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Well it's finally here! I am off to St Brandon's tomorrow for a 13 day live aboard trip 300 nm up from Mauritius.
The trip has been organised by cunning mastermind Dave Sharples who is the man in the know and has put the trip together off his own back without using a tour operator - good man!

It has been a long hard winter and the bass fishing still hasn't kicked off however I have been more focused on getting ready for this trip; giving up smoking on NYE, specific gym training since December, dieting and generally looking after myself so I give myself the best start on what I am expecting to be a physically demanding fishing trip.

Because this is the first big trip I have done I have had to save my pennies to rig up properly - tropical fishing tackle is NOT cheap and has cost around 3 times the price of the trip - but I have the tackle required and it should last providing I look after it well - I may even hire it out as a package (Big thank you to Andre for shipping his Shilton SL7 for me to borrow for the trip! - all the way from Cape Town!)

Main quarries are in order;
GT's
Dogtooth Tuna
Reef species (would love a big Maori wrasse!)
Bonefish
General pelagics - Sails, YFT and Marlin
Sharks?

I am a GT virgin and hope I can set a reasonable PB - my DG Tuna PB stands at 49KG so hoping to top when we stop off for some jigging on the Soudan Bank on the way up to St Brandon's

The weather looks reasonable at the moment - a smattering of thunderstorms and sunny days with av daytime temp around 32deg and night temp around 27deg - this is going to make the fishign pretty tough casting, popping, jigging and fly casting will be alot harder and take its toll. