Early this year we were visited by a Russian group of tropical fishermen led by Kirill Tuchapsky who was very keen to sample the GT fishing in the Andaman Islands. They had previously fished at some exotic locations like Panama, Maldives, Cuba and Madagascar. It was initially to be a group of 4 anglers but as word got around the group size grew and we were almost at maximum capacity with 8 on board our two boats.
This trip was planned and executed by us and was one of the first big groups of the season. We received them at the airport, checked them into their hotel and gave them a briefing of what the week ahead would be.
The clients were picked up from their hotel and escorted to the jetty where the boats were ready and waiting for them. We sorted out equipment as the clients decided who would be on which boat. It was decided that on some days the boats would fish together and on other days we would fish completely different locations based on prevailing tides and conditions to make the most of the week. We were keen to get them into a big fish the first day and did just that. The group was also making a small film of the trip so we got the big GT out of the way straight away.
Our primary target species while popping is the GT but we have numerous popper munching fish in our waters. In this case we fished a corner of an island with a ripping current and were rewarded with this Barracuda.
As the week progressed and everyone caught their GTs’, the anglers were interested in catching newer species that they’d never caught before on popper. In this case much fuss was made over this small and mean looking Red Bass.
Kirill fighting a GT from the rear of the boat. Most anglers wind up at the engines, especially with big fish, as it is more stable and easier to land fish.
We also planned sessions where we fished shallower reefs with smaller poppers and stick bait to target Coral Trout. This fantastic looking fish was caught on stick bait and photographed by a really thrilled angler before being released off the side of the boat.
Some spots we fished were thick with GT. It wasn’t rare for us to have multiple hook ups on this trip. Areas like these are perfect for novice fishermen as they abound with fish and give anglers many an opportunity to hone their skills before we head out to the deeper spots looking for monsters.
Another nice Black GT hooked off a deeper reef. The dark coloration of the fish normally is due to them coming up from the deep and the presence of a lot of structure and rocks.
This bright silver specimen of a GT was the exact opposite of the previous fish. It was caught off a sandy bay and we catch many of these light colored fish close up in shore.
Some of the guys were keen to jig as well and this lucky angler managed to bring up this Barracuda without being bitten off.
We caught numerous, too many to count (smaller) GTs like these while jigging between a couple of islands. The markings on the fish finder were actually schools of GT and not bait. When GT school like this, they all tend to be the same size and color.
Every now and again we catch and release a shark on popper. We are never happy to see one grab a popper, but signs of abundant shark mean all is well with the reefs we fish.
Couple of GT caught on popper before being released back.
We had many Red Bass and the clients were quite amazed by the variations in color.
Kirill was quite keen to catch a Coral Trout on stick bait and was happy to finally catch one.
Over the week caught many many GT on jig and on the last day we even managed to land some Wahoo. This angler was really lucky because the Wahoo bit clean through his assist cord when it was put in the boat.
We ended the trip with another big fish and it was the perfect way to bid farewell to a group of keen anglers. It is funny how fast the week passes when one is out fishing and having a great time. The group returned to Russia and emailed us a few weeks later with a couple of links to their videos.
We saw them off at the airport departure lounge and then crossed over to arrivals to welcome our next group. The action in the Andamans on and off the boats is constant.