Yellowfin Tuna Jubilee for three generations…
Our last fishing day of February was a feast of Yellowfin Tuna action! But what really made it special was fishing, for the first time ever, with my Dad and little Duarte….what a treat! Three generations!
On a two month visit from Portugal it´s been great having my parents here, but it´s just been hectic, and I had no chance to get my Dad fishing until last Saturday, which was the last weekend I had at home before flying out to Maputo where I will be chartering out of Santa Maria for the next month.
As all who fish with us know my Dad, Jose Duarte, is a true salt, a real old man of the sea who spent his life in the Ocean, mostly on commercial vessels. He took me to sea from a very young age and, from a very early stage in my life, when my friends wanted to be Doctors, or fireman, or engineers, I knew I wanted to be a charter Captain. My oldest son, Duarte, who just turned 5, as definitely inherited the passion of the sea from us. Or should I say obsession! The boy dreams fishing, watches fishing videos as opposed to cartoons, spends huge amounts of time looking at my BlueWater, Ski-boat and Marlin Magazines and, at five, can easily identify between a Blue, a Black and a Striped!
Six years ago myself and Gretha we were not even remotely thinking of having children, now we blessed with two boys and seeing the enjoyment and excitement when on the boat is priceless….having my Dad along was just the cherry on top and even the Yellowfin Tuna played ball BIG TIME!
Besides the little guy and my Dad, Gretha and some good friends also joined us aboard the 38ft Drop Your Rods for the day. Susana, Lwana and Diogo (AKA Diablo) complimented the team, along with the crew, Nelson and Gildo.
We left Vilankulos just before 7am and headed south to fish the Canyon area. It was not 5 minutes after putting the spread out and just as we come into Best Reef that two of the small TLD 25´s screamed and we hooked up and got two nice Yellowfin Tuna of around 12 kg. As I cut some fresh belly shines to rig I looked into their stomachs which was full of tiny sardine, oceanic anchovy and minute triggerfish. Despite many passes right into the mixed schools of Yellowfin Tuna and skipjack, which where feeding on the surface, we could not get them to bite. I even put out some daisy chains of very little squid’s lures as this was obviously because they were feeding on such minute bait, but they would just not bite. I was cursing myself for not having brought some spinning gear as I knew that would have done the trick.
We decided to head down to the Linene pinnacles but it was really slow and we only got a quadruple skipjack strike of which we landed all and two small Yellowfin Tuna which we live baited, with no joy, for about an hour.
Waiting for the Yellowfin Tuna bite aboard the ever comfortable 38ft SuperCat
Just before noon I told the guys that it was a good time to have lunch seeing I wanted to go back to the area we had seen the YFT in the morning. We put the autopilot set on a northerly tact and started the barbecue. We first had some (very fresh) seared tuna, followed by some Portuguese Bacon (pork rashes), rump steak and boerewors. All, of course, well-oiled with some ice cold Portuguese green wine!
Talk about fishing in style…
Well, we had not even finished lunch, when I went up to the bridge and spotted some huge schools about a half mile ahead and told everyone to get ready. From then on it was chaos…
It was a real beauty to see. The Yellowfin Tuna and skipjack where pushing all the bait on to the top, there where zillions of anchovy’s bait-balling on the surface, the Yellowfin Tuna that where mostly in the 12 to 14 kilo range, where everywhere. In some of the schools and well below them one could see the sharks on it as well. An insane feeding frenzy, a true maelstrom which was magical to see. Little Duarte was up on the bridge screaming at the sight, everyone was spellbound at the spectacle and the rods never stopped screaming with doubles, triples and quadruples being the norm.
Fish Therapy was next to us and they were also having a ball casting spoons and hooking up to these Yellowfin Tuna. On the very light tackle they had some serious problems with the sharks and lost a lot to them.
We were lucky to only have one nice YFT sharked and we got the head back thus saving the lure. After two hours of endless action the fish where still there for the take but everyone was exhausted and even though it was still early, everyone agreed they had had enough and we made it back to land for a nice cold swim in VDP´s pool and a couple of afternoon drinks.
What a day and although catching then was a thrill the spectacle we witness on those bait balls where just unreal and a marvel to watch. I will never forget little´s Duarte´s screams of bewilderment and excitement as he watched it all on my lap up on the bridge.
To have him and my Dad on board was just a very special treat and a great way to finish my parents visit to Vilankulos. As we write this we are in Maputo getting it all ready to start targeting Blue Marlin from Santa Maria later in the week, which we hope to report soon.
`Til then tight lines and all the best…
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