November Marlin Diary
Hi guys, it has just been crazy busy & no time to even scratch myself…and with my camera down not doing it´s usual tricks combined with a pretty uneventful week on the Marlin side there is not a whole lot exciting to report…well except for some great light tackle spinning and a staggering number of Marlin raised that would just not commit.
Yes, over the last 8 days we raised an astonishingly 16 ID Marlin but only got 5 half hearted strikes out of it and a single hookup…crazy stuff!!!
Yup, a frustrating week and the first ever time in 10 years of fishing @ Baz that I went a whole week of Marlin fishing without releasing one. Guess it had to happen sometime and I can´t really complain, the sea God´s have been more than kind to me…
You got to take the good with the bad and come away with a learning experience, so here it goes – a daily story of the week when the fish did not want to neither eat Vamizi´s plastic, live or skip baits!!!
After a phenomenal end to October when we released 12 fish in 12 consecutive days the beginning of November did see a slow down in numbers but the quality was there and we released two good fish back to back. A 700 and 700+ in the space of four days, bringing our total tally for the season to 20 Marlin T&R.
But, northerly winds prevailed and conditions were deteriorating everyday and even tough we all know you will and some big Black´s were caught in this prevailing green pea soup water it is a difficult place to be.
Mentally one tends to loose faith and optimist when the water looks like the vaal dam and, has the next few day´s proved the fish do tend to go into a very fussy mood.
Besides the bad luck we endured it was a tough week for me as I had was on heavy antibiotics because of a serious boil that had developed in my bum!!! Yeah, imagine what it was like not to be able to gulp a cold 2M or a scotch on the rocks after 12 hours at sea….uhhhhh, NOT GOOD…..how can one concentrate without the daily dose of mother´s milk!!!!!
The first day of the Baz comp dawned with a moderate NE, very green water up north at lighthouse and as expected under such conditions an extremely slow day for most of the fleet.
We pulled lures in the morning and had an unidentified strike on the short rigger lure in the early hours – after inspecting the leader it was certainly a bill.
As we worked south we got into some good Yellowfin tuna, getting five with the biggest weighing 16 and 18 kilos – plus a few that were sharked. We also caught a couple dorado and a wahoo but it was all pretty quiet and we made the wrong choice of not going south as intended – the only boat which did so, Nakisai, had the most action for the day with 4 Marlin strikes, getting one around 500 that unfortunately got sharked. The boys from Maputo had as much or even more bad luck than we did for the rest of the week!!!
With the green water on the edge a few boats had chosen to go wide in search of Blue water and they found some action on stripes and small blues between 400 to 650 meters of depth – but only Triton managed to release a 150 lbs.
Early morning on the second day saw us troll Konas all the way down to our favorite corner down south and there was some positive signs with ´tamos juntos reporting losing a tiny 40-pound fish on a rapala while looking for bait shallow and a tad later again pulling on a good fish on a live bait YFT.
As soon as we got to our area of choice things started looking up has we raised a 400 pound looking fish on the shotgun that followed for 10 seconds before fading – well, we hardly knew then this was going to repeat itself so many times during the course of the week.
Offshore fishing close by, on the green / blue tidal current line also raised an unresponsive fish on a skip bait that they reckon could have made it over the mark. Boats up north, especially Suli Suli also raised a couple of good fish but nothing materialized.
We got into some game fish and then between 1pm to 3pm we raised 3 Marlin. The first again followed for 15 seconds before fading without a nibble, the second took a bill swipe at the LC tube but merely opened the clip and the third, a nice looking fish come on the long corner lure on a turn and again never even took any line!!!
Once again the boys that went out wide found some action with small fish with Triton releasing a 150 lbs Black and Topless a 140 lbs striped.
But the best was yet to come when just before lines up and trolling lures up north in 30 meter of green pea water Topless got stuck into a good one that they fought until after sunset that was released at around 900 lbs.
This turned out to be the biggest fish for the week – after to many days without a Marlin in the comp´s last few years they definitely deserved a good one – well done Roger and Liaam on a beauty of a fish.
On the third day the water looked absolutely horrible and just after mid morning we decided to head out into 650 meters of water with a couple other boats.
We got a few dorado and YFT but on this particular day things turned out to be extremely slow, both on the edge and out wide.
Well, except for one boat – the Dom, fishing lures up north in the green shallow water they released two excellent fish, one right after the other, both estimated at 700 lbs.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
Something which was proving to be difficult for everyone during the week – there seemed to be absolutely no patterns on anything such as fishing skips, livies or lures, time of day, etc etc etc…and that was the way for the whole week!!!
