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!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Page from the Diary of a Sport Fishing Novice

The latest addition to our list of popping and jigging addicts is Mr. N.N Paul. He is a total newbie to saltwater fishing and he joined us for two days of fishing adventure at Andamans. In the end, he got more than he bargained for!

On the first day we headed out south of Port Blair.  We were casting out at our favorite spots and we hit a variety of species like Coral Trout, Grouper, and Blue Fin Trevally. The fishing was a bit slow and we waited for the tide to change and the current to start ripping.

Paul's coral trout catch on the first day at sea

After lunch, the fishing started to pick up. We started hooking bigger fish and then finally came the super explosive top water hit! The reel started to sing away and at 10kg drag, our guide, Bunty was holding on to the rod as if his life depended on it. Sadly, after pulling out a good 70 yards of line in the first run, the monster that we hooked straightened out the 13/0 Gamakatsu trebles hooks that we were using.

Paul enjoying his stint with saltwater fishing

After this disappointment we headed out to another good spot and found Paul fighting a beautiful GT. We later caught a lot of grouper, Coral trout, and other species that were taking diving lures readily. This was a lot of fun and Paul seemed to enjoy light tackle fishing.

Paul with Giant Trevally

As we headed back after our first day’s fishing we discussed strategies for the next day. We decided to troll for sailfish and Marlin since we had encountered a group of sailfish 2 meters away from our boat on the first day.

The second day started with very pleasant weather and we were on our way east of Port Blair. We set out trolling sailfish lures on our way to our fishing marks. 

Perfect weather on second day of fishing

Bunty, our guide was on the lookout for Dolphins or sea birds. After a while, he spotted a group of Dolphins very far away which would have been impossible to spot by the untrained eye. 

Dolphins in clear blue Andaman waters

Immediately, our strategy changed and we prepared our popping rods while the boat was racing towards them. As we reached the location, poppers went flying and all rods were bent double as feeding Tuna walloped them as soon as the poppers hit the water.

Paul fought hard and brave and won the battle most of the time. As he was a beginner our crew taught him the art of stand-up fighting and he learnt quickly. Chasing and casting at the Tuna lasted for about 2 hours. Paul was exhausted, but delighted after landing more than 15 big yellow fin tuna and a dozen Skipjack Tuna.

Paul with Yellow fin tuna

The experience was ‘literally’ Breath Taking for us and an unforgettable one for Paul.  The entire day was action packed and the sweet tune made by the reels, still rings in our memory.

Paul with his catch & his crew - Yellow Fin, Bertil & Bunty

This is Paul’s Story with us!

When is it going to be yours...?