Monday, November 11, 2013

Indian Angling in the Andaman Islands–Part 1


In the initial days of popping and jigging in the Andaman Islands we catered to a vastly varied set of customers from around the world. Of this set of keen fishermen we hardly saw any of our fellow countrymen. The vast majority of anglers in India still preferred shore based sea fishing or when in a boat chose to troll. Access to tackle and knowledge of the possibilities available were limited. Over time with exposure and an opportunity we began to see a rise in the number of anglers from India coming out with us. We also saw vast improvements in tackle carried and obviously a larger expectation in fish. We’ve always been firm believers that there exists a vast potential within India and the local angling community.

We are now visited yearly by a couple of groups of dedicated Indian anglers who have taken the long and arduous road to becoming skilled GT fishermen. Luckily for us we still manage to exceed their expectations, when it comes to catching GT!



Getting ready in the morning for a long day of popping and jigging for GT. Finding quality areas and deep reefs involve travelling a fair distance from Port Blair. Deeper structures still produce some quality fish and are about half an hour from Port.



A typical Andaman GT above. Thankfully for us the trevally species are highly prolific in our waters and can be found almost anywhere. It takes a bit of time and knowledge to find the sweet spots that consistently hold large GT.



Another example of an Andaman GT that was taken on popper. The angler, Saif in this case was fishing with a large popper over a the edge of a deep reef. Again we’ve noticed poppers like the Craftbait GT3, Orion Cono Cono and Cubera 150 have the ability to raise deeper water GT. These lures have become must haves for any serious GT angler planning on looking for big GT in the Andaman Islands.



Above a first time angler poses with a stickbait caught GT. These fish are no way entry level fish, but with the right tackle and beginner should quite easily land the biggest fish of his life.



Another fierce looking GT that hammered a popper.



Angler Javed Ansari with a GT caught on popper. Many fish like this one are encountered on most days out fishing. The typical hookup and landing ratio would be 1 fish landed out of 3 fish raised… this does vary based on the skill level of an angler. We’ve had anglers lose up to 11 fish before successfully landing their first GT.



A GT being released back to the sea. Most fish are ‘speared’ into the water. This ensures a rush of water through the gills and also helps get the fish deeper and stabilize itself. This however can only be done with smaller specimens. Larger GT are released back once revived… we may need to gently hold them alongside with the boat in gear till they’re powerful enough to take off on their own. High drag fishing lessens the fight time which normally makes releasing these fish a breeze.



Popping would naturally be the first choice of any angler new to the sea. The surface strikes cause a rush of adrenalin and are unbelievable to watch for the first time. After ones share of top-water action anglers try out other methods to catch fish and amongst the most popular would be deep jigging.

Jigging is in an embryonic stage in India. The method is largely popular further to the east in countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. We again see a huge potential in this style of fishing and plan to popularize it by getting a lot more anglers to fish with light jigs, so they realize the potential of this style of fishing.



Angler Saif with a fantastic specimen of a rusty jobfish. These fish readily take jig and are great fighters right through the water column. Most often they’re caught mid water off sea mounts or off walls.



Angler Saif with a fantastic looking ruby snapper. These fish typically are found very deep and can only be targeted by jig. Again jigging opens out numerous possibilities to target fish which the average angler never sees in a lifetime of fishing.



Fishing in a tropical destination like the Andaman Islands calls for some of the best and most advanced tackle money can buy. Equipment failures happen almost instantly if something is not right as these fish take no prisoners. It’s very important to have the right tackle for a trip especially in a place where buying or even borrowing a rod is virtually impossible. Tackle and lures have to matched and along with lure weights and fighting drags. Tackle failure is a common occurrence and we see it many a time. It also is one of the main reasons an angler can lose the fish of the trip.



Our head skipper Bunty with another Ruby snapper that couldn’t resist a jig.



Above an angler with a dog tooth tuna. These fish are the most wanted fish on jig and are on the top of every angler’s list of fish to catch. Luckily for us unlike many fisheries in the world we have a healthy top-water bite as well. We do have many of these fish caught a season on popper and stick-bait.





More Ruby snapper and a close up.





Above a fantastic specimen of a rusty job fish. These fish are again quite sought after by anglers while jigging and are a clear indicator of the presence of dog tooth tuna. The above specimen is one of the largest of the species landed this season.



A fantastic specimen of a GT caught by avid angler Javed. This fish was again caught using a stickbait. The stickbait in this case was a GT Harrier.



This GT couldn’t resist this Hammer Head popper. Pink and white is a very good colour combination and raises fish in most conditions. Many anglers fish this lure too fast and are not aware of the serious fish raising capacity of this lure.







More popper and stickbait caught GT.



A GT being released back to the sea.

We feel we’ve just scratched the surface and are at the beginning of a long and eventful journey of sport-fishing in the Indian Ocean region. Also with the opening of our second location we now have access to a very versatile fishery in Sri Lanka with opportunities with light and mangrove casting venues, a excellent GT fishery and possibly a pelagic fishery with healthy populations of blue, black marlin and sail-fish. We also hope these varied locations would make it a lot easier for anglers from home to get a crack at catching their dream fish with     Gamefishing India.

Team GFI

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