We are right in the middle of the GT season and things are heating up on more than one front. This week we had Jefry and group from Singapore returning for a second round and Bader’s gang from Kuwait itching to get into the GT’s with us. Jefry was here last season and had topped out with a 35 kilo which he hoped to exceed this time around while our friends from Kuwait have an Oman trip planned for April and were hoping to get in a warm up session, but more on this later. A lot of what actually makes a trip happen in terms of its successfulness is the level of comfort and communication between anglers and the skipper. The skipper’s ability to read the anglers’ capabilities and the clients confidence in the skipper is of utmost importance to have a productive outcome.
On the weather front we had light winds coming from the north-east giving us a little respite from the blazing mid-summer sun and raking up slight ripples. In all, the conditions were perfect for fishing in the Andamans this time of the year and the guys couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting.
Ali, Saad & Abdulaziz, having fished for GT’s in Oman, were well versed with the nuances of tackling big GT’s and got down to casting as soon as they reached the first spot. They were alternating between poppers and stickbait – as is the norm these days – to check which was more effective at that time and to then go with it. The first few spots we hit were slower compared to what we usually encounter, though typically early mornings seldom fail to disappoint a GT angler, yielding multiple strikes, which also sets the tone for the day ahead.
Coming up on a school of nervous bait, the skipper quickly positioned the boat so that the lures were cast into the strike zone. Saad had no sooner cast his Amegari popper into the bait school than we had a massive GT head emerge and smack the lure with the incredible force that only a big GT can. What followed next was a screaming Shimano Stella 18000 reel and hook that was set by Saad. A brutal tug of war resulted which finally yielded a monster 44-kilo Geet, his biggest. Ali, on the other hand, had cast several times, only to be rewarded by GT’s in the 20-kilo range though he had, naturally, set his sights on GT’s in the 40-kilo range and above. On the last day his fortune finally changed when his TP-Custom was smashed by a big GT; this fish fought very differently and unlike the others that normally run into deeper water this fish tried to get down and dirty, into the jagged coral and rock-strewn shallows. He was initially not able to lift his Ripple-Fisher long cast rod to get the proper angle to exert sufficient pressure on the fish. With first mate Manoj supporting him he finally succeeded in landing his personal best – a 42kg Geet. Abdul was lucky in that he landed the most GT’s in the trip, though not the biggest. He managed to top his game with a 35 kg Geet and was quite happy about it. In fishing sometimes Lady Luck comes calling and gives more than a warm-up for sure!!
We had some mixed fortunes aboard the Reef Raider with Jefry & co. Wong had cast his popper and was retrieving it when he got distracted for some reason and was not paying attention to it. As luck would have it, at that very moment the popper was fancied by a GT which hooked itself, while Jefry was still unaware of it (we do tell our customers to never take their eyes off the lure for even a second). On getting a rude jolt when his Stella 14000 reel screamed when the line was taken, he reacted as if on impulse and set the rod in the fighting belt. A few minutes later a very nice looking 35kg GT was landed. This was his first this season. Jefry was jigging at one of the spots we had taken them to after checking the tide and current pattern as is necessary. Owing to its distance it yields good results and once here he hooked and landed his first Barracuda. Never before had he experienced Barracudas of such size and ones that do put up a fair bit of fight as well. He was quite impressed with it and released it quickly after a few snaps.
Another day, around mid-afternoon, the boys were jigging when Kamal got a big strike. His Seven Seas hooker was engulfed by what we thought to be a monster Dogtooth Tuna since almost the whole main line was taken. The skipper started following it to ensure it was landed. Far from the Doggie we expected, it turned out to be a huge reef Shark, which was released safely after the lure was removed. Last spot (one of our old spots from many years ago which we have not fished in a while) of the day, Steven cast his Kubera 125gm popper into a shallow reef close to one of the southern islands and got a strike instantly. Fortunately, this one ran into deeper waters allowing the angler a better control and angle to tackle it. The Captain was quick to manoeuvre the boat and follow. What followed was all smiles and back-thumping as Simon, the eldest in the group – but in spirit the youngest – landed his personal best, a monster GT of 46kg measuring 141cm by 110cm. His choice of a Carpenter TBL rod with Stella 10000 was more than sufficient to handle this beast.
As happens with GT fishing, even with the best tides and conditions, the fish on some days are inactive on topwater. In such conditions we like to advise variations in lures and techniques and there is little choice but to keep casting. This both the groups did relentlessly, and we have to thank all the anglers for their massive dedication and tenacity.
The big story for the next few months will be to see what other monsters we can put on deck over the remaining part of the season. With the water temperature now hitting the optimum mark, the GT’s are gathering. Till then, keep casting and don’t give up!
We will let the pictures do the talking.
Popping Rods: Ripple Fisher F-Stick, Ripple Fisher Ocean Voyager GTXpedition, Carpenter Monster Hunter Ext, Ripple Fisher Ultimo 79, Carpenter TBL, Fisherman 82 RS, Carpenter F3, 78H, 80M, EP82/42
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella 10000, 14000, 18000, Daiwa Dogfight 7000H,
Lure: Ulpen 140gm, Ocea Pencil 120gm, Hammerhead E-Cup, G-Cup, Craftbait GT3, Fammar 160gm
Jigging Rods: Fisherman Monster CC 74RS, MC Works 595LR, Jigging Master
Jigging Reels: Daiwa Saltiga 6500, Shimano Stella 8000, Jigging Master PE5
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Green Job Fish, Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Red Snapper, Coral Trout