The next day dawned beautifully and the water looked a tad better in the morning but again it turned out to be an extremely slow day for the whole fleet except two boats – Citation and ´Tamos Juntos both released fish in the 450 lbs class on YFT live baits.
We raised a decent size looking fish in the morning of lighthouse that missed the lure altogether and never come back for seconds.
For the rest of the day we had the usual YFT, a couple dorado and a few wahoo, one of which chopped of the leader on our beautiful smoker that had caught us so many good fish over the last three years, including the 1098 lbs last year….
With the water looking it’s worst the 5th day was again very slow.
With a few other boats we went out 12 miles into 650 meters of water and we all had some action as we got to the area. Quatro raised a couple of Blues that did not connect, we, Nakisai and Beluga all had striped marlins but only Beluga connected and released one.
That was pretty much it and none of the guys on the edge saw much.
With such conditions at noon we decided to go into the breath-taking beach @ coral gardens for a swim and then do some light tackle spinning on the reef.
What a blast it turned out to be with non-stop action on garfish, 5 spotted queen fish and obviously some bluefin, big eye and yellow spotted kingfish.
Even I got to get into the fun and hooked up to about 8 fish (releasing 4 kingies) in no more than 12 casts.
Then I gave the rod to Alex who also got into some nice kingies….
Late afternoon we went out for another couple hours to pull lures and as we worked a YFT school in 160 meters of water we saw a massive fish, which tail size still haunts me, tailing down sea. We put her right into the spread but she was not interested at all.
I called Offshore that were trolling a live yellowfin nearby to see if she would take that, but the fish were simply not feeding. Well with that green water I guess you had to pretty much knock one in the head to get it’s attention.
A very strong SE wind made for very uncomfortable conditions the whole of the next day.
Being the wind that brings in good water we did not mind, but still the Marlin bite was almost non existent. Nevertheless we had a pretty eventful day getting some good YFT in the morning, the biggest at 15 and 17 kilos…
Then at about 10am we had good solid 600 pound Black come in on our long corner lure. The fish come from the inside out on the long corner showing all her head and shoulders. But it missed the lure altogether and never come back for seconds. As we turned around to go over the area we got stuck into another big YFT….aaarhhhh!!!
Being from the island and raised in tribal, superstitious and supernatural beliefs my boys were by this stage saying that someone had put a bad Xipoco (spirit) on Vamizi for bad luck. A few days later they had even found the guilty party and have now asked to please allow them to get a VoVo (sort of a witch doctor) to get rid of this bad spirit when we got back home.
But guess, You can´t really discuss this mambo jambo beliefs with the guys, they deeply believe this was the ´cause, so I guess Vamizi is in for a spiritual treatment in a few days ah, ah, ah
Well, but the game fishing was good and half an hour later we got another two YFT, this time fish in the 5-7 kilo class so we live baited but were sharked after an hour. We got another yellowfin double and live baited again – and again we were taxed, first on the downrigger bait and an hour later on the top bait.
After yesterday’s great fun, we went back to the reef at noon and again we had a classic light tackle spinning session on the reef with the guys on the light tackle getting bite after bite and hooking up simultaneously on snappers, scads, queenfish and big eye kingfish.
Carl was trying for the big boys and was throwing big poppers. It paid off we a big GT that reefed him. But he did get a couple of good bluefin´s releases.
We trolled lures for a few hours in the afternoon and got some more YFT and had two mysterious strikes on the WR short rigger lure that never connected. The only other boat that raised a coupe of fish was Quatro, connecting to a good one that pulled.
Conditions on the 16th looked much better with a calm sea, moderate ENE and (despite not ideal) the water looked much better, especially down south.
Although we again failed to get a Marlin, it was a fantastic if frustrating day. We raised no less than 6 Black´s and caught more game fish than I care to count with exciting action through out the whole day.
But, once again the day started with some fantastic spinning action on the reef @ sunrise!!!
Carl with another bluefin released on a popper!!!
Our first fish, a 200 lbs Black come in on the shotgun lure out of sailfish Bay in the early morning but never took a bite. Thirty minutes later we get to the area we had chosen to fish for the day and immediately raise one about 400. It comes on the long corner tube takes a short swipe on the leader. Twenty seconds later it again comes up, this time taking the short rigger WR, running 50 yards and coming off….
AHRRRRHHHHHHHHjiiii, at this stage you want to cry…
We get a couple YFT and 45 minutes later again raise one on the LC tube but this time the Marlin does not even take a nibble. Straight after we find a red wooden fire door floating in about 120 meters of water and on our first pass we get a dorado, a wahoo and a small shark simultaneously.
