reports October 2015

October 31st, 2015

The first two days after the most recent report the weather was just awful with strong winds and heavy rain. Quite a nice welcome for German friends Stephan and Jürgen who arrived a few weeks earlier than in previous years. Friday the 16th they started their week`s fishing in style with a few Bonitos, a Dorado and this feasty Sailfish estimated at 40kg that was released.

The next day they went popping but had not much luck. A GT was lost in the rocks while another just followed the lure. Another fish was lost by cutting the line so most probably that was a Shark. That day Ted and I had aimed at catching some Bonitos as bait for the upcoming La Digue tournament. Was a tough job: despite activity with lots of bait, birds and fish from the easterly all up to the northern spots we only got bites occasionally even when trolling the lures right through. Up at the most northern spot the fish were like a carpet. We felt like Moses just that instead dividing the water with a stick we divided the fish with the boat. When passing through the feeding fish the frenzy continued right behind the boat again but still the bite remained very slow.

At least we got our dozen Bonitos eventually and long with those also two Tuna while losing a Dorado. In the course of the day the wind had shifted to come from north and picked up ever more. It all developed into quite a storm and we were lucky that our way home was straight downwind. Mervin and the guys had been in the south thus they had a rough and lengthy trip back home to Praslin. Sunday they took a day off but Monday it was popping again. Among a couple of fish caught was this GT.

Tuesday the 20th Greg took two German anglers for some mixed fishing but the weather was again really bad with winds above 15 knots from WNW and hard rain. The two anglers withstood the weather but popping was nearly impossible resulting in misses of 3 smaller GTs. Trolling again produced misses by 2 Dorados and a Sail. Also jigging only just worked with the boat drifting so fast and this way they got some fish as well as an Octopus on jig. This is rather unusual and sighting a Whale Shark was another experience to remember. Mervin also was out with Stephan and Jürgen. Could hardly believe that they had gone all the way to the Drop in that weather. Out there the current was also strong so jigging catches were limited to a few smaller Amberjacks and two Doggies of about 18kg. 

Trolling was better with a Wahoo and 4 Sails raised of which they caught and released two. The next day they only fished a few hours behind Sisters but this went great raising 11 Sails getting 7 of them.

On Thursday the 22nd I had just finished all the preparations for the La Digue tournament when I had to learn that Carlos had been called to work Saturday on short notice and Ted was nursing a tooth that had virtually exploded in his mouth. Would have been really sad to miss the event for a first time in years but was lucky that Martin took me along on Venture. Mervin called that evening again to let me know that he had discovered a patch of brownish reddish water between Mahe and Praslin. The last time he saw this in the course of the last big El Nino it had produced a lot of dead fish along the beaches. Fishing that day was rather slow for Stephan and Jürgen. A big GT was lost to the rocks but they caught a few Jobfish and as a highlight this decent Yellowfin Tuna on popper.

Friday was their departure but that did not stop them from going out a few hours in the morning. As I learned from Mervin later they did not only miss 3 Sails on popper but also a really huge GT while catching a few smaller specimen. All in all it had not been the perfect week for them but with a view to the mostly unpleasant weather they did well. Well enough in any case that I can look forward to seeing them here again next year. A personal farewell was impossible as at that time we were on La Digue already. Fishing time for this tournament had been extended once more to now 26 hours which probably explains along with the unsteady weather that hardly any small boats were present. Starting time was at 1pm and some 2.5 hours later we were close to Bird Island where a tiny Sailfish greeted us by performing a few jumps around the boat. Our minds were set on jigging and bottom fishing though. Unfortunately our two coordinates we had for the area proved empty of fish so we had to search for productive spots. Most unfortunate that right then the echosounder packed up and was not willing to get working again no matter what we tried. Very bad obviously as then we had to find spots by the plotter chart and just try again and again. After countless unproductive drifts we finally found one around midnight that worked. Was so upbeat when after hours of jigging without even a touch finally a fish was on. It turned out a kind of Trevally that I had not seen before weighing around 6kg. In the course of the night while drifting freely or dragging an anchor we scraped together some 140kg of different Snappers and Groupers on bait. Martin topped the other catches with a nice Grouper. Here is a pic taken the next day at the weigh-in.

In the morning we started trolling eastward along the Drop but this also did not work too well. 2 Wahoos, a Rainbow Runner and 2 Bonitos that were turned into Sashimi were all we got. About 20 minutes from return time we were back at La Digue in pouring rain. Instead being greeted by the usual huge crowd and loud music this time there were only a few people watching from under their umbrellas and everybody just wanted to get over with the procedure as quickly as possible.

We were one of the last boats so I had some time to watch the others and their fish. Was very surprised to see no Marlin coming to the scales and only three Sailfish. Obviously smart animals as this tournament is not a release format but instead the whole catch is bought by a local fish processing company and the proceeds go to charity. Hope the Billfish will be more cooperative at next month`s all release tournament. Largest fish I saw was this Doggie sticking out of a box.

