We had Alwyn Tan back to fish with us this season, with his team from Sarawak that included Don, Alvin, Wayne and Brian. Don had turned heads last season when he took the biggest fish of the season and wanted to see if he could better his PB. The guys were geared up, ready to go and could not wait to have another go at the Andaman fish. Here is the report from Alwyn Tan:
Day 1 – Good weather, slow wind. First two spots were on the slow side, with a few being landed. By third spot, approximately 9am, we hit a GT frenzy, not big but we had continuous hook-ups and landed 6 GTs. Not big but aggressive hits, with Alvin landing the largest of the pack – a 10kg fish – and the action was mostly on poppers. After the frenzy things went silent. We drifted from spot to spot, mixing poppers, stick-baits & diving lures, but no takers. After lunch, when I was working my Gamma Diablo 140g, just before I was about to reel it in, on the boat side a huge GT came right up from below, without a splash, and inhaled the lure. Since water was so clear, Alvin & I saw it come after the lure and just stripped line off my reel for a good few seconds. The fish took line from the left of the boat, to the right, and one big run to the back causing me to stumble my way aft. After one final round, and numb arms, the fish was finally landed: an awesome 134 cm 42 kilo GT. Within the hour, a few more sizable ones in the 15-20kg were landed, with Don missing a big ONE as the fish spat the hooks. At the day’s end, a total of 26 GTs had been landed.
Day 2 – Next morning early, we landed another 5 GTs in an hour, all on poppers. It was then that Wayne had a big take on his Hammerhead; we saw the fish, but he could not connect. At the next spot, about an hour later, it was when Alvin managed to hook-up his PB GT on the Kimitsu popper that, at the same time, Don dropped a jig and had hooked onto something small before being hijacked by a bigger fish which stripped line; a few moments later he landed a nice doggie. The subsequent drop resulted in a solid hook-up with a black GT landed by Manoj. After lunch, we proceeded to a shallow reef, with Brian being the first to land the first Red Bass (Bohar Snapper) of the trip. An hour into fishing in the area, in the afternoon, we came across another GT frenzy. Don hooked up, followed by Wayne, Alvin, Brian, back to Don again, and to the front with Brian hooking up his second during this frenzy. Alvin’s second hook-up was a big take when he was up in the bow cage, but after a short struggle he lost the fish as he could not set the hook properly. I (Alwyn) was cameraman then, so not waiting any longer, I took my rod and cast into the frenzy and landed a GT in the 25-kilo range. We had a total of 16 GTs landed for the day.
Day 3 – Things started off slower, with Alvin and Brian landing the only 2 GTs that came up in the morning. While casting along the shore, Brian managed to land a beautifully coloured Bluefin Trevally, only one of the trip strangely enough. The next popper hit saw him losing a big one whilst trying to set the hook, just boat side, as both his Gamakatsu 7/0 hooks opened. The next few hours were a period of inactivity and we were just cruising along the shore line, casting into the shallows trying to find any fish. Everyone was casting leisurely and it was then, when Don cast the Kimitsu popper in between some rocks that he had a big hit, in very shallow water. He hooked up the biggest GT of the trip, a 43kg 136 cm GT. While netting the fish, another even bigger GT came up to boat side which got everyone excited and casting again, but to no avail. We did another drift and left after. The action died down again, until after lunch, when Wayne managed to wrestle a sizable Redbass out of the reef. Subsequently, Brian managed to connect to a nice hit which got him his biggest GT of the trip. Kantha suggested we do some jigging. We got to the spot and Don and myself werZeyn had fished with us back in October and vowed to do another trip after he had a taste of fishing for the Andaman GTs. This time, he had put together a group of South Africans who were all fishing addicts. However, apart from Zeyn, all of them were on their first GT trip. They had only heard and read what GT fishing was all about and wanted to get a first-hand experience. Zeyn had made sure they were fully kitted out for their trip, with a selection of Ripple Fisher popping rods and an array of Shimano Stella reels. For jigging they were equipped with Yamaga Blanks Galahad rods and Shimano Talica reels. The thing is, as almost always happens, these newbie groups get so taken up with the topwater action that our Andaman GTs provide that we hardly do any jigging for the full trip.
We could not have asked for a better start to the trip for the group, as we quickly ran into a GT feeding frenzy. Almost every cast was being followed or hit and at one point we had all the clients on fish more than once. If you wanted to quickly get used to what GT fishing strikes can be like, then this was a perfect opportunity. Moving from one spot to another, the action continued, albeit not with the same intensity of a feeding frenzy. Coming up to one spot, as we started the drift, Ahmed who was fishing from the back of the boat had a take from a fish that at best looked in the 20-kilo range. Knowing that this size fish can be feisty, we were not surprised when Ahmed said the fish was putting some hurt on him. But then the fish took off with far too much power for a 20-kilo fish and after a proper battle we put on deck a GT of 135 cm and 51 kilos on the scales. What an achievement for a 66-year old angler!
