The day of last report the wind had picked up massively and on top came from north at first to the shift via west to southwest. Unusual at this time of the year but a clear sign the Southeast starts to fade. Mervin (Divinity) was out with Wolfgang and Ursula but more than a half day trolling was not possible in these conditions. Still it went really well as far as the fishing is concerned with a Super Grand Slam of Dorado, Wahoo, Tuna and a released Sailfish. On top they briefly had a Marlin in the spread that would have been the cherry on the cake.
The drastic change of conditions obviously did not bother the pelagics as Greg & Phil on Bite Me also had a Grand Slam like the one above but without the Sailfish. They made amends the next day by picking up this GT on popper amidst the countless and still hyperactive Sharks.
Same time I was out at the southeastern Drop with Mervin and Wolfgang which turned out a trip of highs and lows. Jigging kicked off nicely with a good size Yellowspotted Trevally but after that one for quite a while it was only Jobfish and smaller Groupers on the Slow Pitch. One of those though got eaten by something big and after a good half hour the little 50lb leader gave in. By the behaviour of the fish we suspected either a large Grouper or a very big Doggie. Apart from that only by noon activity and variety returned.
Was still not boring in the meantime though as a fat Black Marlin in the 200kg range briefly appeared to inspect a popper trolled between spots. While we were still watching and hoping for it to return the popper was grabbed out of nothing by a Sailfish that threw it on the first leap. The Tuna did not show on the surface but twice I spotted them on the sonar and ran for the next best popping rod. On the first try and depth indication of 20m the strike came instantly. The second time the depth indication was at 40m so I did not have much hope but on the second cast the strike came and that fish was even reasonable size. A few more good fish caught and better ones missed when jigging again made it a nice day all in all.
Good bit of fishing activity also on the 18th. Had been in touch with German honeymooner Tim for a while on fly fishing but before heading home he wanted to try something else so I organized for a half day with Brandon on Island Rhythm. Initial plan was trolling but as Brandon is taking steps towards jigging and Tim liked it we stuck to that in the vicinity of the islands. Bit of a pity that all the three clearly big fish that sent the reels singing came away as else Tim would have been even more excited.
Meantime Mervin did his first day with Erez from Israel. They also stayed on the plateau for popping and jigging. The latter produced nicely as it is the case most of the time with the usual catches and a Wahoo in the mix. While popping they lost a GT but got this Bluefin Trevally on jig.
Next days at the Drop off also produced them some nice fish while the Sharks remained constant trouble.
By noon once more heavy rain came down so it was a tough half day afternoon popping trip for Greg and his guest. They also lost a GT and got a Bluefin Trevally. Fantastic picture.
That rain kept falling until the next day`s noon when it at last stopped. Julian from Germany opted for a break between his professional appointments so we scrambeld on my house rock with the fly rods. A briefly chasing Trevally gave us motivation. While Julian tried to tempt it with a big pattern I worked a small one to maybe catch one of the better Permits abundant there at times but the one I got was only the size of a hand next to other similarly small fish. Julian tied on a smaller fly after a while and while I was still changing to a big one he was already on with a good fish. The culprit turned out to be a Bonefish that was actually a good bit bigger than it looks on the GoPro pics.
Had caught some about 150m off but this one from the rock that was fished a lot along the last few months was a surprise to me. Already late a bunch of Trevallies in the 70-80cm range followed my clouser just to turn away some 5m from the rock. Flicked that pattern right onto their heads and instantly the line started peeling off the reel at crazy speed. Julian`s eyes kept protruding while the fish took about 200m. No doubt about the distance due to my multicolor backing. Managed to retrieve 50m but then all was stuck. Gave Julian the rod and swam out along the line. Was odd in the boots and far but eventually I got to the leader only to find it wrapped around coral and torn. Sucked but at least I got the fly line back. Next day Wolfgang and Ursula also turned up and I think actually her first cast of a soft plastic on a small spinning rod produced her this Oxeye Tarpon in a size that surprised me.
We had caught quite a few here on fly along the last few months but none larger than 40cm so this was a special catch. Turned out a whole bunch was sitting in a pocket of murkier water so several more hit the shad and flies along the next half hour but only Julian managed to land one more. Trying to be a good host I stayed away from that buffet but helped myself to a dessert in the shape of a Yellowspotted Trevally later.
On the 23rd I invited Ursula and Wolfgang for a few hours light jigging in the La Digue Channel on my boat. Sadly the activity was practically dead so nothing better even just seen than about 15 small fish that could only impress by their colors. The next afternoon Mervin, Wolfgang and I went GT popping on Divinity. Was also tough in no activity for a long time despite us three working loudest poppers relentlessly until at last Wolfgang was on proper. Big joy for everyone on board when he was hugging is new personal best GT. Really a quality catch.
After that we had action only once more when he caught this small GT while same time I got a reasonable Bluefin Trevally on. Thank you Wolfgang to let me fish with you. And also to Mervin who took us where we needed to be.
Spent the 24th with some boat repairs but squeezed in a bit of fly fishing at the house rock when the tide was right. Not exactly terrible to catch this decent Brassy Trevally after a long fight. His buddies stayed with that fish all the way until the landing but none of them had scissors to help him out.
