Hamad, Aziz and Mohammad, who are now on their third trip in the Andaman Islands fishing with us, brought along first timer popper and jigger Abdul Rahman, and Sultan, who is also relatively new to popping and jigging. The guys are booked for Oman in April this year and wanted to get in a bit of GT action prior to the trip. Hamad had been in touch with us on the internet and we had promised him a special trip fishing new spots and areas different from his previous trips.
We have had really good trophy sized fish coming up this season in the Andaman Islands and our last week with the Korean group was a big disappointment as we did not get to boat any of the great fish that were hooked. So this time our skippers Kantha and Rama were really eager to get out and try to land a few of the beasts that we know are here.
After getting the guys set up and ready with their tackle we went over the plan of action for the week. Everyone was really excited at the prospect of fishing the new areas.
We decided to start the trip with a run out to the bank and in the flat conditions we have had recently, it was a pleasant run across. After getting there we were into the fish right away and immediately Aziz got a dogtooth on top-water to set the ball rolling; a good omen!! We popped for a bit across the numerous reefs and landed a few of the usual suspects such as Barracuda and few small GT’s. We waiting for the tide to change so decided to do a bit of jigging before we went back to topwater casting. We were immediately into the action on jig with numerous strikes and soon the line was screaming off Aziz’s Saltiga. A Dogfight under heavy drag – we were sure that it was a good dogtooth but soon looking at the head shakes it was evident that it was GT and a big one too. Soon the rushes became shorter and finally we brought up a huge GT. The formula gave a figure of 47 kilos – ok, so this is the same size as the one Pietro got on the last day of his trip. Could this trip get better? It did not take long for that to be answered, as Hamad’s Fish Trippers lure was smashed just behind some treacherous structure. Rama quickly accelerated to get a better angle on the fish and luckily it ran into deeper water and the fight was on. It really stretched Hamad and Kantha finally boated a huge GT; this one was massive and when we ran the formula, it gave a weight of 50.5 kgs. Wow!! The biggest one of the season so far. Lots of strikes and many fish later we finally called the day and returned to Port Blair. Hamad lost three lures to some very good fish with the Manyou being lost on a monster that burst the braided line. He also lost an Abalone Napalm to another good fish, making it quite an expensive but very, very good day.
The next day we were fishing new spots and the guys at first seemed a bit disappointed that we were not fishing the regular spots, as we went past The Sisters. But on immediately getting into fish on the new spot they were soon fully focussed on the fishing and landed a couple of GTs in quick succession. With fleeing bait all over, we screamed for Hamad to cast into a spot where flying fish had just burst the surface. An immediate strike followed from a GT which missed and then a big dogtooth in the 35-40 kg range came up and grabbed the Fish Trippers lure. Hamad set the hook but after a short rush the hooks pulled, much to everyone’s disappointment. We moved to another spot after lunch as we wanted to do some jigging. En-route we saw some bait fish on the surface and decided to give the area a try. The first cast and Sultan’s popper was nailed. Hamad cast and had his Fish Trippers lure smashed and then the line burst. After that followed an insane casting session with fish after fish being landed and with a good amount of species including Bohar Snapper, Bluefin and Tiger Grouper coming up. Every lure going in was being smashed and we had to work with the newer anglers as we could see the common problem of slack line coming into play, leading to lost fish, time and again. Mohammad’s Black Craft Bait popper was soon smashed by a big GT and it made a line for the jagged corals in shallow water inspite of the heavy drag setting. With no option left but to pull the boat back and try to force the fish out into deeper water, under the added pressure the hooks pulled, leaving a very disappointed Mohammed. The session was so good that we had no time to jig and we headed into port.
This fishing day will probably be one we will remember for a very long time to come it started off as a normal day with a few fish in the 10-20 kilo range being landed. The tide stopped and we went jigging where the action was slow. With only a Jobfish coming up we went to another jigging spot and saw there was bait holding all the way above it to about 20 meters below the surface. The guys got out their jigging rods and dropped to immediately get into fish, landing a GT and Bluefin Trevally. Kantha meanwhile asked Sultan if he could use his popping rod and cast, only for the lure to be smashed by a 30 kilo GT which, with some incredible bite force, opened up a decoy 8/0 hook fully. We managed to land the fish with only one barb which held on. Soon all the guys were casting on this deep spot and we were getting multiple GT strikes; the fish were not small either. We started landing big fish after big fish. Hamad had at one point cast out and had a line wrap on the rod tip, which he was trying to clear. He put his rod down only to see a GT crashing his floating popper and grabbed his rod just in time to set the hook. After great fight we boated a 41 kilo black GT, a proper beast as these are known to be stronger. Abdul Rahman, who was slowly getting used to setting the hooks and keeping tension on line at all times, got a huge strike which he held onto only by luck as the fish went straight down under the boat in the deep water and he was saved because his Stella Reel got stuck in the cleat of the boat. After getting him into a better fighting position he landed his fist big GT of 43 kilo. Just where was this trip going?! In the meanwhile Sultan got a GT of 32 kilos on popper. Hamad changed his stickbait, only to have it nailed again and land a long thin fish. In comparison to the others it was still 100 cm girth which weighed in at 39 kilos. Not ending here, Abdul Rahman had another monster hit his popper and take off and another tug of war started. This fish was huge, when we finally landed it and measured it the formula gave us 52.5 kilos – a new record for the trip and the season so far. We then had the biggest one seen on the day crash Sultan’s popper 3 times and miss each time, before a smaller 25 kilo GT grabbed the lure and was hooked. By this time everyone was in pain from fighting big fish and the non-stop action. Hamad decided to use a smaller stick-bait given to him by a friend and even that got nailed by a big GT that put up a great fight to really leave Hamad with a sore back; the GT scaled out at 40 kilos. We had two triple hook ups, with Hamad’s big fish coming off in the mayhem of being connected to three big fish and being unable to help with the boat. The guys were now too tired to go on and we called the day. We will also call the trip report here and let the pictures do the talking on what was a truly awesome day and trip, one that made up for the disappointment of the last week, for sure.
Till the next report,
Jigging Rods: Ripple Fisher
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Saltiga
Jigs: Seven Seas
Popping Rods: Ripple Fisher, Carpenter
Popping Reels: Daiwa Saltiga, Shimano Stella
Lures: Carpenter, Hammer Head, Heru, Napalm, Fish Trippers, Patriot Design, Orion Cono Cono, Craft Bait, FC Labo, Manyou, M-Craft
GT, Dogtooth, Grouper, Bluefin Trevally, Barracuda, Bohar Snapper, Pompano, Green Jobfish