Sunday, April 25, 2010

Xavier, Bruno and the 'Nugget'!

March also saw us fishing with more French anglers. We were looking forward to this trip for a while and were concerned with the not so favorable tides we had to work with. However we were fishing with anglers who had previously fished the Andaman Islands and knew what to expect in terms of the fishing, were carrying appropriate tackle and were well prepared.

Xavier with a nice GT caught on popper.

Bruno, above fighting and posing with his GT. A truly awesome fish, photographed and released after a quick couple of photographs.

A dash of colour with this jigged up grouper.

More solid fish that are the wish of every visiting angler. A very possible reality fishing for a week in the Andaman Islands.

Above, JPE adding a bit of colour with his coronation trout and big grouper.

Another trip for us that we enjoyed, taking out experienced anglers. It often makes our lives a lot easier but raises the stakes and makes it more of a challenge for us to see they raise and land quality fish.

Darran & Akshay.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Miracle & Nop

We were visited by our neighbors Miracle Andy and Nop in late March 2010. Andy and Nop were paying us a visit from Thailand and had to travel well over a 1000 miles to fish 400 miles away from where they started. Hopefully by next season the airport in Port Blair will become an International one and will make travel from the East to the Andaman Islands a much easier proposition. Miracle and Nop were with us for 4 days of popper and jig fishing, targeting mainly GT on popper and other jig eating species. We fished the first day from Port Blair, second and third from Havelock and kept the last day as primarily a jigging day from Port Blair. A plan that worked well and saw us lands a number of decent fish on popper and jig.

Nop opened the account with a nice GT caught on popper! Both Andy and Nop were fishing with brand new Smith Komodo Dragon rods they'd bought specially for this trip.

Andy casting a raider into a bait-school, waiting for the lure to sink half way to the bottom and then reeling in fast. This produced some vicious strikes from GT when they weren't feeding on the surface. With a small change in tactics fish can still be caught if they get wary of a particular kind of lure.

Nop posing with a small GT caught on light tackle, off a shallow reef.

Andy with another nice specimen GT caught off the same reef as Nop's fish. Fish this size were many and all willing to take a bite out of whatever the guys threw at them. In this case a small bibbed hard plastic lure did the trick!

Andy with a nice Coral Trout before it was released.

Nop posing with another thick GT that his Stella 10000 and Smith Komodo Dragon had no trouble stopping.

We dedicated a day to jigging in the South, while fishing from Port Blair. We couldn't resist popping on the way and caught a quick couple of GT and a reef shark in a couple of drifts. We headed off on a 45 min run to our jigging marks and were rewarded by a Spanish Mackerel as we arrived. Spanish Mackerel are notorious for biting off jigs or cutting through assist chord but this fish wasn't so lucky. A couple of blistering runs later this fish was brought to the boat and photographed.

Andy and Nop soon realised a painful mistake.... they'd packed their fighting belts away as it was their last day of fishing and didn't realise what they were in for jigging here in the Andaman Islands. Half an hour in to our jigging session we had them both squirming, grimacing and fighting fish in the oddest fashions :-)

Nop with a beautiful 8 to 10 kilo GT that pulled him around the boat on it's way up.

A couple of quick Bludger Trevally from a school that passed through our jigging spot.

In the middle of all the action a solid fish grabbed Andy's jig and hurtled off a wall into the depths, after a fairly quick and intense fight Andy managed to raise this fish for a quick photo and release.

A pleasant surprise for Nop with a double hook up of GT on Jig, something we don't see too often on jig but see fairly often on popper. This goes to show how we were literally plagued by schools of small to medium sized GT, every now and again we managed to hook and raise a better fish. Often the bigger fish just don't get a chance to get to the jig with the smaller, quicker and more agile GT around.

We also ran into endless schools of Green Job fish. They're great scrappers and we wish they grew bigger. We had a day of over 20 of these fish in a short interval, mainly taking jigs on the drop or when the jig was stopped mid water.

We moved to a shallower sea mount where Andy hooked this large grouper! The fish of the trip for him.

A small Dog Tooth Tuna off a 80+ meter wall.

We headed back to Port Blair after an excellent day of jigging and on our way back stopped at a 90 meter plateau. Fish were marking on top of this small plateau. Dropped jigs and were rewarded by a double hook up of Amber Jack!

We had a great time fishing with Andy and Nop and hope to see them soon in the Andaman Islands fishing with us.

Darran & Akshay.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


As usual with the arrival of a new group there's always excitement on our balcony as rod tubes are unpacked and tackle's taken out. We often see the best in terms of rods and reels brought out on popping and jigging trips here in the Andaman Islands. Gone are the days of Ugly Sticks and solid glass fiber boat rods. We now see brands that are very specialized and deal solely with Tropical fishing, especially popping and jigging like Carpenter, Fisherman, Smith and Tenryu to name a few. Same with the reels.... once Penn, Abu Garcia and Mitchell ruled the roost, but not anymore. They've been replaced by the Shimano Stella, Daiwa Saltiga and Dogfight and the occasional Accurate SR-30. Rods and reels like the ones mentioned above have become the regular work horses of our trade. Now one can't do without these setups if one plans to target some of the GT and Dog Tooth Tuna we have swimming in our waters.

Above, the table on our balcony filled with reels spooled with PE lines waiting to be put to use.

Above, a custom Tuna Max fighting knob on one of the Daiwa Saltigas. These new custom handles go a long way in making it more comfortable and easier for the angler while fighting large fish.

Michael fighting a solid GT that took a 'Buffalo' popper, made in Vietnam that Michael had bought on one of his trips there. This popper proved to be quite effective, pushed a large amount of water, was easy to cast and had a colour combination that seemed to be working towards the end of the season. The group was lucky they were carrying more than a couple as they lost poppers quite regularly to some big fish and grouper in shallow water. One especially that took Michael by surprise right at the boat.

One last picture of Mike and Kantha with the same fish before Kantha sent the fish over side back to the reef it came from.

Not wanting to be left out a Red Bass hammered one of the Buffalo Poppers as well. Red Bass are hard fighters especially in shallow water and in spite of their size still reef the occasional angler who doesn't put the brakes on the fish early in the fight or has not set his drag tight enough. Hard lessons quickly learnt!

Mike with a Barracuda he landed on jig. He was lucky enough to see the fish because it bit right through his assist cord when it landed in the boat. Barracuda are another reason one has to carry extra jigs to the Andaman Islands.

Isaac was the only one jigging on this trip with an over head reel, in this case a Tiburon 30, he carried out to test. On one of our jigging marks in the South his rod bent over as his jig was smashed by a huge fish. After a hard fight lifting a very reluctant grouper off the bottom, he was convinced his tackle was good for landing big fish. At points he had his set up at max and lived to tell the tale.

Mike, Isaac and Desmond with the grouper, all smiles with their achievement.

Mike was soon into an Amber Jack which we have in our waters and now catch on a regular basis in places close to Port Blair.

Desmond with a very decent specimen of a Blue Fin Trevally caught on popper.

Isaac and Desmond with their popper caught GT. In the lower picture one can see another popper with the fish catching colour combination of the week. It was a great trip with a bunch of easy to fish with guys who enjoyed being out with us. Again another set of guys we're sure we'll see again in the Andaman Islands soon.

Darran & Akshay.