Every year we see a number of groups from South East Asia, particularly Singapore. We spent this week fishing with Andrew Wong who is no stranger to us. Andrew came out a couple of years ago on a trip where we experienced some fantastic fishing especially popping for Yellow Fin Tuna. Andrew visited us last year but the Tuna evaded him. True to his fisherman’s spirit, he returned this season.
After the check in we all assembled on the balcony and rigged tackle while we caught up the year gone by. The group was eager to know what fish we’d caught in the last few weeks and we set about devising a plan for the week ahead. We decided we’d focus on heavy popping for big GT, light jigging and searching for the Yellow Fin Tuna. We’d had some fantastic Tuna fishing the previous week so we knew they were right here.
We set off early in the morning. While heading due east of Port Blair we get into some really deep water as soon as we’re out of port, off the shelf where the chances of coming across YFT are the best. The conditions this morning couldn’t have been better and the sea was like a lake. We reached the reefs we had set out to fish and it wasn’t long before we were in action. Choy Yong Poh also known as ‘MVP’ was soon holding onto his rod as line screamed off his Stella reel.
The bow of Rampage serves as a perfect platform to pop from as you are in an elevated position. But with big GT that pull really hard and a tight drag one does need a hand.
MVP all smiles with Dilip as they pose with an awesome looking GT. This GT came up and crashed on to a popper and gave the angler a run for his money. After a couple of quick photographs we sent the fish back where it belonged, in the sea.
On Gabriel’s last trip here the big GT’s didn’t want to play ball. Things were very different this time. Gabriel hooked into this big GT on his Carpenter Coral Viper 79/40 with a Shellshaping Twister F3. After getting pulled around the boat, he managed to turn the fish and winch it back to the boat. We were pretty thrilled as this was one of his biggest GTs’ so far.
Russell was up next with this awesome looking Black GT using a custom Ripple Fisher Ultimo 80M with a SS 130gm popper fishing over a deep reef known for some very big GT. On this particular day we had some favorable currents that had all the GT very active.
Andrew had this fine looking GT on his Carpenter SP 79M. The GT that were coming up to take popper and stick bait were prime examples of the quality of GT we have in our Andaman waters. As always, as it is with GT fishing, it pays to have the best equipment that greatly increases your opportunity to land quality fish.
Gabriel this time fishing from the rear of the boat caught this awesome looking big GT using the Carpenter Monster Hunter 79 XH with a Craft Bait GT3 150gm popper. The Craft Bait GT3 poppers, which have become hard to find now are possibly one of the most successful poppers for large GT in the Andaman Sea. On this particular trip the GT were coming up for darker colored poppers that pushed a lot of water.
Having pretty much accomplished our set goals with the GT fishing, we focused on jigging. On most days we preferred to light jig and were well rewarded. On days that were hot and flat, the fish seemed to be hanging much deeper in the water column. It took a lot of work with big poppers to raise them, but we found it was a lot easier to drop jigs down to where they were and we were soon very busy reeling up fish.
MVP was often in the middle of all the action on his light jig setup. But this time he was hooking into fish that weren’t so ready to cooperate. One particular fish which for a long time was assumed to be a good sized dog tooth tuna turned out to be quite a fight. After what seemed like ages we saw a shape under the boat and soon realized he would probably have been better off getting bitten off!
As is true with most places Dog Tooth Tuna hang out with sharks. Only problem is the sharks tend to be hungrier most of the time. This specimen was over 50 Kilos and was a hard fighter. We were lucky enough to get the jig back and send the shark off on its way after a couple of photographs of it in the water where it belongs.
Above, Andrew wearing a mean look as he shows the rest of the guys how it’s done. Our evening jig sessions turned out to be great fun as we hooked many a fish and took some great photographs in perfect light conditions.
Dilip with a fantastic looking Trevally. We often hook numerous kinds of trevally when we’re light jigging, like this great looking fish. Regardless of size these fish put up quite a scrap on light gear.
Clarence with his rod bent over. We realized this was no small fish. We did make out it was a GT going by the head shakes and the way the fish fought, but one thing we were sure of was that it was not going to be ‘light’. Luckily for us we were fishing deep reefs and isolated mounds with very structure to get broken off on. These grounds are ideal for light jigging as the fish are pretty big and with a bit of skill they can be landed quite easy. But then again, every now and again we hook into a bus that just won’t stop.
Clarence proudly posing with his well fought GT. Not a bad fish on PE 2 – PE 3 jigging gear.
Russell was up next with his custom Ripple light jigging rod. This Blue Fin Trev was fantastic with its iridescent blue markings. We feel they fight almost as hard as GT if not harder and as mentioned previously in another post we wish they got bigger.
The Green Job Fish are never too far away from the action. This species is pretty aggressive and hit poppers and jigs with equal enthusiasm. This particular fish struck quite high up in the water column as they normally do and was hooked on a slow fluttering jig as it dropped.
Andrew again hooked onto a fish that headed straight down and fought really hard. The fish landed later turned out to be one of the many GT we Caught while jigging.
Double hookups and triple hookups are pretty normal on the days we’re jigging. These trevally are cousins and we found schools of various trevally mixed, so it isn’t very uncommon to get a double hookup with different species.
Gabriel with a Rusty Job fish. These fish are normally caught on jig and are a favorite prey species of the Dog Tooth Tuna. They normally are found in large schools of similar sized specimens and patrol drop offs. They often are caught 90 meters and deeper, so bringing up one of these fish on light tackle looks a lot easier than it actually is.
Russell with this GT that he caught while jigging with us. This fish was one of the largest we caught on jig this trip. Fish of this size are often caught on heavier jigs and heavier lines. They become a challenge to land on lighter tackle. Conducive structure and fish like these make the Andaman Islands a top destination for light and heavy jigging enthusiasts.
In Part 2 the group go on to look for their next challenge. They were keen to catch some Yellow Fin Tuna on popper as this was one of their main aims as well.