Accurate casting plays a big part in getting the lure into the right place at the right time. Given that Giant Trevally are also ambush predators the angler who can put a lure into the right spot accurately will get onto more fish than anglers who blind cast. This was the case again when an accurately cast Gamma 140 landed in the right zone, next to a rock formation. A few twitches and there was an explosion on the lure, setting the hook as the fish ran in an arc from shallow to deeper water which effectively meant that if the tackle held up the GT would be boated, and it did, much to everyone’s delight and Hanif had put another 44-kilo weighed GT on board.
With the GTs having done their part for the trip, we decided to jig and managed to get multiple small dogtooth tuna, but the guys wanted more popping action, so I guess that we will be seeing them back again in the not-too-distant future for the next round.
Till our next report,
Popping Rods: Ripple Fisher
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella 14000, 18000
Popping Lures: Patriot Design, Carpenter Gamma, HammerHead, Hots Keiko, Heru GT Mania, FCL Labo TBO,
Jigging Rods: Yamaga blanks Galahad
Jigging Reels: Shimano Talica
Jigs: Shout, Seven Seas
Species Landed: Giant Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Barracuda, Bluefin Trevally, Bohar Snappere the first two to drop our jigs and we connected immediately, with Don landing a doggie and myself, after a good fight, landing a 30kg+ GT. Next drift, we were ALL hooking onto runaway trains, with 100 lb and 130lb fluoro leaders being bitten off, mainline busting, resulting in us losing quite a few of our Andaman and Sevenseas jigs in no time. Don even had one of his assist hook kevlar bitten through; no chance at all, even though some of us managed to bring up the fish halfway. Wayne managed to land another smaller doggie, but we could not land the big ones.
Day 4 – The first spot we fished was the same spot we had the frenzy yesterday. Don was first to land a black GT, followed by one GT for the rest of us. At the next spot, a shallow reef, Alvin had a doggie follow his stick-bait only to check out the lure then swim away. That’s when Don had a big splash which did not look like a GT take and turned out to be a nice coral trout in the 6-8kg range. This was his first Coral Trout. After lunch we tried jigging again, encountering the same runaway trains. We changed tactics to heavier fluoro leaders and wired assist hooks, but that didn’t help as leaders were still being cut and mainlines still being busted. During this jigging session, I landed my first Almaco Jack with a big black tip shark trailing my fish all the way to the boat. The last popping spot saw Don & Brian landing two nice GTs to end the day.
Day 5 – The last day was the slowest with the only a few fish being landed, including GT and Green Jobfish. The weather was starting to look ominous and not long after the wind started to pick up. Strong wind at least 15 knots, choppy waves and subsequently rain squalls, ending our trip. Another great trip done.
Thanks & regards,
Popping Rods: Carpenter SP78EXH, SP78H, SP79M, MH79EXT, MH79XH, TBL80/43, TBL80/40, TBL711/35, KLL EP82/42, CV79/40, FCL UCB 710-Extreme H
Popping Lures: Blaze Kimitsu & Blaze Burn, Carpenter Gamma/Diablo, Seafrog SingleHook, Shell Shaping, Hammer Head Faube Poppers, Orions
Jigging Rods: Carpenter OH, Carpenter KLL50/50 UPL, Fisherman Spinoza, Ripple Fisher, Evergreen Spinjerker
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella 20000, 16000, 10000
Jigs: Fisherman Andaman, Seven Seas Hooker, Shout Shab-Shab
Species Caught: Giant Trevally, Coral Trout, Dogtooth Tuna, Grouper, Bohar Snapper, Green Jobfish, Almaco Jack
Till our next report,
Rods Popping: Ripple Fisher GT80 Reversal, Ripple Fisher Ultimo 79MH, Carpenter TBL 80/40, Carpenter SP78EXH, Saltywater Tackle Racepoint 150, Yamaga Blanks Blue Reef PE10
Jigging rods: Major Craft PE 1-3
Shimano Stella SW14000, SW 18000, Shimano Twin Power SW 14000, Shimano Stella SW5000, Shimano Saragosa 6000, Daiwa Saltiga 6500
Amegari Dzanga, Heru Cubera, Heru Skipjack, El drunkard, Carpenter gamma 140, Shell Shaping Glans, Shell Shaping trident and Twister F3 and F4. Hammerhead D & E Cup, Hammer Head Cherry Pai 220, Hammer Head Cherry Boy 240, Carpenter Bluefish 140, Blue Blue Snecon 220S, Kokari 130, Shimano Wild Response 240 F,
Major Craft Jig Para 80, 100, 120
Bluefin Trevally, Bohar Snapper, Giant trevally, Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Long Nose Emperor, Grouper, Tille Trevally, Green Jobfish, Yellowfin Tuna.
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