By Glanville, Nomad Pro Guide: profile page >>
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Bugatti Reef July 2009
3 weeksCoral Sea Lagoon Explorer
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Another week of charter begins and with an excited crew and a fresh bunch of guests that have just stepped off a float plane with thoughts of nothing less than world class fishing in mind.
It was time to get in the swing of things and with all the boats tied alongside the mother ship it was all go…guests were split up between boats and the guides decided their game plans, most of our guests on this trip were hunting Gts so we set out to get the numbers on the board, in the 10-15knts and the end of the run out tide available for the afternoon it was a race to the best spots, which doesn’t really end up in a race in one directions as you see 4 boats dispatch from the mothership in separate directions.
The fishing for the afternoon was true Bugatti fashion…couple shoals of bait flickering on a current edge and excitedly you know- right the games on here – stopping away from the reef for a few couple test casts and some helpful hints to get the guys familiar with style of the whole Gt casting/popping and it was straight into it…pulling up on the spot it was game time from cast 1, in the 2 hours of fishing all the boats returned back for drinks with some excited stories as the Gts tend to leave embedded in your brain, it’s unbelievable to think that the guides at times get more excited than the guests when they see hundreds of Gts a week smashing surface lures off the surface. Casting surface lures to GTs and other pelagics just seems to be so addictive and so visual, that it is difficult not to get addicted to it.
With the weather up and down between 10 and 25 knots during the first week, and a low pressure hanging around the area it seemed to make the Gts less excited to come out and attack the lures with thoughts of death in their mind, like they are so notorious for, but rather seemed to be attacking the lures out of a territorial display, bumping and head butting the lures rather than actually eating them, which resulted in a lot of fish being missed and hook ups only just in the lip, there was a day where we only managed to get 4 fish to the boat after seeing 20+ fish for the day. We tried casting smaller lures at the fish which proved to be the key in the game and the little 80gram dogtooth stick baits seemed to be like bite size chocolates to them and it made for some sporty fishing using 50lb and way lighter outfits to catch big fish was pretty entertaining. Matching the lures and tackle to the right location was the key.
The Spanish mackerel however didn’t seem to mind the weather and there were numerous airborne attacks on the casted Gts lures, Rod managed to get a fish out on a stick a stick bait of around 35kg that ate the lure only meters away from the side of the boat, the whole 3 weeks of charter we saw heaps of Spanish mackerel, and the sizes were astonishing, many being over 36kg.
The decision was made to move to a new anchorage for the second week of charter and the fish seemed to find their knives and forks as the weather held for up a couple of days. After fishing around a new area close to the anchorage I ventured a further couple miles to an area where I had some really good fishing a few months prior, and after catching a fair few fish the decision was made for afternoon drinks and on the way home stumbled upon some really good looking water, a small coaxing of guests that there will be a fish there or I would jump into the sea…bad plan I was under pressure now, it was late afternoon and we were fishing directly into the sun which makes visibility of the reef near zero, the first couple cast never produced until we drifted down the ledge and onto the money zone and it was on for young and old, we managed to get 2 double hook ups in 2 drifts until our time was well and truly up excitedly returning back to the mothership.
Our plan was to move further South down the reef and a 20mile crossing was to be made and with the gap in the weather it was our chance. As the tide changed it was 4 boats heading to the south to catch the calmest period…just when you’ve thought, as a guide that you have seen pretty much what there is to see in Gt fishing you have a couple days of absolutely mind blowing, unbelievable Gt fishing which further promoted the theory of the fishing earlier in the charter where fish were aggressively charging on the lures territorially rather eating them, as the hook up rate went up something stupid and what fish were seen were coming up and smashing lures with hunger in mind.
That particular day Rod and Tim were fishing close to one another and rod managed to hunt down what on the radio sounded like a Gt annual gathering, With constant shouts of double hook up on the radio, Rod the very excited bloke he is couldn’t stop and eventually Tim couldn’t help but join in on the mayhem, myself and Ed were having a fairly good day ourselves and what we were hearing sounded unbelievable as we rafted up for lunch to take a break. Over a couple drinks, speaking to Rod that evening and trying to picture what he was saying was just mad, the edge they were fishing had the run out tide pushing current and big shoals of fusiliers up against it and from 9.30am till 2pm they had non stop Gt action with packs of 5-10 Gts attacking anything they casted in the water and every cast, if that’s not enough for you half way through the session they had a Dogtooth Tuna get fully airborne with the stickbait gripped between its teeth, it unfortunately managed to some how dislodge the hooks. He managed to land a total of 17 Gts on the edge along with Tims total of 11 Gts, not a bad session I thought and after consulting with the guys on their day found out that half the time they weren’t fishing as they couldn’t lift their rods, this was evident in the way the beers were going down finding difficulty to lift it for every sip…
Waking up to a dead calm sea the following morning and the excited voices of the guys down stairs at breakfast left me briefly paging through our navigation aids-aerial photos- and coming with a ridiculous game plan, it was time to throw the ropes and go fishing.
