Tuesday, August 9, 2011
We thought we'd post this one a little different.... So far most of our reports have been about groups of visiting anglers and the fish they'd caught, basically trip reports. We felt we also had to post more about how we caught fish. We often get inquiries asking about the techniques we use and what tackle one should buy before planning a trip here. This post is basically about light jigging as the title suggests.
Most anglers visiting us like the guy above are quite evidently after only one thing...... Big GT! In fact most guys except a few unfortunate souls get what they come looking for. The guys who don't basically have been lacking somehow..... either their tackle's not up for the job, their reels are spooled with braid from God knows when, have little baby sized trebles or they're just out of shape for the job at hand. However the lucky guys who do tend to get their big fish early on in the trip tend to chill out a bit. This makes our lives much easier and then we can have a bit of serious fun between our heavy popping and jigging sessions.
So now we can put aside our heavy tackle for a bit and bring out the light jigging gear! Again, for some strange reason as soon as we venture off the heavy popping and jigging path guys get a bit lost.... some of them do at least tackle wise. We just put together a list of tackle that is ideal for dropping light jigs. It's an indicative list and the equivalent in any brand should do just as well....
Light jigging SPINNING :
REEL : Daïwa CERTATE 3500HD loaded with PE2 or Daïwa CERTATE HYPER CUSTOM 4000 loaded with PE3.
Rod : SMITH AMJ-S56M.
Leader : 5m to 8m of 60lb to 80lb.
Light jigging CASTING :
REEL : Daïwa RYOGA Bay Jigging loaded with PE2.
Rod : AMJ-SF510.
Leader : 5m to 8m of 60lb.
Jig WEIGHT: 30gms to 90gms.
Hooks must be thin for a better penetration. Assist line soft but strong due to toothy fishes and changed frequently.
The ideal depths we jig in are anywhere from 15m to 60m, largely dependent on where we are. If we're close to our popping marks and have to wait for a current to start moving we'll jig anywhere between 15m and 30m. If we're out in deeper water we'll head back or move to an area between 30m and 60m. The great part with the light jigging is that it opens up so many areas and possibilities. It also helps if you know how to work your fish-finder right!
Above, Dilip with a Barracuda caught while light jigging off a sea mount we fish quite frequently. Again he got lucky with this great looking fish and had a struggle trying to get it to the boat. The fish on that particular day were hitting short and semi long jigs. It turned out to be quite a session as it was a one drop one fish day on light jigs but. We put it down to the size of bait the bigger fish in that area were probably feeding on.
Of course with jigging one never knows what they'll catch like Bob above. A record of sorts but not something he'd write home about!
Or you'd get a fish like the one above... we don't see those very often!
Dilip carefully getting a jigging hook out of a Coral Trout. While jigging light it helps in using thin/light wired assist hooks. They're great for hooking fish but one has to be careful getting hooks out. They're sticky sharp and have a knack of getting into one's finger!
The series of pictures above have Alban Regnoult showing how its done. Every drop literally produced a fish of a different species. Jigging off the bottom had the coral trout chasing after jigs and higher up in the water column had the pelagics going crazy after the little jigs.
Red Bass on a SMITH Metal Forecast Jig.
One drop 3 species of the same side of the boat! With three of us jigging shoulder to shoulder we though we were into a school of jacks or snapper. Boy were we in for a surprise!
For guys who like grouper..... one can catch them in every shape size and colour. They're awesome fish to catch on light jigs and provide a lot of the action. It's pretty easy to make them out after landing a couple of fish and it makes a lot of sense to bring them up slowly for the last 10 meters rater than cranking them straight up to the surface.
Dog Tooth Tuna will also take small jigs, they're small..... but both these fish were jigged up from between 15 to 20 meters! The rest of the guys were popping off the other end of the boat!
A major misconception that's often associated with light jigging is that one only catches small fish. That's another one of those modern urban myths by guys who haven't tried it. Light jigging and small jigs catch BIG FISH. Above Alban needing help to keep balanced on the bow of the boat as line screamed off his toy reel... We had to get the boat turned and after the fish or he'd have been spooled... a nerve wracking 20 mins later Alban was the proud owner of an 18kilo GT. We've had many bigger fish hooked and have chased after them with the boat only to be spooled or broken off on the treacherous reef under us.
Again like we've said before light jigging is a great supplement on a fishing trip. This technique catches many species of fish and is a perfect way to add variety on a fishing trip. One often travels miles and miles to get to where the fishing is and is keen on maximizing time and catch... light jigging is another easy way to do just that!
