Thursday, November 15, 2012

Socotra Island Yemen October 2012, The Last Frontier

For the past two years we have been talking about how and when we are going to make it to Socotra, Yemen.
From the information gathered on the Island, it seems to us that it is a paradise on earth with huge GT’s roaming the near untouched reefs,
The logistics and risks involved to make it to Yemen was our main concern but the desire to bend rods and reels screaming set us on a mission, and there will be no turning back until we make it happen and happened, it did…
The trip consist of Luke Wyrsta from Australia, Nick Bowles and Barry Kurten from South Africa (originally from United Arab Emirates) and myself,
We left all the planning to Barry as he was in touch with the locals and he did an awesome job making this trip a pleasant and memorable trip of a lifetime.

I arrived Dubai in the morning on October 9th, met up with the boys at Ocean Active to finalize the travel plans and also make contingency plans if we get ourselves into sticky situations.
The day arrived and we took off, made it through the connecting flight with major delays, and finally made it to Socotra Island and our contact, waiting for us at the aircraft steps.
Once we met our contact knew we will be in good hands, Abdul El Jamil is a young and respectful figure on the Island, he welcomed us and sorted our immigration in no time,
The morning came in with high expectations and desire to hit the water and experience what it feels like to fish in Socotra.
The ride from the hotel was beautiful, we rode along the seaside, through the mountains and into the shore to make it to the west of the island.
Our Captain was waiting for us, the boats are long and look like canoes with 40 horse power engine, damn… it’s gonna be a long ride.

Made it to the fishing ground and was greeted by a pack of massive GT’s, they were so aggressive that our lures went airborne as soon as they hit the water and we were screaming with excitement.
Nick manage a nice GT and I hooked up a descent fish that got me on my knees and opened up the hooks, felt every inch of a 60kg GT,
We finished the day defeated but with smiles on our faces, anticipating for tomorrow to come and Barry ended the day with a 50kg GT on the Race Point 250 which handled the fish easily.

Our second day was a little slow and we decided to do a little jigging, that is when we met a school of hungry Sailfishes! We all hooked up with Sails jumping and people screaming in every directions and we all lost to the fishes.
Barry was the only exception; he fought and tamed the fish expertly and landed the fish, took some nice shot and released it to fight another day,
Our guide insisted on taking us to the mountains for sightseeing, so we stopped for the day and went to higher ground to see one of the most fascinating place on earth, from the desert to the mountain canyons and ending up in an oasis.
The place is beyond what I can describe, as Nick calls it, “Galapagos of Arabia”!
We swam in the clear freshwater pools and watched the sunset on the way back, it was a good call to go inland and do a little sightseeing, and we were humbled by the beauty and serenity of the place.
During dinner, we discussed to fish other grounds and decided to camp as the drive is a bit of a pain in the butt, this way we can return inland every day for lunch and we will be closer to the fishing ground.

Moving forward, everything got better!
The east side of the island had some nice reefs, the area is small and the current is ripping close to 6 knots, took us awhile to figure out where the fishes are holding.
In the beginning, we got our asses handed to us by the fishes but by the end of the day, we figured the trick into landing these massive GT’s and using the strong current to our advantage.
We lived in tents for 5 days waking up to breathtaking scenery every morning.

A big thank you goes to our guide also named Sami from Yemen. He stayed and guide us through the entire trip and Abdul El Jamil the operator and person in charge of the whole operation.
Socotra, you did not disappoint us and a big thank you for the hospitality!
This is one of the most memorable GT trip I had for a while, Socotra we will be back!

Species we landed: Giant Trevally, Red Bass, Kingfish, Job Fish, Grouper, Big Eye Trevalley, Black Jack, Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Trevalley, Barracuda,
Tackle used:
Rods: Saltywater Tackle Race Point 200, 250,300. Prototype 150, Outer Bank OBX-5410XX Jigging rod. Smith AMJ52EX,
Carpenter Monster Hunter 80H, Carpenter Wild Violence, Fisherman GT Game TRSH, FCL Labo Rod,
Reels: Shimano Stella
Lures: Carpenter Gamma, Carpenter Bluefish, Siren Bad Mon 250 and Bad Mon 300 Prototype, Craft Bait, Shell Shaping Lures, ASWB, Ocean Active Lures,Moutoukenmaru,
Lines: Power Pro 130lb and 100lb Hollow, Jerry Brown 130lb Hollow, Sunline Monster Hunter PE8 & PE10,Varivas GT PE10,
Leader and bite leader: Saltywater Tackle system leader with 220lb twisty and 300lb Moi Moi bite leader.

   Tight lines