Rod, Ed and Tim fished around the red tape area from the previous day and constant action from the word go, my morning further South started off relatively slow until, the tide began running out at 10am, we drifted into a blue hole, all guns blazing and “our day”, started, first casts double hook up and a truck of a fish came up to inhale Daves 80gram stickbait that he was casting on 50lb, fortunately for Dave the fish wasn’t interested in peanuts for breakfast…this thing meant business… needless to say that later that day his light outfit ended up in more pieces than you buy them in as a Gt, “tried”, to find an escape route around a bommie. Our day continued in this sort of fashion until about 2pm…
We had boated 10 fish by 2.30pm and the current slowed so the guys decided an overdue lunch was in order whilst I was slowly idling around looking for a little current…after hearing about the dogtooth tuna the previous day decided to go cast a couple lures before the run in tide became too strong over the deeper outside shoals and the instant the first lure hit the water it was devoured by a 30kg+ Gt and so the afternoon continued in some sort of fashion that Rod experienced the day before, I had to get the guys to click their bail arms over before the lures hit the water else there was too much slack line when the lure hit the water and we were missing too many…I don’t think those fish had ever seen a boat let alone a lure, it was time to head home and in 2 hours managed to boat 14 of the 14000000 bites we had leaving us on 20 Gts for the day, on route home found another one of these shoals and they could not refuse a cast, 2 lures hit the water an double hook up immediately, one fish came off and as I pulled up for the last cast for the day 3 lures hit the water and within 4 pops of the lures they all evaporated,..triple hook up and packs of Gts frenzied up by the action trying to find their share…as all 3 fish were boated with a total of 24 Gts for the day we drifted away with the current and had to call it a quits as we still had half hour of running directly into the sun between a maze of reefs to get home.
These sort of experiences are just unbelievable and I would test anyone to find any place in the world that there are more Gts and some monsters as well. Damon joined us for the last week of charter and whilst fishing on a point noticed a shoal of abnormally scared rainbow runners and on arriving at the crime scene there was a pack of Gts that Damon conveyed extremely excitedly over the radio that were 6ft long, casting some poppers between rainbow runners that were exploding out of the water, left them bending over the gunwale of the boat they tussled one of these creatures for some solid while before the hooks pulled out beneath the boat, Damon after working these waters for several years now suggested that the fish would have been around the 60kg mark, at the same time this was happening Rod was stuck into a fish that a popper in a blue hole, the fish brought to the boat was 131cm FL/100cm Girth, which translates into a fish of over 45kg.
The Spanish Mackerel this trip also seemed unusually massive and I was lucky enough to witness the biggest Spaniard I have ever seen. After a very hard but productive day of Gt fishing casting lures into 25-35knts of wind we managed to tame 9 fish by2.30 and it was time to go play with some lighter gear 20-30lb in search of shark mackerel and Bludger trevally in the shallows in a spot where we had some good action the previous day, a couple casts and we were into a fish, it was a mammoth tussle on light gear by Gerhard using a 2inch metal slug and 20lb braid, the fish spooled him 3 times and I was up on the plane chasing it at some stages after about 30mins the fish was slowly being persuaded to come to the boat, shortly after that the fish was brought onto the deck, after seeing thousands of Spanish mackerel both commercially line fishing in South Africa and charter fishing in Mozambique I put a guess on the fish between 40-45kg, the following day Rod caught another mammoth specimen that swallowed the X-rap down its throat so the fish was brought back and it weighed a 33kg which is also massive for a Spanish mackerel.
It is unbelievable speaking of these big fish like this, I’m sitting here writing this and remembering the experience first hand and apart from the hundreds of Gts we caught over the 3week period the memory that sticks out in my mind was in the last 2 hours on the last day of the 3 weeks, leaving especially early in the morning and fishing in and around some blue holes, saw a fish come up at a half a cast away, “there’s a fish on your lure!!! nah think it’s a shark…my god it’s a Gt!!!!”, were the words along with couple others, that were expelled from my mouth when I saw a Gt of 55-60kg eat a popper in perfect vision only 5 meters from the side of my boat, the memory runs through my mind in slow motion and I will be back to that blue hole in search of that beast again someday soon.
The memories that stick out in my mind are simply too much to try write out. I could write endless pages of stories of all the amazing events we as guides get to witness during these 3 week trips.
However, we did film the action on this trip, and there’s a DVD available that we filmed on the day we caught 24 GTs in one day.
Looking forward to getting you guys into some fish sometime soon again…
Glanville and the Nomad Team
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