Darran & Akshay.
at 9:51 PM
Saturday, August 6, 2011
While we out fishing with Xavier and Thierry on our catamaran Halcyon III we had an English group arrive as well. We fished with Bob, James and Stuart from Halcyon II from Port Blair and Havelock. It was an interesting trip as it was their first trip out in the tropics chasing GT. The fishing was to be mixed and we broke the days up into sections where we'd pop, jig or troll based on sea conditions. It was great as they were open to trying anything and were keen to try out any method we suggested or thought best to catch fish.
The trip was interrupted by unseasonal winds and rain which made conditions for us very trying. On some days we had a lot of chop that made popping virtually impossible as the sea surface was too disturbed and their poppers were getting lost in all the commotion. We had no choice but to troll or jig. Our jigging was restricted to the leeward side of the islands and we were stuck for choice. We still did fish every chance we got and did pretty well going by the conditions.
Our trip to Havelock went off pretty well with us managing GT on popper, a nice Barracuda and Spanish Mackerel trolling. Typically the rain picked up in the afternoons and the heavens opened above us. It's Okay fishing in the rain as long as there's no wind but when it rains so hard that you literally can't see your popper when it lands makes the going really hard.
Worried as hell we wondered if we'd have another group give up and head back beaten, but it wasn't to be so. What Bob, James and Stuart realised is that they'd just scratched the surface. They'd got a taste, an appetizer or a peek at what the fishing is like when conditions are favourable here in the Andaman Islands.
We have them already hooked, booked, confirmed and heading back our way next season. We're super keen to have them on our boats again and to take them out and get them into some big fish.
Bob above, with his first GT of the trip.
Stuart proudly looking down at his Spanish Mackerel probably thinking " Damn! I wish Barbel pulled that hard!!"
Ominous rain clouds laden with tons of rain creep up behind us to stop us from having too much of a good time.
Double Hookup on popper for the team.
Bob with a nice Red Bass.
Bob again with a big Barracuda that hammered a trolled Rapala on our way back to port before the rain caught up with us.
Rain and an electrical storm headed our way, luckily we were back and safe on land by then.
James with one of his first popper caught GT as well.
Above the group enjoy Kingfishers and a seafood meal back at the resort. Most resorts on Havelock cater to a wide variety of clients who visit them. One of the great parts about fishing from boats like ours is that we're back on land by dark and one gets to see a bit of Island life and meet other travelers. Also one gets to have a hot shower and have a warm meal in a restaurant that isn't rocking all the time!
Below is the link to Bob Roberts beautifully written blog post on the trip, which brings out the real feel of the situations we were in and our best part of the blog is his take on the 'divers' ;-)
Stuart and Bob also made a small film of their trip in the Andaman Islands while fishing with us and it can be watched at the link below:
A small word of thanks to Bob, James and Stuart for sending us these excellent photographs of their trip.
More to come soon about our fishing adventures from the Andaman Islands.
Darran & Akshay.
at 6:39 PM
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Mid Feb saw us out fishing with Xavier and Thierry who'd fished with us in the past and were no strangers to the Andaman Islands. The Frenchmen are keen fishermen and popping addicts, making many a trip around the tropics in search of popper chasing fish. It was great to host them again and we were keen on getting them to our best spots for some great GT fishing. As the whole trip was based out of Port Blair we concentrated on fishing the South Andaman Islands.
Above, Xavier with a nice GT caught off one of his favourite spots. As we had great sea conditions fish were readily taking poppers and action was fast.
Above, Thierry with a beautifully coloured Red Bass that took a popper while were were in a cove anchored off a reef for lunch.
Xavier needing a hand to keep his balance as he fought a GT off the bow of the boat. Little did we know Ghislaine's popper got take by a big GT from stern. Luckily we had both fish on the boat without too much of a hassle.
Murielle with a GT caught on popper. Again it was a day with some quality fish caught and released.
The next day saw some great action as well in the second half of the day with fish going for poppers off a large plateau. However this session the fish were readily taking stick-baits and the popper cation was slow. We headed back with dark clouds on the horizon with a plan to head to one of the more further away islands the next day that was fringed by a shallow reef and was loaded year round with schools of Fusilier.
The next morning conditions had taken a turn for the worse and the sea was too rough for us to venture out. February is one of the best months of the year weather and fishing wise but the rain Gods had other ideas for us.
The conditions only worsened with no break in the weather for the next couple of days. We did on some days make it out, but the bite was off and it seemed like the fish had disappeared.
Xavier back at port in a jovial mood considering the weather Gods had no plan on relenting this time. We sat out the weather only knowing that the fishing would get better after a patch of Bad weather. We soon saw the rains pass and the skies clear after which it was back to business as usual and we were out again chasing GT.
Darran & Akshay.
at 8:54 PM