The second half of March provided the expected weather conditions: Mostly light winds from changing directions but also some flat calm and very hot days. On some of those trolling was a bit difficult but all in all very good for the period. For popping & jiging the conditions were pretty much ideal though. This pleased a group from Israel that really went full throttle for a week. Jean-Jacques (JJ) had been following my newsletters preceeding this website for a few years and now the time had come to check the realities for him and his Shimano Israel Pro Team. The first day for some sort of acclimatisation Mervin (Divinity) took them south of Praslin down to Fregate. So jigging on the plateau they caught about 40 fish though nothing too special but an Emperor Snapper. That surprised me a bit as I had believed these do not like metal jigs.
Popping results were distributed a bit unjust that day. Only JJ managed to raise 4 GTs of which he caught one that was released.
So he was quite happy with that start while the others remained a bit sceptical. But this was subject to change. Starting the next day I always came along with the video cam and as sort of a lucky charm. So on the 18th we ventured out to the northeastern Drop Off into an orgy of fishing with nearly 200 fish of many different species. Nearly half of those were Amberjacks of sizes beyond 20kg which made the guys sweat.
On top a crazy amount of different Groupers and Snappers, Jobfish, Black Trevallies and many more came to the surface among which was also this nice
Also the area held many Sharks that stole not only about 25 jigs but cut numerous more fish hooked.
For a short time nearly no fish or jig came up undamaged. A quick glance with the underwater GoPro revealed a shear invasion of Sharks - very impressive.
Just for fun and also as he had run down on jigs David tried a simple sinker with an Assisthook. No real surprise he got an Amberjack on this right
So any doubts about Seychelles´ fishing grounds productivity had disappeared and the next day they went nearly feverish from expectations. Destiniation this time was a more southerly area of the Drop. There while the Amberjacks were missing other catches were nearly as good again. Just the wind rising up to some 12 knots made jigging close to impossible for a while. No problem as the group just resorted to some driftbaitng with small live and dead Bonitos that were easy to catch on a small rig. This produced some 10 to 15 strikes mostly of Dorados that we could see around the boat every so often. Also a Sailfish liked such a snack and was released after a nice jumping display.
They did not troll at all in these days. Just a single time when changing spots JJ put a Moldcraft lure out on his jigging gear for just 10 minutes. Crazy enough a Marlin obviously had just been waiting for this. The fish of about 100kg really gave JJ a job to do on that light tackle while also allowing for some great video footage.
After about an hour fighting and a brief revival effort the Marlin was released successfully. Never miss a chance - a lesson I wll remember.
Unfortunately I missed out on the jump of a diminutive Black Marlin close to the boat estimated at not even 10kg by those who saw it. Thurday the 19th we went to Denis Island at the northern Drop Off. That day started with some crazy topwater action on the shallows. Casting at the Fusiliers produced plenty strikes of Bluefin Trevallies, a GT and numerous Dogtooth Tuna but strangely none of all these fish would hook up. Upon Mervin`s hint Jacob jigged a a little and that worked. The feasty Doggie came to the boat surprisingly fast though as a Shark had cut its tail.
In wind all calm and increasing heat that brilliant activity died after that so we went further over deeper water for jigging. There also a countless amount of fantastic fish
came up once more: Green & Rosy Jobfish, Black Trevallies, Amberjacks exceeding 20kg, Longtail Groupers and one of those larger Black ones.
Later that afternoon another popping attempt on the shallows produced no further activity as it was just too hot. Only David managed to catch a Dorado he had cast his stickbait
at on sight. For the 20th only a half day popping around Praslin was scheduled. Despite a nice breeze this started very slow. Apart from a few small Jobfish and a couple of Sharks it seemed
impossible to raise any fish. Only rather late that morning already David had a strike of a good GT that all estimated at more than 40kg. Unfortunately the fight lasted for only two seconds as
the brand new top of the range reel blocked up completely. Very sad but Mervin as usually had another card to play. On the next spot another GT hit the popper and Jacob brought the fish of about
30kg to the boat successfully. That he fell in the water probably full of adrenalin made it just even more fun for all.
The strike and all after came perfect for the video and the fish of course was released. On Saturday the 21st JJ stayed behind but the other three wanted to get back to Denis Island. There again the topwater action was on with many Doggies hitting the poppers as to please the camera man. But once more none of all those fish hooked up and again it was Jacob breaking the deadlock on a jig. That Doggie was substantially smaller this time at around 18kg but at least provided a proper fight and came up without pieces missing.
Unfortunately that fish tangled in the line when released and pulled the big jigging hook deep into the angler`s leg. Nothing we could on the boat so after just an hour fishing we headed back to Pralin where the hospital sorted him out in no time. So unexpectedly I had a half day off and feeling the itch for catching some fish I went for a couple of hours, My preferred jigging spot south of La Digue was infested by Pickhandle Barracudas though. Unbelievably I did not lose a jig to those but after an hour had run out on assisthooks. Tried some popping at the Fusiliers there but again only these lousy fish came up like mad so I retreated towards the coastline. That spot had been productive for GT recently but this time I recorded only a single GT miss despite conditions that seemed ideal. Sunday then was the last fishing day for the group and of course they wanted Denis again. This time though the shallows were pretty much abandoned and apart from a Shark and an obviuosly for that area rather unusual Babon Grouper nothing happened.
