Alessandro is a friend and the maker of high quality handmade wooden fishing lures called Alles Lures. Check out his site here. He wanted to try out our Sri Lanka GT popping and jigging and had arranged most of the group. Along with him was Vania a cameraman to shoot video footage of the trip and Dutch fishermen Lesley and Mark who were out to sample GT for the first time and hoping to get personally acquainted with some big bad Caranx Ignoblis.
The group had booked both boats, the fishermen on No Limit wanted to only pop for GT and the Rampageous wanted a mix of popping and jigging.
Day 1: Conditions are perfect: sunny, light breeze and good blue water on the reef. Rampageous started on a deep spot and with the heavy poppers going on the first drift there were 2 huge bites, both missed, then the action stopped till the tide started running again, then it resumed on both jig and popper, quite a few bites on jig and in the afternoon on popper, Lesley then got a serious bite on his GT Mania a popper not seen in use for a while now but an old favourite, and lands the first nice GT of the trip.
Day 2: This day was unexplainable we had everything: right conditions, tide, current, lots of fish marking on the sounder but very little activity through the day for both the boats with highlight being a big Greater Barracuda of 25kg for Hrystian on jig that took off but then ran out of steam and a huge GT that came up on Andrea’s popper right on top of the reef, otherwise only the smaller Geets seemed to be playing ball
Day 3: With both the boats moving off to fish different spots the focus was on popping for the day. In the West the fish were still a bit picky and there were a few fish landed averaging 20 kgs. In the East the story was completely different. On the first drift Hrystian was broken with Varivas PE 10 on the bite, we moved the boat slightly up the structure to where there was a big current line running on the edge of the reef and forming a block against the outgoing tide, over the next 3 drifts in the screaming current moving the boat at 4 knots on the drift we missed 4 fish each conservatively over the 30 kg mark, all displaying the characteristics big fish are known for.
We try not to hammer the spots too much as continuous lures in the water and engine noise put fish off so we moved down the reef, again non stop action, GT’s leaping out of the water in 4-5 meters to hammer the lures, stopping 20 kg fish in strong currents and very shallow water is tiring work, Alessandro landed a nice 30 kg plus fish and there were numerous fish averaging 20 kg that pulled hard in the current. The action continued through the day.
The highlight of the day was when Vania the cameraman took Allesandro’s rod, he was not wearing dark glasses fortunately because if he had seen the size of GT that came up behind his popper he may just have hooked it, unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to catch a 50kg GT after just 10 casts, Vania Included 😉
Next up Alessandro has his stick bait very close to the boat, when out pops a garfish and the next jump comes up entangled in the leader which is promptly bites off only for a big GT to come and inhale the stick bait and all Alessandro can do is watch and for the first time I heard him use some language that can’t be repeated here.
Day 4 : A slow morning session compared to the activity of the previous day, in the evening close to high tide we have a rain squall approaching, we decided to give the fishing a bash just after it passed and this is where the action started happening, Andrea was in form catching 2 GT’s in the 30 kg plus range one take was very close to the boat and Andrea did really well to stay connected and land the fish, Alessandro had a big jumping Spanish Mackerel land on his stick-bait and hook itself. The evening session proving to be a lot better than the morning one.
Day 5: Mark had never caught a GT in his life and today was his day and as the activity was expected to be better in the afternoon session that’s where the focus was, with Mark converting serious bite to land a nice 30 kg GT!!! Not bad for a first GT!!! After that fish was released Mark drank 4 beers to celebrate and slept till the end of the day. Popping over shallower reef the other boat had great action with lots of bites and biggest fish landed being in the 25-30 kg range for Hrystian.
Day 6: With the trip almost done for most of the guys light jigging was the focus on the last day and there was a lot of fun on PE1-2 with many different species like small GT, Blue Trevally, Grouper, Emperor and Rosy Jobfish. But some fish who took the small jigs were unstoppable or just bust the line…