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Stu Walker’s fantastic Andaman week

Trip Report:

Earlier this year Richard Larter and Roy Stace walked through our front door. They were the first foreign angling clients we’d had who walked in with a tan! They were on a long trip through S. E. Asia which they ended with a week of fishing in the Andaman Islands.

They’d fished in many a fishy location before for various commonly sought after tropical fish but this was their first full blown GT popping trip. Armed with a bunch of popping rods and a bag full of poppers and stick-baits from Orion Lures in France they seemed pretty ready for the task at hand.

After setting up their tackle and an initial briefing about the fishing explaining how hard GT hit surface lures and the absolute necessity to strike hard and send those hooks home they went off for day of sightseeing in and around Port Blair.

Richard casting at a very fishy spot. We fish this corner of blue water that drops from 5 to 50 meters in a flash and has a healthy population of GT patrolling the margins. We keep the boat well off the reef and cast in to the shallows. Big GT come up and smash poppers as they’re fished off the edges of the reef.

Richard was soon rewarded as his Cono Cono 150 was smashed by this nice fish that almost pulled him off the boat. As you can see he’s mighty happy with his accomplishment. The prefect specimen waxs released after a quick photograph and we hope to cross paths with it again.

Roy with a small GT that came up and nailed his popper of a spectacular island called Rutland. This fish was caught from one of the many bait-schools found in the area.

Richard again with a beautiful specimen. These fish were coming up on deeper reefs and not shy to hit poppers meters from the boat.

A very lucky Roy with his trophy Dog Tooth Tuna. The Dog Tooth Tuna is right at the top of every anglers list. They’re normally targeted off seamounts and drop-offs with jig, but this season we had them coming up on a regular basis and taking poppers. It is pretty rare to get these brutes on popper as they’re hard to hook and even harder to get to the boat.

One wasn’t enough for Roy so he soon caught his second Dog Tooth Tuna on popper.

A spectacular sky and signs of a distant monsoon on its way. All Islands are covered with lush tropical jungle and the settings are simply awesome. We’re quite lucky to be the only charter fishing the southern waters and have some of the world’s best waters within easy access.

Roy with his monster GT. Bigger than what he wished for! Another happy angler strikes a pose before releasing this fantastic fish back to the sea.

With the Yellow Fin Tuna season approaching the drop offs become one the first probable areas where these fish will show up. On our daily commute to our GT reefs all eyes scan the horizon to the east, looking for tell tale signs of Tuna. The easiest way to spot them are the birds…. and this time there was a cloud of them. Sure enough there was Tuna on the surface and the action was better than what we expected so early in the season.

Roy battling with a nice 20+ kilo tuna for a quick photograph. We fish for them with poppers and stick-baits and the action is almost instant. Over the years we’ve got pretty good at predicting where and when these fish will show up. This time however we were taken by surprise… goes to show you learn something new every time you are out fishing.

Richard and Roy with a pair of tuna. Double and triple hookups are very common when the fish are up on the surface in a frenzy. They’ll pretty much take anything that comes their way.

Roy with another nice Yellow Fin… These fish and many more were caught in a couple of hours before we called it a day. On days we see tuna we know our anglers will probably last a couple of hours before they’re burned out. Aching arms and sore backs are what go with this sort of fishing.

After the crazy Yellow Fin Tuna action it was back to business as usual. The boys were after GT again. Poppers were working great and the boys pretty much used only 2 poppers for their whole trip, the Cono Cono 150 and the T-Rex 150…. both by Orion Lures.

Roy with another monster GT. This fish was caught off a white sand beach. Fish t

We have had Stu Walker fish with us for the sixth time now and this time around he was accompanied by Adam Randall and Matt Powney. We had planned this trip a long while back so we did our best to get some awesome footage and turn it into not-just-another jigging-and-popping movie. The trip did not start too well, with Stu’s baggage getting lost. With no sign of it arriving in the following few days we kitted him out properly, which was probably the reason for his success!

Talk about nailing a trip! We really got way more than we planned for. We experienced an incredible top-water bite but the real icing on the cake was landing a huge dogtooth tuna on a rod rated for PE 1.4 with 10lb line. These fish are hard enough to land on heavy tackle where they literally smoke the heaviest of gear and you barely see one landed out of five hooked. A huge pat on the back and congratulations to Adam for managing this, in a fight lasting over an hour with the fish finally being landed more than a mile from where it was hooked.

All the guys got their personal bests and experienced a few humbling moments as the usual unstoppable fish put on a show for the camera. We will stay short with this report and you will need to wait for the movie to see a recap of the incredible action.

The report in short from Stuart Walker

Just got back from the Andaman Islands after the most amazing GT fishing trip ever! It didn’t start too well, as on our 2nd flight my bag was lost and we missed the flight due to red tape. Not good! My bag had all my GT gear including six Saltiga reels! We arrived 24hrs late. Fortunately, Darran at Gamefishing Asia was brilliant and totally kitted me out, including clothes.

I had to put the bag loss behind me and push on as we had a film to put together. The fishing exceeded all expectations and was just crazy at times. My best GT were 50 kg, 45 kg, 40 kg, 32 kg; all caught on poppers and stickbaits, with plenty of fish between 10-25 kg. I also targeted a Shark on my last day as on my last trip I had lost two. I landed a 70 kg white-tipped reef shark after a great fight on my jigging rod. Good fun and very interesting in the boat!

Adam Randall and Matt Powney had some great fishing, with them both smashing there PBs. Adam landing GT’s of 48 kg, 45 kg, 30 kg and Matt landing a PB of 30 kg plus, plenty of others up to 25 kg and a nice Dogtooth Tuna on a popper.

One of the most amazing sights of the week was watching Adam land a 60 kg Dogtooth Tuna on a PE 1.4 rod with 10lb line. Caught on a very small jig, it took great skill to land, which took nearly an hour, after being hooked perfectly in the side of the mouth.

At times the action was intense with double hookups with 30 kg fish. It will take a while to edit but I know I have the footage to make one of the best GT films ever.

Thanks to Gamefishing Asia for giving us a trip of a lifetime. All the staff were amazing in making the trip a success. I even got my bag back at the end of the week which was the cherry on the cake!

Stu

Tackle Used

Popping Rods: Ripple Fisher, Black Hole, Temple Reef, Racepoint
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella
Lures – Poppers and Stickbaits: Craft Bait, Hammerhead, Kokari 130, Kokari 160, Kokari SB 170, Heru Cubera, Heru El Cebu

Jigging Rods: Ripple Fisher
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella

Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Long-nose Emperor, Bohar Snapper, Bludger Trevally, Grey Reef Shark, Coronation Trout

ypically caught from sandy areas tend to be lighter specimens. Also safer to fight as the chances of getting reefed are non-existent. As you guessed fish from deeper reefs and rocky areas are darker specimens.

Roy with another monster GT. This fish was caught off a white sand beach. Fish typically caught from sandy areas tend to be lighter specimens. Also safer to fight as the chances of getting reefed are non-existent. As you guessed fish from deeper reefs and rocky areas are darker specimens.

End of Season 2018-19 Trip - Gallery