First thing is to deliver the results of the 9G Sportsfishing Team`s 5 day trip mentioned in the most recent report as they were whopping. Next to virtually countless other fish the boat went 13-14 on Sailfish and 7-10 on Marlin with some of those being really good size. Simply brilliant.
On the 15th I went with Mervin and anglers Michael from Germany and saltwater newbie Mark from Switzerland to Denis Island. Conditions were ideal but fishing was rather slow. Though Mark had never done popping before and thus needed to get into it he raised pretty much all of the few fish and unfortunately lost a good size Doggie after a few seconds. On the other side experienced Michael only had Sharks raising to his popper releasing one. Also while jigging it was Mark with his rather unorthodox style who kept catching fish continiously in a still rather slow bite.
Michael on the opposite continued to have issues with Sharks. Any smaller fish hooked was stolen by such or they went for the jig directly. Or rather the jigs as Mervin handed out more than a dozen to him along that day. Some point we could not stop laughing as even on Mark`s so far Shark free combo he hooked one right away. But this time it did not cut off and was released.
Eventually he managed to bring up a decent Grouper and funny enough on the very last retrieve he got his rather juvenile but so much craved for Doggie.
Along the following days it was rather calm here around Praslin as far as the weather and the number of trips but also the bite is concerned. Just a Marlin caught on Venture and this one by Bertrand (Yam Sing) stood out.But apart from these trolling was unusually slow and it was tough to scrape together a few smaller Gamefish like Dorados and Wahoos while Sailfish seemed to have disappeared. If this was due to the very calm and hot weather? I do not really now as the surface temperature stayed quite steady and at the Drop Off fish were plentyful and eating well. Who did not go that far resorted to some bottom fishing and had fun this way like Marcel on Martin`s Venture.
Just before Easter I made use of the favourable tide trying to get rid of my GT curse but it is still on. During an accumulated 10 hours of hardcore popping I raised four of which one was a decent girl around the 40kg mark but managed only one hookup. On top of all that fish having produced the most massive splash I ever saw or could have imagined dropped the hook after a few seconds. So apart from a few Jobfish and released Sharks the most spectacular catch of those attempts turned out this Trumpetfish cleanly hooked while jigging briefly. Strange things happen.
The Drop on the other side as already indicated was very productive. Buddy Carlos fishing for his boss on Delfino reported not only a Sail released but also Dorado, Wahoo and a handful of good size Yellowfin Tuna. Also the Mahe boats raised and caught lot of Billfish on the southern Drop. Alati and Special K along two days of fishing raised an iimpressive 13 Marlin and 6 Sails but were somewhat unfortunate as far as hookups were concerned. That improved though and Special K released a Sail on the 24th while the next day adding two more and a Blue Marlin.
Also the boat Blue Moon got a Marlin and one of the large private Vikings even three in a day. Parallel to all this Mervin took some more members of the Isreal Shimano Pro Team jigging along the northeastern Drop. This went more than well with Groupers and Doggies while especially the Amberjacks were completely crazy.
Things for the group more or less continued along the following days in same style but were stirred up by this massive Bullshark estimated at more than 200kg that came up after a long and hard fight.
On one of these days the group hit some really large Doggies which could not be stopped even on heavy tackle. Mervin believes these fish must have exceeded the 50kg mark by far thus have been substantially larger that this specimen caught.
Last Sunday afternoon the wind picked up once more exceeding 20 knots at times from northeasterly direction thus keeping anglers on shore for these final days of March. Yesterday though Mervin`s group braved the conditions for their final day with again some excellent jigging that on top of all produced two GTs of which one exceeded 30kg. Mervin told me that this day returning from the Drop for the first time he saw Sailfish near the Inner Islands again. Also Matthias from Germany fishing around Silhouette on Striker III a few days ago reported two Sailfish missed in a day. So it seems that those have not completely left the plateau which is good news. Especially for the Easter tourists of which many do not really feel like doing hardcore fishing at the Drop. We will see how it goes when wind and seas will have calmed again though according to the forecast this looks to take a while.
Apart from a few rainy days the weather was fairly nice with just low winds allowing for some good fishing along those first two weeks of March. Did not feel to much like it in the first week as that liveaboard trip to Ile Plate still had some effects and there were plenty other things to do. The report on that had to be produced in the first line and also the corresponding video is meanwhile online. Think it turned out quite nicely thanks to the really entertaining and nice group.
