Chris and Paul had last fished in Costa Rica and it seemed like a pleasant experience, from what they described. They were both quite eager to get out onto the water and have themselves a great fishing experience and showed a keen interest in bottom fishing, especially after the relentless casting the whole of the first day and being eluded by any big GT that were around. We stocked up on bait the next day and took them out to an area that would cover a variety of fishing spots from shallow reefs to slightly deeper water with structure and some pristine coastline. We cast at the occasional bait balls that we saw en route and got some follows and takes from small GT. We had to load the line with lots of lead when we needed to get to the bottom with bait in the strong current and repeated drifts over areas that showed fish markings on the GPS. These guys loved their fishing and although the weather was still not ideal, with a haze still hanging over the sea and water temperatures still on the colder side, they were working really hard for their GT’s. To make things tough, the special spots we had reserved for our clients were just not firing. After setting up some paternoster rigs for bottom fishing, we started catching a variety of fish and on one occasion we pulled up a large rainbow runner which, much to Paul’s dismay, we decided to put onto the live bait rig. Nothing went for him though and part of the reason was that it was a smart fish that decided to swim back to the boat and stay secure under the hull of Tropical Star. We did manage a lot of other fish like snapper and coral trout and small shark on bait and we suspect the ones that cut through the line were barracuda. We did a bit of jigging as well and landed some small dogtooth tuna and green jobfish. There were decent fish that pulled out fair amount of drag and made away with the assist hooks – most probably dogtooth tuna. At one point we fished really close to shore where some dolphin had herded a school of bait fish but the poppers weren’t drawing anything to the surface. Things changed when Chris changed over to a stick-bait and he got hammered by a decent size GT that encouraged Paul to shift to stick-bait as well. It worked and he too was rewarded with a smaller geet. We did a bit of trolling as well over some structure at 12 meters and had barely set out a deep diver when the drag screamed off the multiplier and Paul was left fighting another decent GT. We trolled other areas at intervals and raised fish to the Rapala lures trailing the boat. The red and whites worked nicely like they always do all over the world. Every day was spent with a mix of trolling, jigging, popping and bottom fishing and each method brought fish on deck and the final day’s fishing ended with three GT in quick succession, just before we headed back home, to close this year’s Andaman chapter for Chris and Paul.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian anglers on Reef Raider were headed out loaded with big poppers and stick-baits and they would be spending this trip casting just that. The group comprised of Lionel, Charles, Sam, Jonathan and Eugene, most of whom for which this was a first time experience i.e. hardcore popping for GT and they were treated to some shocking moments with big GT screaming off with almost locked down drags. Landing a nice GT above 30 kilos on day one was a good way to begin the trip. We had planned our trip so the tides gave us the best conditions in terms of targeting monster GTs. The boys managed to raise a few and even had them hooked for a while but unfortunately again, none made it onto the boat. Lionel, the most experienced of them, hooked and fought a really nice dogtooth tuna that tipped the scales at 40 plus kilos. He had the biggest GT on board as well coming in at just under the 40-kilo mark. There were multiple hook ups too, with Bohar snapper and GT patrolling the same area. It was unfortunate to keep losing big fish after all the hard work they were putting into their casting, but when you’re new to this kind of fishing you are going to learn the hard way. The difference between a good fishing trip and a great fishing trip is converting those strikes and landing fish. The group managed to put a lot of fish onto the boat but lost at least thirty fish and this included some of the biggest GT we have seen this season that did give them an opportunity to be landed. The barracuda were wrecking havoc on their expensive poppers and on the final day they landed seven of them among a total of nineteen fish boated. The biggest Barracuda weighed close to 30 kilos and made for a nice pic.
Paul and Chris fished on Tropical Star while Alwyn Tan’s group fished on Reef Raider this entire trip and both groups were amazed by the sheer scenic beauty of the locations they fished. They re-lived the moments when they had multiple hook ups and as usual we had more than a few anglers swearing to hit the gym once they got back home. They’ve had a taste of our Andaman GT and know how physically demanding it is to tackle a 40-kilo Giant Trevally. They have sworn to be back and next time they’re back they promised us not to miss as many fish. Enjoy the pics that follow and look out for the next report from team GFA that is coming soon.
Rods: Carpenter, Ripple Fisher, Racepoint 200 and 250, Shimano, Outer Banks OBX 300
Reels: Shimano Stella 18k and 20k, Daiwa Saltiga, Shimano Saragosa, Penn Slammer
Lures: Hammerhead, Carpenter, Blaze Garage, Heru, Rapala , Halco and Kokari 130g and 160g
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Golden Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Bohar Snapper, Grouper, Barracuda, Green Jobfish, Rainbow Runner, Shark, Coral Trout, Trigger fish.