On the 15th so the day of the last report the National Fishing Tournament held out of Mahe came to end with the weigh-in after 57hrs of fishing. Winner turned out team 9G with runner up team Ocean Pearl. Catches as usually were plentiful and again one of these rather ugly Black Snook was part of the vast variety of species.
Here on Praslin meanwhile Mervin reported a Sailfish released along a half day trolling.
Also that day Stephane from Corsica kicked off his Seychelles´ fishing adventure jigging the Drop Off with Greg & Phil on Bite Me. Could not join them that day because of the report duties but learned later it had been a very nice start with between 15 and 20 Amberjacks, a couple of rather small though Doggies and most of the other usual suspects.
From the following day onwards I was present again but while the current still sent the boat north at a solid 0.7 knots the preceeding day´s nice breeze had come apart. Wonder if that had the decisive impact on the bite which was rather slow that day. Still some 40 fish or so were caught but mostly small and we experienced longer spells of next to no activity. Tuna were visible on the surface all day long despite the heat but no way to get near them.
The next day Stephane started to fish with Mervin (Divinity) who headed to the same area of the Drop. Getting there we found a bit of northwesterly wind again which pretty much offset the still north heading current and the boat drifted at only 0.2 knots. Thus I expected little from that day but instead it was action loaded from beginning to the end. No monsters but out of the 30 or so Rosy Jobfish roughly 10 were simply huge. Around 20 Amberjacks in all sizes up to double digit and a vast of other fish made it about 80 caught all in all including one of the strange Japanese Bigeye again. Really good fishing. Funny on top: some point a Sailfish leaped close to the boat. Knowing what that means we all including Mervin shouted at Stephane to crank maximum speed but Mervin had not realized the fish was actually on his jig and when he at last did the Sail had thrown the hook. The Tuna were visible only occasionally. Mervin made me search caster so could contribute the only one of the day and on top enjoyed very much to take over a good part of deckhand Steven`s duties while he on the other side jigged like crazy along this really enjoyable day for all.
The next day so the 18th it was a totally different story again in that same area. Stephane & Mervin being the only ones jigging that day hit really big fish on every single one of the about a dozen spots. But all these fish got eaten by Sharks. About 20 jigs went lost to these and best success for a long time was when only the assist hooks were missing. Just a single Doggie for Stephane escaped the taxmen by racing to the surface but even that one beared their marks. Pic shows you the nice side.
Only at the very last spot fished for the final half hour they got a decent Amberjack double and a Yellowfin Tuna while the latter remained spooky topwater with just one hooked that came away as the line cut into the windings on the spool. Not the only mishap along an action loaded day full of frustrations as while having a fish on Stephane`s reel came lose. While fixing that a probably very large Shark ate his fish and the situation turned awkward in such way that Stephane´s rod snapped. See that in the video clip on facebook.
Stephane decided to do another day on the 20th so we went once more in again totally different conditions. The northwest had picked up again which is most unusual so late in April and all morning it rained. Still the bite was on and a good mix of fish came up.
That day did not pass without mishaps again though. We saw Tuna only once but these were big fish in the 60kg range. Made a few casts with Stephane`s rod while he was jigging and got a hit but the FG knot slipped. No idea if that fish had been on of those biggies as all to be seen was an explosion of water on the strike. Later Mervin`s fish was swallowed by a Marlin right under the boat but headshaking it broke the leader of the jigging outfit. In the afternoon we hit the Doggies with a handful of up to around 27kg caught. A visibly much bigger one took Stephane`s jig and bolted away like crazy until his Stella 14000 started to sound oddly. While trying to reverse on the fish it ran along the bottom and cut the line. The drag clicker inside the reel hat broken and jammed it on the retrieve of the cut line but by undoing the spool we got the part out and the reel worked normally again after it had cooled down. Just no more drag sound. Same as for Mark on the ct trip a few weeks ago. All captured on video. Also on facebook and pretty spectacular I think. So no huge Doggie for Stephane this time who is determined to return and try again but the ones caught were not bad at all.
