Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cape Cod September 2015

I always consider the Cape as my home backyard when it comes to bluefin tuna fishing.
I usually don’t fish during the full moon but monitoring what it is been going on in the past year or 2 made me think it is time to book a trip on a full moon period to see it and experience it myself.
As usually, I called and booked Captain Josh for the task and picked up Sean from Brooklyn and Ivan from JFK and headed North with a chilly temperature dropping to a 40 degree, Feeding period facts.
We meet Josh at 5:30AM and headed in search for that bite and sure enough to find it to ourselves and enjoyed every bit of it.
We’ve seen 50lb to 250lb Bluefin tuna airing out after Halfbeak, an amazing feed and great scenery and as always chattered between the camera and the fishing. I choose my rod and couldn’t resist the offering and the wide open bites, a serious wide open bite that will be marked in the book for life.
Having Sean and Ivan to join me was a total pleasure, I watched both anglers landing their first ever Bluefin tuna on topwater and to be there for that moment it was a complete enjoyment.
We went 3 out of 4 all on topwater but the one that got away was an absolute stud that gained its freedom to fight another day. We got both the under and the over and rounded up the day while they were still busting and airing out on halfbeak.
In the mean time I can’t get enough in my mind from rewinding the scenery and the day and can’t wait to hit the Cape as soon as weather and Mother Nature will allow me to do so.

Tackle used:
Rod: Carpenter TBL 80/40, Smith Tokara 60, Race Point 300 and 100
Reel: Shimano Stella
Lures: Siren, Moutoukenmaru
Line: Power Pro Hollow, Varivas, Jeryy Brown Hollow
Leader: Saltywater Tackle Twisted leader

  Tight lines

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Big Eye Tuna, Wilmington Canyon August 2015

For the past 3 years I’ve been watching the Big Eye tuna trolling bites that develops in the canyon during mid-August to late September and always wanted to be part of it.
 To find the captain who will give us the confidence was not of an easy task especially that our dedication and aim was to catch them on the jig and on topwater.
Captain Michael visited the shop in early 2015 and after chatting with him we put up a plan to target those fish when the time arise. As I was monitoring that jig bite I was sure that the time is right especially after seeing couple of successful attempts from friends that resulted with great results.
My companion on this trip was Captain Josh from New Zealand, Thomas from Jersey and Dan and Clint from Delaware; we met in Cape May at noon and off to the Wilmington Canyon.
After the run of 70 miles in 3 hours we reached our destination and we got greeted by pilot whales in the general area, exactly what we were looking for.
The screen started lighting up with big red marks and Captain Michael asked us to drop our jigs. After couple of drifts and right on the front of my eyes I saw Dan’s rod tip bouncing initiating of a strike on his jig. I shouted at him to set the hook and after 3 attempts from the fish Dan was tight!
Gladly and surprisingly Dan landed that fish solo estimated around the 160lb to 170lb, the fish was landed on a Synit rod and an original Deep Liner jig.
We were at the start of our trip and things we’re looking good. You cannot ask for anything better when you get the first fish of the trip on your first hour and while jigging.
The night was about to fall when things began to get more interesting and we started seeing those mark climbing on the fish finder. We dropped a jig and Thomas got tight on the Shout Stay.
It took the fish a good 10 minutes to realize it was hooked - a typical demon fish behavior that put all the rest of the species in a different perspective.
Thomas gave all what he could and fought it for close to 1 hour till he asked me to take over; from my experience the fish behaved and acted like a champion and she gave us a hell of a fight.
We got it close to colors 4 times and on every attempt to horse here she took off and settled in 70 to 80 feet down, I guess she found her comfort zone.
In about 1 hour and 45 minutes and while I was fighting the fish the line snapped leaving us with big disappointment on our faces. The fish of this size that managed to fight us like that and with that kind of stamina deserved to live. Somehow I was happy and disappointed at the same time. It was part of the game and the name of it is the love of fishing.
We had that window at dusk and heard of some fish caught on the troll but since we were already fighting that fish our opportunity to get a multiple hook up got narrower and narrower. That was due to the duration of the fight, we learned heaps on this trip and we will be back at it and to aim to get better results…
Tackle used:
Rod: Synit, OBX-400, OBX-500
Reel: Shimano Stella 2008 and 2013 model
Line: Power Pro Hollow, Unitika, Sunline
Jigs: Deep Liner, CB One, Shout Stay, Shout Shab Shab
   Tight lines