There is just mayhem of gamefish all around this piece of flotsam so we decided to bring the big stuff in and enjoy some light tackle spinning around it. The next half an hour is insane and everyone hooking up simultaneously…what a joule and pandemonium. It does not as everyone is constantly hooked up to either dorado or small wahoo that give an absolute great account of themselves in the spinning tackle…
I really forget how many we boated and the many more we released but after an hour of excitement I decide to try something different and bring out a jig outfit and first time down VAS, I get a perfect looking 2kg YFT and we put a live bait out and start slowly trolling around the mayhem – but as expected within 10 minutes a hammerhead takes it.
We go back to the flotsam and I again take a jig rod and tell the guys to let their small maria spoons sink down. Immediately we get into three perfect size 2-3 kg yellowfin and rig two out for live bait. I decide to get away from the mayhem or these juicy baits would definitely end up taxed and work a bit further south.
Within 20 minutes we raise a Marlin. Not a massive fish but certainly big enough to take a 2 kg YFT, still and amazingly it does not. This fish was on the bait for at least 15 minutes and despite doing everything on the book to get a bite out of it just would not eat!!!
The first thing I did was get the dead game fish in the hatch, open their guts and make a mush, chumming the water hoping this would turn the fish on!!! Then I stopped the boat letting the baits sink, both tricks that have worked countless times in the past for me, but still the fish had no reaction and never even grabbed one of the bait´s.
Next up I quickly rig a nice fresh strip bait from a wahoo and let it free spool past the bait and then come skipping past the marlin a few times, still no reaction. I then take the weakest bait out the water and crippled it, making it bleed and vibrate, still nothing. I make it skip but NADA….. Men OHHHH men, we even through poppers at the thing but it just followed for all this time without a nibble, eventually disappearing!!!
40 minutes later we again raise another marlin, this one chubbier looking to be about 400 pounds. But again the fish follows for about 5 minutes and AGAIN we don’t get a take.
Now I was literally tearing my hair out!!!
…if I had hair, that is!!!!
The fish comes back about five minutes later follows for another 7 minutes or so, disappears and then finally grabs the bait right before our eyes on the surface, bill out the water.
We let it drop and feed for a few seconds before slowly pushing the drag up and the circle finds the corner, we VAS!!! After all the bad luck everyone on the boat is ecstatic, but not for long as soon enough we find that it´s not the Marlin that is at the end of the line but a 300 lbs hammerhead shark.
This is the fourth time I have seen this, a shark coming in and stealing the bait from a marlin on the drop, but on every other occasion with much smaller Marlin. The mood on the boat is thin at the moment – We release the hammer, put a spread of plastic and start making our way north.
45 minutes later we get south of Nhagosse and I start marking a lot of bait on the sounder and we start seeing some surface activity, so we work the area in tight V´s. Nakisai is also coming into the area pulling lures from out deep and Triton is working just on our inside to the south with skip baits when BANG, we see them on a tight turn and has they hook up to a nice fish that gives us a great show and which they later release at 650 lbs.
We work the area hard and sure enough get a take on the short lure. We never see the fish but a few seconds later a 250 Black comes into the long rigger lure but again just bills it and does not even bring the line out the rigger clip!!!
The Don also releases a tiny 40 pound fish on a bait stick and a couple more small fish in the 200 pound range are released out wide.
On our last day, we start on the reef once again….
…and as usual we pick up a few kingies on light tackle
And some other species!!!
After that we worked south with lures and just after Nhangosse pick up a couple YFT which are immediately rigged as live baits…
I decide to work north of the area where we had seen the fish late afternoon the previous day and very soon we raise one that comes on the bait, tail fin totally out the water…but again it just swims around, across it and disappears.
One of the bait dies on us but we carry on with our biggest bait and half an hour later, there goes the elastic on Alex’s hand. We feed, bring the drag up slowly and when we get to #25 line starts peeling slowly off the reel. There’s no burst or anything just a slow swim but on the surface. On strike drag Vaughn jumps in the chair and harnesses himself and just as I start turning the boat whatever has taken the bait drops it.
We can feel the bait is still there so we follow procedure as Alex slowly brings the line with his hands, leaving a loop behind the boat as the anglers, with almost no drag, slowly picks excess line in the water.
We bring it all the way to check the bait, which is still alive, but all scratched…Marlin of course. We got the leader in hand when a fat fish looking to be 550 lbs appears with all his lights on a mere 5 meters beneath our props.
