After the slight improvement of November things turned rather slow here again as far as tourism and subsequently also fishing activity is
conderned. Main reason are the tightened rules for visitors from about all core markets and thus we pretty much only saw tourists from Israel. But a few of those fished a bit like Ruben with whom I had been in touch already along his visit two years ago. This timefishing out of Mahe on Island Bird he enjoyed some first class jigging at the southern Drop Off with several Doggies among a large variety of catches. As many tourists avoided even the short inter island transfer pretty much nothing happened here on Praslin though. Only Mervin had two trolling trips along these first December days and in calm conditions. Those produced the usual assortment of smaller gamefish and this Sailfish was released.
Unfortunately he realized that the algae bloom reported previously from the northern Drop had been brought down here by the light winds. See how ugly the water behind the boat looked unless moving within the small clear pockets that also held the activity. On top dead reef fish were reported from several beaches.
With a view to this and the absence of charter guests about everyone here was quite happy with the following extended period of strong winds and rains sending off and diluting the mess to some degree. Only for the weekend before Christmas the weather was okay for fishing again and I would have liked to head out at last. But the mechanic had still not been able to fix my port side starter motor and going on one engine is just too risky. So fly fishing was my only option but also very limited. No use any more for the coming months here at my place. Not even self made Clousers with weedguards get through this mess without picking up salad. Not talking about the usually 15-20 knots of wind straight in the face.
The only reasonable option in these conditions is also the only nice swimming spot nearby and if those kids enjoying their school holidays were not there yet upon my arrival they inevitably came splashing within minutes. Only chance to fish there undisturbed was Sunday morning when they probably all attended church. Not feeding time for quality fish as I learned and had to make do with a slimy Trumpetfish and the usual handsize stuff. Thus my heartbeat only accelerated once along these weeks when the by now well known private angler from Mahe reported this massive 141cm GT caught on fly.
Definitely a catch of a lifetime which he managed on Cosmoledo roughly 1000km southeast of us. Sadly I can not cast that far. Just before Christmas the CoVid mutation let to the Israeli guests being called to return home but just before JD on his new and really nice new boat One Love II had two trolling trips. Catches of Dorados, Wahoos and Tuna were really good as so often and this Sailfish was released while they missed the Marlin that would have been the cherry on the cake.
JD reported that he had still seen areas of algae bloom. That did not sound so great but news of an 85kg Yellowfin Tuna caught trolling at the Drop triggered optimism with a view to repeater`s Simon two popping and jigging trips with Mervin. So off we went on the 28th in perfect conditions to the east and worked all the way up to the northeastern edge of the plateau. The Tuna were all over the place but difficult. Only small ones raised to the surface and grabbed a casted lure very occasionally. The four caught can not have weighed more than 15kg altogether and this one foulhooked by Mervin was the smallest Tuna I ever saw. The half dozen that came up on jigs were a little bigger but still far from the size we had been eager for. Jigging all in all was very solid though. No massive fish but apart from a short spell around the noon low tide frequency was nice.
Also the variety was good and despite the absence of any Trevallies and massive Shark trouble all along I counted 16 different species among the 40 to 50 fish caught: those Tuna, a couple Doggies, some Amberjacks, Green & Rosy Jobfish, Greater Barracuda, Triggerfish, BekBek, Bonitos, 5 different kinds of Groupers (Brownspotted, Orangespotted, Tomato, Blacktip, Comet), a Wahoo on popper that came away on the leader and of course that Shark that wasn`t even hooked but had grabbed the jig so awkwardly that it could neither spit it out nor cut the line. Mervin as usually provided competent dental service to that bugger.
On top we saw Manta Rays, Spinnder Dolphins, a Leatherback Turtle and two Whale Sharks so it was an entertaining day despite the disappointing Tuna popping. To impove on that the next day we headed further south and into some terrible weather with tormenting rain plus even thunder and lightning for a while. But those Tuna were not willing to reward our efforts as the bigger ones would not surface at all and even the small ones remained just a very occasional catch. Having spent two thirds of the day searching for the flocks of birds and casting the tally stood at three again rather tiny ones. Nearly no jigging done until then apart from an early spell when the visibility was zero that had produced one of those not so common Bigeye Trevallies. By noon all were fed up with the Tuna and the jigging rods got work to do properly bent by some Yellowpotted and Yellowtail Trevallies.
Really fortunate that unlike the pervious day fish kept feeding even around the low tide and saved the day. But the Sharks once more remained the well know nuisance in all places and depleted especially Mervin`s stocks heavily. He must have lost about 30 jigs along these two days and I`ve never seen his pouch so empty while Simon was extremely lucky. Unbelievable how often he got away with just the assist hook cut off and what his one jig fished for about half of the time survived. The thing must have been under a magic protection spell. Not just that Shark incident mentioned. Check the pic of that belly hooked Amberjack. Or rather of what was left of it.
Good news is that we saw no more of the algae despit so much area covered. So that`s been it here for this year. Unfortunately it does not look too promising for the coming one at the moment. Neither regarding any noteworthy recovery of tourism nor for my personal fishing. The mechanic reported some tiny spares missing for the repair of my starter motor and I regret not to have right away just ordered a new one from abroad. That should have been here by now and I would have been ready to go. Instead it is just looking at the ocean in longing for now and will probably be just that for a while. Somehow fits this year that has been frustrating probably for anyone in different ways. Thus I wish us all a much better 2021. Stay safe.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.