To watch it just click the picture or the link here. `Poor´ Mervin (Divinity) only had a single day`s break to recover before his charters resumed with 3 consecutive days of jigging the Drop The first day was a bit slow but the area was full of school size Yellowfin Tuna of which the managed to boat 11 mainly on Halcos. The next day jigging was already a lot better with more Amberjacks, some Groupers and small Doggies . Also Sandro hooked a Marlin briefly on his jig. On the third and last day for that group the bite had gotten back to normal with the Amberjacks and other species pretty much full on again. To round things off nicely a bit of trolling produced a Wahoo and this good size Sailfish.
Also along the following days Mervin kept fishing on a daily basis with the focus more on popping. On the 7th the GTs were not cooperative at all so the party had to make do with Bluefin Trevallies and Jobfish. The next day the group managed to hook 3 GTs of which 2 dropped the hooks and one unfortunately cut the line in the rocks. That day I finally retrieved my boat back from Baie St. Anne to my place of course doing a few casts along the way. Already the second at the harbor rocks resulted in a seemingly solid hookup of a GT around 20kg but for no clear reason suddenly the fish was gone. A few casts later something shiny golden followed the popper. Can not say for sure but believe this must have been a Golden Trevally. Pity as I would have really liked to catch on of those. To add to misery I had another huge miss later at another spot. Looking into the glare of the setting sun I could only see the silhouette of the fish that must have risen vertically launching itself half out of the water. Would say that it must have been rather in the 40kg than the 30kg range but can not tell what it was. Probably Doggie or GT by the roundish shape. On the 9th that fantastic Riviera 9G headed out of Mahe for a trip of several days. From underway to their fishing area the team delivered a first great pic featuring this Sail.
Am not aware of their return date but it will be interesting to learn what else that trip will eventually have produced. That same day I checked a few old coordinates of my mentor `Ton Pierre´ if they are any good for jigging using jigs and bait. This resulted in some 40 fish but all pretty small. Just a dozen surpassed the kg mark and about half of those were useless highly poisonous Fugu. If someone should be interested in those: seems I can supply.
During an hour of late afternoon popping my miserable run continued. Within the first few casts I had to digest the miss of a GT estimated around 30kg and to avoid half dozen Sharks. A little later I saw panicking needlefish casting there immediately as this is a clear indication for Sailfish. No action on the retrieve but when lifting the popper out of the water next to the boat I saw the Sailfish that had followed the popper in about a meter`s depth with the Sail beautifully unfolded as it turned away and disappeared for good. Mervin that evening informed me that his new party of guests had raised and hooked numerous GTs that day but lost all of them due to breaking lines. Some point he suspected their knots to be no good so made one himself but when testing it the braid broke. Same result on the next attempt. On checking the large spool all the anglers had served themselves from he found it to be an obviously old product from some Asian country with not even a readable capacity on the faded sticker. Thus the next day he let the group fish with his own tackle resulting in two good size GTs caught. Also JD and Julien had an obviously very productive day out on Isabella as the picture clearly indicates.
Simon (Island Rhythm) had started to fish a number of days at the beginning of the month with a German angler. For them also trolling and bottom fishing worked very well with 2 Sailfish a huge mixed bag of other fish already on their first day. The following trips also were productive with more Sailfish etc. but did not quite match that first day`s result any more. This was probably due to the extreme nip tides that moved ever more towards noon along those days as some other boats´ trips produced similar experiences. Did another search for jig spots on the 11th but to pretty much the same result as a few days before. So not really worth mentioning it if there had not been this catch all new to me.
Thanks to the knowledge and help of some followers of the facebook site of seychelles-fishing.com this one could be identified as Elongate Surgeonfish (Acanthus Bahianus). Great job to get this right just from this single pic as I had released the friendly looking bugger. Mervin in the meantime took a new group fishing. Jigging the Drop on Saturday went okay though a bit below par. Still as usually numerous fish were caught with the odd nice one in between like this not so small but though rather unwanted Shark.
Yesterday they just went for a half day`s popping catching 2 out of 4 raised GTs. The smaller specimen luckily was released to live on for reproduction and hopefully another encounter some day. The larger shown below weighed at 25kg they unfortunately had to bring home as the trebles had caused too severe injuries and loss of blood.
So when evaluating the events over all the different fishing styles the bite was not really red hot along this first half of March but for sure very solid I would say.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.