Friday, February 28, 2014

Diego Suarez ( East Coast ) Madagascar Jan 2014

After watching some solid report for the past couple of years and based on some feedback that I received from friends and customers it was time to consider hitting the east coast of Madagascar.
Hotel Emeraude in Diego Suarez was my choice, the fishing location was based on it is wilderness and accessibility, the east coast of Diego is only fishable from mid-Dec to mid-March but still taking a chance to hit a cyclone during that period.
Eduardo, Andrea and Slava from Russia where keen to fish that part of the world with me and we choose to fish using the Catamaran as our live aboard, so preparation took place and dates were sealed hoping for a great weather,
the time came in and we all met in Antananarivo the capital in Madagascar, I flew through South Africa and they sure disappoint me upon my arrival, my rod tube is missing.
On our second day we took the flight from Antananarivo to Antsiranana in Diego Suarez, upon our arrival the driver was waiting for us and took us to the hotel for a quick briefing with Philippe and our Captains Nicolas & Bruno,
Philippe was on the top of it and made his phone calls and assured me to get my rod tube on time for tomorrow, he sure made it happen and tums up for Air Madagascar to keep their promise.
we headed out on the center console to start fishing followed by the Catamaran to set anchor for the night,
we were greeted with Fusilier at the entrance and the guys start getting some GT’s until we decided to head for the doggy ground,
The guys put us on a ledge starting from 40 meters and going down to 120 meters, on my first drop I get smoke at 95 meters by a solid fish and I could not stop it, my line broke but I was not sure if it was due to a nick on the line or I was reefed, however it was very solid and the run was spectacular that get everybody on board pumped up.
The Sharks did not leave us alone and they were very aggressive to a point that they start hitting our jigs, if I recall correctly they were white tip oceanique sharks, we finished the day with a good start and everybody on board was happy on his first day,

Early in the morning we headed south for about 20 miles until we came across a small bay that have some nice pinnacle right on the middle with some nice drop off, according to our captain Nicolas they were many big fish that hooked in that area but not too many landed, we started our drift and the guys start smashing fish left and right, the early morning topwater bite was very good, the GT’s were very active, we would start from 30 meter and head up to 10 meter giving the 12 meter mark to be the ideal depth for most hits, the fish sounder was full of life so I decided to drop a jig right at the beginning of the drift only to get slammed by a monster fish that did not allows me to get back any crank on my reels, from the way she took it and I felt it is heading to the rocks as I can sense what is happening with the line, I could only say I lost a massive grouper.
The bite faded down as the sun get higher and higher so we switched to jigging and we landed many fish variety until the sun was ready to set, back for the GT ground and we finished the day with couple fishes, the night and the food on the Catamaran was splendid we have hot water and every guys onboard has his own room and shower, the food was prepared by the Captain Jean Pierre and his son Julien, really top quality food while we enjoyed a great evening talking fishing and destination on every night.
On the 3rd day we ran the same schedule and right after couple of GT landed by the guys we saw a solid one hits Andrea ‘s lure, after a couple of minutes we saw the color and the fish looked hefty and solid we got it to boat side to measure at 134cm, Andrea did a great job fighting it and did not give here in inch I would estimate that fish to be around the 48kg to 49kg, took a few pictures and released safely,
That was Andrea’s biggest GT so far,
off to the jigging ground as the sun start to get straight up.
We jigged a shallow area around the 30 meter mark and in no time and right off the bottom by 2 to 3 meter I get a solid hit with a great run, I was afraid that it is going to end up like yesterday in the rock but after tumming the reel I manage to gain couple of cranks and the unexpected surfaced, a beautiful Napoleon fell to my jig and here we go I open the 2014 season with another one, the guys were very happy and we worked quickly around to get the pictures and release it as quickly as possible,
he swam nicely and made his way to the deeper water.
Back to the shallow reef but it seems the fish get scattered away by hitting the spot 2 days in a row, the evening was quiet and based on that it was time to head further south,
Our last and most far destination south is Cape Du Diable, in inaccessible spot hard to do due to  distance, boat accessibility and weather condition.

