Saturday, December 29, 2012

Latham Island, Tanzania Dec 2012

I've always wanted to go back to Tanzania for Dogtooth tuna ever since my trip a couple of years back, they were brutal and we lost tons of tackle… I pulled the trigger and I contacted Mady & Jason to book the trip, this will be my second trip with them.
I set up the trip right after my Southern Oman trip and I have 3 great anglers to be around to share that beautiful experience we had,
Daniel from Sweden, Igor from Brooklyn, Nick (Ocean Active) from Dubai was my companion for this astounding trip. We will be fishing around Latham Island in Tanzania.
The main target for this trip is to jig for Doggies and to pop for GT‘s and we get greeted with some amazing nonstop GT action on topwater and on the jig,

Daniel had invited us for dinner the night before our departure to Tanzania  our Brazilian friends that fished Southern Oman with me joined the party, so it was not just a dinner,
Dubai was alive that night and we had such a great time that I am sure they will remember it for the rest of their life,
Nick and I left earlier and we end up picking Daniel from the hotel, we met Igor in Dubai airport and off to Tanzania to be greeted by our driver that was waiting for us right at the gate,
Mady called us to schedule a quick meeting before the morning departure, 
She sure made us looked forward for the next few days as the guys started sorting out their gear,
We left the dock at 5:00 AM heading to Latham Island, the long 5 hours trolling had come to end and we all looked at each other with excitement to wet a line,

Before I go in details I would like to acknowledge the performance presented by Nick on this trip, Nick dominated and gave an excellent presentation in any way you look at it,
As I mention in many post before that targeting dogtooth tuna is not an easy task and luck have to be on your side, 
Well we were not lucky this time to land the big one but we get to hook, fight and feel the loss of our hard work. 
On the first dropped Igor line came tight and landed the first fish of the trip, our dinner was set for the night, it was a Yellowfin tuna.
We started drifting, working hard and changing our jigs trying to see what kind of bait the fish are feeding on, but according to Mady the bite was very slow, 
Nick picked up the most beautiful grouper that I have ever seen; we took quick pictures and released it, the fish kicked back to the deeper water with no problem.
We caught fish here and there until daylight came to an end and the switch was on for 30 minutes of non stop action and many hook up and breakage with line screaming and adrenaline kicking, we manage to land a number of GT’s and Nick had a nice one on the Hot’s drift tune jig.
The winning lure for the day and for the whole trip was the Hot’s drift tune but the problem was only Nick had a good stock of them, I was informed by Mady prior to the trip to bring long jigs, so I told the guys to bring a good selection of long jigs.
Glad till nowadays, we still don’t understand the fishes behaviour as if we do, we will empty out the ocean.

On our 2nd day and as the action was slow for Doggies, we made a decision to pop for GTs along the island, 
I remembered from my previous visit to Latham that big GT’s normally hold up at the outskirts of the reef, so I asked Mady to start from the deep water.
Nick and I jumped to the front and we started working our lures, I’ve fished with Nick for many years and in different water and always had a great time, we basically teased each others in a good way and we fight for that casting spot where we think the spot might hold a fish, side to side and I am looking at his lure as I just cast 10 meter in the front of him and I see a flash and the water comes alive,
I looked at my lure and I see a flash as well but my concentration is on Nick’s fish, 
I hit it hard and the line started to scream and so did Nick’s, stating that I have a big fish,
I guess our eyes where on each others lures.
The Race Point 150 Prototype rods took the abuse to the second level and I landed another solid fish on it with my favourite Moutoukenmaru lure in Abalone colour.
A nice 132cm GT estimated around 42kg hit the deck, 
We kept on popping and picking fish here and there until we decided it is time for a swim, Latham island and its surrounding is blessed by amazing and beautiful water, it was very hot and cooling down was a good idea, we enjoyed the cool water break and went back to jigging in the evening.