Also jigging in medium depths around 50 meters was slow: plenty of fish on the sonar but they would just not eat. Mervin eventually found the activity below 70 meters and the
crazy fishing with many multiple strikes returned.
Also the huge variety of species was there again and numerours more great fish were caught. Among these were another Doggie and also this beautiful Rosy
Of course it had to be JJ to eventually catch the only Yellowfin Tuna of those days. Not a huge one but still causing so much pleasant anticipation for the evening Sashimi that
he nearly took a bite right away obvioulsy shocking that Tuna completely.
Unfortunately the Coast Guard came along and advised us as well as a sailing boat to retreat closer to the islands. Already before we had witnessed the radio calls of a surveillance aircraft for a commercial fishing boat to respond. We have not heard of any pirate activity in the area for about two years now but of course safety comes first. Luckily the missing boat just had technical issues and was found later. But as fish remained to be rather inactive in the shallower water this day that could well have become another one to remember was cut short. Still when looking at that week there is not really any reason to complain as so many different species of fish abundant in Seychelles´ waters had been caught. On my quick count I resulted in 31 but am pretty sure a few must still have slipped through. Within a total of about 30 hours jigging the four anglers caught somewhere around 500 fish between them of which the majority was released. Accordingly opulent and action loaded comes the video clip, see here. Topwater livestrikes, countless fights, jumps and fish - that amount of footage could have easily made a feature-length movie. Absolutely stunning what pairing a first class skipper (once more many thanks to Mervin!) and a group of skilled and hard working anglers produces here. A real trophy fish did not surface this time but a couple of big ones came off in those days. Among these was one that just pulled straight a strong circle hook and according to the angler as well as the skipper should have been one of those massive Groupers. JJ described the group as one of the most experienced jigging teams in the world and from all I witnessed and learned this is for sure true. Absolutely great that such experts did not only find their way to Seychelles but on top are so thrilled that they promised to return. I am already looking foward to that.
Along all this and also after of course fishing went on. Greg (Pipsqueek) had a few trips in that week covering pretty much all styles of fishing possible here. Jigging close to the islands among some good other catches produced this impressive Bludger Kingfish. He also reported two massive hookups on jig. Both fish took very long runs. While one eventually cut the braid in the coral the other spat the hook and the jig came up all bent - typical for big Doggies.Trolling resulted in mixed bags of smaller Gamefish of different compositions and loads of fun. Equally good was the bottom fishing and this Emperor Snapper is nothing less but mouth watering.
Also Simon (Island Rhythm) was fishing several days. His German guest informed me by email about the quite comprehensive catch consisting of Sailfish, Wahoo, Tuna, Barracuda etc. Should not be concealed though that on some days which ususally were the very hot ones without any wind it was difficult to entice good fish trolling. But Dorados were reliable nearly every day and there were far more really good than slow trips reported. Mervin missed a Marlin already fishing again on the 23rd while Bertrand (Aquaholic) and JD (One Love) experienced the same. On the 24th the `other´ Betrand (Yam Sing) went with friends and got plenty Wahoos and Dorados next to a Sailfish. That day I did some jigging and popping exploration towards Marianne Island. A first try close to Felicite surprised nicely: already late that morning with the sun high up and despite an outgoing tide I managed to raise three decent GTs catching and eventually releasing this proper girl.
On top the by far largest Bluefin Trevally I ever saw followed the popper. Thought it was a GT of about 20kg first but when it turned away without striking I saw the electric blue. Will definitely try to find that one again. Later findings at Marianne were rather unspectacular. Searching and meanwhile trolling a Halco along I got a school size Yellowfin Tuna but lost in on the gaff. No Doggies found jigging but just Sharks. In the afternoon first I lost a popper to a Shark but was able to pick it up again thanks to the barbless single hooks. A little later I was lucky to avoid a big Barracuda but not the rather large Shark of about 40kg minutes after. Was greatful that this fierce bugger was cooperative on the release. While bustling about the boat Lone Wulf from La Digue came along. A Swedish angler with whom I had exchanged emails a while before had recognized my boat. While chatting a bit I learned that he had been out with Damien a few times in the preceeding days: catches had been excellent throughout with smaller Gamefish and a Sail pretty much every day and as a cherry on top a Marlin of 180kg. Also most experienced Lester (Lazio) excelled last week. Next to 4 large Wahoos and some Tuna his guests caught 2 Sailfish and a Blue Marlin of 164kg at the Drop Off - fantastic. On the 27th I went to test jigging three spots north of Praslin and a few coordinates given to me by my old friend Pierre. On the way I trolled two lines but catching only a couple of Bonitos on these. Also all those jigging spots were empty and produced nothing but a few more Bonitos and two rather small Groupers. Wonder if that was due to the unfavourable tide or the east going current that is ill famed here for bottom fish. Noteworthy actually was only this small fish that I had never seen before and grabbed the much too large hook on the jig cleanly.