On the 25th Israeli regulars Kobi, Roy & Aron started their five days fishing with Mervin. They are among the best jiggers I know so did not want to miss out on the usual fun with the bunch. Bit limited in the beginning though as far as fishing was concerned. As it has often been the case recently it was mostly smaller Groupers and stuff just going for the Slow Pitch for a long time. But along the day it all improved and some quality fish popped up.
Next morning I went with Greg & Phil plus anglers Lennart, Thorsten and Bernd for a half day trolling. The group had caught 15 Wahoos already a couple days before but that already formidable result got topped. Those lightning fast predators leaped meters high into the air all over the place and a few times were even boiling like Tuna. Next to one of those and a handful of Bonitos the tally was 25 eventually after a little more than four hours fishing. Pretty much every time one was on more would strike while bringing it in so double and triple hookups were standard. We lost track of the exact number of strikes with fish lost and sharked but it must have been over 40 in the short period. One Shark of which we think was a Bull got hooked and became subject to a reasonably long release.
Was pretty crazy and also along the days before and after this Wahoo nest was worked by the boys and other boats. As so often around this time of the year trolling catches were much better around the islands than at the Drop Off and pretty much all trips produced heavy mixed bags of smaller Gamefish. Christian on Djab Lavwal got a Sailfish on top to complete another Super Grand Slam. Bottom Fishing also worked nicely and the Emperor Snappers seem to be wild these days. Both my Mauritian holidaying neighbours and Rita on Dynamics caught great numbers and sizes. Also a whopping bottom catch was this Bohar Snapper on Martin`s Venture. On top they had this massive Rosy Jobfish of 9.65kg which would have been a World Record until a few weeks ago.
So all pretty great. Except for me: on the 27th in nicest weather when just about to reach my first popping spot the revs on the starboard engine bolted up but thrust was gone. So once more it was limping home on the other while the pouring rain obviously just waiting for that to happen again cooled my temper along those two hours. At least it was not the gear box blown as I had suspected but just a plastic bushing on the prop which has ended its working life. Spare search is running. Fishing was also good out of Mahe. Bruce reported this nice Sail caught and released on his Grey Ghost.
Also the 9G Sportfishing Team is back in action after a long break. Seems the guys have not forgotten how it works as this pretty fat Black Marlin proves.
Meantime Mervin continued with his group and things improved day by day. Next to the usual jigging suspects including some Doggies and large Amberjacks also the Tuna showed at the surface again at the beginning of this week accepting only small stickbaits.
Should have received several more pics but they did not come in time I am afraid. On Tuesday when their last trip took place the good activity was suddenly gone. The Tuna had disappeared while the jigging bite was also very slow and mostly reduced to Groupers again. Turned out only a short break though as late last night Brandon informed about good jigging and sent some pics revealing that the devoted species are cooperative again. Good job.
So this second half of October that traditionally is sort of our season opener beyond the trolling was at least promising if not mouth atering for more. Fun to put such reports for you together and I hope the reading also is. Who still needs a higher dose of Seychelles´ fishing might want to watch the I think quite entertaining fly fishing video here.
The time has come to realistically hope for the Southeast to settle and in between periods of strong winds and especially heavy rains we indeed got some days good enough to fish here in Seychelles. One of those was predicted for the 2nd but a Drop Off trip with German jigging newbie Lukas, his girlfriend Sophia and Mervin on Divinity turned out a rough ride. We got out there allright but after a little while the wind came up strong and the rain horizontally for hours. So tough conditions especially for jigging and also the bite was slow in the beginning. But after noon all got better and some really decent fish came up.
Only the Sharks and Wahoos remained a nuisance wherever we went but at least a few of these jig thieves got busted. On top Sophia who exactly once grabbed a rod caught the locally most sought after fish of the day as these Emperor Snappers are just delicious.
Despite even that little bug Lukas seemed to have enjoyed the new experience a lot so I think he is a potential new addict. Along the following week the weather was really bad but a few of the trolling boats made use of the rare better gaps for often just half days. Catches were always at least solid or rather good with the pelagics as so often at this time of the year tend to be rather on the plateau than at the Drop so one does not need to head far out. Greg for example reported a Dorado, a pretty fat Tuna for inside and three Wahoos of which two were over 20kg on the 3rd and the other boats did similar on most of these short trips. Due to the invalidism of my boat which required preparations and coordination of different people I was limited to some fly fishing around a baitball here in the bay. Nothing really spectacular caught along the first try with this Blacktip Trevally already representing the biggest catch. Will still remain a memorable one for me as it came on my very first self tied fly. Better don`t look at it too closely.
The eventual stint at the boatyard turned out frustrating. Some of the known issues could not be sorted, new ones were detected, needed spares unavailable. Had to rotate the following days, turn Praslin pretty much upside down and organise for still unfound parts to come from Mahe. On the first test ride a just installed hydraulic pipe burst and having lost the steering I just made it back to the dock. The second another few das later revealed a buggered fuel pump ... could write a novel about that week. In the meantime the fly rod had to keep up my inner balance but still the baitball despite getting hammered by big fish all the time did not produce anything better than 20-30cm fish. Figured eventually that the large predators were several Blacktip Sharks in the 1m range. Those stole the hooked small Trevallies every so often and my flies went faster than I can tie them. But one of the buggers got stuck. Fight was quite nice as it leaped a few times like a Salmon.
