The second and third week of February saw Yamada San’s groups from Anglers Nest agency in Japan returning to fish with us as we move into the most hectic and busy part of the season. Also joining in with his own group of friends was Makoto San, the Zenaq field tester whose group included the owner/ manufacturer of D-claw hooks. Makoto San had fished with us last season and based on the large numbers of GT bites we experienced, he was very keen to do a testing of the latest hooks being tested for big poppers and stick-baits, as well as compare a report on hook up ratios for various kinds of treble and single hooks. It is always a treat for us to see the some of the latest GT fishing gear on display, especially just after the tackle shows are over in Japan. We decided to run this trip in two parts, with Yamada San’s group going first followed by Makoto San’s group. There is no need to mention how Japanese anglers can expertly work their stick-baits, but what is more incredible is the number of strikes they are able to generate.
The trip had its share of highlight moments and the two that really stand out are Sakata San’s great take that happened literally just before the lure left the water to be recast, when we all clearly saw this big very long GT swim up from the depths, inhale the lure, turn around and take off. Hooking a GT close to the boat is one thing; hooking a big GT two meters from the rod tip another game all together. What we did laugh about later was the fact that Sakata San was not wearing his fighting belt, because of which he decided to sit on his Ripple Fisher Rod which was contorting into a very scary bend as the fish went under the boat. Captain Rama tried to help him manoeuver the rod, but Sakata San could not get off his fishing rod…a lesson in GT fishing: wear your fighting belt whenever your lure is the water. Period. To make this great fish even more valuable, as we got the fish into the landing net the hook dropped; talk about a lucky strike!! We also had one of the anglers nearly get dragged overboard by a huge beast of a GT that didn’t half take off against a locked drag. From the video footage we viewed later it probably ended well for both angler and the fish as the position the angler was in – pivoting over the side of the boat and being grabbed in the nick of time before the fish could drag him under – was not one you can recover from easily and thensuccessfully land the GT. The hooks pulled, and we had a shocked angler trying to comprehend what had just happened.
Apart from the above instances, Masao San landed two great GT’s in one day – a 30 kilo and a 38 kilo GT – both on his rod which we had repaired the day before. He’d put the rod into the ceiling fan which luckily only took an inch of blank off the tip end. Hayato San landed the largest GT of the trip – a beautiful looking black specimen that pegged 42 kilos. This fish was really a perfect specimen and one of the best-looking GT’s we have seen this season so far. We also managed to land a Tille Trevally (Caranx Tille) on top-water, a first for us.
This season we have noticed that the water temperatures have been a bit lower than normal for this time of the year, probably caused by a delay in the ending of the Northeast Monsoon. However, the bite was still pretty good as we managed to land a few dozen Giant Trevally, a couple of bluefin trevally, red bass, barracuda and green Jobfish. We had some exciting sessions with multiple hook ups and two fish on a single popper as well and sessions where the red bass were competing with the GT for the poppers and stick-baits being cast at them.
The great bit about fishing is that you can learn something from everyone or each time you get out on the water. Makoto San was kind enough to share some of his knowledge on the positioning of Single Hooks, size selection and length of assist chord when rigging stick-baits with single hooks. More on this bit later when we have tried it out a bit more.
Enjoy the pictures and tight lines till our next report.
Rods: Ripple Fisher, Zenaq Zobizo, Carpenter, Daiwa
Reels: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Saltiga
Lures: Hammerhead, Carpenter, Srgala, Craft Bait, Moutoukenmaru and Eva Lures
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Barracuda, Bohar Snapper, Grouper, Green Jobfish and Tille Trevally