Koh from Singapore was joined by Cephus, James and Ben on the Rampage for a pure top-water experience, while his friends Tony, Kevin, Mugilan and Freddie, opting for a more combined trip that would have both popping and jigging, were on the Reef Raider. Talk about being kitted up! These guys had the best, with an array of heavy duty top-water rods from Carpenter, Hammer Head and Ripple Fisher. With an accompanying lure selection to call up monsters from the depths, they were good to go. In fishing, your tackle and lure selection play a big part. However, there is the element of luck and if you don’t have it on your side, boy, are you in for a rough week.
From our last week’s report, we saw that there were instances of feeding frenzies with small rat GT’s climbing all over the lures. This week it reached a point of pure frustration as they would literally snatch lures away from big GT’s and we actually had instances of a huge GT trying to get the popper out of the mouth of a hooked small one. The smaller GT’s being faster and more agile meant they got the lures first and big GT’s missed out, much to our and the team’s frustration.
These were not the only instances of things not going our way. Ben, the silent assassin fishing from the back of the boat, had his E-Cup nailed in shallow water to a beast that could not be stopped as it rushed back to the safety of the reef, though Ben in his quiet way did make amends for it – with two 30 plus kilo fish, one of them in skinny water as well.
More bad luck followed Cephus as he lost three huge GT’s – one when his Tasline burst on the strike, another when his crimped 300 lb bite leader pulled because it was not done properly, and one when he was just plain annihilated by another unstoppable GT.
Koh, the most experienced angler onboard, did get into the fish as he worked the big chuggers for maximum effect. However, he too – inspite of casting relentlessly through the day – missed out, getting cut off once on a sinking lure. He had his 6/0 Decoy hooks opened on another sinking HammerHead, by what looked like a very good GT. The worst bit came when he raised a monster from the deep on his G-Cup and hooked it, for it to head back straight into the depths. However, it dropped the hook and while he was retrieving the popper it was snagged again by another GT than was much smaller and Koh had to accept the 25-kilo GT that was finally landed.
On the bright side, James – the entertainer on board for the trip – managed to come tight, after much ribbing about not setting the hook properly and managed to land his PB GT. So well done again, James.
Missed hook ups and dropped fish are part of the GT fishing game. One of the main problems is not setting the hook properly and not getting the rod into the fighting belt; we saw this through the week as the prime reason for the most fish lost.
Getting on to the other group on the Reef Raider, we had a similar experience with the rat GT’s charging the lures. We did enjoy some good jigging sessions though and caught a whole lot of species from Long Nose Emperors to huge Jobfish and Rusties. The doggies did not disappoint as well and one evening session Mugilan hooked into something unstoppable as he dropped his jig. He could not even close the bail arm on the reel as the fish screamed off line and bent the MC Works rod double. That fish was probably sharked; we will never know as the leader got bitten through. Tony did hook and land a tax collector a.k.a a Reef Shark, at the same time.
With the guys using their best lures – the Hammer Heads chuggers and the Carpenter Stickbaits – there were going to be good fish coming up. Kevin had a huge one that was on for a while on the Shimano Wild Response Stickbait but which then dropped the hooks. Tony had his hooks opened up and Freddie missed out twice with big fish – on Stickbait and on the Hammer Head E cup in deep water – when the hooks did not set.
One of the things I did tell the guys was to mix up the lures as I had a feeling that we needed to do something different. This the guys did on the last day when they tried out a different sounding Kokari popper and managed to raise and land a few nice GT’s.
To summarize, it was a trip with plenty of action, chances with big fish and missed chances. That’s fishing and we will back with more.
Till then enjoy the pictures and tight lines,
Popping Rods: Yamaga Blanks, Carpenter SP78H, SP78EXH, TBL 80/40, MH79XH, MH79EXT, Faube 77 M+
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella 14000, 18000
Popping Lures: Carpenter Gamma, Hammer Head, Craft Bait GT 3, Srgala, Carpenter Bluefish 140, Kokari 130 / 160,
Jigging Rods: Yamaga Blanks Galahad, MC Works, Synit, Jigging Master
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella, Shimano Ocea Jigger
Jigs: Shout, Seven Seas
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Long-nose Emperor, Bluefin Trevally, Green Jobfish, Rosy Jobfish, Bohar Snapper, Coral Trout, White Tip Reef Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, Yellowfin Tuna