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.