It’s not often we get a fishing trip booked for a family reunion. Arthur (known to his friends as Joe) contacted us because he was planning a family get together in the Andaman Islands over a week of fishing where he’d be meeting his nephews for the first time in over 30 years! Until now they had corresponded over email and phone and their bond was their love for fishing. They arrived at the guesthouse and spent the first few hours getting reacquainted while our staff set up the equipment and finalised the fishing plan.
The forecast for the week ahead showed rain but thankfully no accompanying wind. After breakfast we headed off in search of bait schools on our way to the chosen fishing zone. It wasn’t much later when we began to spot schools of sardine and mackerel. We positioned the boat within casting distance of a school of mackerel and Alistair clambered up on to the bow and cast. Seconds later a GT came up and nailed his lure. Alistair had tangled with GT before, so he knew exactly what he was in for and struck. It wasn’t long before we had the GT in the landing net.
Alistair posing with the first fish of their trip and a respectable GT at that. A few quick photographs later we sent the GT on its way and carried on.
Disaster! We came upon another school, this time in much deeper water and as soon as the popper hit the water a gigantic fish struck it. The Stella screamed as line poured off it. The line went slack before Alistair could strike. The rear treble of the lure had been pulled off clean. We cannot repeat enough that lures need to have their original split rings replaced and beefed up and the same applies to the trebles. It’s not often you get a shot at a GT of this class and it’s a pity we lost this one.
Light casting off a reef close to a drop off saw us hooking and landing quite a few small Dogtooth Tuna on popper and stick bait. Dogtooth Tuna are normally caught on jig and hang out in deeper waters during the day. We catch a lot of these fish on top water lures during the early parts of the season. One of the primary reasons these fish are up and on shallow reefs is due to the poor light conditions we get when days are cloudy and we have a bit of rain.
Alistair with another small Dog Tooth landed on stick bait. Alistair chose to use our popping rods and couldn’t decide whether he liked the RacePoint 250 or RacePoint 200 more.
Joe with another Dogtooth before we decided to call it a day and head back to port. Often there are packs of a dozen DTT chasing after surface lures. Most fish hooked were smaller ones, but we could see deep dark shadows lurking under the smaller fish. There were DTT estimated to be well over the 40 to 50 kilo mark, but they seemed to be very shy and hardly got a chance to get at a lure.
Alistair with a GT caught above a shipwreck we fish occasionally. The shipwreck attracts hundreds of small baitfish and the opportunistic GT are never far away. You have to watch where you cast to avoid getting broken off on the wreck.
Beyond the wreck is a small pinnacle that is covered with fish. We don’t normally have big fish in this particular spot, but we tend to hook a lot. Alistair posing with one of his many Bluefin Trevally of this session. Bluefin Trevally normally is well lit up with their iridescent blue and green, but this fish chose to match the surroundings.
Alistair has a firm faith in the Halco Twisty! We don’t often see clients using spoons or metal casting wedges as they seem to have been forgotten. Alistair was casting and jigging with the Twisty and proved how effective a lure it was. Alistair caught numerous species with this lure and above he is photographed with a Green Job Fish.
We then chose to fish a narrow strip of rocks that normally hold a predator or two. This time Alistair’s popper was smashed by a Barracuda. We often catch Barracuda on popper throughout the year, but it is only later in the season that we get the truly enormous ones. We feel the really big fish are migratory and start to show up in our waters by February.
We were spotting bait schools where we normally don’t see them. Most bait at this time of the year is mackerel and sardine. We think these fish also migrate through the area and the bigger fish follow. Above is a typical picture of a bait school seen well off shore. The exciting bit about fishing these schools is that you can never tell what will come out and grab your lure.
Early in the season we also see huge schools of small Queen Fish. They are great entertainment on light tackle and find fast moving, flashy and darting lures irresistible. This particular Queen Fish got lucky because it was chased all the way to the boat by a GT hell bent on making a meal out of it.
Light jigging provided us with constant action just out of port limits. We couldn’t help but stop and drop one last time before we called it a day and headed back to the comfort of our guesthouse.
Alistair with a beautifully Coral Trout that was a welcome sight on a cloudy day. These fish can put up quite a scrap and have a nasty habit of trying to hide in the reef. They are a serious challenge on light gear.
A spectacular Andaman sunset brought this special trip to an end. We hope the Lewins had a good trip as we wish them much luck. Sometimes, fishing trips are not all about the fish caught or lost, but are about the friends made.