First Marlin Release for Duarte Jnr.
Been pretty much in house quarantine but, by mid-April, the kids homeschool holiday started. We were ready for a remote holiday. BD (Bartolomeo Diaz), an isolated place two-hour drive north, was an obvious choice. What a trip it turned out to be and, at 7 years of age, Duarte Jnr. got his first Marlin release.
Watch the video above and read the story below!
Trip to BD
Myself, Diogo Martins, my two little guys, Duarte (7) and Dario (5), and heaps off food, drinks, groceries, rods, reels and lots of fishing tackle crammed ourselves into the tiny Rav4 and headed north. The journey to BD is in itself a trip. Driving on the beach has not been allowed in Mozambique for ages. But, there is no other way to get there. After getting our special permission from Maritime, we drove down to the beach to make the last 40 km to get to BD.
It’s a real treat and, exquisitely and ruggedly beautiful.
While light tackle spinning in front of the house, late that afternoon, Diogo convinced me to hire a dhow and go out for a morning session the next day. We all have to thank him for the persistence…
It dawned as predicted, flat calm and sunny. After waking the guys up, giving them breakfast, bathing, brushing teeth, and all else a Dad´s got to do, we scrambled some left over food together and where ready for action by 7am.
Very slowly and extremely noisily we made our way out and into the open sea.
The plan was to go to a reef about 5 NM out and then drift with dead carapau or any live bait we could get for king mackerel. But, at the same time, obviously, do some drop shot, spinning, popping and whatever else was available, while the Dhow crew bottom fished.
Of course, we had to set a trolling spread for the slow hour trip there.
No rod holders.
But, we made a plan and set a four-rod spread with a lure/ballyhoo combination, a weighted lure/carapau combination and two Halco´s laser Pro 170.
Thirty minutes into it, in about 20 meters of water we get our first bite. The smallest spinning rod with the brand new 4000 which we had spooled with #20 braid the previous night. Diogo picks up the rod while I bring in the other lines. While doing so and from the corner of my eye I see a little Black Marlin jump with the skipjack colored Halco on its mouth.
MAAARLIN I shout…
Only a small guy but totally unexpected.
Then this little Black really starts jumping, going absolutely mental and giving us an awesome display. Diogo passed the rod to Duarte Jnr.
This was an appropriate size fish with suitable tackle for him to handle.
A chance not to be missed!
The shouting, guiding, and exhilaration on the boat was extra tangible.
With so many jumps would the small trebles and short wire trace hold?
Would little Duarte hold!
Hookup on first Marlin
The excitement levels were right up there as we almost run out of line as the dhow lazily did a wide turn to chase. In a few minutes the fish was right by the boat and, once again jumping all over the show.
The dhow´s high gunnels did not make it easy to grab the sprightly fish and bring it aboard for a quick photo. Twice we had it by the bill but it was just to lively and we feared breaking the tiny bill.
Not something we normally do, boat a fish for pictures, that is – not break fishes’ nose!
But, after all it was a small fish and the boys first Marlin.
The fish then went down.
We pushed up the drag, just a tiny bit.
With the light spinning tackle, the young boy giving his everything and the anticipation levels, it felt we were catching an 800 pounder.
Slowly but surely the little guy worked him up.
Dario, by his brother´s side and exhilarated, shouts;
“I see color!”
The little fish was pretty exhausted now and we pull him by the leader.
Grabbed him by the tail and brought him aboard.
After dislodging the hooks, quick couple pictures and off he went – to the astonished local crew on the Dhow, who´s first reaction was obviously to bring the gaff´s out!
What a special moment.
Yes, it was just a baby Marlin, probably the smallest Black I have ever caught.
But the kid is only seven and did catch it in a light spinning outfit.
Dario, his brother, who´s very unlike Duarte and normally not so keen on the fishing was as excited has his brother. But not as flabbergasted.
Duarte Jnr, well he could just not believe what had just happen – his first Marlin release.
Something he had dreamed and asked me so many times;
Dad, when can I get a Marlin?
My invariable answer;
“When your feet reach the chair´s footrest!”
Well, was I wrong!
And did he deserve this special treat.
He’s absolutely obsessed.
Going out to sea since he was two and having the patience to withstand many boredom hours of Marlin fishing. He as cast his rods a million times and certainly caught his fair number of game fish.
He had seen a few Marlin being released.
And now he had done it!
His first Marlin!
The rest of the morning was amazing, albeit blazing in the blistering sun and windless sea.
One can go around, and round that Dhow but there´s no shade to be had.
Well, just put more sunscreen and carry on fishing!
While catching a few snappers and small kingies on the bottom we also got four nice king mackerel on the dead carapau on the drift.
None wanted anything to do with the small kingfish livies we set out.
All of the cuta on hand line.
Extremely exciting for everyone to watch – no easy feat, let me tell you!
Duarte, of course had to try it out and caught a few bottoms on the hand lines.
He would have tried the cuta on hand line, but not just yet, my boy!
Then, in the distance we saw some surface activity.
Picked up anchor and found a frenzy of feeding bonitos which provided great fun on the light spinning tackle.
That was the only morning we went out to sea.
But, we still enjoyed some nice ultra-light tackle from the beach for the next three days.
It was not as good as previous trips we have had there, but, the boys still got some small great barracudas on the spoons, along with some other small things on the baits.
This, right from the house´s balcony!!!
One always has a great time at BD but this is one trip neither I, Dario, Diogo or Duarte Jnr will ever forget. After all, not many boys catch their first Marlin at 7 years of age.
Like many friends later message or told me when I sent them the video;
Suspect this is the first Marlin of many!
Duarte A. M. Rato
Sportfishing Charters @ Vilankulos & Bazaruto Archipelago
FB: MarlinMoz Sportfishing & fishbazaruto.com
Phone: + 258 84 639 0466