As the whole sports fishing community here in Seychelles was hoping the weather continued to be favourable. Light winds from the Southeast so far prevented any noteworthy rise of the water temperature so the fishing remained simply excellent.
On the day of the most recent report a boat from Mahe landed a Marlin. This one should have been released but was hooked in the gills unfortunately.
The day after I went for 2hrs of popping early morning. Got no GT strike thus ending up with just two smaller Green Job. Some point I saw smaller fish jumping in panic some 40 meters away and a moment later a bill sticking out of the sea. I cast there immediately for a chance to get that Sailfish on but while the popper was still in the air the fish turned and I figured it was actually a Marlin. Just prayed for no strike and was lucky. Else I would probably still be out there or just ended up spooled. Same time Simon (Island Rhythm) fished the Drop Off. He missed a Marlin out there but returned with 2 Wahoos and 17 Yellowfin Tuna of between 15 and 20kg. On the 18th Christian (Djab Lavwal) reported 5 Wahoos and a few Tuna on a half day and the day after a boat from Mahe lost a Marlin estimated at 150kg just before tagging. On the 20th Mike (Alati) fishing also out of Mahe had an excellent day. Next to catching Tuna and Wahoo the boat was able to tag and release two Marlin. This is superb which is also true for the pictures taken.
Also this pic of the release with the tag clearly visible is fantastic.
The following days most Seychelles´ anglers started to prepare for the La Digue Offshore Tournament with 24hrs of fishing. Two days before Martin (Venture) reported a Marlin of 125kg. Lady Caroline went for some Bonito fishing that day to get bait for the tournament`s night of Bottom Fishing and got a Wahoo and a Sailfish. We also went for the same purpose eventually getting not a single Bonito but instead Dorado, Wahoo, Jobfish, Barracuda ... it was like a curse. Friday the 24th around noon all the tournament boats started to squeeze into the tiny port of La Digue and at 3pm the tournament started. As buddy Carlos had to cancel short notice Ted & I instead took Peter who is pretty much a beginner. With a view to my small boat`s limited fuel capacity we opted for fishing just east of the Sister Islands and Marianne. Conditions were ideal with some 8-9 knots of Southeasterly wind and when starting to fish close to a rock we got a Barracuda and some Jobfish right away. Unfortunately none of the big ones that I had seen coming up while popping there a couple of times before. The rest of our afternoon went rather slow though with just a Dorado and two large Bonitos. Same was true for our night Bottom Fishing. Not having any coordinates of reliably productive spots we drifted over a few banks and caught a handful of Emperor Snappers and Groupers up to 6kg among lots of small fish. When moving from spot to spot we trolled two Halcos which produced not a single strike this time after being quite successful last year. So we slept a bit in shifts from 4 to 5am and then started trolling again. Luckily we got some smaller Bonitos right away so I could deploy a skipbait on a circle hook. In the next few hours we caught some Dorados as well as a Wahoo and a small Tuna to get an Offshore Grand Slam together. Also some more Bonitos came into the boat among which was a quite fat one. Some point we got a short knock on a Halco. Know by now that with about a 50% chance this means to see a Sailfish in the spread right after. True again this time but it turned out to be a small Marlin of about 50-60kg. It played with the skipbait for maybe 2min but would not eat it and disappeared. A few minutes later we got a knock on the other Halco. The Marlin had returned and this time grabbed the skipbait. While closing the drag slowly for the hookup I felt it come tight but then it was gone. Too bad as this would have upgraded us to a Super Grand Slam. But eventually we got it together via catching a Sail on a Panama Strip a little later. On top we caught a couple more Dorados but did not get another chance for a Marlin. So eventually just before 3pm we returned into the port of La Digue and the boat in front of us took this nice picture.
The port was crammed with boats. The weigh-in is always a lengthy procedure at this tournament. All boats need to sort their catch among the species. Then weigh the two largest specimen of each species separately and finally the rest in bulk also assorted by the species. Obviously this takes time so we opted for dropping anchor in a far corner as not having to avoid the large boats moving about all the time.
