While the first half of the month had produced quite unusually strong and steady winds the weather changed just to the other extreme shortly after the last entry: very sunny, pretty hot and nearly without wind at all. This is typical for the transition which is normally only to be expected around the end of March or so. In the wake of the better weather fishing activities picked up a bit. Trolling was quite slow, though. But as these fishing grounds offer so many great options the focus just shifted a bit towards bottom fishing, jigging and popping for which the conditions were pretty much ideal.
On the 18th Carlos had a half day for his boss but was not really happy with a Dorado, a Yellowfin Tuna and a few Bonitos. The following day Greg did some 2 hours of Fly guiding on little Pipsqueek and returned with a Jobfish and a Bluefin Trevally. On the 21st I went for a bit of popping. As my initial spot was occupied by a boat of divers I had to resort to a shallow about a mile to the west that showed a lot Fusilier activity. That was promising and quite soon I had encountered a couple of misses by smaller Jobfish and a GT of maybe 20kg. About half an hour later an obviously larger GT hooked up. With the new appropriate tackle I was quite optimistic. Even more so as nothing broke after I had closed the drag to a point where the fish could take no more line at all and the dangerous rock was a good 50 metres away. After playing the fish for few minutes I saw the rock appearing under my boat in the water - the GT had actually pulled the boat to it. I realized right away what was to happen, and correctly a few seconds later the braided line was cut by the rock.
The picture is from the last moment before the line broke. The moments after were not for underaged persons. Greg was luckier that day jigging a spot on the plateau. This produced Bludger Kingfish in good numbers while some specimen were of around 6kg. Trolling a bit on the way also a for this place decent Dorado was boated. Two days later I went trolling with Ted and his friend Peter at very calm and hot conditions which were far from ideal. On top our target area was so much covered with seaweed that one could impossibly fish there. Only nearly half way to the Drop the stuff was gone while the water was still murky. But some small flocks of fishing birds and two larger splashes in the distance gave us some optimism which was enhanced only little later by a Yellowfin Tuna and another strike of whatever fish that did not hook up.
Unfortunately nothing else at all happened for the next couple of hours. Only on the way back already in the not so dense any more seaweed we got a Dorado on. Especially sad that the fish came off a couple of metres from the boat as it could well have hit the 10kg mark and so was a very good specimen for these waters. A few minutes later we recoded another strike of a large Dorado on a surface lure but it did not hook up. That was all for the day - well below average.
Tuesday the 23rd quite a few boats went out. Mervin who took a break from charters went popping by himself. He told me that he had two decent GTs on but both were torn apart by sharks while he was playing them. I also went popping without being luckier. The area close to a usually quite productive rock north of Praslin seamed lifeless. So casts went closer and closer to the danger zone over time. Finally I wanted to know if there were really no GTs there that day and risked a cast right to the rock. The strike came right when the popper hit the water. Tried to fight the GT extremely hard and same time to maneuver the boat away from the structure. This was first class slapstick and eventually useless as the fish anyways got lost in the rocks. Quite frustrated I tried a less dangerous bank after that. There was a current line with an incredible amount of mackerel covering an area of about 300 times 50 metres.
I drifted along and kept casting but did not get a single strike. Only a few Queenfish too small for my popper were around except one really nice specimen of about 1.20 metres. I liked it but it did not like my popper. To make sure there was nothing I trolled a small hardbait for a while but nothing happened. Even the Dolphins that came close buggered off quickly. Very strange such a buffet stayed unattended. Finally I tried another structure some 2 miles south. This turned into quite a deja vú of the morning`s events: again no activity, a final cast closer to the rock, strike, GT on and moments later a line cut by the rocks. It seems one needs another person on the boat and at the controls for that kind of fishing or at least these structures. Will still give it another try. Maybe there is a way to get it done on one`s own. At least there were some good findings: The strikes come, the hook-up ratio is fine and my knot is okay. That same day Martin who had returned from abroad was back on the water in his smaller boat Makaira. A bit of trolling produced no strike but they had two Sailfish in the spread that would just not eat. While bottom fishing later they got next to smaller fish some Bordomar and Emperor Snappers of up to 8kg. Also that Tuesday my old friend Pierre went with his son Andre and the grandsons to that jigging spot which had been successful a week before. Pierre brought up the usual assortment of bottom fish with a handline while the younger generation were jigging and again caught several nice Bludger Kingfish.
Phil then had a tough fight with an opponent that surprisingly turned out to be a shark of more than 40kg. Catching one of those on a jig is really not a common thing.
After a while the Pickhandle Barracudas came and caused many cut-offs. Andre said it must have been thousands and he had dropped his GoPro which produced some brilliant images.
These came from a depth of 48m so you can imagine how clear the water was. Under those conditions they were able to spot a lot of other stuff in the depth. Among that were also two Sails. To round off that day they caught another Dorado trolling home. These seem to be quite reliably saving the days at the moment. Christian (Djab Lavwal) in the context of an island excursion fished for three hours catching another nice one. On top they got a single Bonito which are also not as active as usually these days. Only one successful while trolling was Julian once more guiding a private boat up north to the Drop. They recoded two Sailfish and a double digit number of Yellowfin Tuna. Up there the activity is obviously higher than down here around the islands. But maybe things start to pick up now as yesterday Simon (Island Rhythm) caught a Sail also plus a Dorado.
Faizal reported that it was calm around Mahe, too. He did some trips trolling above depths of around 2000m. This produced a very nice Tuna of around 70kg. Also they hooked up to 4 Blue Marlin but all came off. According to yesterday`s forecast the very calm weather should persist. This morning some westerly winds were predicted to come but by now it has changed to rather calm again. It will be interesting to find out if the Northwest will eventually return or we instead are going to face two full months of transition until the Southeast sets in if it does not come earlier than as usually around the end of May. Whatever happens, as long as it is so calm or unless trolling activity picks the focus will just shift towards more active fishing as we are so lucky to have the choice of that many options.
The month is already half gone but there is hardly anything to report. The 24 hours after the most recent entry produced some extreme rainfall and it the wake of that the weather changed radically: not a single drop of rain since but it became unusually windy for this time of the year. On the 2nd - so the day after the downpour - it blew in excess of 20 knots. The sea became very rough and hardly calmed in the following days even as the wind calmed a bit.
This was a bit unfortunate for Christian and his 7(!) Chinese guests that had booked his Djab Lavwal for three days. That rainy day they trolled the area off Praslin bagging the usual assortment of smaller gamefish and lost two obviously larger Yellowfin Tuna. The next trip should have been to the Drop Off for some jigging but instead the conditions allowed only for some little bottom fishing close to shore in wind protection. Only two days later in still rough seas they could eventually make it to the Drop and got rewarded with a mixed bag of fish, among those were Amberjacks and Jobfish. Also they found a drifting raft that was surrounded by many Dorado and Tuna. Using stickbaits and other surface lures they had a lot of fun with those and caught plenty.
That day and the following one J.D. had two trolling trips on One Love which produced Wahoos, Dorados, Tunas and Bonitos. Also Julian who is sometimes booked as a guide for some winter guest`s private boat went to the northern Drop. This was well worth it as they returned with a whopping 46 Yellowfin Tuna.
The next day the wind came back and since kept blowing steadily. Only here and there it calmed down a bit for a few hours which would have allowed for a bit of trolling. But these brief spells came unpredictably and as far as I know nobody went out all.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.