This was a most unusual September: quite normal as far as the wind is concerned with mostly strong Southeast and a few calmer days in between but very cloudy and rainy. Nearly every day we had downpours in the so called dry season. That of course had impacts on the fishing activity. The whole first week of the month nobody fished at all apart from one stint with the fly rod I did at the rock of my doorstep. Could have become really good but at the first cast a Queenfish missed, on the second a good size Trevally followed and on the third the take came but the obviously even larger opponent reefed me. Then the activity was gone and this little Permit had to save the day. Nice still life on Seychelles granite though.
Only on the 8th after the long awaited change of the buggered starter there was a chance to hop on the boat for some popping and jigging. The latter was simply nice. No huge fish caught but frequency and variety were great with Tomato Hind, Brownspotted Groupers, Pickhandle Barracuda, a funny Trevally that was probably a bastard, three different snappers locally called Captain Rouge, Captain Blanc and Madame Berry, some yellow thing, a small Amberjack which is very rare on the plateau, five Longmouth Emperors and Golden Trevallies each plus half a dozen Jobfish. An hour of popping before at high tide was somewhat disappointing with just that megalomaniac Jobfish and in the afternoon at low tide a Rainbow Runner with the same issue came on top.
Raised two proper size GTs in quick succession but both missed. Looked good for getting one in that heavy rain but a second and more threatening growl of thunder cut the trip short. So was happy to have picked up one of the suddenly passing Tuna on a popper earlier while jigging. Apart from being sopping wet most of the time it was quite nice a day which have could have been great if one of the Geets and maybe that second Tuna missed had got stuck. Still this first outing after nearly two months did me good.
Merin (Divinity) was out trolling with a guest that day and reported a handful school size Tuna as well as a Black Marlin that got away. Another half day on the 11th produced a good catch of more Tuna, Dorado and a Greater Barracuda while the craved Sailfish for very nice British angler Peter indeed showed up but just for a bit of window shopping in the spread.
Three days later though Peter got his Sail with Mervin and on top this massive Barracuda.
Those days allowed for trolling in not too rough conditions and catches were visibly solid as one can also figure from this pic by Greg (Bite Me) taken at the end of another entertaining half day.
Not calm enough though for going out alone on my small boat so the fly rod had to keep me in mental balance. A tryout at the neighbouring hotel in not as clear as hoped for water produced the usual small fish and the brief sighting of a group of four Bonefish but after an instant they disappeared in the murk. A cast their way produced a knock but that could well have been just one of the small snappers. At least I told myself so. Next day I stalked another Bone for nearly two hours on the flat off the west coast. Sun came out only for moments every so often and four times I spotted him right then but all services were arrogantly ignored. Next day along two hours spent with Peter here off my place we did not even get a tiny fish but just after he left things came to life. From the rock I raised a whole bunch of mixed Trevallies several times. The leader of the pack at around 4kg was on but dropped the hook seconds later. After long efforts and offering the whole choice of my fly box the clearly smallest bugger of the bunch wanted to show the others what he can do. At least my very first catch on a popper fly.
On the 17th at last a boat trip was possible again but I should have stayed home. No action along the usual hour low tide popping before noon and the standard jigging spot had nothing but a few small fish. Diverted and got four really good size Yellowspotted Trevallies in the 8-10kg range on but three were eaten by Sharks and the last one fell off when lifting it into the boat. The afternoon GT popping session was again cut short due to a bad front of clouds and strong wind. To add to misery I had to creep home on one coughing engine as the other just then decided to always cut out a minute after starting it. Suspected the filters in the water seperators so changed them the next day and along 15mins of idling both motors were running fine. So far so good. I thought. For the next afternoon I had organised a half day GT popping with Mervin for a Franch lady or rather her boyfriend as a surprise trip. Around 10am the weather looked acceptable so Mervin gave green lights and at noon we went. In the meantime the wind had picked up badly though with gusts well over 20 knot and really rough seas. Biggest wave was more than 3.5 meters and angler Adrian had troubles. But activity was very good so he and Mervin raised over a dozen GTs within three hours. Luckily at least this wonderful specimen of just over 30kg got stuck and was happily released. Only a little later shaken Adrian called for port but no-one on board seemed really unhappy with that.
The following days were very windy and rainy again. Mervin did another half day trolling on the slightly better 23rd and reported many strikes but nearly no whole fish caught. Anything that could not be reeled in straight away was inevitably chopped by Sharks that must have been all over the places and very aggressive on top. Also JD on One Love as well as the small commercials with their handlines suffered the same faith.
After another week without fishing I badly needed at least a few fly casts from the home rock. The usual small fish were there and after two hours just before calling it a day something better pulled. The culprit Yellowspotted Trevally was not huge at just over 2kg but made it into the backing a few times and provided a bit of joy.
As a bit of bait showed in the bay I was there the next day again and this stint became lively. A slightly larger of those Trevallies at around 3kg made for a good start at the third cast. Several more followed all sorts of patterns offered but none grabbed them. With smaller fish in the shape of hand size Trevallies, pan size Bigeye Mackerel and even a Grouper it was really entertaining.
That mainly though as those bigger Trevallies were very interested in these hooked smaller fish. Measured the Mackerel in the pic at 27cm and leave it to you to estimate what size and weight the Trevally inspecting it might have been. This one on the class #8 would have at best taken a while to land but probably it would have had the better end.
Friday morning, that was the 27th, the wind had dropped just enough to go out but switched to northeast. So I decided to fish south of La Digue while such days of drastic change of conditions are often either really productive or really bad. An early miss of a GT on popper at low tide before noon triggered hope for the former but from then all turned bad. Frequency while jigging was fine but any fish too big to winch up instantly was inevitably stolen by Sharks. Only one bigger than 2kg landed was this Jobfish but a Shark was after him right up to the boat. Must have had him actually as the marks on the body reveal and looking closely one can see the leader nearly shreddered. Got dark for tah Jobfish either way but on the boat at least the priest looked after him.
Popping in the afternoon was also mainly about avoiding Sharks. In between a GT missed and another Jobfish provided the first one company in the fishbox. So rather slow and with another front of bad weather building up forcing to set course for home the engine problems reoccurred. Again the starboard engine always ran just for a minute after priming so again had to scramble home upwind in heavy rain on the other that once more got the same issues luckily only a few hundred meters from the mooring. Most frustrating as asking around everyone has a different opinion of the cause and of course Sunday`s planned trip in simply perfect conditions fell through. Greg had no such issues that Friday but instead the one of finding wind protected places for his fly fishing clients. That came right eventually and on top this much better Jobfish on a popper along.
When we spoke he wondered about all these reported Shark issues as neither that day nor along a couple more successful half day trolling trips with well filled mixed bags and a missed Sailfish he had not encountered a single one. His Wahoos caught along one trip did
not only remain intact thus but were pretty fat. All four that day were over 20kg with the biggest weighing at 27kg. On top of all a school size Tuna hooked on a Halco got munched by something. That fish leaped after an hour revealing itself as a Marlin but nearly another two hours later the small wire leader on the light 30lb outfit broke.
Still little news from Mahe. Catches were okay by numbers but not much spectacular stuff among them. Only Albert on Stripper had something special as this GT was not caught popping but instead
trolling. Does not happen here too often which is a good thing. Simply as most of the boats do just that and would kill such a beauty. This one so to say got it right as with Albert it was alowed to swim again. So all in all this month was at best mediocre in all aspects. But the good times should not be too far away. From all experience with the start of October one can have realistic hopes for more days offering proper fishing conditions and even Drop Off trips for jigging and Tuna popping again. Requires a working boat of course.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.