After a great trip last June, where they caught some nice Barramundi and Mangrove Jack, Yamada san and Sahara san scheduled another Bolgoda trip with Gamefishing Asia for December 2015. It was a pleasure to guide these two expert Japanese fishermen on the last trip and I was excited to be guiding them again, especially Sahara san who had lost 2 nice fish on the last day of his previous trip and was out for revenge!
When I welcomed the guys around midnight at Colombo airport it felt like a reunion of old friends. We loaded up the gear and set off for Bolgoda Lake, talking fishing, remembering fish lost or missed from the last trip and catching up on other fishing adventures. We arrived late in the night at Bolgoda and set a time of 7am to go fishing which sent everybody to bed to rest for the following day.
After breakfast and coffee, the morning of the first day we started out fishing some spots looking to target Barramundi. Sahara’s lure box looked like a mobile tackle shop! He has obviously been doing some shopping since his last visit and had plenty of nice minnows specifically for this trip. I noticed a nice Duel Hardcore Flat Minnow and advised him to start with it. After landing a couple of ladyfish Sahara san has a serious bite close a lily-pad patch and a nice 66 cm Barramundi came to the net after a couple of jumps. Great start!!! They caught some average size mangrove jack and dropped a few Oxeye Tarpon, before we headed back for lunch.
After a nap we set out to target the elusive Featherback. When we arrived on the spot we can saw them rolling on surface. Sahara san fished a lipless from Bassday and Yamada wanted to try his luck on a soft plastic. First catch was 2 nice Mangrove Jack. Sahara changed his lure for a spoon and immediately had a bite from a Featherback. The fish jumped and sadly shook the lure. We tried another spot for Barramundi and Sahara missed one close to the boat and Yamada hooked one but on the first jump the lure came free. We returned to the initial spot for Featherback and on the second cast Sahara landed one. With Darkness fast approaching, I decide to fish the spot where Sahara lost his 2 big fish on his previous trip and after a couple of casts Sahara has a serious bite but the hooks didn’t set properly and he lost the fish. Damn!!! Same spot, same fisherman with the same lure and again lost, amazing! Wonder if it was the same fish?!
The morning of day two we were greeted with overcast weather and a little rain. We tried some Barramundi spots but without success but caught some average size Mangrove Jack and a couple of ladyfish. Later on in the morning we found Oxeye Tarpon rolling on surface and we decided to focus on catching one. Sahara had never caught one before and was very excited to add one to his species list. I advised him to use a small silver minnow he had plenty of bites but the Oxeye tarpon like their bigger cousins have a hard bony mouth and are not easy to hook. Finally, after some perseverance, Sahara landed one which put a big smile on his face – mission accomplished! So it was back to the accommodation for lunch and a nap. That afternoon, we focussed our efforts on the spot where Sahara lost his fish the day before. This time we had a bit more luck and we landed two very nice Mangrove Jack and Yamada boated a beautiful Golden Barramundi.
The morning of the last day dawned sunny and hot. On the way to reach a spot for Barramundi, I spotted an area with some bait activity on the surface and decided to try our luck. Third cast and Sahara caught a 63 cm Barramundi – good decision! We continued to fish the shallow area and again Sahara had a bite. This time the fish looked bigger and it turned out to be a nice 67 cm Barramundi. Lucky and happy fisherman!! We rounded off the morning session with some Mangrove Jack and ladyfish.
That afternoon Sahara wanted to try again for Featherback and asked me to bring my light spinning rod to show him how I use a finesse technique to target Featherback. We arrived at the spot in the upper reaches of the lake and found plenty of Featherback rolling on the surface. Yamada fished with a lipless and Sahara with a spoon. After 30 minutes without success Sahara asked me to demonstrate my technique with a 5 cm soft plastic Bass Assassin shad and the 2g jighead. The lure is very light and sinks very slowly. The technique requires a lot of attention because if you want your lure to reach the bottom, your line needs to be little bit slack and a bite of fish can be a light « toc » you feel in your rod or you’ll see your line begin to slightly tighten. On my third cast I caught a Featherback (phew!). Sahara gave it a try and on his second cast he missed one. Sahara is a really good fisherman and a fast learner, after few cast he hooked a big Featherback. A few minutes later Yamada had a hit on his lipless, the fish gave a good account for itself leading us to believe it was a Mangrove jack, but to our surprise it turned out to be a Black Seabream – a species we had never caught in the Lake system before.
With sunset fast approaching and the light fading we decide to try another area for Barramundi. After a few casts, Sahara missed a big fish leaving us gaping at a huge swirl in the water. Yamada was up next with a nice hit, the fish ran straight into the lily pads fouling up Yamada’s line, luckily after some deft manoeuvring Yamada managed free his line and the fight was on. The fish was strong and after an intense fight a very nice 76 cm Golden Barramundi was landed. By this stage the sun had set and the day was over, I asked the guys to have a few last casts, just in case and Sahara caught a 56 cm Barramundi the last fish of the trip. What a nice way to finish their trip with 4 barramundis, a big Featherback, a new species with the black seabream and a couple of decent Mangrove jack.
This trip was a great success, guiding Yamada and Sahara will always be a pleasure and guess what? They want to come back again! I am waiting for you guys!