Monday the 22nd the wind came at around 10 knots still northerly but had shifted a bit east so grabbed the fly rod and checked the flat on the west coast of Praslin. Found reasonable conditions and subsequently two Bones. First cast at the normal size one came a bit too far off so it just jerked. Next cast was supposed to present the fly closer but an unexpected gust made it land right on the fish`s head so all left to look at was a cloud of sand and mud. The other was much bigger. Well over 4kg and I am pretty sure it is the same one I stalked last year already as it was in exactly the same spot. Followed my fly until right under the rod tip but did not take and then swam away. Of course I was there again the next day but the area had turned murky and full of drifting weed by the wind switching back straight north. Who can detect a Bonefish in this?
Learned that afternoon the mechanic had at last found and built in a spare into my starboard engine after a fortnight`s wait so went out eagerly the next morning. Sea was flat like a mirror and no wind at all. Two hours of intense popping to the edge of a heatstroke raised absolutely nothing. Not even a Jobfish would show. In that time the boat had drifted not even 200m so it was clear jigging would also not make sense. Thus decided to cut the trip short trying just a few spots along the way back home determined to catch at least one fish. Worked eventually in the shape of this Trumpet and at the very last tiny coral a few Groupers and small Jobfish. But as the slimy bugger was by far the longest it remained the pitiful catch of the day.
The handful of trolling boats out there had a similarly hard time scraping a few smaller gamefish together if at all. That kind of fishing along the Easter days had been well below par around the islands anyways so the many tourists doing the usual half days had to find their success mostly bottom fishing. Also the Drop Off jigging was slow that day as far as the usual suspects are concerned. But still it was quite mad in a way. Mervin and his group had a +200kg Marlin swimming around the boat fully lit up and inspecting a Bonito on offer but would not take it while later another did but broke the leader of the jigging outfit after a 45min fight. Not far Greg & Phil with a group of Italians hooked a Marlin that also ate a fish coming up on jig and came tight. Fighting time was 2:45mins for that one before they had to boat it as it had been beyond release. Back on shore the scale showed 170kg. Epic struggle on that rather light jigging combo I know well.
In the course of that week the Easter tourists started to disappear and things became more quiet. Weather played a role as it became pretty inconsistent or actually windy with at times heavy showers and even thunderstorms. Wind direction is still predominantly north gusting up at times in excess of 15 knots. Have not experienced such in late April and also everyone else is pretty stunned. Last week my old college buddy Chris from Germany arrived. While not an avid angler he has a latent interest in the sport and yesterday despite conditions fishable for me but rather not for him he sort of pushed for it so we went at noon. Was choppy out there at still 13 knots from north so he fought his first Bonito plus a tiny Wahoo just the size to fit a proper baguette on his knees. Also wanted to jig that way but with wind and swell dropping a bit found his feet eventually and contributed some of the about 2 dozen kitchen fish of which we kept some.
That day Mervin finished off his 8 days of Drop Off jigging and popping with two repeaters from Israel. The week had its ups and downs especially as far as the Yellowfin Tuna were concerned. Some days they caught them topwater up to 30kg or so while on others they were inapproachable, just not repsonsive or did not show at all. Jigging was consistent most of the time though with the Doggies as usually the most sought after opponents.
Just received these few pics but catches went pretty much all along the variety with Barracuda and Rosy Jobfish as seen here while also Black Jacks, Amberjacks, Groupers and all sorts of stuff made sure there was no boredom.
So all in all a reasonably good second half of April in which I again got to fish sickenly little. Thus craving a good dose of that cure before the Southeast will inevitably set in.
