Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fish Doctor!

Mid Feb this year saw us fishing from Halcyon for a week from Havelock with Dr. Leonardo Martinelli from Italy. The weather was great and the calm sea conditions let us get to reefs we hadn't fished for a long time well north of Ritchie's Archipelago. It was a week of some great popper and jig action for Leo and the crew. The great part about this week was that Leo fished alone off the boat and was willing and keen to try out anything the crew suggested.

Above, Leo fighting a good GT off Inglis Island. Being on the eastern side of the Archipelago and close to the drop off Inglis has huge currents pushing bait up and it's been a hot spot for GT since many years. The long stretches of submerged reef have GT and Dog Tooth Tuna patrolling the edges waiting for a unlucky fusilier to stray off the edge of the reef or a lucky stick-bait to swim by!

Leo with his first decent Andaman GT, which was released back to the reef it came from.

Playing a reef shark at one of our jigging marks. Sharks tend to be an expensive nuisance at some of the jigging marks as they home in to see what the commotion is about. We tend to move off as soon as the sharks come in.

On a small sea mount east of Havelock, the GT's were in a mood for metal! It was a one drop one fish session that had us busy for most of the session. It was funny how it seemed like the only fish swimming in the sea that morning were GT! We just put it down to the fact GT were fast and agile swimmers and reached the jigs before any other fish had a chance.

We were soon visited by the Razor Gang that came in to have a look. Dilip hooked into the Wahoo above on a 100 gram jig just under the boat, which took off on a reel screaming drag towards the horizon. Anxious minutes later we has the Wahoo safely in the boat and were amazed he did't get bitten off!

The next hook-up was Leo who quickly subdued this Spanish Mackerel, but not before it bit through his kevlar assist chord! A couple of seconds earlier and we'd have not landed this fine fish.

A shallow reef we jig produced some great action with this Green Job Fish, Snapper and Coral Trout. The Barracuda in the picture below was from the same mark as well. Quite a lucky day with us landing Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel and Barracuda and not losing a jig to the Razor Gang. We did however lose jigs to fish we never saw and going by the way they fought we put them down to being big GT.

A dark coloured, almost black GT came up as well....

Our popping exploits did well. Most GT going for larger poppers and chuggers that pushed a lot of water. A favourite for the GT of deeper reefs are the Cono Cono poppers by Orion Lures. These poppers worked really well on this particular trip.

Leo fighting and posing with a stick-bait caught GT. On afternoons especially when it was hot and after a whole morning of chucking poppers we switched to stick-baits to ease worn out arms and aching muscles. That still didn't lessen the pain of reeling in stubborn brute GTs.

A beautifully coloured Twin Spot Snapper or Red Bass on a Seawood Cubera 150!

Another good GT that came crashing over the edge of a shallow reef after a stick-bait. This fish had Leo and his Ripple Fisher Fantastick doubled over as it lunged for the reef in a desperate bit to cut him off. But it wasn't t o be so and we had a chance to get some pictures of this fish before returning it back to the sea.

Just a couple of instances of about a dozen double and triple hook-ups of the trip. Most of the hot action was in areas that had large schools of Fusilier. The GT roamed about in gangs and hit just about anything that landed in the water.

The boys racing off to a 2 mile long off shore reef that fishes really well in the latter half of the day. We usually fish this reef before calling it a day and heading off to the Havelock Port.

Shallow water popper fishing produced this Big GT and the big fish of the trip for Leo. Surprisingly a very clean fight with the GT staying well of the bottom and making long mid-water runs. After a while we can tell how most fish fight and advise clients accordingly to help them win their fights but it never ceases to amaze us when a fish behaves completely against the norm.

Above Leo and Dilip with their fish.


We prefer fishing our stick-baits with single hooks and have moved away from using trebles. The action of these lures just seems so much better with single hooks, apart from the fact it's safer for the GT the anglers and the crew.

Watching a passenger ship pass us on its way to the North Andaman's before it sets off across the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Mainland.

Overall a great week of fishing areas we know like the back of our hands and fishing some new areas. An enjoyable trip with great GT action and hoping to see Leo again in the 2011-2012 Season.

Darran & Akshay.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eva & Javier

We were joined in Feb 2011 by Eva and Javier Rius accompanied by Nicola Zingeralli to fish with us in the Andaman Islands. Our trip was based out of Port Blair and we focused on popping and jigging. It was Eva and Javier's first trip to the tropics and they were very keen to catch the many species of fish we have swimming off our reefs.

Antonino hooks into a small GT that hammered his popper. A quick picture of the fish before it's released back to the sea.

A local fishing boat or dungi anchored in a bay. It's quite amazing how these simple craft head out to fish in all kinds of weather. We're lucky as most of the commercial fishing in the Andaman Islands is for the local markets and we don't have large scale commercial exploitation of our waters.

Above Andrea Pellegrini, from Italy with a nice GT. His biggest fish of the trip taken on popper. More about Andrea at his blog below and a super picture of this fish by Nicola Zingarelli who apart from being a great jigger is also an excellent photographer!

Eva with a grouper caught on jig!

Above, some of Eva's jigging action. We had a large number of species that couldn't resist jig!

Not wanting to be left far behind Javier landed his fair share of fish on jig. Most species being a first for him!

Alban and Eva with a jig caught trevally!

A double hookup for Javier on one of Alessandro's creations. Its not rare for us to have double hookups on popper and jig. The outer edges of reefs are patrolled by gangs of blue fin trevally that are often the first to whack a popper. It's a pity these beautiful fish don't get larger than they do.

The highlight of Eva and Javier's trip came as quite a surprise. While drifting off a drop where they were jigging they sent a small live bait down hoping it would get hammered by a monster GT or Dog Tooth Tuna and sure enough the bait got hammered in 5 mins. With the reel screaming, the hook was set and the fish fought in the most peculiar way till it crashed out of the surface in a series of spectacular jumps..... Black Marlin!

After a 30 min fight we had the fish by the boat and ready for some photographs of this unexpected trophy.

Eva and Javier pose with the marlin. We hope to have them back in the near future to fish with us from Havelock for a week to see a completely different side of the Andaman's. After a week of fishing with them we bid them farewell and started fishing the next morning with our next clients.

Darran & Akshay.