The third day started with tuna jumping everywhere and birds going ballistic chasing the tuna, I ran to the front and made a cast to see an explosion on my lure, too bad the fish missed it, that fish would be an easy 60kg+ according to what everybody saw.
Then Nick and I came in tight and landed small yellowfin tuna on topwater, we kept on chasing them but they where moving very fast and we couldn't keep up with them.
We asked Mady to head to Latham to pop for GT’s, I guess it is in our blood and we can’t have enough of GT’s.
It was Nick’s turn today.
Nick was using the Hammerhead popper and decided to pop from the back of the boat and sure enough the hard work paid off, he was on a nice GT doubled up with Daniel but his fish is bigger, 
Nick’s fish measured 134cm and estimated around 45kg, we took a few shot and Jason jumped in for the shot, the guys were running in circles around the boat,
At the front where I was, I come tight only to see at the boat side that I have a shark on my popper, 
Jason brought in as it was difficult to get the hook out, even with barbless his jaw was locked, we eventually got the hook out and released him,
Daniel turn came in and he too, gets his fair share of GT’s.
Back to the doggies ground and with finicky bites we still manage to hook some big fish and sure enough we lost all of the big one due to cutoffs and getting reefed, Nick had some solid hook up with no luck again until it happen and I landed an estimated 25kg doggy, we only manage to land the smaller ones. 
We called the day off and ran ashore to refuel and take a day break, we were sore and tired and we sure need a descent bed and good shower after 3 days on-board,
A dingy came in to pick us up to transfer us to the lodge, 6 people in a small dinghy on a pitch black night running along the reef and all of a sudden the engine died down, we looked at each others trying to define the distance from shore but the engine started again and we made it safely, the lodge at Kimbiji was very nice and we enjoyed our evening on the comfort bed and not to mention the AC.

Our day of rest was spending time at the bar and in the pool talking fishing and trying to understand and learn from this experience.

On the 4th day the plan was to hit the GT’s ground first and fish for the doggies in the afternoon, 
We headed to the island with the trolling gear set up and got some wahoos and Mahis on the way, Mady & Jason always set up their trolling gear while underway or between spots so you have to be aware of that if you ever fish with them.

We headed to the shallow area and Nick and Daniel came in tight on some descent size GT’s, nothing spectacular like before but still a lot of fun, 
The day was hot, sweating was inevitable.
You can barely keep your feet in the Crocs or the shoes, we were losing our balance due to sweaty feet, it is very hard to balance and keep up with those conditions, but our will and persistence paid off.
The afternoon session came in to target the doggy land and finally Nick gets rewarded with a nice doggy estimated around 35KG, Nick was on fire and lost many big fishes that day, we were getting our pops cleaned.
We literally get spooled and the fish took all his line in a blink of an eye, leaving us all speechless and Nick in shock, 
You get to realize you’re dealing with a different species,
No matter how much we know or how good we are they sure put a hurt on our souls and DEFEATED is the right word!
As the sun started to fade away the GT bites went on fire and we had our share of GTs,
Sore, tired defeated is what accompanied us for the night!

Our 5th and last day come to an end with even more GT on the jig that you can imagine,
We started the day jigging, Nick had a nice Doggy but the shark got a hold of his prize on the way to the surface, we get the head of the Doggy.
I can see the frustration on Nick’s face as he was really putting all his heart and energy on it and that require a lot of persistence and effort,
I then had a wahoo followed by a small doggy that we released.
Nick does it again, an absolute strike on the OBX jigging rods that last for a couple of minutes before the fish cut through the Kevlar cord, anger is taking over.
As the sun sets on the horizon, the topwater bites increased, with some big splashes happening within casting distance from us, it looked like the night is going to be a busy one.
Nick switched to his Pandora lure matched with his Carpenter prototype rod and had many strikes and landed some decent fish, we on the other hand had strike after strike, none stop action with unlimited GT all over the boat, the line wouldn’t make it to the bottom before getting tight,
I stopped counting and we all had our share of descent GT’s until the guys looked at me and said, Sami are you planning to stop? We need to go 
Mady on the other hand encouraged the guys to keep going but I guess everyone is worned out and left with no energy, 
I have to say we left the ground and the fish were still biting, what a night to be remembered.
Mady skippered the boat in the night to Dar El Salam and we made it to the hotel at 3:00am in the morning, beat, defeated and tired.
We still have unsettled business and all decided to come back next year.

   Tight Lines