As mentioned in the previous report March 30th was the departure date for a week`s long catamaran fishing trip to Bird & Denis Islands. Meant that this day was mainly spent getting everything and everyone on board after being handed the boat at 2pm. Thus only late afternoon we headed out of the marina just to St. Anne island for a peaceful night while early next morning we started to troll up to Bird at the 7 knots such boats can efficiently do. Along those roughly 55 nautical miles my friends Erik, Harry, Jan & Jorrit from the Netherlands plus Mark from Malta who had invited me as sort of fishing consultant enjoyed catching Bonitos so much that for a start I was about to confiscate all those small lures as we looked to never make it up there. A Sailfish was raised and missed but another liked a stickbait enough and was released. So that initial day had a highlight already especially for Erik as it had been his very first Billfish.
When we finally got there a bit of popping along two shallows just south of Bird led to some Bluefin Trevallies and Jobfish.
A few misses of clearly better fish and a couple Bohar Snappers caught came on top.
The delays caused by all that were of course not unwelcome but it became late afternoon until we hit Bird Island. As usually on such trips some of the guys were eager to fish on and small pieces of bait made all sorts of mostly smaller fish come by in quick succession. Livebaiting one of these that first night produced a disturbance of dinner in the shape of a 60kg Nurse Shark on circle hook for Erik. Sorry for the not so great pic.
Also along most of the other nights it worked well with more Sharks like Whitetip plus a wide variety of for such shallow water at times surprisingly large Snappers and other fish on bait.
In the morning before lifting the anchor and getting serious Erik had more fun with the Batfish while we other brushed teeth next to it enjoying the show.
Popping the south reef of Bird that morning in a sharply dropping low tide produced only a very few more Jobfish and bluefin Trevallies but when trying the first jigging spot some 5 or so miles off the island at the turn of the tide the Dogtooth Tuna came right away and the group caught 9 along the next few hours. Might not sound that much but the fights take a while in which most anglers paused as not cause havoc and several of those tough fish hooked came away one way or another (click this and all other assembled pics to enlarge).
Many Sharks were in between the Doggies taking their toll on jigs and hooked fish on top. Biggest whole one landed was this specimen of around 35kg caught by Jorrit.
Mark had to deal with a visibly bigger one that nearly spooled him twice and was about to destroy his Stella. Luckily only the drag clicker went but it was close to a full meltdown until the fish suddenly stopped becoming light and easy to retrieve. Eventually just a piece of the fish popped up as the rest had gone to the taxman.
The head gives me the impression of a 45-50kg Doggie so for sure I do not want to swim with that Shark. Along the day the guys lost some more to those while few smaller fish were caught there apart from a few Amberjacks. No surprise with all those toothy monsters around. Next morning we popped along the small drop-off of the Bird plateau from 5 to 20m to the west of the island but again in the falling tide to just a few smaller fish like Green Job and Bluefin Trevallies etc. Generally not so much a popping place or I have not found the sweetspots yet. Had aimed for an area to jig that looked promising on the bathymetric chart but it was all wrong and it took me a while to figure out the offset. During that time a mix of smaller fish like Groupers, Jobfish and to the delight of our chef Damien also a few Emperor Snappers came up.
Apart form the culinary aspect not really what we were looking for but it took not too long until we hit the Doggies and this time also Amberjacks again. Not the biggest ones around there but numbers were good. Think we had 14 of the former and about the same number of the latter that afternoon.
Wednesday morning we started heading for Denis Island stopping for a few jig drops at the first day´s "Doggie Lane" but catching only a couple more along with a few Amberjacks and smaller fish like Black Jacks. Again it showed that those days the bite was not on during the dropping tide. That pattern was confirmed along the crossing as after the tidal turn we started to get better fish trolling than Bonitos in the shape of a Wahoo and a few admittedly small Yellowfin Tuna plus a Sailfish window shopping. Additional entertainment provided the large school of Dolphins playing at the boat for a while.