Unfortunately from that position we could not see everything happening at the gantry but there was the usual huge and cheerful crowd.
Surprisingly only a single Marlin was brought in. Would have expected a couple more. But this was not due to a lack of those fish. As I learned later around 15 had been missed either not striking or getting away at different stages of play. The one caught weighed at 164kg if I remember right.
A lot of attention also produced this strange fish that was later identified as an Oilfish (Ruvettus pretiosus).
After a nearly 36hrs struggle we eventually reached home and went back to La Digue for the price giving the next morning. Our Offshore Super Grand Slam unfortunately was not good enough to take that prize as team Dalon with the Marlin had one also with obviously higher weight. On top there were more than a dozen Grand Slams. Our individual fish all seemed to small to grab a species trophy so I was pleasantly surprised that we took the prize for the largest Bonito (6.55kg). Team Island Star turned out the overall tournament winner. A local fish processing company bought the record catch of 6.2tons and the proceeds will fund a charitable project on La Digue. Of course this largest sports fishing tournament in Seychelles was covered by the media extensively.
Many thanks to the organizers of this really cool event and congratulations to all winners.
In the days after most participants were licking their wounds. Mervin (Divinity) though went to the Drop again on the 27th and missed a Marlin. Another one was brought in by a Praslin based boat the day after. Christian that day was at the Drop for some jigging. Unfortunately they got no Doggies and only a single Amberjack but made up for that with plenty Jobfish and Groupers. Greg (Lil Red) also jigging out there had pretty much the same experience. Interestingly this was the first day with a noteworthy breeze from Northwest. Yesterday Henry Riggs-Miller, owner of FinS Tackle on Mahe (www.fins.sc), fished off Denis Island up North. He raised 6 Sailfish getting 4 strikes and hooking up with 3. One he tagged while another got rid of the hook and the third was freed by a Wahoo going for the swivel. Also he caught 5 Wahoos, 3 Dorados and a Tuna representing another Offshore Super Grand Slam. Henry told me that until noon the sea was flat looking like lead and there was virtually no activity. Pretty much all fish were caught within the two hours or so a rain front moved through. After that when the sun had come out all was calm again. Also today we have virtually no wind. Ideal for popping but as we are holding a small tournament here on Praslin tomorrow I was too busy helping to organize this. Praslin used to have its own annual tournament but it had not been on for a decade or so. We now try to make it come back to life.
Am really curious how it will go. In a while at 3am we start and 12hrs later we will know. Will cover this in the next report but probably there will be an update before on the Facebook site here. Just visit and `like` it if you do. Then you will get the updates automatically.
The weather has been quite ideal since the beginning of the month allowing for constant fishing that turned out really good. So finally again enough fishing news for a mid month report and a little bit of video on top. Oct. 1st Edwin (Dan Zil) had a trip resulting in the common mixed bag. Peeking inside one would have seen 7 Wahoos of which two were large ones among other fish. The following day Mervin (Divinity) returned from a morning charter with 2 Dorados and a Wahoo while the day after Christian also fishing only a half day reported a Wahoo and 3 Dorados. Unfortunately the Marlin he hooked up to got rid of lure and hook only a few seconds into the fight. Island Star from Mahe meanwhile was luckier as the boat managed to release a Marlin of about 210kg. By Saturday the 4th seas had calmed enough for me to try a bit of popping in the La Digue Channel. Must admit that the area so far never produced me any real strike but it is close by and with a view to the structures and current I still believe there must be some GTs. This time for a change one large Green Jobfish attacked the popper but missed it. An hour or so later I caught a small one but found it quite naughty for its size to attack a 160mm Popper.
