Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fish Stew Part II

For regular followers of our blog I'm sure 'Stew' will ring a bell..... Well over a year ago we were visited by Stewart Newnham who fished with us in late Jan 2010. It was also the first time Alban Regnoult fished the Andaman Islands as he arrived a couple of days after Stew. We had a great time fishing and had a wide range of species caught especially on jig. We also did a bit of exploring on that trip, now fish many of those marks regularly during the season and caught some very respectable GT and Dog Tooth Tuna from those marks. The link to Stew's first trip is below:

Above, Halcyon 3 heading South from Port Blair for a day of popping and jigging off reefs in and around South Andamans. With such a large area to play with Darran and Cliff contemplate their fishing strategy for the day.

Dilip all smiles as a gorgeous Coral Trout is one of the first fish landed. It's always a joy to catch and release these colourful creatures.

Mike, while using sabiki rigs for mackerel to use as live-bait brought up this little chap! A record for the trip and possibly the season! While the jigging was slow for a couple of days the live bait action was awesome. Again grouper, GT and Dog Tooth Tuna being the main quarry that found it impossible to ignore the live or dead mackerel we sent down to them.

Mike, again was rewarded by this nice Dog Tooth Tuna that hammered a Rapala CD Mag slowly trolled along a drop off. The sounder showed huge fish hanging mid-level and as we passed over them we almost immediately had this strike! Also Dilip happily posing with the Dog Tooth Tuna he halped land after what seemed like an endless fight on 30lb mono. For 90% of the time all was in favour of the Dog Tooth Tuna till Mike skilfully managed to work it away from the wall and happily saw this fish wind up in the boat!

Hugh not to be outdone was soon fighting his own battle with a powerful GT. Again this fish was hooked while trolling to the next mark. We were lucky enough to have a single bait-school that came up ahead of the boat and as the lures passed we had strikes. We followed the bait-school and had strike after strike from it and were amazed by the variety of predatory species that came up from around it.

Hugh again was responsible for landing this fantastic Coronation Trout on live-bait. After a quick couple of photographs we released this fish back to the deep reef it came from.

As fish were marking and not in a mood for metal we sent down live mackerel and were rewarded with a nice Dog Tooth Tuna from relatively shallow structure. Thankfully with no drop-off close it was only a matter of time before we had this fish up and alongside the boat. Dilip, yet again skillfully landed the fish and was ever willing to have more photographs taken!

Next a Red Bass paid us a short visit!

Mike with another Coronation Trout that fell for a CD Mag....

Stew and Cliff were hammered by a couple of GT off a deep ridge that's often patrolled by gangs of GT looking out for schools of Fusilier that abound the reef. Action off structures like these is pretty much guaranteed when we have a swift tide ripping.

Stew releasing his well earned GT off the side of the boat, back into the sea.

Hugh with a solid GT this time. An awesome fish that smashed a popper....

Above, Stew at it again and again as fish after fish went after poppers. On some days it takes a while to find the fish but once we find the reefs they're hanging around, our days get filled with exciting action as fish come up off the reef to hammer poppers. One of the best parts of popper fishing are the amazing strikes. One never gets tired of watching these strikes and you can almost predict when the water's going to turn into a cauldron of foam as GT's come up and smash surface lures.

Martin with his Red Bass....

Cliff, Alban and Stew pose for a picture in the middle of a hectic session.

Cliff with his Red Bass that came up and took one of his home made poppers....

A Green Job Fish that hit a jig. Job Fish are pretty much first on the scene where there's action. They're prolific in our water and characteristically hit jigs quite high up in the water column. They're a great looking fish and aren't too bad eating either.

Martin with a great looking popper caught GT.

David and Dilip taking a break and having a chat, we're almost sure the last thing they're discussing is the fishing!!

Their conversation was interrupted by a screeching bait-runner and we all soon saw why. A live-bait had been smashed by what looks like a shark. Soon we had everyone fishing again hoping to hook into something that wasn't too big!

Hugh and Dilip posing with a Barracuda caught from a bait-school.

Cliff putting the breaks on a popper caught shark! We quite often have reef sharks come up and take a swipe at a passing popper or stick-bait.

Arjun with a nice Dog Tooth Tuna caught jigging off a wall!

A Coral Trout that grabbed a jig made a great supper!

Martin with another nice Giant Trevally caught on popper after a nasty scrap.

Martin again trying to control a GT as it dives under the engines and towards the reef. Luckily he managed to turn the fish and we had it in the boat pretty fast for a couple of quick pictures before we sent it back to the sea where it belonged.

The prize of the day went to Martin! He managed to raise a Sail Fish from a bait-school that came up and took a swipe at his popper. Luckily it did make contact and the hooks held after an aerial and acrobatic fight. We have some huge specimens of Sail Fish swimming in our waters and in spite of hooking quite a few we lose many as it's mandatory to have barb-less hooks on the boat. This makes catching a Sail on popper here in the Andaman Islands quite special.

3 Kings!

We have a great time fishing with all the groups of anglers that visit us but there's a couple every year that make a season special and this group was just that. We wish them luck and tight lines'!

Darran & Akshay.