Jason, Nick, Kenny and Lee-Heng have all fished with us in Sri Lanka. They did one of the first trips over in Kirinda and then Trincomalee and were more than up to giving the Andaman Islands a try when I asked them to come over. We planned the trip for March this year and since the big fish were about we asked them to come fully armed with the biggest lures they had. It was good to catch up with the group when they got here and as usual all the guys wanted to pop more than jig, if the conditions permitted.
The first objective was to get the guys warmed up and into fish as soon as possible and we managed this in short time. However the big fish seem to move from spot to spot so you need to constantly move spots with them and try to intercept them where possible.
This we managed to do after a bit of trial and error on this trip, I must admit. We did get the smaller GT’s and raised some nice size dogtooth on topwater, managing to land a couple of smaller ones. Also, the fish we not feeding at the same part of the tide as last week so we had to work harder the first two days to figure things out again.
Getting to one of our spots that has produced fantastic results for us this season, I told the guys to get ready the biggest poppers and stick baits and start casting!! Two casts later Jason’s Abalone Hots Keiko stickball got properly smashed and he was holding on, trying desperately to control the fish which did not stop and managed to bust off. It was soon mayhem with all the anglers hooking up and Nick had a big grouper take his Gamma 200. The fish tried to get into the reef but he held on to land a great fish. With a lot of action and lots of fish being landed, Kantha cast the Racepoint 250 with a Craft Bait for another big strike, which he managed well to muscle in a 28 Kg GT. Moving to the other side of the reef for lunch and a short break, we resumed the casting session and were met with some more strikes in quick succession. Nick had a proper Black Monster GT nail his big Gamma 200; he set the hook, only for his 100 lb Jerry Brown hollow line to burst, leaving Nick shell shocked at both the size of the fish and the cost of the lost lure!! Many more fish later we moved to the last spot before calling the day and again we are into some great action. Nick, fishing from the front of the boat, had another great strike and this time lost an Amegari stickbait. He checked all his tackle again and then hooked another big fish and this time lost an FCL stickbait; this was getting to be one expensive trip for him! Kenny who had been popping the AOF GT Candy hard with good results got another good take and the fight was on. The fish gave him a real workout and a sore back before he put a very decent GT on deck.
The next morning we tried different spots. The bite was slow and we needed to wait for a tide change. We had great fun micro jigging, which produce a variety of species and non stop action. The guys’ cast had intermittent hits with Jobfish and Bohar Snapper which head straight for the coral reef and need to be yanked out. Poor Nick was again stitched up, this time with a Napalm and another Amegari. He was now in contention for most lures lost by a single angler on a single trip. We rechecked all the tackle and set all the drags again. We moved over to a deep popping spot and were immediately smashed by big GT. Jason missed a big hook up when the hooks pulled and Nick landed a nice sized one in the mid 20 kg range and Kenny was busted off to lose another lure. We made another drift and this time again lures were smashed. Kenny stayed tight with a big GT that killed him twice over, while Jason and Nick got a 25kg and a 32 kg GT respectively. Kenny’s was the biggest and weighed in at 41 kg; another beast boated. Nick was over the moon that finally everything had stayed tight and his jinx had been broken.
Lots more action followed with lots of hits and landed fish. The micro jigging was insane with many Bluefin, Bohar Snapper and reef species caught. We also caught some very nice sized Yellowfin Trevally on the micro jigging setups, while those anglers persisted with the poppers and stick baits. We hit a favourite jigging spot and were immediately into fish on the first drift, with loads of bait and big marks showing on the sounder. Kenny bust off on his slow fall jig, while Jason and Kantha landed Yellowfin Trevally. Jason’s next strike was a big one and after a few minutes’ fight the 100 lb leader was bitten off but it did not look like a shark, which was confirmed when Kantha boated a Rusty Jobfish which has been shredded by a big Dogtooth. We were really excited and made a new drift, but the current was off and the fish suddenly seemed to have complete lock-jaw and wouldn’t touch anything jig like – such are the vagaries of fishing, at times.
A last spot for the trip and we are popping shallow reef. Jason was fishing from the back of the boat and he got a big strike almost at the engines and the fight was on big time. Fortunately this Geet ran into deeper water giving us the chance to back the boat while giving Jason a better angle to fight the fish. It was all smiles and cheers as we boated another great GT in the 40 kg range and Jason was over the moon after missing out on two others earlier in the trip. Nick managed not to lose another lure too, even though he cast relentlessly.
With this we called the trip “done” and headed into port.
Till next time,
Popping Rods: El Toro, Racepoint 200, 250, Carpenter, Team Korea, Black Hole, Temple Reef
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Catalina, Shimano Spheros
Lures: AOF GT Candy, Napalm, Gamma 200, FC Labo, Amegari, Hots Keiko, Ballyhoo
Jigging Rods: Seed, M C Works, Jigging Master
Jigging Reels: Shimano Twin Power, Shimano Ocean Jigger, Shimano Stella
Species Caught: Giant Trevally, Dogtooth, Bohar Snapper, Green Jobfish, Bluefin Trevally, Grouper, Coral Trout