Afternoon popping at Denis is usually good but was quite slow with just two Doggies missed and a few smaller fish caught. The surface feeding or midwater bound Fusiliers were all compressed on the bottom which I never experienced before. The probable reason became visible next morning in the shape of two barges. One dropped big concrete tetrahedals and the other was piling steel pipes into the ocean floor as to protect the island from further erosion which has been bad recently. Thus we only popped two hours to the expected slow result of again some Jobfish and other little stuff. Small highlight was a double of Bluefin Trevally and Pickhandle Barracuda on a stickbait.
Headed out for jigging which was classy again with more Doggies and Amberjacks among other species like Groupers, Greater Barracuda etc so once more this went very well.
Some point a 8-9m Whale Shark appeared and I grabbed the chance to jump in with a GoPro for a little footage fulfilling myself a dream. Saw numerous over the years but the situation for that very special experience of swimming with one was never right. Ticked off the bucket list at last.
Small flocks of birds were around all afternoon but the Yellowfin Tuna did not show. Once the birds were in casting distance so I grabbed a rod and got two missed hits on the first cast hooking up on the next. Gave the rod to the owner but the Tuna came away and all further casting done while trying to chase them on the slow cat proved unsuccessful. Were small and shy. Late that afternoon we popped the usually slower side of Denis Island for an hour late afternoon picking up a few more Bohar Snappers and missed what looked to be one of the rather rare Geets of the area.
Crossed towards the Inner Islands anchoring at Aride eventually around midnight to spend the last day or rather morning popping several GT spots on the way to Mahe. Harry lost a good one to the rocks while while Mark was nearly pulled in the water by a 2m+ Grey Reefshark.
That day the wind came apart completely and who thought we got cooked already the days before learned better. Still Jan got a 23kg GT and Erik added a baby a while later so that part of the trip also produced.
By noon all were finished and at 6pm we hit Eden Island Marina for a noisy last night onboard having to moore right next to the open air discotheque. Their cocktails helped a bit though. Was a very nice trip all in all. Ideal weather with winds between 4 and 9 knots giving us a perfect drift speed oscillating around 0.5 knots. Would have been better to drift from shallow to deep instead the other way as we had it all the time but one can not have everything. Fishing that produced at least 25 different species I would rate 6-7 out of 10 while everything else was perfect: the group was fantastic. Listening and applying advice I gave on the different aspects from rigging to lure animations and all else. I only fished about an aggregated 5-6 hours along the week while the rest was fulfilling guiding and deckhand duties which to me is pure joy.
No issues with the vessel well prepared by Marine Cat Sey on top. All perfectly organized and working so the boat life part beyond fishing was also really good.
Very special thanks to our crew. Simply astounding what our chef Damien produced in the little simple galley three times a day and whenever someone needed a bite. Was a first such trip with a chef for me and I don`t even want to imagine doing it without one or rather exactly him again. All pleasant and helpful outside the kitchen on top. Will strive to have him onboard whenever possible.
Same for our skipper Claude who became part of the trip very short notice as our scheduled skipper had to opt out a week before the trip. Meeting him before and asking about his experience regarding our kind of fishing he openly admitted he had none but was eager to learn about it. Not exactly what I had hoped to hear that moment of course but I gave him credit for his honesty and the competence he showed along all other issues during the short pre-briefing so he came in. Was a good decision as he really not only soaked up everything down to the rigs and knots but also eagerly helped on whatever came up be it filming, taking fotos, assisting with the fish from landing to debloat and release ... just anything that needed to be done same as Damien. And nautically he was top notch as their education level on that is really good here. Most grateful to him I am though that after figuring I would not mess up he let me navigate the boat along the fishing. Really valuable for both of us as this way I could learn in real practise how to get it right on a boat so much larger and more lethargic than my small one which again gave him a far better learning than by just theoretical explainations of mine. It was simply perfect teamwork among all of us and I could not imagine any better.
