Friday, April 25, 2014

Andaman Island, India Feb 2014

Incredible India was a total blast! Just like last year, I had 2 boats and a total of 6 anglers plus myself. The guys joined me from different continents and we all met in Port Blair to be part of a great trip and an amazing topwater dogtooth tuna bites.
Victor & Chris flew from Dubai, Mark, Courtland & Aneil flew from Houston and Tawfiq flew from Sao Paolo. Despite everyone's long flights and many connections, we all made it all right with our luggage; Emirates airline did not disappoint us as usual.
The trip was based on 5 days fishing with an overnight trip to get a chance to target doggies at first light.  Akshay briefed us the plan upon our arrival and the guys discussed it between each other. We were set for the next 5 days. We planned to stay close to each other and mix anglers on a daily basis so we all have a chance to fish with each other.
On our first days we pushed South and our main target were GT’s. The South and its surrounding island was filled with bait (Fusilier ) and it was so easy to find bait as you can see the GT’s are smashing them on topwater. Mark opened up the trip with a nice GT. Everyone was equipped with top notch tackle and they all seemed to know what they are doing. I really had a blast watching everyone getting his kick!
The guys on the other boat were having their share and I believe they end up with an amazing bite in the shallow reef, Victor end up with a hefty fish close to the 40kg mark.
Tawfiq was struggling on the first day as this was his first GT trip. He could not get to load the rod properly to get a distance. Therefore, we end up switching to a lighter rod and things start to get way better at the end of day. We called the day off with smiles on everybody's face; I reckon that most guys had 4 to 5 GT’s under their belt on the first day.
We decided to run North East on our second day to give a chance to jigging in the early hour of the day. We passed Havelock Island and to our jigging spot, we gave it close to 2 hours and we waited for the tide to change. But, for some reason the jigging bite did not develop, although the highlight was when I got tight and thought at the beginning that I had a Doggy when it turned to be the tax collector - the shark was estimated around the 130KG and I had it near the boat in around 20 minutes. Took a few pictures and released it safely. Mark on the other hand had an amazing looking fish but I could not identify it.
We then decided to hit the topwater bites and we went near Havelock Island with Fusilier all around us.
The topwater bites kept all of us busy and concentrating with double and triple hook ups, until Victor get smashed on a sinking Siren right next to the boat. The fish took him on 2 rounds, circling the whole boat and we finally saw the color! A nice Doggy hit the deck with celebration, that was the first doggy of the trip but it won’t be the last
J. After a couple drift it was time to call the day off and we headed to Port Blair with satisfaction on our faces.
We had chosen the 3 day to be the overnight one and the plan was to head south as far as we can go. After 3 hours run we finally started seeing what appeared to be an island in the middle of nowhere.
Closer and closer and the island start to get bigger and bigger however the magical was the color of the water that surrounded that island, it was coble blue water, a real purity by itself.
We divided the boat to cover the whole island.  Tawfiq’s first cast got him a Red Bass and on his second cast and right before any of us had a chance to wet a line, his line started to peel. He landed his first Wahoo on topwater and on the El Maesto rod. Beautiful fish hit the deck and he was all happy and lit up; I guess those 2 fish gave him a lot of confidence and it boosted his energy and will to keep on casting and improving.
Mark on the other hand started nailing some GT’s all coming up from the shallow water. I had a nice take in the shallow and when I had the fish close to the boat I was so happy to see a perch wrasse. I’ve always wanted to catch one as I’ve seen 2 in my career before. I was so happy to land it as the color was really astonishing on this fish, took a few pictures and released it.
The guys kept on casting to the shallow and I diverted all my cast for the deep coble bluewater hoping for something bigger and different. After an hour Mark turned to me and said it was really slow - what is going on? My answer to him was: Mark with this kind of slow action I guarantee you that the fish will be holding in one place somewhere around the island but we have to find the honey hole. While talking about that, Mark had a doggy following his lure to the boat but was not interested in his lure.
That was a good sign followed again by the same situation, right in the front of us there was the drop off and we both casted toward that deep blue to see the explosion on our lure. The wolf pack was after our lures, double hook up with doggies chasing our lures right at the boat side.
I had not seen so many of them like that on topwater and some of them were pushing the 40kg mark easily. We landed the first 2 and kept on casting while they were following us with our drift. We were getting smashed close to the boat but it was so hard to keep the hook attached to them. We had some amazing take and great hook set up but they still managed to set themselves free at most time. We right away called the other boat to join us but the bites started to fade away after 4 drift, Tawfiq on the other hand lost a big fish that took his Moutoukenmaru lure.
With this kind of action I was personally happy and satisfied and the promise for topwater dogtooth tuna bite was fulfill in my book. We called the day and started heading north as we had close to 2 hours run to set anchor for the night before dark. Under a nice sunset Mark had couple of GT’s, we called the day off to fall asleep under the falling stars.
At 5:00 AM we woke up and ran to the jigging spot which is only about 10 minutes run from our anchor. This was the spot where I encountered all the dogtooth tuna bites last year. The screen was empty and it looks like nobody was home. Mark had a bonito that our captain took it right away and turned into life bait.
I did not want to deal with it, the same was for Mark, but Tawfiq was eager to get a Doggy regardless of the method to catch it. In about 2 minutes he came tight and landed a nice hefty Doggy before sunrise.
We end up with couple of small doggies but again there was no life under us and the fish finder was not marking what we wanted to see. Around 9:00am I started casting popper when the other boat got closer to us, I suddenly saw a wake behind my popper that kept on growing till I suddenly saw the dorsal out of the water, I screamed it is a sailfish, then I adjusted and I shouted it is a Marlin and all of a sudden in about 30 yards and between the 2 boat the fish hit my lure once and twice and I set the hook to see the bill out of the water and the fish shaking its head. The guys on the other boat were staring at the whole things and Aneil had the camera on his hand that I was hoping for a shot. Unfortunately the fish managed to gain its freedom. Regardless, I was happy to at least manage to hook up a marlin on a popper, it was my first but I am sure it won’t be the last.
Called off and started heading north till we came up to a reef full of fusilier. After a couple of casts Tawfiq got an amazing hit on topwater and we were all screaming in different directions, I turned to him and I told him it is a big fish. He really put his heart into it and fought like a champion and when saw it close to the boat we all lit up. It was the biggest landed on the trip and he had it on the El Maestro 710 rod with a PE4 line! With celebration we got it to the boat, took a few pictures and released it safely. That was the highlight of the day and it was not a bad day at all - a Doggy, Marlin and GT what could you ask for more?
We end up at the restaurant for some real meat that night.
On our last day the guys had the choice to make it to invisible bank but they decided to hit the south as the run was shorter.
Aneil’s first cast paid off big time; he came in tight 15 feet away from the boat and managed a nice hefty GT close to the 37kg. The day was great and the other boat had close to 17 fish landed.
It was a real blast to see all the guys satisfied and happy. I have to say that I had an amazing trip to the Andaman again and I booked my dates for 2015 before leaving, if you guys are interested to join me you know who to contact, until next report.

Tackle used:
Rod: Saltywtater Tackle Race Point 150 & Race Point 100 Prototype, El Maestro 710 & El Maestro 77H Prototype, Carpenter, OBX-400 & OBX-300 Prototype, Black Hole, Ripple Fisher
Reels: Shimano & Daiwa
Line: Jerry Brown Hollow, Power Pro Hollow, Varivas SMP, Sunline 8HG
Leader: Moi Moi, Fisherman, Seaguar
Lures: Carpenter, Craft Bait, Shell Shaping, Siren, Moutoukenmaru,

Tight lines