Blue Marlin Mozambique
As many of you might know, a decade or so ago, a World Class Blue Marlin Mozambique fisheries was discovered out wide from Inhaca Island, right in front of the country´s capital, Maputo.
This is right where I grew up.
First fishing for grunter, blacktail and other small fish out of the pier´s, then spearfishing and light tackle game fishing. From then the progression was obvious to Sailfish and primarily chasing Black Marlin, mostly using live baits.
All those years and we never knew they were out there….so close, it so far!!!
Like so many others throughout the late 80´s through to the mid 2000´s we never went out wide and had no clue what was out beyond the 300-meter mark.
What´s out there, is now clearly, an extremely healthy Mozambique Marlin fisheries.
And, although the area is still mostly fished by weekend local enthusiasts and a few visiting boats from South Africa, the numbers are staggering, making this not only Mozambique´s best Blue Marlin grounds but a fishery that can rival with any other in the World.
Grand Slam Central
This Marlin Mozambique fisheries is also known for its billfish diversity seeing that, along with the fantastic Blue Marlin there are very good numbers of Striped Marlin (especially early season), sailfish and Black Marlin inshore. Even a couple of shortbill spearfish have also been caught.
Therefore, Grand Slams are a reality and super Grand Slams not a far-fetched idea.
And, although this as primarily been a numbers destination rather than size, some very healthy fish have been caught in the last couple of years. In 2018 season an unprecedented number of big fish showed themselves, mostly at the end of this 7-month season that runs from October to early May.
In March of last year, Mozambique´s first potential Blue Marlin Grander was caught aboard FourPlay by angler Carl Jankowitz. A good number of other fish exceeding 500 pound where released and aboard Kambaku, they hooked and lost a fish (that we witness very close) that can only be categorized into the goose bump category.
See video, reports and pics of that Grander and last year´s season on the links below;
Well after last years’ experience we decided to once again go down south to Santa Maria and bring a few good long standing friends / clients along to experience this fantastic place.
It’s not only the fishing that is superb. Santa Maria is a magical place where one breeds peace and harmony, and Marcelo´s beach house and its exquisite vistas are something to behold.
Our first group was Emmet O´Brien and Roger Hart, who arrived on Sunday, the 24th of February.
The previous few weeks had been good but not very consistent.
Now, remember that this little Marlin Mozambique gem, is not heavily fished at all. If it was, the numbers would increase drastically, not necessarily because there would be more boats out there but because the communication between then would make a massive difference.
Being a very big area with no specific structure to hold them, sometimes it´s very difficult or takes a few days for a single boat to find them. If there were even only 5 boats fishing it daily, the communication between those boats would change this fishery radically.
But, normally hardly anyone fishes’ during the week and only a couple boats on any given weekend, unless there is a local one day tournament, which happens six times during the season with only a dozen boats or les taking part.
Although the weather had been pretty irregular for the past two months boats in the area had been enjoying some good fishing since then. But, I was told by the locals when I arrived in Maputo, not as consistent as previous years.
But, during the previous week things seemed to have heated up.
A local boat, Kambaku and two visiting boats from South Africa stayed at Santa Maria and fished for three days.
On the 21st Go Fish, Ex-tsea and Offshore each got a Blue Marlin out of 9 bites.
The next day was beautiful calm flat and the bite really turned on.
The three boats out there released 9 Marlin.
Kambaku had a super day with a Grand Slam of three Blues up to #500, a Black and a Striped Marlin.
Ex-tsea released three and Offshore 2, losing a really nice blue estimated at #700 after 2 hours.
This was good news for the following day seeing there was a local tournament for the Saturday.
But, disappointingly it was not to be and although there were many fish raised, they were just off the bite and only two fish where released by the fourteen boats.
The next day we went across to Santa Maria with Emmet & Roger.
We started fishing on the 24th and could have not asked for a better start.
Barely an hour and a half after setting them out and as we worked deeper, in 440 meters of water a bomb exploded on the short corner riggler by pulsator.
The fish missed the lure altogether on its inside out bite but soon come back and hooked up. As it started screaming off, has only blues can, another fish knocked the long right but never found steel.
Shortly after Roger released the first fish at about #400.
Right next to us Offshore also hooked up on a blue about the same size but pulled the hook shortly after. 5 minutes later they hooked up again and this time released a striped.
Around noon we had another double come up, one started peeling line off the long left and the other missed the short-left Ruckus twice before disappearing. We settle in on the other fish but unfortunately as we started to turn and chase the hook pull.
We finished the day releasing a beautiful striped Marlin for Emmet.
5-3-2-2 on our first day, with two doubles on Blues, not a bad start for sure!
Big fish …
The next day the northerly wind come up and it was messy.
We worked the same area between 420 and 470 meters we had seen all the fish the previous day. It was slow all morning so made a turn shallower at noon and in 370 we had two striped Marlin come up and lazily knock a couple of lures but only one peeled some line for a while before falling out of its nose job.
