Saturday, December 15, 2012

Darran can…. fish light in Lanka

What can you do fishing wise from the centre of the city, most times you have to travel to get away from it all, to the open space, the water, the forest, the silence and peace, the sense of calmness that being outdoors brings.
Not here really you can be fishing an hour out of Colombo if the traffic lets you that is!! One of the largest inland brackish water systems in the country is close and does it have fish, the answer is yes, from Mangrove Jack to Ox-eye Tarpon and of course it is a heaven for Barramundi, with its numerous fish locks. Light tackle heaven… for sure, imagine pulling one of these feisty fish on a fly rod.
Another nice Mangrove jack taken near structure on light tackle, and they make a super fillet too.
Damith with another Barramundi, I do have something to learn, I did get the solid hit a couple of times but it did not materialize into the Barramundi, I will be back… for another go, not revenge but another try, I do feel that this is fishing and you learn as you go along, its not about catching but the art of deceiving a fish with a lure that keeps me coming back for more.
And if you do not want to cast all day, you could also troll for Barramundi in the huge expanse of water as the picture below shows some friends having fun with Barramundi caught trolling.
Lets try the river-mouth says Damith to me one day there is fish to be had, what kind I ask and he says all kinds but mainly Barramundi, GT and Barracuda, hectic packing and we set off in convoy loaded up to spend the night out (camping style), I am happy to give light tackle a go after ages so my Smith KGS and Twinpower with PE 3 are the go to today
All set up on the river mouth.. waiting…. for signs of fish the tide will signal.
Life… feeding, the mullet are jumping, there is a threadfin too.., pulse is racing, take a deep breath and cast, twitch, twitch, on, again and again furious action
The action last as long as the mullet try to enter the river mouth then tapers off only to start again the next morning
Timing the waves and making sure you have good footwear that will grip well on the jagged barnacles is essential, this is great fun especially trying to get your lure into the action that is always just further than it needs to be.
Dusk is Barramundi time and soon Damith play and lands a nice one, super eating they are too, few places are left today that offer such a variety of fishing options, inshore, offshore, lagoon and river.
Knackered after casting all day, where we landed small GT’s, threadfin and Barramaundi, we set down to dine on fresh fish, Lanka style…. spicy yes yes YES, but super delicious and exchange stories, discuss life and generally have a good time as the Brits say “taking the piss”
Memories and stories to cherish for always…. back again soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The road to Krinda


We packed up the land-cruiser full, the boat was already on its way it had left Colombo earlier with the crew and headed for the Southern Expressway to Galle, this is a super highway, a scenic drive that almost puts you to sleep if it were not for the scenery of rubber and palm oil plantations that border most of the 100 plus km drive, look out for Iguanas, star tortoises and peacocks as they abound here.

Once off the expressway you are in Galle the, if were not time strapped you could take in a look around the fort or just keep driving as there is so much to see, the pretty beachside town of Unawatuna. I get numerous glimpses of the sea as we drive along, there is no evidence of the devastating tsunami that destroyed the tows all along the coast in Dec 2004, towns like like Tangalle and Matara are back to normal, so different from my last visit here in 2007.


Some places along the route scream GT, I say to my self be calm Darran and enjoy the view, lets see what it is like first.


Once you are out of busy Colombo the pace seems to get slower and more rustic, I enjoy the sights especially the numerous shrines that you pass as you drive along.



Mainly Buddhist in culture the peaceful atmosphere is present all around.


The view of the sea almost 270 degrees at Dondra Head


A light-house I remember well from my days of navigating oil tankers to and fro the Persian Gulf, Dondra Head, a navigation mark visible for miles out at sea.


Up goes the pulse rate again, I think of what maybe around, looking at a place like the one above, I want to fish….. like now!!!


I took this interesting picture of a local fisherman, what many may wonder is he doing so close to the shore, seated on a perch, what could he possibly catch? This friends is a secret of Sri Lanka, the sardines come close to the rocky shore, huge schools of them sometime like a moving blanket of black living mass, to escape being out in the open and thus safe from predators, they will hug the shore. So this local is picking them off expertly, sometimes hundreds a day from his perch, he sometimes also gets lucky with small GT’s or Queenies that come into the shallow chasing them.


We pass through the 3000 year old town of Tissamaharama, full of archaeological remains, what was this I wonder, but unfortunately there is nothing to tell me more about this stone structure


Or this which may have been a meeting place for discourses on religion or ……


This huge Stupa structure in Tissa built in the 3rd century BC is one on the largest and 16 most most sacred site for Buddhist pilgrims in Sri Lanka is unmistakeable as you drive by.


