Madagascar – September 2012

Exploratory trip
By Graeme Field

Not content to go through the motions and fish the same areas week in and week out, every few months we put together an “exploratory” trip to seek out new fisheries, reefs and gather more information about the area we are operating in so that we can offer more options and the best possible fishing to our clients.

Our latest such trip was in September 2012 when we found a 10 day gap between groups of clients. We loaded up King Julien and yacht Now Now with an obscene amount of fuel, a bit of food, lots of water and a fair amount of beer and set forth for some fairly remote areas we’d been eyeing out on the charts for some time.

The trip started with a very late (or very early, depending on which way you look at it) arrival in Nosy Be, followed by an hour’s sleep and a crack of dawn start. The two of us who had just flown in elected to continue our sleep on board the yacht, while lodge manager Jason and head guide Brandon headed off on King Julien. In an effort to save fuel, they trolled all day and we met up at the first anchorage that evening.

Sufficiently recovered we cracked a couple of cold beers as the sun set behind us, and soon the yacht was covered in tackle and gear and all sorts of equipment and supplies as we prepared for the first proper day of exploring.

The following day the four of us left early on King Julien and basically went from reef to reef, charting each one, marking the structure on the GPS and taking note of where any fish were holding. This entailed dropping a jig or fly or pulling a popper around every likely looking pinnacle to see what was around.

The usual suspects made an appearance – GT’s, Bluefin, greenspots, jobfish etc, and as soon as we’d figured out what species were hanging aroud a particular reef and where there were holding, we’d up lines and look for the next productive spot.

Late that afternoon we discovered big schools of bait cruising around a big fairly shallow bay, and we soon were hooking into some trevally species that were seriously strong for their size. They turned out to be Tille Trevally, and we smashed a whole heap of them on light jigs. In amongst these a fair number of 20lb GT’s jumped onto the jigs and poppers to add some additional excitement to the mix. Of course most of them jumped onto Jason’s popper – the man is a GT catching machine, it’s ridiculous. Probably because he commandeers the entire front of the boat and his popper is in the water before anyone else and before the boat has even stopped moving and started the drift. He’s a big scary dude with forearms like Popeye so we let him get away with it most of the time.

The next day was windy so we went ashore on some rocky ledges and beaches we’d seen earlier, and it proved to be a good move as the boys caught some nice GT’s and greenspots on foot. Brandon in particular landed a couple of good sized GT’s on a spinning rod. Great fun.

The rest of the week was pretty much the same. We spent a couple of nights off the yacht camping on a remote stretch of land Robinson Crusoe style which added to the feeling of adventure. We were concentrating in shallower inshore reefs and bays etc, so we never really landed any big fish or any dog tooth tuna as we weren’t fishing the main deep drop offs where they lurk.

But we caught a span of GT’s, greenspots and tille trevally. I eventually put the camera down and pulled out the fly rod and caught a couple of tille trevally on fly which was a new species for me on fly, so I was stoked with that. It’s getting harder and harder to add to that species list!

A week later, very weary and very smelly we arrived back at Sakatia island, another successful trip under the belt and some new fishing areas explored and recorded for future trips.

As I write this in Jan 2013, our 2012 has just come to an end and we’ve just packed up everything and the boys are heading home for a 2 month break during the cyclone season. Weeks are filling up very fast for the new season already, so if you want to experience the best fishing and the most professional guiding Madagascar has to offer, then give Liquid Horizon a call today to book your trip in 2013 with Madagascar Fishing Adventures.

PS I got a bit funky with the images, going with the Ultimate Fighter look – which was pretty cool until I resized them for web, which kind of ruined them. But I was too lazy to go through the whole process again, so I apologise in advance and I promise to update them soon!

Air Flow Stealth Blue Water Shilton Complet Fly Fisherman