out far onto the deep. He said the jigging was slow but he found the Tuna out there. Still they were unlucky as out of 9 hooked some were unstoppable and the other taken by Sharks except for a single one. But at least they are still here and also the big ones obviously. As I understood he will continue to fish with his group for a few more days and as long as the weather stays calm we should see more fishing action again also from other boats.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.