What a sight!!!
He swims around for a while, by now we have dropped the bait back to about 15 meters of the stern and finally we have a pick up. But disappointingly the fish swims off with it and drops it again. After a few minutes the same story repeats itself, only this time the Marlin takes the bait while we still got the trace in our hands. I can see it swim off with the now very bruised YFT across its jaw but again it just drops it. We leave the bait motionless for a good 15 minutes but the fish as now faded…well, just the tip of the iceberg on all that happen during the week.
Strange beyond comprehension – the boys now ask me if I now believe that someone has put a bad spirit on the boat…well, can’t really argue with them!!!
While this was happening Triton hooked and release a small 175 lbs on a lure about a mile south from us and Nakisai missed one on a lure as well. But that bit of fish in the morning was all there was for most of the day and despite the better conditions it was pretty slow for the fleet again.
We pulled a skip YFT and a swim squid until noon and the switched to lures. Back at V mile we got a couple YFT and a whole lot of Dorado and wahoo once again. They were so thick I left the area as it was non stop.
Right before lines up with most boats concentrated around Nhangosse and lighthouse Suli Suli hooks a very big fish on a skip bait that parts on the braid!!!
It got so slow that the boys on Nakisai were giving the fleet a nice strip show!!!
Of course we still went to the reef to have some light tackle fun…
Congratulations to Thomas & the guys on the TRITON who took first place on the comp…
Despite the lack of fish (and for me the dry spell – both on the water and @ the bar) it was once again a great week of great fun!!!
I am taking a few days off to make sure all heals OK, the boys will be fishing this week and I will be on it again from the 26th…
Hey Fao, that´s right the boys on ´tamos juntos did manage to release one without you…Paul was in the chair, his first ever!!!
Maybe you right men, that´s what Edu did first thing when he got back to Maputo…see the Vovo Curandeiro!!!
Anyway brother, the boil is gone (touch wood), the fish are biting and I am sipping a nice double Black Johnnie Walker as I write this.
Yup, it seems that there really was something ´strange´ going on during those days…Back to Indigo and first morning out with the big guns and we released one.
Did not fish for three days making sure the boil was gone and getting back to shape, those bloody antibiotics make you feel like sh!t for ages…
The boys been going out for game fish this last week or so and it’s been pretty solid.
I started with a bunch of awesome guys from OZ yesterday and despite being a bit slow we had a nice morning of light tackle fun on a good variety of game fish – catching and releasing some skipjack, Yellowfin, dorado, wahoo and kingfish. We also spent just over an hour with a very big YFT on the bait stick that was then taken by a shark…
PS: yeah I know and did tell the guys to put some sun block on…look at that!!!
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The water looks absolutely gorgeous, not Blue but Purple….awesome after the greenish pea soup stuff we had the last week and a half. It looks good out there, although not a lot of bait in the normal grounds the skipjack are just boiling around the 200 meter mark – and we stuck on the light tackle stuff…
What has been surprising is the number of dorado around all of a sudden.
They were late this year and we caught well under normal numbers up to now but all of a sudden they are all over and in big shoals making it easy to get them on spoons with light spinning tackle.
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We were out again this morning and put a mixed spread of light stuff and some big lures out and proceed to catch a couple YFT and again a whole lot of dorado this morning.
Beautiful overcast morning with only a very light breeze from the SW and with the purple water & so much skipjack out deep…I could not believe we had not raised one YET!!! Because the guys wanted some game fish I spend most morning in shallow water, but at 11 made a tack out deep to 180 meters where the skipjack were going mad…on my way back I can smell fishy, take a turn straight into the wind and there it is, a big oily area where some feeding as just taken place…
Just then some commotion behind the long rigger express followed by bill protruding out the water. The fish was not messing around and in the calm flat sea and gloomy light it was sight of note to see him charge three times before hooking up and immediately somersaulting.
Yeah it was a wild one and I am so frustrated that my camera is not working…men, this small rat´s are all cowboys and most jump like crazy, but this fish was in a different class all together. It went absolutely ballistic on the leader…believe me I am not exaggerating when I say that it jumped at least over 25 times on the leader. We had at least 5 minutes of acrobatics, I had to duck, accelerate, turn etc etc, this fish as going wild.
We had a girl taking pics with her camera on board and during the chaos I just remember shouting at her…Are you getting this, shoot, don´t stop shooting!!!
Well she got ONE nice airborne shot…will try and get it from them later.
