As the longed-for Marlin appeared to be still largely absent from our fishing grounds, we decided to make the most of the huge variety of species available to target in this area of theIndian Ocean.
So, we set off on our third fishing trip of our holiday with our sights now set firmly on doing some bait fishing for Red Snapper and Grouper, and maybe if things turned out well, for a big Tiger shark in the afternoon!
This bait fishing sounded like a lot of fun, but was pretty specialized, involving fishing heavy gear at big depths of over 600ft, over a very snaggy coral bottom. Whether we caught much or not, the day was guaranteed to be tiring, especially for Heather.
We had a quick troll through Sailfish alley on the way out, but didn’t manage to raise any, and only managed to land a couple of Skipjack Tuna of about 3-4kgs. These would hopefully come in handy as bait for our shark fishing if the conditions looked favourable later in the day.
We arrived at our first mark, and over went our baited triple hook rigs, and down and down and down they went – it seemed like an age before they hit the bottom. Quickly winding up a couple of turns to keep the leads out of harm’s way, we were soon getting the rapid tap-tap-tap from small snapper and reef fish, as they plucked away at our Dorado strip offerings. Heather got a hefty bite, struck and wound down furiously, but the fish came adrift, and she had the task of winding her gear all the way back up, to be re-baited. Meantime, while I was laughing at her plight, the same thing happened to me! That will teach me I thought, as I started the long haul back to the surface to re-bait.
Next drift over the reef, we both had Red Snapper of around 3-4kg, and this was followed by a couple more that were slightly bigger. Then Steve decided to move off to another mark in search of bigger fish. Ten minutes later and we were both dropping down with new hope, and it wasn’t long before I was into what I thought was the reef! Heather had become snagged; and so Steve pushed the boat forward to pull for a break – Heather’s rig broke lose, ditching the lead, but mime didn’t ! It seemed that mine was a heavy fish and after a few minutes of grunting and groaning on my part, it burst into life, savagely taking about 3-4m of line and pulling me into the coral. You know the rest, and we decided it must have been a very big Grouper, or possibly an big Amberjack. Either way, it did me !
We fished on and had a few more Snapper before we decided to try for Heather’s first Sailfish again in the afternoon, as the tide wasn’t right for the Tigers. We trolled around but like most of the other boats, only caught a few small Dorado or Skipjacks. So, by the end of the day, we had no flags flying, but vowed to “smash it up” on our next trip !
Find out how we got on very soon !
Stew and Heather