Must admit that I now feel tempted to offer myself as a real guide for such trips as such are badly needed here with literally none existing. But firstly being a foreigner I have no chance to get a license for that. Secondly we maybe were just lucky while not all trips will run so ideally and the idea of a bunch of strangers looking at me for a week with no escape if fishing is slow is not too appealing. So it will remain an occasional thing for friends who understand that no matter how far you travel even to the very best fishing grounds it can turn out good or bad and I am just happy it was the former this time. List of species caught as far as I remember: Bonito, Sailfish, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Rainbow Runner, Dogtooth Tuna, Amberjack, Emperor Snapper, Green and Rosy Jobfish, Coral Trout, Brownspotted-, Orangespotted-, Moontail- and Comet Grouper, Pickhandle and Greater Barracuda, Bluefin-, Yellowspotted- and Yellowtail Trevally, GT, Trumpetfish, Nurseshark, Whitetip Shark, Grey Reefshark, Batfish, 3 more different kinds of Emperors and a good handful of other fish I do not know the names. Probably forgot a few. Video footage was a bit lesser than usual due to being busy off the cam a lot but the others also filmed with their phones and GoPro so a video clip is already up on the YouTube channel. Again many thanks to all involved no matter in what role. Looking forward to seeing my friends back in Seychelles for our next one in November. Well fished guys!
Back on Praslin on the 6th first job was to check what had happened here in the meantime. Not much at first glance as it was mostly the usual touristic trolling charters along with some bottom fishing. Only Mervin (Divinity) had a hardcore group from Israel again jigging and popping 6 days. The Tuna had returned to the east Drop Off too and while not accepting topwater lures consistently every so often they had a good time with those.
Much nicer these ones than what we saw in the north and a few substantially bigger ones got away. Same for most of the Doggies they hooked as according to Mervin they were fishing too light most of the time. Still catches came in good variety.
Thus expectations were high when heading towards the along those days most productive area a bit south of our usual playgrounds on the 12th with Mervin and Matthias from Germany for the latter`s first such experience. Started well with Mervin getting a Yellowfin pretty much first cast and Matthias had a big Doggie following his popper instants later while experiencing a short hookup of another on the next cast. Jigging was also promising along the first half hour but with the turn of the until then dropping tide it died to just a few small fish until noon. So suddenly all against the books and it looked to become one of the worst days ever until by around 1pm some activity returned. Then things got a little better with some Amberjacks, Rosy-, Rusty, and Green Jobfish, Black Trevallies, another Tuna, more Bonitos, plus different Groupers on jigs between the two. All in all around 40 fish caught so neither great nor terrible. Things came to a nice ending when Mervin called for the final drop of jigs and right on that one Matthias at last got his Doggie. Rather tiny but better than none.
The very nice chap had done a good lot of fly fishing on Mahe, La Digue and Praslin along his holidays and in the favourable weather did really well despite the Bonefish would just not come. Two half days with Andre on Bite Me Too also produced good variety and numbers. Interesting was a certain bit of information: he fished the flat on the west side of Praslin from the hotel`s pedalo making his very understanding wife skipper and engine same time. This way he was able to roam the area at higher water levels than my usual wading allows for and subsequently he saw many more quality fish than I do on my common outings along the early tide pushes. Here a few of his catches along his first visit of Seychelles that I suspect will not have been his last one.
And this cool pic came from Jakub who also had inquired information with me. Seemed this was not totally useless.
On the 13th Greg and Phil on Bite Me fishing with angler Ben experienced really good jigging at the Drop with Doggies and Amberjacks plus the common other suspects. Some point an Amberjack was gulped by a fat Marlin estimated at over 250kg and they fought the fish for over four hours on the jigging gear. Eventually it sat a few meters under the boat but no way to bring him up so as it was getting late they had to increase the pressure until the line eventually popped. Sadly no pic of the Marlin but these ones are also really nice.
To round it all off for this report period the large Cabo Alati returned to Mahe from a 9 day offshore trip and reported more than 60 Marlin raised.
So quality fishing all along in Seychelles these days.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.