My facebook network taught me that this is a Grinner or also Lizard Fish. Probably the smallest fish shown ever in these reports but at least an addition to my personal list of different species caught. Also along the last few days some more catches were reported. Mervin had a few more half days catching Wahoos, Tuna, Dorados and Sail while losing a large Sailfish and missing another Marlin. On the opposite I was stuck at my PC to get this long report and the to my opinion quite spectacular video ready. Hope very much that it will be liked but am already worried what to come with next time: to impress again after this one it will probably require a Whale Shark jumping through a burning loop.
The first two weeks of March provided calm weather and first class fishing in Seychelles. No doubt the transition is coming up and on some days especially since mid of last week
the wind the wind had already dropped to nothing. But this did not harm the quality of fishing at least in the beginning. On the 1st Martin (Venture) fished north of Praslin keeping his guests
busy with a Sailfish, a Dogtooth Tuna of about 15kg, 2 Yellowfin Tuna, a Wahoo and Bonitos. On the 3rd I went to test two spots in the north if they are any good for jigging. Arriving there I
unfortunately found out that my transducer once more had collapsed. Again the wire tore where it enters the unit so another total loss.The next one will not be transom mounted any more even if
that means missing out on the Side Imaging. Without sonar jigging was obviously limited to guessing but a few fish still came up.
Martin passed trolling on Venture but as I learned later had to make do with 3 Wahoos and some Bonitos that day. On the 4th Christian (Djab Lavwal) reported 3 Tuna, a Wahoo and a
Dorado plus Bonitos in a half day. A Sail came into the spread but was just a window shopper. Same day Mervin brought a Marlin of 106kg to shore. The fish was hooked badly having lost an eye so
they sadly had to take it and stopped fishing though it was still early. Before already a Tuna of nearly 23kg had been caught. On the 5th he caught 2 Tuna, a Wahoo and a Dorado while releasing a
Sail on top. A Marlin popped up to check the teasers and two livebaits but must have had a good breakfast earlier as it would not take. Also I received news from a German angler who fished for a
fourth time out of Mahe with two friends. On Aqua Vita he released a Sail on fly which is still rare here. Congratulations!
On the 7th Christian had another half day which turned out busy with 4 Tuna and 5 Wahoos. One of those was followed by a Marlin. This one ignored a quickly rigged dead Bonito but
took a lure briefly later. When leadering the fish estimated at 90kg it shook its head and dropped the hook so this counts as a release. Last week I met Jan and his father on their short Praslin
stopover returning from La Digue to Germany. We had been in touch before their trip and they had done 3 half days with Hyazinthe (Belle Petra) that all produced decent mixed bags of smaller
Gamefish totalling a whopping 91 fish! Highlight for sure must have been Jan`s father who is not really a fisherman struggling with his handline. The others teased him a bit but became pretty
quiet when he pulled up a 4m Tiger Shark that was eventually released. Jan could not find a foto in that hurry which is a bit of a pity but this pic is also very nice.
In the following days there were few trips. Just Simon (Island Rhythm) did two half days catching a Sailfish on each occasion next to the usual bycatch. On the afternoon of the
11th I went popping but it turned out somewhat odd. On the first cast a Barracuda stole my popper. When it swam away something large followed it that by the colors could only have been a Dorado.
But a Dorado of about 1.5m in length, thus bigger than any I have ever heard of in Seychelles, and in such shallow water seems rather unusual. So this went as one more unsolved mystery into the
records. On the next cast I saw a Shark following the popper a couple of meters behind so I stopped the retrieve. Bad decision as I had overlooked the decent GT that had just risen vertically to
the popper and dropped back down again. The following cast produced a Barracuda of about 4kg and the next one a miss of another. That bunch of five stayed right next to the boat so I let jut the
end of the popper dangling into the surface right under the rod tip. It was attacked by the pack leader instantly who paid for that getting to know the inside of my
After that in order to avoid further lure losses I buggered off to another spot but nothing happened there. Same day JD (One Love) reported a Sailfish, 4 Tuna, a Dorado and some
Bonitos on another good day.
On the 12th he went out again for a half day in already flat calm seas catching a Wahoo and 15 Bonitos. Martin also had another trip. Trolling produced nothing but Bonitos so
they opted for bottom fishing catching Green Jobfish, Emperor Snappers and Groupers. The next day Charly (Squalo Uno) went out but again in conditions without any wind and blazing heat trolling
was slow with just some small fish. Mervin had gone to the Drop Off for jigging which turned out much better with a lot of Jobfish and Amberjacks up to 20kg while some bigger fish came off. By
email I got more news from the German that had caught the Sail on fly. On another trip south of Mahe he managed to catch a Wahoo and a GT jigging. Really a great fish and a perfect
Faizal reported a similar situation from Mahe: Highly active smaller Gamefish and lots of Sails until midweek. Wish it would go on like that. But I suspect that the forecast hot
and windless days will send the water temperature up sharply making trolling more difficult. Indications were already evident as reported. But we will wait and see what actually happens. Luckily
here in Seychelles we always have the option of just changing style and continue fishing at top levels.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.