reports April 2024

April 30th, 2024 - click pic collages & albums to enlarge

This year`s April saw a lot of fishing along the first half of the month in gradually deteriorating weather. The latter is most unusual for April which tends to be calm and sunny. Theory is that the still lasting El Nino and the subsequent too warm water causes a lot more evaporation. So heavy cloud cells build all the time and while some rain off without a breath of wind others bring heavy storms. Usually not lasting too long, sometimes only for an hour, but often also for several. Right after Easter the weather was still relatively stable though. Mervin`s Drop Off trip on the 2nd  produced solid jigging with a handful of decent Amberjacks and sightings of not yet cooperative Yellowfin Tuna. The next day they had six of those on jigs and nice enough also poppers, the usual jigging catches and a long fight with this Marlin on jig that eventually broke off a few meters from the boat.

While the jigging was not as great as it had been during most of March it was still not giving reasons to complain as you can figure from these pics provided by Brandon that same evening.

The following day which was the 4th was really special for me as I at last got back at sea after the frustrating foot wound had finally closed. So to the Drop Off we headed with Mervin, German angler and friend Thomas and his son Nick. After picking up that Wahoo along an hour`s trolling to check some spots, the jigging started brilliantly. Showed Nick how it`s done to be on a good fish after seconds and so was Thomas only moments later. Just his fish got sharked completely and of Nick`s proper Amberjack we at least were left the head for identification. From then on all went downhill though: several good fish sharked along the next hour but during the following one the bites got ever lesser and the fish smaller. By 11am the jigging bite was and remained plain dead apart from a few knocks. Seeing and chasing Yellowfin on the surface provided a bit of adrenaline. We managed to get a single one on along 2hrs but it got away at the boat. Strange and tough day in extreme heat and windless conditions.

That evening I learned from Brandon that at another area of the Drop they did not experience the bite dying completely as we did. The smaller fish like especially Groupers kept coming so the guests´slow pitch jigging had kept them catching.

On the 5th day 2 for Thomas & Nick with Mervin again was a struggle. Jigging was once more slow especially when compared to last month`s mayhem. The small handful of bigger fish (with an obvious monster among them) either got sharked or away some other way. Frequency was irregular and slow. Yellowfin showed on the surface once in the morning for seconds but the couple of casts did not produce. After noon they came up a few times briefly so Mervin got one on for a moment on popper. We suspect the fish are all focussed on that incredible amount of supertiny baitfish (1-2 inches)  and the fish cleaned were either full of those - or all empty. Trolled 2 big lures around the Tuna area, within minutes getting one out of double strike while the much bigger one came away, and another moments later plus the Wahoo before all was gone again. This again now didn`t fit the small bait theory. All very strange again.

Meantime Brandon with his slow jig addicts fished an area of the Drop Praslin boats rarely head to. They got some fish in the morning but from 10:30am onwards it was plain dead. So same experience we had the previous day in a totally different and quite far away area.

Much happier were Andre & Greg with their guest as they managed another Sailfish on fly. Great feat as such. But even more so when considering that along the previous days trolling on the plateau had barely produced a fish or knock. We were all scratching our heads.

Not for long though as the jigging bite was back on nicely the next day. This is just a small selection of catches Brandon made that day with his guests.

Mervin fishing with another group also experienced much better jigging frequency with the usual suspects pretty much all showing up except unusually enough any Amberjack. He told that they lost a massive Doggie and he missed a Marlin popping for the countless but still uninterested Yellowfin Tuna.

On the 7th only Mervin was out. Was supposed to tag along for Thomas & Nicks´ last day but couldn`t make it. Shame actually as the good trend continued and the day became really great: a Marlin on trolling early, solid jigging with a handful of Amberjacks and the usual suspects. The Wahoos also came on jigs. Big Doggie lost again and one more taken by a huge Shark right at the boat. Toothy buggers were an issue all day and about the only donwside. Tuna came up in the afternoon again. Still not too cooperative but a couple caught popping. So all types of fishing produced. Perfect example what makes fishing here so versatile, entertaining and often spectacular. I was especially happy for Thomas who was on his fourth visit here and so far never lucky to experience how good our fishing can be. 

It was a brief indulge and we were reminded instantly that on every high follows a low. The next two days all trips had to be cancelled due to bad weather. On the 10th I went with Austrian angler Gunnar and  Mervin to the Drop Off again. That became one of the worst fishing days I ever experienced here: 6hrs of hardcore jigging by three anglers produced a frustratingly low 15 or so hookups. Bad enough but all those fish except for 2 Bonitos and a tiny Yellowfin Tuna hooked at the bottom in 200m (wtf?) were sharked. One of the Sharks got hooked and was released. Trolling for an hour before noon at least provided that decent Yellowfin Tuna. From the few jigging hookups in the afternoon we got exactly no fish at all. So tax rate 100%. Shocking. To top it all for poor angler Gunnar he hooked a GT at a spot on the way home where Mervin stopped for a few minutes and his main line broke at the strike. Really unfortunate.

