After our last group of Singaporean friends left, we had a bit of a breather and time to service Rampage before Mel, Steve and Peter arrived at our Kokari Guest house. The trio were good friends who had fished together numerous years, all over the world in places like Oman, Tanzania and Indonesia. This would be their first fishing experience with GFA and the first few days were not looking too good weather-wise. They didn’t mind, so long as we had a stock of lager in the refrigerator. Mel and Steve had encountered big GT in Oman and now they wanted Peter to experience the ache of handling a big geet. The rough weather was not a concern once they knew they were in capable hands. Captain Kantha proved his mettle, handling the boat in massive swells. We knew we were going to sit it out on one day with the approaching storm but our hopes lay in fish feeding after it passed. We squeezed in a trip before the storm and fished in very choppy waters to try and raise a decent fish. Small GT responded and a big barracuda as well. Mel got a take on his popper and set the hook solid, unaware that he had just got himself a double hookup with two small GTs. He pulled Peter’s leg, saying this was the only way to do it and single fish on a popper didn’t count! Although this was a first for him, the highlight of the day was still the beauty of fishing these scenic islands knowing we had monsters lurking beneath the surface.
The coast guard had issued a small craft warning due to the rough weather and day two was spent exploring places of interest on the island: the Cellular Jail, where our freedom fighters were held prisoners, and the Anthropological museum that displayed artefacts and sculptures of the tribal folk and natives of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and their way of life. An interesting visit, that is recommended to any of our guests who have the time to do so.
Although we did manage to set out the next day, the sea was still too rough to fish and we decided to call it a day and head back home. By evening we saw the winds began to calm down and assure us of good weather for the rest of the fishing trip. The next morning we set out earlier than usual to make up for lost time. The storm however had brought about a colour change in the water and that was not a good sign. We still managed to put a dozen fish on the deck, with two dogtooth tuna included in the catch.
We were presented with an opportunity to visit one of our favourite spots the next day since the sea was flat. The morning session was a bit slow but the action picked up after and a tide change. The fish were on the feed and the trio had a good fishing session. The poppers and stick baits were getting whacked regularly by GT. A 25-kilo GT fought like a brute and got us imagining, for a moment, that we had a monster. It was a bit of a bummer to have to leave our spot when the action was hot, and head back into port before the stipulated time.
We had noted a few spots that we reserved for our final day of the trip but were interrupted by a big pod of spinner dolphin feeding en route. We planned our approach and told the guys to get ready to cast ahead of the dolphins as soon we gave the command. The anglers had a WTF expression on their faces and Mel chuckled and asked the captain if he wanted them to catch a dolphin. Captain however calmly replied that there were yellowfin feeding under the dolphins. This was their first experience of casting into a pod and they were a bit apprehensive about hooking one of these mammals. Their fears were soon put to rest when Steve’s popper was slammed by a big YFT after just two pops. While he was busy battling it out at the back, Mel and Peter too hooked into fish. While Mel’s fish was truly hooked and running, Peter’s fish managed to get off. Just when we had Steve’s yellowfin alongside the boat, a burst of strong tail slaps bought the fish its freedom, leaving us watching in horror as the big yellowfin disappeared into the blue. By now Mel’s fish was on board and after a quick photo session we were ready to move ahead and catch up with the pod that was still visible on the surface. We managed to pull a few more smaller tuna from the school before the they went down so we changed spot and continued our pursuit for big geets. Peter had Lady Luck on his side and his stickbaits and poppers turned into GT magnets. With two nice big GT and a decent grouper, all of which turned out to be his personal bests, he was a happy man. Mel and Steve too had their share of action to add to the total haul of twenty five fish landed on the last day.
So another trip had come to an end and the last evening was spent delving into past fishing experiences. Peter was still trying to get over the fact that a couple of his trebles were opened by the powerful jaws of a GT and that too hooks that were recommended for GT poppers by a leading brand. Mel found it very amusing that on day three they had to spend lunch time in the police station at Neil island because the weather was too rough and our local police wanted to ensure the safety of these tourists by getting them to wait it out for an hour till conditions improved. Perhaps not the best place to wait it out! Steve was impressed by the sheer beauty and charm of these islands and the whole experience of fishing for yellowfin tuna among dolphins. They all got unforgettable memories to take back with them. Tight lines until we meet our new friends again.
Popping Rods: El Tora 100,150 and 180, Ripple Fisher PE 8 and 10.
Jigging Rods: Jig Master, Rod Regus and Venom
Reels: Shimano Stellas 18K, 20K and Twin Power
Lures: West and Seven Seas poppers, ASWB, Orion Big Foot and El Drunkard Stick baits
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Barracuda and Grouper