Nice to see and let one go anyway….first billfish release for Steve as well
Straight after we saw a big dark cloud coming from the South and ducked for home…it´s still raining and it looks like that´s the case for the next two days…
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Skipfari, conditions looking good again, so yeah pretty frustrating to target gamefish when you know the big mamas are out there.
At Baz I use a semi stiff double hook set at 180 with the top hook as close to the head as possible and the trailing hook as far as IGFA allowed. No chain gangs, for Blues normally use single hooks but they don´t seem to work as well with the Blacks here.
Well these boys from down under have got a few loose screws & even I was very near to chunda with their sashimi tasting on the boat…
We get this yellowfin and the guys are all hyped about having some sushi on the boat. I always carry ginger, wasabi & soya on the boat and always keen. So, Alberto cuts a nice sirloin and we stick it on the cooler box to cool it down.
But hey, the guys are having none of it and start cutting strips of that fish and eating it straight off the flesh But it get’s worse…
Now one of the guys decides to take the eyeball out of the tuna and challenge the other to eat it…
He slurps it down, jelly stuff coming out of his mouth as he does so, hum he loves it and sucks it dry!!!
Now it’s the other mates turn but he is not so keen….
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yeah, pretty mad stuff.
Dorado galore and then we get into one of the craziest fish I have ever seen…
Here’s an awesome sequence of a pretty hard core high flying little bugger…
The fish pretty much somersaulted as soon as it hooked up and continued in a series of acrobatics until we cleared and turned…
But as soon as we got near then he started trashing and bolting on the surface…
ith a flat calm sea I was jus backing off slowly as Steve, on his second ever fish (the first was a wahoo he had caught half an hour before), winds like crazy…
Alberto get´s the leader and the fish immediately just bolts up
I mean this fish was high flying…
Most small Blacks go ape sh!t when they feel the extra pressure on the leader but this one was one of a kind.
I am talking 25 + jumps, 5 minutes of unbelievable chaos, I am doing all sorts of moves to keep up with this stuff…gun the boat, reverse, turn hard, stop, go, etc etc
VERY EXCITING STUFF…
Eventually we get it controlled by the boat but it is still all green and full of kick…what a mission to get those hooks out. But all good in the end, get a perfect tag shoot and see it healthy and amazingly still full of life swim away.
I am not sure I want to meet up with him when he grows real BIG !!!
Ohhh men, it´s been a few very bouncy and strenuous days with a strong 20 knot plus SE blowing – @ least it´s cleaned up the water and even tough there is not much activity out there it looks good and we have had some good fun.
Here´s Matthew stretched on the jig…
…with a nice yellowspotted kingfish.
…this time with a nice bludger.
We also plugged on the reef yesterday and Matthew got reefed by a good GT.
We only trolled with lures for an hour between 2 and 3pm and got a couple wahoo, a nice size dorado and missed a 250 pound Black that come in on the short corner chugger, then took a swipe at the smoker on the long corner but no hookup.
Wind still pumping today so we only left late, after a nice breakfast but great 4 hours of trolling – we raised 4 Marlin, hooked two and released one.
Lines in at 10h00 and Matthew hooks to his first ever Marlin 10 minutes later.
The small 180 pound come in easily but as soon as we got the leader it went crazy and straight down. We had to push the drag a bit and it gave us a good fight…no wonder as the fish was foul hooked on the shoulder.
Matthew releasing his first ever Marlin.
About 40 minutes later we get one coming on the long corner smoker and missing it altogether and not coming for seconds.
We worked a bit south and finally see some birds working and hook up to 2 YFT, one is taken by a shark which we break off and the other, a nice 8 kg goes out as live bait. It took less than 10 minutes, STRIKE, feed and when we push the drag up a 350 pound fish goes airborne..but after a series of insane jumps (ohhhhhh, where´s my camera) close to the boat it pulls hooks.
20 minutes later we raise one, again on the long rigger piper but no take. We get another YFT and live bait. Again we have a strike in 10 minutes but this time it´s a shark.
Back to lures and as we making our way to II mile we get a strike on the BMC 2 but no hookup.
Spent the last 45 minutes plugging and Mathew get´s reefed by a massive GT, honestly f%$/& BIG!!!!
The Trinidad 30 was on full taps and this thing just peeled line like there was no tomorrow and broke us off…..great afternoon anyway!!
The Legends piper that did the trick on Matthew first ever Marlin…
Did not see the witch Doctor, but it´s certainly back to normal and Vamizi on a roll´
Finally the sea settled yesterday and was good to be out there without getting banged & bushed around…
We raised two and just got a bite out of a small one at VI mile…
Which Simon Pratt released!!!