On the afternoon of the 7th I went with very nice UK angler Ian and Mervin to find some GTs. Conditions looked perfect but the Geets did not bother about the two anglers relentlessly working big and lould poppers. Only Mervin had two bored followers while Ian sadly had to make do with three lousy Pickhandle Barracudas before late getting this baby GT as a minimal consolation. Was very quiet on board along the way home. Really disappointing and unusal but even here the big ones do not come on command.
Big fish though showed the next day alreay when Albert from Mahe
reported two massive Tuna caugh trolling on his boat Stripper. At noon Mervin said to me he expects these to show up at the Drop any time now and it did not take longer than a few hours until he was confirmed right. These two proper barrels weighed at 85 and 72kg.
Those a bit calmer and occasionalyl even rain free days were used
by the trolling boats again and the usual mixed bags of smaller Gamefish were well filled. This catch by Greg and his guest of 15 Wahoos is just another example. Meantime
Robert from Germany who was blessed here with a Marlin already a few years back also enjoyed some nice fishing with Bruce on Fairytern out of Mahe. No monster this time for him but definitely entertaining.
So everyone had fun out there but still all I had left to fish was the fly rod. At last though that baitball produced something pleasant again. Not the biggest Queenfish but it was a joy at the end of an all rainy day at the screen. Had jumped for a bit of distraction when the rain stopped only just before dusk. The dim light unfortunately hampered the foto taken by my landlord from my verandah a bit.
After that again nobody fished for a few days because of bad weather. But at least the boat apart from a few not yet to be sorted issues was ready to go again. At least the mechanic said so. But added I might want to go upwind just in case. Most soothing. At least the transfer of the thingi back home on Saturday worked without problems so Sunday I went fishing. Or rather I planned to and took off but had to figure along the way that the GPS and fishfinder device would not come on. After dropping anchor, 3hrs of testing, eventually cutting off the just newly installed connections and fiddling provisional new ones with what I had onboard it worked at last. Did not trust the plaster from the first aid kit too much so did not want to go far. Thus just jigged a bit around the corner at first and later a bit further out. Was quite nice though with some 30 fish in 3 this time much happier spent hours. Had some good ones in between and while the majority went back to base a few made their way into some kitchens that are regularly friendly to me.
Late already I headed for a traditionally difficult and Shark infested popping spot nearby. Luckily avoided half a dozen of the nuisances but the last one got stuck on its dorsal fin. Such extends the fight substantially and might explain the exceptionally bad mood of that bugger. With a view to that and the anyways difficult enough releases without a helping hand there is no foto I am afraid. Meantime Mervin`s regular guest Wolfgang who has become a friend to me over the years enjoyed some spinning at a reef in the Southeast of Praslin and also got a Golden Trevally.
Nice feat. Have not yet managed one from shore but it is on the bucket list with the fly rod. For a while admittedly. Yesterday was Wolfgang`s first boat trip for this visit so in not too bad conditions we headed to the Drop with Mervin. By 2pm it looked to be the worst ever trip of the countless I had been part of on that boat with just a handful of Groupers caught jigging. This Comet already stood out among them.
Lures trolled between the spots and along a 2hrs stint far beyond the Drop to find Tuna for casting or pick up whatever also led to nothing more but a Sail briefly raised and a Dorado missing. On top a dark and threatening black front closed in from upwind north that would have made me just run but Mervin stayed cool. So the lures were set again to troll home towards Praslin. After a little while he stopped the boat to jig once more on an elevation at the Drop. The following hour turned out an orgy of catches. Of the about 40 fish caught between them most were Green Job and Bonitos but also good ones like Yellowspotted Trevally and a series of large Emperors locally called BekBek.
Of course we paid for that as in the meantime the bad weather had caught us. Luckily no too strong winds but even after so many years spent here now it is still astounding how heavy the rain can be in this place. Did not stop Mervin from working a school of Tuna spotted already a good 5 miles inside the Drop with poppers. From about a dozen of the usual most spectacular strikes three of the fish were caught. No chance for proper footage in these conditions so this is the best or rather only halfway presentable pic.
When at last reaching Praslin as clean washed as probably never before we learned that it had not been a great fishing day for whatever method. The two boats trolling closer to the island more or less only got Wahoos of which most were taken by the again hyperactive Sharks. Sandro skippering Lester`s boat Lazio that day only got two unmutilated ones and it was not much better for Bertrand on Yam Sing. Greg had been trying for GTs as the day before but after no action apart from countless more Sharks after a few hours they diverted to fly fishing from the boat with some rather unspectacular catches for the rest of these half days. Albert on Stripper fishing out of Mahe though reported a Marlin in the 240kg range. So fishing here is neither really bad nor really great yet but I think we are on the way and at least the weather starts to allow for all the different kinds of the sport that make this place so special.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.