Some point we had achieved to offload and assort our catch by species into those boxes. With a view to the buggered sonar not such a bad result but real candidates for a species trophy we did not really have.

Had filmed a bit but not enough for a real video so there is just a short sequence on Facebook here if you like watching. Sunday morning when I had just arrived back on La Digue for the prize giving Ted phoned informing me that Praslin`s east coast beaches were full of dead fish. So Mervin had been right. At the prize giving we learned that my jigged Trevally had been identified as a Horseye Jack though I thought this was an Atlantic species. Also that fish had been the second largest Trevally of the tournament though beaten by more than 20kg by a GT. Also Martin`s Grouper was second of its category. These had been our slim hopes so we very pleased to be second for another kind of Grouper here called Monsieur Hangar and even receiving a first prize for this species. No real surprise overall winners turned out team Island Star reaping a lot of species prizes as well as pretty much all the larger categories. If the rumours are correct the large boat fishes a remote bank some 120 miles away far beyond the plateau. When considering the loss of time to get their and back thus how few hours of fishing time there is left this place must be gigantic. An overall catch of more than a ton of fish speaks for itself. So congratulations.

What else was worth mentioning? Buddy Ruslan played a Marlin estimated at 200kg  for 2.5 hours before the fish dropped the hook only about 20 meters from the boat. Team Alati missed three Marlin and several Sails while other boats also had Billfish encounters. But as said before it was obviously not a catch day for those. Greg was out trolling not far from Praslin that day seeing the boats return to La Digue and reporting a special Marlin experience also. One estimated at 120kg came into the spread obviously fascinated by a particular lure for about half an hour but there was no way to hook it by any tricks. Only minutes after the fish had disappeared another smaller one showed up and the scenario repeated itself at the same lure. `Poor` Mervin was also out again with a new group without even getting a days break. That Saturday it was all about jigging the Drop and it went very good. Next to the usual and plentyful catch of Amberjacks, Black Jacks, Green Job, Vara Vara, Groupers etc. they also caught some twenty Doggies of up to 25kg. 

The wind had picked up badly from the west though so the trip back was tough enough for his guests to take a day off Sunday and give him a rest as it was still blowing anyways. But Monday they went finding the great action again. This time the Doggies were even bigger at up to 40kg. On top they hooked a Sail on jig but it broke the leader at the boat. Tuesday Christian (Djab Lavwal) had 4 hours of trolling that produced a few Bonitos plus this Sailfish.

Wednesday afternoon finally offered a chance for a bit of popping. In 3.5 hours I did not even see a GT though but just had Shark troubles. A first one grabbed the popper but let go. As the lure had just risen to the suface it was taken again by another fish. That one seemed rather green and silverish and also did not feel like a Shark so I hoped for a smaller GT or at least a good size Jobfish. But after a few seconds the resistance was just gone and I found the leader cleanly cut just in front of the popper. So unless the fish have equipped themselves with little scissors it must have been a Shark too. Another one came on later and also cut me off. Luckily the popper came up and I got the chance to pick it up. Oddly though the Shark maintained its interest nudging and chewing on it for a while but eventually buggered off when the boat came near. Only real adrenalin moment was when I figured that a Doggie of 25-30kg was following my popper right to the engines. First time I encountered one of those there and of course would not have minded getting it on but it would not show up again. Greg that day had a bit of trolling catching 5 Tuna, 2 Wahoos, Bonitos and losing a Sailfish on the first jump. Mervin meanwhile had been popping with his group and reported numerous GTs following. 3 they lost to the rocks while catching two. A Doggie pulled a treble straight while another one they got. Thursday and yesterday jigging at the Drop again was first class with Amberjacks of up to 35kg. Christian meanwhile had another trolling trip getting 2 Dorados, Tuna, Sailfish and a Marlin. Great day.

Mervin today again went jigging with his group that I got to know tonight. Nice guys and obviously really good anglers. Once more they caught around 100 fish between them. Having fished numerous other well known jigging destinations they seemed quite impressed of what they found here in Seychelles and produced lots of cool pictures. Here is another one.

Last but not least: a big issue here is that already mentioned algue bloom. The phenomenon accompanied with dead coral fish washed to shores also occurred in several other places. It was unclear if those algue are actually toxic or if those fish die just of depreviation of oxygen. Laboratory testing results now suggest the latter. This is a bit of good news. Especially from a culinary point of view. If interested read a comprehensive report by the Seychelles News Agency here.


October 14th, 2015

Usually October here in Seychelles is one of the best times for trolling and if the weather behaves normal also provides conditions quite okay for popping and jigging at times. It looked like that at the beginning of the month so right on the 1st I joined Mervin (Divinity) who had been chartered by my old friend `Maxima-Rolf` for exactly that. At the northern Drop Off we found ourselves in not really perfect conditions for this kind of exercise with the Southeast blowing at 10 to 12 knots and a swell that at first made it a bit difficult to find the Fusiliers. But Mervin spotted them after a little while and the bite was on so Rolf could warm up catching a pretty fat Green Job.

