The islands filled up with tourists along the last two weeks amidst mostly nice weather until a few days ago quite a lot of fishing took place. Mainly trolling but catches here around Praslin were not too impressive unfortunately. Depending on conditions and area it was sometimes difficult for the crews to get some fish at all while Billfish seem to have disappeared so mixed bags of smaller Gamefish made a good day already.
As Mervin (Divinity) had been away on a catamaran trip for a week it was also very calm on the popping and jigging front. Only on the 21st I went with Greg (Aquatic Dream) and jigging newbies Michael and Thomas. We left for the Drop very early as the high tide promising the best fishing was in the morning but reality looked different that day as along the first two hours only two small Groupers surfaced. After changing area and despite falling water things improved a bit at least but not much to about a dozen still rather small fish until early noon. Two hours of trolling around midday was a good idea resulting in a Wahoo and half a dozen Yellowfin Tuna but there was no way convincing those with topwater lures despite all trying. In the afternoon it was jigging again and the first drop of the jigs produced this Amberjack.
So hopes for a few good final two hours rose but were hammered eventually as it remained the only fish without even a further knock recorded. Quite a disappointment and even more so with the sonar showing plenty fish on all the spots tested. Only logical explaination was the infestation with tiny calamari that all the fish caught were vomitting. Really not much else to report here from Praslin this time as my own fishing was very limited for different reasons. Went fly fishing twice for two hours each while awaiting the boat repair, saw some nice Queenfish and Permit but had to make do with the usual small catches of which I found this one extremely pretty.
After the defect trim motors had finally been changed a test trip of course with fishing gear revealed an oil leak so had to stay close by. Raised and missed a smaller GT in the rare 12-15kg range as well as a Shark. The small jigging to the benefit of my old friend´s and mentor`s kitchen went quite nice though and he can enjoy a bit of choice for the plate for the time being.
Just those small Sharks grabbing several fish and jigs were annoying. Had a serious word with one of them some point but it did not make much of an impression so running low on jigs and with and bad weather moving in I did not fish for too long.
Last Thursday the boat issue was finally sorted out and while retransferring the boat from Baie St. Anne to my place the light jigging gear was of course with me. Despite a rather useless low tide the bite was not so bad with some Barracudas, Jobfish and Groupers. When releasing one of those stingy things it twitched so awkwardly though that I ended up with three fingers sort of sliced open and the bleeding just would not stop. Fished on of course with the hand wrapped into paper towel and got a pretty big Golden Trevally on that actually managed to tow the boat backwards for quite a while but after 15mins or so the hook straightened. Had forgotten to replenish, tied the last good one left and was stuck in the coral on the first drop. No way to come loose so had to eventually break the line, doing so teared the fingers even more, and was fed up after all that. Worse even that this way all the fishing plans for the weekend had gone down the gutter as the fingers looked like overcooked and burst Wiener sausages. On top since Sunday the weather deteriorated pleasing us with at times with heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds. Only good thing in all of this was the time gained to produce a little video of some jigging fish, those GTs caught for science and some topwater Tuna mainly from the first half of the month.
So all in all fishing was way below par here and my personal streak of bad luck depresses a bit to be honest. Already wondered if I had stepped on St. Peter`s toes one way or another. So in case he should read this: didn`t mean to, it`s time now to lift he curse. Please. But seriously: beyondmy personal troubles it is just a slow spell limited to the Praslin fishing grounds as news from elsewhere tell. The guys on Mahe are happy these days like for example Dave (BlingBling) who enjoyed some good bottom fishing.
Many large but difficult Tuna roam the southern Drop Off and according to his report also the jigging works much better over there these days.
Also there was quite a bit of noise about Billfish. Most stunning was the tally of the 9G Sportsfishing team once more. A Broadbill along their overnight trips has become sort of a normality but 3 of 5 Sailfish and 8 out of 12 Marlin on top is a real whopper.
On one of the days they got 6 of 9 Blues and managed to tag all out of a tripple header. Fine Art I say. Among those that came away must have been a fairly big one. That fish had been tail wrapped and was lost after 6hrs of fighting time. The very friendly and always humble skipper refrained from any weight estimate and left it to the facebook community now buzzing over this pic.
Some people think it must have been four digits (in lb). Can not really add to the discussion as I have little experience with fish that size and not having anything in the pic to provide a size relation makes it all more difficult. But if the skipper who has pretty much seen and done it all is impressed it must have been really big. Yesterday they delivered nicely once more with a Billfish Slam of Sail, Striped and Blue Marlin. Would not mind at all if at least some of the fish amassing over there these days would swim over to make us Praslin anglers happy.
Right at the beginning of this month the wind settled a bit for just two days. Was still pretty rough and rainy on the 1st but Mike from Germany and Peter from Switzerland were running out of time so an afternoon`s popping wth Mervin took place on Divinity. Casting far and popping hard in those conditions did not come easy for their first tryout of this so after a while it made sense to shift to bits of jigging for the last hours. That produced some 20 or so fish, mainly Green Job but also a Bonito, some Pickhandle Barracudas and this for its kind rather large Longmouth Snapper.