Our lean mean GT machine has arrived at Krinda, paperwork and off-loading, I am getting closer to a water.


Fishing boats at Krinda harbour, the boat is offloaded, paperwork done, we are almost set to wet a line.


This large peacock our morning alarm clock, one of hundreds we saw, seen mainly in the jungles of India it was bit surprising to see them all over Sri Lanka.

Tomorrow is d-day…

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sri Lanka here we come….

Sometime in June this year I received a call to come and visit Sri Lanka with the possibility to set up an operation for sport-fishing concentrating on popping and jigging, our forte.
More discussions a bit of research and the search for a suitably rigged boat and I was soon a flight to Colombo. First impressions were that getting into Sri Lanka was surprisingly simple, no hassles and well organized, getting through customs was a breeze as well although they wanted to know what was in my Bazooka rod tube….
That done I was off on my way to Colombo, a well developed and clean city with Damith who will be my host and partner with us at Sea Fishing India in this trial venture, our meeting is interesting as he likes to make his own lures and being an avid fisherman he tells me stories of big GT’s that have been caught both by local fisherman and the members of the angling club from Colombo.
A visit to see the boat and what kind of modifications it would need to make it a hunting machine. Just what is needed.


With the boat being sorted out I set off to take in some of the sights around Colombo, my base and the capital of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a mainly Buddhist country although other religions do also happily co-exist, you will find many shrines around Sri Lanka including the famous Buddhist temple that contains the “tooth relic”.


If you like to do a little more than just fish there is great potential to explore the country that has almost everything from beaches to hill country covered with tea gardens, steeped in history from the time of the “Ramanaya”, a land inspired by Buddhism that went through the colonial era and then through almost 30 years of civil strife, to a now modern culture Sri Lanka offers the traveller a multitude of things to do.


Oriental influence at a Buddhist Temple at Colombo

The Colombo Museum a reminder of the Colonial Era


The War Memorial for allied soldiers

Independence Square

The Modern Parliament Building in Sri Lanka

The memorial to the Singhalese Soldiers from the many years of civil strife.

I cant wait to get out fishing after meeting a few local anglers who are also friends now, we wait and wait for the boat to get ready and all of us know how long that takes, oh and I must add the cuisine available is fantastic, spicy but great, there are also a great number of options for those who do not want to try local fare, so you could have any flavour of meal you like in Colombo, as well as easily get around or enjoy the night life and have a beer.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Michel Rijnberg's Mission Andaman

We have just finished fishing with Michel from the Netherlands who made his first trip to the Andaman Islands. Michel was in India on business and decided to visit the Andaman Islands for a couple of days to fish with us and of course catch some GT.  This was Michel’s first trip for GT and he was keen to catch his first specimen on popper.

Michel arrived early in the morning and had the day free to explore the South Andaman Island where Port Blair is located. He was soon off on an adventure in a taxi and went about Port Blair for a few hours.  After lunch and a rest the staff helped him tackle up for the next day’s fishing.  The weather forecast was good with little or no wind, most of it from the North East, which is perfect for this time of year.

Downtown Port Blair

The following morning after breakfast we headed south from Port Blair for our first day’s fishing. We primarily fished shallow reefs off the South Andaman region. The sea was flat & calm with excellent visibility and we could spot distant bait-schools.

Clear Skies welcome Michel

There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.
- Washington Irving

Not all bait-schools were being harassed by GT and the large amount of bait in the area meant we were going to have to work for our GT. A short while later we had Michel into his first fish that came up off a shallow reef and walloped a nimble Yo Zuri Surface Bull GT. 

Michel & crew

Michel's first GT of the day

We moved on to fish a long set of rocks surrounded by reef that are another hangout for fish. We were fishing a dropping tide and the current among the rocks was strong creating rips that had the bait right up close to them. The GT were hanging in shallow water and the one who cast further was sure of a strike as the popper hit the water. It’s always interesting fishing such kind of structure as they hold numerous species of popper taking fish!

Action on the surface

Bunty with a GT

Having caught our share of GT we headed back for Port Blair an hour away. The run back to the port was uneventful and upon arrival Michel headed off to the Guesthouse as the boys refueled and cleaned the boat for the next days fishing.

We headed off after an early breakfast this time heading east of Port Blair. Some of the largest GT in the Ritchie’s Archipelago area are caught here. Most spots for big fish are deep reefs coming up from the drop off that’s a couple of miles away. This area has always been abundant with fish especially GT on the reefs and Dog Tooth Tuna on the drop-offs for those who fancy a bit of jigging. We were out there with a single agenda that day which was to land a big GT on popper. As Michel was on his first GT fishing trip he’d stocked up on ‘easy to use’ poppers. 