We then saw a couple other Stripies tailing but they showed no interest.
Mid-afternoon we decided to have one more look on the deeper spot and as we got right on the mark´s the long corner Phoebe got taken and line started peeling at a stupid rate. This fish almost spooled us before we could turn and seriously chase. It only greyhound very far from the boat but even then, we could all see it was a serious fish.
We got most of the line back and had her on a short leash. Roger was doing a stupendous job in the chair. I felt something was wrong the way this fish was fighting, constantly changing direction.
Eventually, on the 25-minute mark, we had the rigger loop come in and she was right on top. Strong but close and on top, we made a sharp turn to get om her and the hook pulled!
Unlucky, but still a great way to finish our second day.
Our third day was the slowest of them all. Flat calm seas, beautiful water, although over a degree warmer than the previous day´s, but just dead everywhere. No current lines, no flying fish…nada!
We saved the day with a dorado.
The next day dawned windy and stormy with lots of lighting to the SE.
We had a great lazy day and a fierce pool competition joined in by some prawns and chilled chardonnay followed by Mr. Green Walker!
As it should be, we had a great start but even a…
Our last day was truly special and we had action all throughout the day, ending 7-7-4-4.
The water had gone back to the usual 26.2 to 26.7, it was flat calm and we put the lines and started heading to the deep 450+ meter area where we had been seeing the fish.
Not 20 minutes had elapsed after lines in and we get a bite on the express in 370 meters of water and release a #250 Blue.
Work the area a bit then start heading out again and within half an hour have a fish come and knock the short right then fall back to the long right, again hookup and release a similar size fish.
The we have about a slower hour as we checked the deeper stop.
Back in and as we get to 380 meters have a fish come in hot on our long left, flat water enchanted Marlin Magic MSR and starts screaming off and greyhound like a mad dog on heat. Slipped off.
Worked the area and within 20 minutes we have another bite on the same lure.
This time the hook finds its sweet spot and we release a #350.
Then we once again had a slow period, that did not even last an hour.
But by then the fish had changed and after seeing all those aggressive bites in the morning, the fish where real lazy in the afternoon when the Northerly wind picked up.
2h16 we have one lazily come on the express and not hookup.
2h40 on the clock, tide change and another comes on the short corner riggler but just tales it out the rigger. Then it drops back to the Marlin magnet on but just stays there for ages.
No less than 3 minutes of coming and going without even taking the line out of the clip.
Eventually after disappearing for a while, it takes a swipe, pulls some line but no hookup.
About ten minutes later and just before heading for home we have another fish come once again on the Marlin magnet, this one finding steel and we release our fourth and last fish for the day.
For those last three days, we were the only guys out there.
In that time, we finished with 15 raised fish, 12 strikes, converting into 7 hookups´s and 6 releases.
Unfortunately, we had to get back to Maputo on Sunday seeing Emmet was flying back to Oman and Roger to Dubai.
Red Hot Bite and a magical 6 for 7 day…
But, both Reel Tight and Nakisai where fishing and they both went 2 for 4, the first all on Blues and the latter releasing a Black and a Blue.
The bite was really on and fishing way further north from where we had been seeing the fish, the next day, the 4th of March (a year to the day we got that BIG Blue) Reel Tight had a hell of a day and an insane conversion, releasing 6 out of 7 fish.
They had two doubles releasing both, one a couple of stripes and all the other 4 fish blues.
Nakisai went 1 for 3 fishing straight out of Santa Maria.
The next day was windy and stormy so the boys took a break and on Wednesday, the 6th of March both boats fishing went 1 for 1.
Up at Bazaruto, our usual Mozambique Black Marlin grounds, the Blues have also been showing out wide. Only Jam Packed has been going out there and apparently, Wayne tells me, its full up of skipjack in the 600 plus line and they have released two Blues the last couple days, one on a live skippie, the other on a lure.
Earlier in the month, Christiaan on Game Changer also found some fish for our clients from Maputo. Despite fishing for light tackle game fish in shallow, they had ONE Marlin rod out and went 0 for 1 and 1 for 2 on Blacks over the weekend.
We are now getting ready for the next charter down south with Carl and Andrew who will be arriving tomorrow, the 8th of March. Hopefully they will bring their big fish mojo!!!
Many of you will have heard of Carl Jankowitz and the many big fish his caught up @ bazaruto and Mozambique´s first potential Blue Marlin Grander last year off Santa Maria.
Andrew´s first ever and only Marlin so far, was with us in October 2017, a Black we estimated in excess of a 1000 pounds.
Hope we find them good & big over the next week.
Duarte A. M. Rato
Sportfishing Charters @ Vilankulos & Bazaruto Archipelago
FB: MarlinMoz Sportfishing & fishbazaruto.com
Phone: 00 258 82 805 7160 / 00 258 84 639 0466