Monday, February 25, 2013

Andaman's Island Port Blair, India Jan 2013

This trip was set up knowing we were going to have a shot at small to medium sized fish, well… we had an amazing shot and great opportunity to catch monster Dogtooth tuna on topwater,
Game Fishing India did not disappoint us and they delivered beyond my expectation!
My return to the Andamans was based on my fishing experience to the area when I fished it over 4 years ago with Sea Fishing India, I was surprised to know how quickly Darran and Ashkay learned and adapted to the area.
These guys had learned a lot in the past couples of years and their expertise came in handy and played a big role on when, where and how?
As we say…putting your time on the water will get you to understand and time your best shot of the day.

Igor from Moscow, Aneil from Texas had joined on this fantastic trip, we only missed Nick from Ocean Active as he couldn’t get his Visa on time, with all honestly the visa issue was a bit of problem, the Indian embassy request each person to submit his application 1 month prior to departure and they are very strict about it, we learned the hard way this time.

I met up the guys in Dubai and we took the same flight to Chennai, upon our arrival the cab driver was waiting for us and took us to the guest house and we sure took a good sleep that night, the 13 hours flight to Dubai followed by the 5 hours wait at Chennai adding another 5 hours flight to Chennai was a killer.
In the morning we transferred to the airport and took the 2 hours flight to Port Blair to be greeted by Shambu at the airport,
The excitement started to building up and the guys started assorting their tackle upon our arrival to the guest house,

The Guest House is located close to the harbor and has an amazing balcony that reminded me of my days back home when I lived in Lebanon,
My cup of coffee was priceless and peaceful in the morning watching the sun rise from the horizon made me think how beautiful and charming this place is,
I was happy to be back,

We took it easy on the first day and pushed South, the guys had an amazing shot on descent size fishes raging from 10kg up to 28kg, we ended the day 9/20 GT’s.
This was Aneil’s first GT Trip and I know they will be more to come in the future, he is hooked!
The guys couldn’t react quickly to the strikes, setting the hook on the first day was a learning experience but they sure learned a lot and they improved by the end of the trip.
Right before we call the day off Darren suggested a couple of drift to have a shot at Doggies,
All I have to say is, we get the shot but couldn’t keep them on the line, multiple hook up with lost jigs, Igor had a nice hook up twice but only to lose them, the fish cut through the Kevlar cord in a split of a second.
Not a bad day for a start and we called the day off.

On the second day we pushed farther south and start popping the deeper water, ranging from 50 meters to 60 meters, this reminded me by New Caledonia,
I strongly believe that if you want to raise a monster you need to call him up from the deep, big poppers from 170g to 200g started flying out and in no time we start getting our strikes, It was a nice early session and the guys were so exited to see those massive explosion on their poppers and stickbait, I believe we went 12/20 on the second day,
The jigging scenario continued to be the same with some bad luck to the landing part of it,
We called the day off and headed to the guest house, all sored and exhausted.

At night at the dinner table we discussed the possibility to fish invisible bank and maybe spend a night there, Darran suggest to wait till the mooring to get a better look at the weather,

While stepping my foot into the boat on the 3rd day,
Darran said; hurry up if you want to go to Invisible bank, I was so excited to hear that and then he said we will do 2 days overnight, I did not take him seriously and thought he was joking,
The man was serious and we ended up spending 2 nights sleeping on the deck, the stars and the moon were our companion for the next 2 night, I enjoyed every bit of it even when the rain came in hauling at us.

Invisible bank was a beauty by itself; you can see the break of the wave from a distance and the color of the water…breath taking,
We set up the first drift close to the shallows.
My lure got knocked off and I can see the doggy in the air after the lure, unfortunately he came undone.
Our lures were getting inhaled and the chaos started to show up on the boat, double and triple hook up on every drift and bait being pushed everywhere, we don’t even know where to cast!
All what I can see is that Aneil is in trouble and we rush to put him in a comfortable position, while screaming and yelling we saw the silver shine under the boat,
And we all shouted Doggie, Doggie.
Aneil get his first topwater doggie on the Craft Bait GT3 170g,
Excitement and joy filled the boat, took a quick shot and released the fish to fight another day,
We called invisible bank off and headed to one of the island for shelter before the sun goes down,
We had a shot at doggies and we manage couple of small one,
We anchored close to one of the island and fell a sleep around 7:30PM, it was pitch black followed by beautiful night, the scenery was from watching the moon to counting the star,
It was us and the sky above us, what a night!!

We woke up around 4:30 AM ad right away Darran said we better hurry up the tide and current is to our favor, I am going to take you guys to a special place, you guys will pop and jig the wall,
The place had a nice drop off  and we start marking fish right away , on the first drift we all get strikes and we landed small fishes but then we start to see the big mark getting shallower and shallower,
 I decided to give popping a shot,
And here it goes pop, pop, an explosion literally 5 feet from the boat followed by a big massive shadow…
Doggy! Doggy!
The massive shadow wins and put us all into shame,
On the second drift we can see 7 to 8 doggies chasing our poppers and stickbaits, we were using barbless hooks and we couldn’t keep them on the hook and at times they used the lures as a lever to their advantages and escapes.
I had not seen anything like that through my entire fishing career, a day to be remembered for a long time, when I thought I had it and I set the hooks over 3 times thinking there is no way out for the, my line slacken and my popper had the treble hook buried into the wooden body, I could not understand what happen and how it happen, the line was flying out of the Stella and the tension was about right, luck decided to take a day off!!!
Again a nice strike close to the boat and Aneil is on, the doggies are so active and they only wanted the topwater lures, Aneil failed to deliver just like the rest of us,
We could not stop casting and the action was still around us, finally a strike again on my lure and I look to see stripes, I don’t know why I thought it was a barracuda,
It ended up to be a massive wahoo, we had it under the boat,
The bites start to fade away and we headed to a different area,
Upon the arrival we saw bait schools and we casted to the perimeter and Igor got a strike followed by me,
My fish was screaming and I know right away I had a decent sized fish; Igor laded his GT while I am still struggling to keep the fish on the hook,
A flash of silver appeared and here we go another doggy on a popper took a quick shot and released the fish to fight another day,
Seconds after we got to see a Garfish on the run for their life, 1 cast to where the fish landed and a massive explosion followed, big GT hit my popper but did not commit,
We called the day off and spend the night anchored up.
Woke up around 9:00PM with the rain pouring on us, 6 guys struggling to keep dry under the T top, it took close to an hour for the rain to stop and we went back to sleep in no time.

Our last day was a little slow and the highlight was the strike that Aneil had, we marked bait and motored slowly in that direction, Aneil came in tight 15 feet away from the boat to a Marlin, unfortunately he lost the fish on the first run,
All in all we had an amazing trip in the Andamans and we booked 2 boats for next year,
The Andamans offered great variety of fish and I would like to make a trip every year. The potential is there and hope next year will be the year to land those big mama Doggies!

Tackle used:
Popping Rods: Carpenter EP82/38 custom, Carpenter Coral Viper CV 79/40 custom, Race Point 200,250 and 150 Prototype, Fisherman GT Game TRSH
Jigging rods: MC Works, OBX-5410XX,
Reels: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Dogfight.
Lured: Shell Shaping, Carpenter Gamma, Craft Bait, Bertox Poppers, Hammerhead,
Lines: Power Pro Hollow, Jerry Brown Hollow, Varivas SMP & Sunline
Leader: Saltywater Tackle system leader.