Shortly after a decent Bluefin Trevally was on and also released quickly as this was not a real opponent on the heavy tackle.

The activity persisted and Mervin briefly had a fairly big Doggie following his popper but it would not strike and disappeared. Instead a Shark had to undergo a dental operation but was eventually returned to the water in good state. 

Quite impressive were those Bohar Snappers that at times in small groups of 4 or 5 chased the poppers. Two got hooked up and this is Rolf`s larger one presented perfectly by Mervin.

A few Jobfish were added and in that rather shallow area of 15 to 25 meters also jigs produced a few more catches. For this we went into a more serious mode late morning. Not an easy task as the boat was drifting at 2.5 knots so when starting at 70 to 80 meters in no time depths exceeded 250 meters along these steep edges. To fish down there in these conditions would have required ultraheavy jigs spoiling the fun very much. Luckily this was not necessary as the shallower areas produced. After the usual Jobfish for a start a number of good sized Amberjacks came up and especially a double header of those was not unpleasant at all.

Half a dozn of those were caught and the same number of Doggies in the course of the day. Mervin`s jigging style seems to be a special attraction to those but eventually Rolf also got his and was happy. 

In between other species enriched the day like a small but pretty red Grouper along the usual brown ones here called Makonde, Black Trevallies, Jobfish etc. Some other usual suspects like the Rosy Jobfish were missing that day but still Rolf was most impressed. He stated that jigging here is far better than in Maldives which he fished about 20 times: just more and bigger fish in Seychelles. Already nearly half the way back to Praslin Mervin wanted to try a structure for some Yellowtail Trevallies. These were not there but some other fish came to the surface of which the most noteworthy was this Bluefin Trevally.

Unfortunately I had some trouble with the cam batteries but I believe the video of that trip has still turned out quite convincingly. Watch it here if you like. The following days the weather was quite good for trolling and some anglers made good use of that. Martin (Venture) had a trip ending with Bonitos, 2 Wahoos and a good test of his humour as 10 or 11 Sails altogether had been in the spread along the day but none really was willing to strike. On the 4th Island Star fished a couple of hours just off the southern tip of Mahe anding up with Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado plus two Sails and a Marlin of about 65kg tagged and released.

Also buddy Jan fished out of Mahe that day and reported a Wahoo and a Sail. My birthday wish for Faizal had been that this year he would finally hug a Grander but I would not have expected how close to that he would be already that exact day. Something grabbed the Tuna they were bringing in and after half hour they were suspecting a large Shark. To everyone`s surprise the fish surfaced finally revealing itself as a large Marlin estimated at around 400kg but on the second jump Tuna and hook went flying. Adding to misery another Marlin of probably around 300kg also escaped a little later but of that one there is at least this great pic to show.

Monday the 5th conditions looked acceptable for popping and jigging but somehow I did not get going. Mervin trolled two hours behind Marianne seeing many Sailfish catching a small one and lost a small Marlin on top. Simon (Island Rhythm) also fished that area and reported 6 well sized Dorados and another Sail. Greg (Pipsqueek) wanted to do some Bottom Fishing with his brother so they took two trolling outfits to catch some Bonitos for bait. As they got not a single one they instead had to use part of the Wahoo they got. On top they had a Dorado and a Sailfish playing but not striking. Tuesday I finally went but 2 hours of popping produced nothing apart from a Shark that stole my popper on the release. 

Jigging I had to abandon unfortunately after just an hour as the weather turned ugly. The massive rainfront covering all the horizon would have been acceptable but the wind also picked up. The boat drfited ever faster until the GPS signalled 3 knots and at some point even 4. This was useless so I rather went home to find myself a dry place. Since the weather is anything but pleasant with southeasterly winds of mostly around but sometimes over 15 knots and heavy rainfall nearly all days. Only Simon did a couple more trips with an obviously weatherproof guest. Results were quite good though with mixed bags of the smaller Gamefish, an odd Sailfish and a Marlin that escaped. Sergio from Switzerland who I had provided with information via mail along recent weeks as he was planning his catamaran trip got in touch. Nice to learn that next to the usual Bonitos they caught not only a decent Dorado but also a Sailfish. Even nicer though that it was released in good state. From a German angler currently in La Digue I learned that they lost 2 Sails yesterday before landing one today. I think that was all that happened in those days but due to other obligations I might not be fully up to date. If anything noteworthy slipped through you will learn about it in the next report. At the moment tension is building up as next week the La Digue Tournament will be on. Fishing time has been extended again to now 26 hours. So especially the small boat guys are hoping for some calm and pleasant weather. Might come or not as the currently much discussed El Nino phenomenon that is forecast to be very strong this year might prove all experience wrong this time. 

For the preceeding reports check the archive.


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