Poppers like the Yo Zuri Bull GT, Halco Haymaker and the River 2 Sea Dumbell popper are easily available, are cheap and are good entry level poppers. We found them a bit small for the area we were fishing as we needed big poppers. Bigger poppers raise big fish especially while fishing deeper reefs. 

We got away this time given the sea was pretty flat except where there was a ripping current. We also had some much welcomed rain pass through the area which brought the temperature down and made it easier to chuck poppers the whole day.

Michel was soon huffing and puffing from the bow of the boat as he reeled in GT’s which were readily taking poppers. 

Michel in action

Admiring his catch

We had some interesting fishing that morning as the GT were taking poppers as soon as they hit the water or at the very last second when they literally struck poppers right at the boat. Given the fact we had a strong current that day all our drifts were pretty quick which is a great thing as we cover a larger area and didn’t have to have the engines running. This approach seemed to work pretty well as many of our strikes were from up close.


with another GT

On our first drift at a new reef Michel had a big strike that had him pinned against the railings. By the sound of his reel we knew he was into a respectable fish. He worked his way to the stern of the boat from where he fought the fish all the way up to the boat. The fish was landed quick and a couple of photographs later it was released back to the reef it came from.

Big GT Strike!!

We changed locations and headed off to shallower reefs to look for some more action. Many GT later and with our goal accomplished we decided to call it a day and headed back to Port Blair. On our way back we dodged a couple of squalls and made it back home dry!

Teasing weather

Bunty with another catch

Mission accomplished
Over dinner Michel discussed the possibility of paying us another visit later next year, what tackle he would need on his next trip if he wanted to target bigger GT and also the possibility of catching GT on jig, apart from the Doggies we’ve already promised him. We hope to see him back soon and for a full week of popping for GT and jigging for Dog Tooth Tuna.

We have a couple of days off to get some much needed work done in the office and all the other exciting stuff that goes along with running a fishing charter, but can’t wait for the arrival of our next group of fishermen from France. 

We will have more up on this blog as soon as we’re out again doing what we do best!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cast and you shall receive!!

Gordon Thompson, an avid angler and a close friend arrived here in October 2012 for a three day trip with us on our 37 ft boat - Rampage. Dr. Maureen, Dr. Kenneth and Darryl Ross, his buddies from India accompanied him to share in his adventure. As the first day was at leisure, we spent time discussing tackle, gearing up and were excited about the next day.

The team with skipper Akshay Malavi

We headed South of Port Blair and after reaching our marked spots we began looking for signs of GT. Blue-fin Trevally seemed to be the flavor of the day and they were everywhere. Being much faster, they were on to the poppers before the GT. We had spotted bait in the area and soon had the crew busy landing and releasing fish.

The little blue fins that were harassing our poppers

The group landed Blue fins on almost every cast. Dr. Maureen was really overjoyed as she had never done any fishing like this before. Soon the men started landing bigger and bigger fish. Darryl was the first to land a monster and soon the rest followed. Darryl, in the end of the day still held the record for the biggest fish of the day! 

Darryl with his GT

Dr. Kenneth and Dr. Maureen were thrilled to land Coral Trout and Groupers on light tackle. Some Queen Fish, GT and Bluefin Trevally were outcomes of an hour of trolling. The men were competing with each other and it was joy to watch them and our staff on the boat.

Kenneth’s First GT

The weather was perfect! The days were warm with clear skies in the morning and when it got too hot in the afternoon, the light drizzle over our boat was a blessing. As the day progressed we changed strategies to make sure we kept the fish interested in what we had to offer. We started using heavy chugging poppers to bring out fish from the depths and were soon gifted with a Big GT. Gordon’s Lure was hit hard and after a long battle between each other, the fish constantly trying its best to get away, Gordon finally emerged the winner.

Gordon with a Giant Trevally 

Darryl with another GT

Different strategies were used on different days as the conditions seemed difficult. We still managed to pull out GT’s one after the other. All of them seem to be having the time of their lives. New things learnt, new feelings experienced and overall a very joyous trip. Sometimes, it is nice to have a group of buddies on the boat, fishing together.
Our spirits are lifted as we reflect and recount the days we have spent fishing together in many of the rivers in India.

Maureen releasing her catch

Cast and you shall receive!

A GT that was lured by a stick Bait!

In the End, the group was all smiles and when they reached the guest house they told and retold the story of their adventurous trip to all our ground staff.

Gordon has been visiting us every season and we hope to see him fish with us, along with Dr. Maureen, Dr. Kenneth and Darryl soon.

Keep watching our Blog for more and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on more action coming up!

Tight Lines!!