Next to all the trouble with those Barracudas also the Sharks were very active and poor Mervin saw his supply of jigs dry out in no time. He wasn`t a happier chap the next day with a fairly large Marlin coming off while trolling behind the Sister Islands. The old man in the chair had just been unable to cope with the situation. That same day also buddy Carlos was out at the Drop Off for his boss on the boat Sailfish. That went well with about a dozen Tuna and Wahoos. On top they had a small Marlin which was unfortunately boated as this boat just will not release. Sad. Marlin are abundant in good numbers these days which is typical for this time of the year. The 9G Sport Fishing Team reported 3 out of 5 Blues and one out of two Blacks which of course were all tagged and released.
After that short spell of reasonable conditions the wind returned along with the rain and we all could only dream of fishing until the 8th when improvement was indicated. So finally a chance to jig the Drop for Mike and Peter again going with Mervin. Good move by him to start in the deeper water while the tide was still going up for a little while. The Amberjacks were active, a smaller though Doggie also came up while some Groupers and many Jobfish provided additional entertainment. Towards noon and along the falling tide the bite slowed ever more though but just when things looked to become a bit dull a bunch of Tuna appeared in the area. Those moved fast but Mervin went after them again and again so the two anglers could experience topwater fishing for those also. All in all not a perfect day but still very nice.
Same time Greg was trolling the Drop with guests on Aquatic Dream. A small Marlin showed up briefly without taking but still they had fun with Tuna and Dorados in good numbers.
That night news came through that a big Tuna had been brought to the docks on Mahe and the weight was a whopping 96kg. This is a
new National Record for Seychelles again. So congrats to the team Viking and thanks to the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club for this pic.
Along the following night the wind faltered completely so since we are enjoying calm and mostly sunny weather with just occasional showers and a flat calm sea. So quite perfect for the project of going after some GTs with scientist Jessica Glass again on the 10th & 11th as we did already last year without success. This time though the bad luck was really sticking to me. Already Friday when I transferred my boat back from Baie St. Anne the port engine power trim would not work. Within a bit of rather clueless fiddling it suddenly came to life but I was not really at ease with it. That evening Mervin spontanously offered to fish the following day with him on Divinity and this turned out a real lifeline looking at how that whole weekend eventually went. In no wind at all under a cloudless sky and thus in blazing heat we cast our topwater lures but mine were only fancied by Jobfish while Jessica had the privilege of being loved by the Sharks. Mervin fishing in the bow meanwhile kept working only the largest poppers and managed to raise at least a few though rather lackluster GTs. Already early afternoon one of those finally hooked up and that way Jessica got her so much craved tissue sample from this for our standards rather small specimen of about 18kg.
While she was still dealing with that fish taking the sample Mervin cast again to the same spot and right away got the next one of about 23kg. After that it was not possible to get another though no matter where and what we tried. Mervin really did everything tirelessly casting in that heat without taking any break. Or rather if he did that meant resorting to still huge stickbaits for a little while that would wear out most anglers in no time. And he did not even sweat while I felt like melting away. This guy is unreal, an absolute fishing machine, and I am most grateful that he provided us with that trip and the the samples Jessica needed so badly as the next day really all went wrong. Plan had been to find some more GTs fishing off my boat but this time the power trim would not come to life again no matter what. So we decided for shore fishing as to maybe get another sample from a junior. But after a few minutes an eye from the spinning rod I had lent her flew off. Gave her my other too light rod I had been fishing with but after two more hours that had produced only a small Garfish we called it a day. Was of course most disappointed. Even more so as now the mechanic needs to sort the boat issue out meaning that I will miss out on at best some days of these favourable weather conditions we had to wait so long for. But at least Jessica got a few samples which was the main thing. Here the pic of the larger GT caught that Saturday and now I will try to forget it all.
From that day Greg started to fish with a British and a German angler I had been in touch with for a while prior to their visit. The two turned out very experienced anglers seeking big fish. Their first day though at the atoll on the northern Drop did not really produce these as the Doggies were not eager for topwater lures. But they as usually appeared under the boat and one took a smaller Jobfish hooked on light jigging gear. No hook free though so the Job was spat out and probably could not believe his luck. More Jobs and other fish the group still caught.
Sunday they went popping for GTs around the Inner Islands but did not get any action from those at all despite trying about any spot in reach. Monday it was at the atol again and got about what they had before. The night was scheduled for a tryout on Broadbill and after just a knock releasing the outrigger clip they had a proper strike a little later. Unfortunately setting the hook failed and the fish came away. According to the anglers that should have been the fish they had been looking for. Earlier late afternoon when taking a break and getting ready for the night they had dropped a Bonito head on a float or rather a bottle used as such and the bait was taken briefly later. Not by a Shark though as anyone knowing the numbers we have would have suspected but instead of this fierce bugger.
Else there is not much to report from those last two weeks as there are not many tourists around. A few trolling trips by different boats produced the usual mix of smaller Gamefish while Sails are pretty much invisible these days and Martin (Venture) reported the catch of a Striped Marlin which are relatively rare here. Hoping now to be back on the water asap and that the good weather will hold.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.