Aloha…best wishes & tight lines for the year ahead!
Sorry about the lack of reports but after three months of back to back fishing it was time for the family, Christmas, a couple weeks holidays on the beach and of course, a tad of more fishing. Although we did have some time off, Vamizi did not stop and the boys where out there on an almost daily basis.
So here´s a rundown of the last couple months…
December started with the same hot Marlin bite that we experienced at the end of November. The fish were around in fairly good numbers and one could expect an average of 2 to 5 bites a day, although they were pretty shy and hook-up ratios on the lures where not the best. During this time there were a good number of fish released, the biggest a Black estimated at around 600 pounds.
By mid December I went away for a 2-week holiday and from then on most of our clients going out with the boys were resort guests targeting light tackle game fish.
There was excellent inshore with loads of bonnies and cuda, especially around VI mile area as well as some YFT, wahoo, dorado, skipjack and kingies.
The plugging brigade also enjoyed some good GT fishing and the boys said the ultra light tackle spinning on the reefs was absolutely insane with loads of action with most species of the kingfish (jack´s) family. There were also a few keen fly-fisherman who enjoyed some epic sessions.
Then, into the New Year and all the way to the third week of January along with the game fish and within the same area´s moved in an unusual number of small Black Marlin and sailfish. Although we were not specifically targeting them and they were mostly a by-catch on rappies / halcos and rigged ballyhoo on the light tackle outfits, it was a real bonus and everyone enjoyed hooking up to those sailies and small Black´s on the 20 and 30 pound gear on a daily basis.
Most of the Black´s averaged between 20 to 40 kg´s, although there were a couple of bigger fish released by the boys and also a couple much smaller one´s. Alberto reported releasing a Black he estimated at around 8 kilos. For sure, the smallest Black we have ever caught on the Archipelago.
By the end of January the water temperature had escalated to a crazy 29c + degrees and the Marlin and sailfish started to slowly fade away. There was still some great day´s of light tackle game fishing with cuda, bonnies, skipjack, wahoo and some dorado around.
Right by the end of January there were some superb mornings were the cuda were feeding like rocket launchers and resulted in over 15 fish released on a morning session. As is normal this time of the year the popper fishing for GT´s has been really good along with the ultra light tackle spinning, drop-shooting and jigging.
This last week we had John Mutton along with his wife Mel from the UK who wanted to exclusively target Marlin. They had their first trip to Bazaruto exactly at the same time two years ago, during which time they enjoyed great fishing, releasing 2 Blacks out of four and catching a lot of game fish by-catch including some decent size YFT, dorado, wahoo, cuda and the usual bait such as bonnies, skipjack and school YFT.
This time conditions were very different and although we put 4 days into targeting Marlin it was very slow. With such warm temperature water, faulty weather due to all cyclone systems in Madagascar and very little current this was not a surprise. We had a bite from one fish on the last afternoon that pulled 50 yards and come undone but otherwise it was slow except for the YFT, dorado, bonnies, skipjack, sharks stealing baits and skirt terrorizing wahoo!
That is February for you, great for plugging, jigging, spinning and all kinds of inshore fishing but it can be unreliable for Marlin. Some years it can be great, other´s such as this year, when the water get´s too warm, everything goes lethargic offshore.
But, although this can be bad news for now, past experience as showed us that it can bring really good fishing as the water starts to cool down by March and April.
I remember a few years back when we had exactly the same problem during February. Except for a lot of dorado, skipjack and the odd wahoo, the ocean was depleted and lethargic for the whole of February due to water temperatures in the upper 29c and even 30c range. Then mid March the water temperature came down to a cool 27c and loads of school to medium size YFT moved in and some good numbers of fish with it. That year provided excellent Marlin fishing all the way to May, with some really nice size fish, including a 800 pound Black at the end of March and a estimated grander on the first week of May.
So for now we will concentrate on the inshore game fishing and excellent popper fishing for GT´s and wait a few weeks until a colder body of water moves in, hopefully with a good body of fish along it……….and maybe we will even have a few surprises with some Blues and good YFT out wide!
South of us at Inhaca the bite out wide as been absolutely phenomenal and on a local tournament this last Sunday 17 boats released 22 fish – Blues & Stripies!