We headed to Cape Du Diable on our 4th day and we stopped at a couple of jigging spot on the way nothing crazy or enormous but it kept us all busy with a lot fun and laugh in between,
We reached Cape Du Diable after noon and the place fits it is name properly, there was something weird about that place, A wide passage with solid current running on the reef from depth ranging from 4 meters to 15 meters, it looks very fishy so we put up the time for no takers until we spotted the fusilier from a distance, we steered slowly to that direction and made cast and boom fish on,
Eduardo was on but the fish seems it is not really fighting but all of a sudden it grew and right at the boat side we saw a solid 40kg GT hitting the job fish that was on Eduardo’s lures, it was one of the wildest things I’ve seen lately I took the advantage and casted right away and get smashed by a nice GT but he came off,
the fusilier looked frantic and nervous at all time and we soon start seeing more and more of patch of fusilier all over, in about 15 minutes period the place looked alive like no tomorrow and you can see the GT smashing the bait, all guys firing from different direction to a point that we all have our own patch of fusilier, all I have to say that it was insane!!!
tired exhausted but very happy with the results, that evening get us going through the night thinking what to expect for the 5th day.

We started as early as 6:00am on our 5th day to the same spot, for sure it was not like last night but we still get couple of fishes, in order not to disturb it for no reason our Captain Nicolas and Bruno took us to a different spot to try but it was slow so we decided to switch to jigging, the action was great we caught many job fish, rosy fish Bluefin trevally and many other species including a small doggy, around 3:00pm we headed to the GT ground to set up for the evening bite, very small patches of fusilier so we decided to start casting, the water condition was great with calm sea that made the poppers explode on the water with big noises trying to attract the black devil GT of Cape Du Diable, 30 minutes passed by with no bites, we turned to our self and said for sure it is not going to be like yesterday until I saw a big GT coming to my lure and hitting twice but unfortunately he missed it twice, the back was completely black and was massive, all guys on board saw the hit it was really nice and I was just happy to see the hit.

We set up for another drift and again on the same Shell Shaping prototype lure in red wine color, a massive back raised up just like a submarine come to it with vengeance and I strike it once twice and 3 times, games on from the bow he drag me all the way to the back of the boat with a full drag on the 2002 old Stella and we all know what is the max drag on that reel, the line is peeling and the GT is heading to the shallow water, half of the spool is out with full drag on and boom the line broke, I laid on the boat with my head toward the water and I said deep inside I promise you it is going to be 170lb hollow next time, I have great respect for a GT of that size to hit my lure and I consider myself very lucky to encounter such an experience, we win some and we lose a lot and this the reason we come back and do it again and again,
Have I said we're done?
this time was Eduardo’s time, the GT comes to his lure to hit and he keep on missing it time after time after  time while Eduardo is going with a fast retrieve to keep the GT existed and interested, that Gt was going nowhere he really wanted the lure, I had never seen such a stubborn GT like that one and I recall he hit it his lure over 10 times until he finally took it and Eduardo is on with a bend rod and screaming reel, it was a nice solid fish, however this time was not the line, it was the hook that broke and the fish gained it is freedom, I felt so bad for Eduardo as he really put up a tremendous effort on casting all day to trigger a bite, he broke 3 Patriot design hooks on this trip, the hook just simply broke while fighting fish.
Defeated yes but not broken, Cape Du Diable we will back! 
On our last and 6th day we start heading North to the doggy ground, we covered some nice ground on the way with calm sea and made it in no time, it was a bit iffy in the beginning and from what I see the fish looked like they get a locked jaw but after a couple of drops Eduuardo get smashed by a nice doggy that ran wild and end up chewing through the leader, I would have to say that the bad luck on landing a doggy keeps on growing but it will not stop until the right time and place comes to an end for this drama,
I had enjoyed the company and the guys and the crew and i am not regretting the long traveling hours even though i am writing this report while i am stuck in Johannesburg in South Africa, I have meet new friends and i was so happy to meet and fish with Slava, he is a great guy and we had tons of laugh together in the boat, I can't wait to see the guys and fish with again in North Carolina!! 
  Tight lines