Friday, December 4, 2015

Sambit Island, Indonesia July 2015

A bit of a long journey for me to come all the way to Malaysia & South China Sea to fish for 3 days; so I asked Raymond to arrange a trip to Indonesia to target Dogtooth tuna and to test the new prototype rod. Pin (Iron Man) tagged along with us and by the end took care of all the arrangement in terms of logistic and planning.
We took off from Kuala Lumpur to Balikpapan to Barau to meet up with our guide at the airport and then off for a 6 hours car ride into the jungle to Biduk Biduk; the road to Biduk Biduk felt like a roller coaster.
We’ve been on 3 different flights, then 6 hour car ride and it was quite an interesting day.
As soon as we got to the Inn in Biduk Biduk we jumped in for a quick shower in an old fashion way where you pour water from a bucket. That reminded me by my childhood during the war in Lebanon where the water was not accessible and you were allowed to use half a bucket to take a shower. A bit out of the ordinary, but it is always good to go back to basic. After sorting out the gear we were left with 4 hours to sleep.
The morning was simply astonishing with a beautiful scenery right from the beach. The day looked promising and our eagerness to hit the water allowed us to skip breakfast.
Made it to the dock and took the 3 hours ride to Simbat Island where we will be stationed there for the next 3 days. As we approached the island the water started getting clearer and clearer till we finally made it to the drop off and we could see coral and sea life in 20 meter depth.
While Ray and I started with our heavy assortment of tackle, Pin pulled his slow style rod and start getting all sort of reef fish till Raymond get a massive GT that hit his lure. Game on and I ran to the camera but it didn’t take too long for the GT to gain it is freedom. It was a hefty fish that left Ray with a big disappointment on his face.
The current begun pushing with water moving like a turbulence and the fish finder was reading the depth of 150 meter, it was time to drop a jig!
The guys were not keen to start jigging in that depth but did not hesitate. After a couple of drops Pin came tight and the fish took off like a torpedo. I knew right away it was a doggy, but then all of a sudden it stopped and charged him again but this time toward him.
 He did all what he could do to keep up with it but with that kind of scenario we knew that the fish was chewing on the leader while charging and gaining line. As the result it was a cut off and heart breaker for Pin! 
The current moved us a bit toward the drop off and if I recall correctly we were in 110 meter. After a couple of long strokes I stopped the jig and I got my hit on the stop. I set the hook and here went the Stella on a singing mood. The fish took off like crazy but could not resist too much against the power of the rod. All what I was hoping for was a clean hook up on the side of the jaw and I got exactly what I asked for, the silvery shinning color start flashing and I heard Ray screaming!
Relieved to accomplish my task to get a bend on the new prototype rod left a smile in my heart and a joy of success. We finished the day with a nice Yellowfin tuna that Pin landed and it ended on the dinner table.
Our second day started slow and I felt the place was like a switch. I knew sooner or later things were going to get better but since we were new to the area we didn’t know when the peak bite is – would it be at high tide or low tide? A question that revealed it is self as the day went by.
We got our best shot at monster GT in one drift and we blew it all out. First it was Pin when a huge one attacked his lure and missed it. Then second happened when I came in tight 2 meters from the boat and in front of Pin’s eyes while looking at my lure. It was a huge GT that hit the lure with vengeance and I set the hook twice hoping that I sealed it but came off when line start peeling. Here went our best shot of the day and in one single drift in the shallow water, that left me disappointed.
I decided to take a break from the heat and went into the boat seeking the shade and comfort to wake up at Raymond’s turbulence of his heroic voice, you can only imagine that voice in your dream.
I ran to the camera with the blur in my eyes to see Pin hooked up with a serious bend on the Race Point 150, I asked for the depth and the captain replied 80 meter.
The fish was charging him with all what she got with some viciously huffing and puffing. I asked if anybody saw the strike or the fish and the reply came that most likely that was a shark until the fish got closer and the silver belly shinned like a gem from deep under. And once again Ray was screaming “it is a doggy it is a big doggy!”
The excitement was on Pin’s face to hear that and with a bit of encouragement the fish hit the deck with a big cheer, the Carpenter Gamma GTy 160 proved again to be a great appetizer for Doggy.
We took a quick photo and tried to revive the fish with no success, no matter what the fish still went for a good cause and to feed many people, that was Pin biggest Doggy and it hit the scale of 61kg.
As I mentioned about the switch and it was just like a switch, all of a sudden fish start feeding on topwater and right at the drop off like maniac, there was no way that you cast and you won’t get a strike!
We even hooked up bigger Doggies then what we landed but we were not lucky enough to land them. The GT were all dark giving me the impression that all fish were coming from the deeper water to feed. That lasted for about 45 minutes and once the wind and the tide changed the whole bite just shut down and the place became like a ghost town.
The night fell on the island and the stars shined like a Christmas tree, nature and its beauty was an endless story.
At around 11:00PM the keeper of the light house woke me up and asked me if I wanted to see the Sea Turtle nesting area. He said that now it was the time that they come out to lay their eggs. I couldn’t say no and we took a walk to the beach with Raymond and the keeper of the house.
I was surprised to encounter such a huge turtle on the beach, it looked massive and the ditch was huge. We took couple of pictures and left her alone to take care of business.
In the morning I took a walk on the beach to see trails of Sea Turtles all over the place. Some laid their eggs and some decided to turn back into sea, the scenery was marvelous and I could not resist to wet a line. I went back, got my rod, I absorbed the water, found the deepest color where the water changes and made my cast.
After 2 twitch the water ascend with massive silvery back charging on my stickbait, my legs went shaking like I never fished before and my heart start pumping from the exhilarations. The world has stopped for me and my mind froze, now how am I am going to take the picture when I am alone with no camera?
All this took a split of a second while I was orchestrating how I would go running to the guys in order to take the picture. The fish came unbuttoned but the hit and the scene stuck into my mind and will be there for as long as I live.
On the way back to Biduk Biduk we stopped at couple of reefs and made countless casts to encounter variety of species from GT’s to Bass to King Mackerel. The day and the trip went by like a dream and I have enjoyed every bit of it. The place was so beautiful and I am sure there are more beautiful places in Indonesia to consider in the future, will be definitely looking into it in the future.

I would like to thank Pin (Iron Man) for his hospitality and friendship, the guy is simply one of the humblest person I ever meet. Thank you for all what you did for us!
And for Raymond, I have to say that you spoiled me with the good food and the tastiest coffee J, Thank you!
Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 300, 250, 150, 100, El Maestro 77H, 710MH, OBX-500, 400, 300 (New Dogtooth tuna prototype rod)
Reel: Shimano Stella SWB 18000, SWB2000, SW18000, SWB14000, SW10000
Line: Power Pro Hollow 130lb, 80lb, Power Pro 100lb & 80lb solid, Unitika Univenture 1 Power PE8
Lures: Hammerhead, Moutoukenmaru, Carpenter, Siren, Shell Shaping
Jigs: Smith Nagamasa, Hot’s Drift Tune

   Tight lines