Would have preferred the larger one of course. But at least finally there was some activity for me at that spot so I will keep trying. Must work some point. Two days later motivated by a quite ideal tide I went for the area Northwest of Praslin for some afternoon popping. The double set of rocks I usually start at this time provided no attack. I did not cast into the `red zone´ this time though that usually produces a strike but so far inevitably the loss of fish and popper. Might work with a second person at the controls but as there was none I rather went on to the plateau about a mile further out. Here again several large Green Job followed my popper but none was willing to attack it. Had already lost hope for s strike at all when it finally came. The fish turned out to actually be a GT though only a juvenile one of around 8-9kg.
Mervin fished the Drop Off that day catching some Dorados and Wahoos on the troll as well as smaller Dogtooth Tuna and Amberjacks jigging. He told me that in the course of that day he saw 3 Marlin in his spread but none would strike and another boat he met out there also saw three eventually getting a strike and ending up spooled on 50lb gear. The day after Martin (Venture) reported 3 Wahoos and a Sailfish. On Wednesday the 8th we (that is buddy Ted, his brother Ian and I) went for some trolling. Next to catching some fish the objective was to check out a few banks quite far to the Southeast for some bottom fishing opportunities by keeping an eye on the sonar. We definitely need a few spots with a view to the 24hrs of fishing in the upcoming La Digue tournament. With maybe a mile still to troll to the first bank I saw something large jumping a few times far away. Rigged a maybe foot long Bonito with a circle hook instantly and put this out while my lads were watching sceptically. But not for long as the bait after only about a minute was slurped from the surface. The Marlin we hoped for turned out to be a nice Sailfish of app. 35kg that we eventually tagged and released. It had suffered an injury close to one eye as the hook intended for a Marlin was a bit large but it should survive. At least I hope so very much.
There is a bit of video to watch of the strike, play and release. See here. Our findings of bottom fishing opportunities were rather uninspiring and also the smaller gamefish were either not really around or just had little appetite. After nearly 11hrs of fishing we had next to a few Bonitos only a Wahoo and 2 Dorados in the fish box while having lost another one. But in the course of that day another Sail took a Halco close to the boat and leaped up into the air instantly as if it would want to act for the camera. Also we managed to gather a quite nice underwater sequence. Click here to watch.
Just the images from the head attached GoPro did not come right as I had misjudged the angle on this first try. More important though was that despite the two trebles on the lure we managed to tag and release that fish safely also. So even as overall activity was a bit sluggish that day with two Billfish releases we were happy. That evening Christian reported 5 Wahoos in a Half day. On top he lost a Sailfish while another one had come window shopping. Mervin was out also that day catching a Wahoo and a dozen Dorados plus losing a Marlin by a breaking hook. Starting the next day we got some strong Southeast winds of up to 20knots once more that were forecast to last a week along with lots of rain. Luckily the bad weather did not stretch that long but lasted only two days. So Saturday the 10th in still quite rough seas Mat (Whiplash) next to a Dorado and 3 Wahoos caught this Marlin.
Mahe reported two Black Marlin of 152kg and around 70kg that same day as well as a small one of about 50kg yesterday. Unfortunately that fish had to be taken as it was hooked in the gills. On top the boat (Alati) caught a Dorado and 10 Wahoos. Last but not least the boat Lady Claire from Denis Island reported 5 Sail tagged & released in a day. So far the as always dearly awaited period after the Southeast finally settles fully matches expectations. Really good also that the transition (that is the time span of about a month until the Northwest sets in) so far did not deliver real lull and the sudden warming of the water that results from such. On top the cease of the Southeast signals the beginning of the peak Marlin season here in Seychelles. After we had been quite blessed by the amount abundant in recent months already they seem to virtually queue up now which is obviously very nice. So we all here in Seychelles hope for the conditions to last and the excellent fishing we are currently enjoying to continue.
Closing this report I would like to briefly point you to the new facebook site of www.seychelles-fishing.com here. It intends to occasionally provide bits of up to date news and pictures in between the regular reports. Visit it and if you enjoy please `like´ it to stay up to date and along with it assist the good cause of making Seychelles with its fantastic fishing opportunities more popular. Thank you very much.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.