Same was true though in a very different way for Sandro who had started with a new group: they lost 4 really fat Doggies and one more was ripped by Sharks. Add a few broken rods and spooled reels plus a Sailfish that got away, along with hardly any catch made, as ingredients for maximum frustration. Next morning all Drop Off trips were cancelled again due to bad weather. It just did not seem prudent to head out there with a massive front predicted to move in along the day. Early hours still looked okay though for German angler Marcus´ half day GT popping with Greg & Andre. But the target fish remained a no-show, and after a bit of Shark action and developing unwellness on the angler`s side they just made it home before the weather really struck. The following morning was fine again and provided Sandro`s group with a day of solid jigging.

Same was true for Brandon that day.

The 13th should have seen regular Michäas and his brother Cornelius fishing their third day with Sandro but due to the weather and the cancellations it was only their first. Early jigging was good with that proper Doggie and other decent fish but the Sharks became a headache once more and also the bite slowed towards low tide. Some Tuna chasing produced 4 hookups out of maybe a dozen strikes and two fish eventually boated. Add a Sailfish missing a popper and a Wahoo doing the same right at the boat and nearly jumping inside for a quite entertaing day out at the Drop Off.

As Sandro could not cater for the two any more due to other bookings I set them up with Mervin for two more days. So next morning they went GT popping but especially Michäas was really unlucky with three good size ones just dropping the hook without any mistakes or reason as Mervin reported. But Cornelius, while completely new to the sport of jigging and popping, managed his first GT. Someone else visibly was also interested in it. 

The group had fished in relentless rain and at times strong wind that both only settled after noon. In that same nasty weather I meantime had headed out to the Drop with Brandon and German newbies Marcus and Heiko for trolling and jigging. Right upon arrival at the Drop it started pouring, the bite was terribly slow, the previous day`s depths produced not even a knock, the shalllows just a few Groupers and undetermined touches. After two hours we trolled for two more hoping for better activity and to escape the relentless downpour but neither nor. Jigging again just led to a released Shark, a single Bonito and a few more Groupers despite Brandon, Wada and myself stepping in in turns. At least that rain stopped eventually and when shifting to trolling I silently prayed for the daily Wahoo. Indeed it came after 5mins but then all dead again. Add Marcus getting unwell when the wind picked up and you have all ingredients for a day to forget asap but the two really cool and relaxed lads happily said it was still a good experience not to regret.

Still I was worried the chaps might get a heart attack when seeing how drastically all turned around within a single day. Brandon and guests the next day had a much better time in every way.

Adding a small selection from Mervin of that 15th of April.

And Sandro`s pics from that day should also not go missing.

Again a day after, so on the 16th all three boats went and had a prefect time when not considering very long and bumpy upwind rides home. Again with Mervin it was Michäas & Cornelius´ last day of fishing. Ideal that the latter got his big Doggie among a vast of other catches and we had so much fun and laughs beyond.

Brandon also enjoyed a steady bite of quality fish on the last day with the Israeli Fishing Narko group.

Same was true for Sandro with the other half of that group. It was really quality fishing.

And another huge Doggie well worth to stand alone they also got that day. Really a monster deserving several perspectives I say.

So this first half of the month had produced some ups and downs in weather and bite but all in all I think it was pretty good. Meanwhile regular Wolfgang and family due to fish with Mervin had been on the island and nailbiting for him to go out with them. Sadly the weather turned increasingly erratic and bad along his remaining stay so it did not go as planned. Their first Drop Off trip had to be changed to just a half day GT popping with one caught. Their single trip to the Drop a few days later did not produce greatly as far as jigging is concerned but a 2.7m Shark eventuelly released on PE3 slow pitch gear provided a memorable experience. Same was true for that final trip which again was shifted from the planned Drop Off fishing to just another half day GT popping in the afternoon due to bad weather in the morning. I joined that trip on the 22nd and we ran right into a front with gusts over 30kn and horizontal rain like bullets. Luckily it cleared up after a while but the expected high level of activity due to a big afternoon spring tide did not materialize. But still Carina got her very first GT in the end.

For the rest of that week the weather remained very unstable and unpredictable. Not so much a problem as there were no charter guests any more. Only Mervin fished Friday and reported this decent GT but was unhappy with three more lost.

Since I have not received any news but admittedly was a bit off the radar due to friends from home visiting. With the weather still unpredictable and rather few tourists around though I shoould not have missed anything relevant if at all. In case I did it will be delivered in the next edition. This one is big enough now anyways I think.


For the preceeding reports check the archive.


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