Popping Rods: Carpenter TBL 80/40, CV79/40, Ripple Custom, Ultimo 711, Carpenter 79M, 78H, 78EXH, FCL Labo EXT81HH, Race Point 100, 250, Daiwa Saltiga APC85,
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella 18000, 14000, Twin Power 14000, 16000, Daiwa BG 8000,
Poppers: Hammerhead D cup, E cup, G cup, Kokari 130gm, Amegari Dzanga, Blaze Saththa, Kimutzce, OTL Chop 130, Storm
Jigging Rods: Ripple Fisher 577, 568, Evergreen Poseidon 410, Jigging Master Ocean Devil, Shimano Trevala TVS-66M, Westin W3 Powercast, Quantam Smoke 5-105
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella 8000HG, Twin Power 8000HG, Jigging Master PE4, Daiwa BG 5000, Caldia LT5000
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Green Job Fish, Rusty Job Fish, Coronation Trout, Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Red Snapper, Bonito, Rainbow Runner, Gold Spot Trevally, Bludger Trevally, Golden Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Amberjack, Grey Reef Shark, White Tip Reef Shark.
The Andaman Islands have to offer the wandering angler looking for his next trophy fish a chance to accomplish just that, with a huge variety of fish species thrown in to make it more exciting and rewarding in the process. The fishing spots are many and spread over a vast area, thus improving chances of getting one. However, this week the GT’s had one up over the anglers as they were unable to land the one they had so longed for.
We had 2 groups of friends put together on Rampage – Hani & Keith from UAE & Matthias and Marc from Switzerland. On Tropical Star we had father and son duo Martin and Rolf joined by Marcel from Spain, while on the Reef Raider we had the Singapore group led by Cephas – who was on his 3rd Andaman trip – accompanied by Lim, Boris & Simon.
Fishing as a sport is highly unpredictable as a lot of factors come into play. The temperature, currents, tides, even the wind intensity, direction and above all luck has to smile on the angler to land a trophy fish. Hani & Matthias were 2 relentless popper fishing addicts, who cast heavy & jig heavier and were the perfect guys to have on board to raise big fish; big fish they did raise and more than once. Matthias missed his first big strike on day 1 when the hooks pulled on a monster. Coming to one of our deep spots, Hani lost his skip jack pencil popper as it was cast and a big one grabbed it and burst the line on the strike. The next day we decided to dedicate to attempt landing big fish and raised 4 monsters in one session but dropped hooks on 3 and Hani’s Ulua Stickbait was lost to a huge fish when his PE 10 line burst.
Post lunch Matthias was working his Kokari 130gm popper when a huge GT came from below the boat and, characteristic of a big GT, inhaled it without making a splash. Since the water was clear everyone got to see the size of it as it dived back down to the safety of the rocks, peeling away the line from the reel for a good few seconds. After one full round of the boat and much bending of the Daiwa Saltiga APC85 rod and maximum drag from the Shimano Twin Power 14000, the fish was landed – an awesome 35kg one. Marc wasn’t far behind when he on a long cast hooked a monster off his Rapala X-Rap lure and had a thorough workout reeling it in. When he finally landed it, it topped the scales at 25kg.
Rolf and Martin (i.e. father & son duo) were first time GT fishing in the Andamans and were joined by Marcel who is a Spanish film maker and writer for fishing articles in Spain. Being the first GT trip for Martin & Rolf, it took them a little while to get used to the demands of GT fishing. They had very good jigging action and hooked onto a number of big unstoppable Dogtooth tuna that bust them on the reefs below, as normally happens with the big dogs. They had upto 20kg GT’s on top water action but failed to raise any and hook into any really big ones.
On one of our deep spots Martin had hooked a Bonito and used it as a live bait to tempt something big when it was soon engulfed by a monster which took line with ease even with the drag on full. After an intense battle a massive 40 kg plus Geet was landed, his personal best. The same was repeated on the last day when, in between intense jigging action, 2 Rainbow runners were sent down as live bait at one of our special drop off’s hoping to break the previous record. Soon Martin and Marcel both had their reels singing the sweet melody of line being taken rapidly. We were most hopeful of it being enormous GTs as it had all the tells-tale signs of it. After some back-breaking, rod-bending action we brought boat side 2 white tip sharks which were estimated between 80 and 100 kilos. As Rolf, the senior angler in the group put it, they had a most delightful run of fishing in the Andamans compared to other destinations in the Indian Ocean region. The element of surprise and tough fight given by the various species they hooked was what they had enjoyed the most.
We had Cephas, Boris, Simon & Lim on the Reef Raider with Cephas on his 3rd trip. Last season he had missed 2 huge fish with bust off’s and was hoping to reverse his luck this trip. These guys from Singapore had brought a plethora of equipment, which is usual, as they don’t like to waste time changing lures on one rod, and just switch the rods.
The action varied from the 1st day onwards which went from unusually slow to full-scale feeding frenzies with all anglers hooked up at once on more than one occasion.
On the first day Cephas thought his luck has changed when at one of our deep spots his Hammerhead popper was smashed from below and the fish peeled off line against his heavy drag setting. After a dogged fight both Cephas & Capt. Rama were disappointed to see that it was not the monster GT he wanted but a 50 kilo reef shark. Lim had a very good chance at another deep spot on the 3rd day when his stick bait was smashed but unfortunately hooks pulled out as fish went on its first run. On the last day we had our final opportunity to target big GT’s, with the best conditions of current and wind this day. The GT’s were taking poppers but the big ones were preferring stick baits.
Cephas set the ball rolling when he hooked a good size one (the first of the day) in shallow water. He did everything correctly and fought the fish all the way to the boat only for the hooks to pull out and the fish to get away with the leader almost within reach. Moving from spot to spot we found the action off the drop-off with huge GT’s coming up almost every drift. While a few small ones were landed all the big ones that were raised failed to connect into a solid hook set and got away.
This is what GT fishing is all about from another aspect. It has all the highs and lows; you can be so close yet so far and sometimes the odds are just stacked all in the fish’s favour. This is why we keep coming back for more each trip.
We aren’t done yet as more anglers are coming to take a shot at the Andaman GT’s so stay tuned for more action in the Andamans at gamefishingasia.com
Enjoy the pictures and keep casting
The Sportfishing Charter of the Andaman Islands
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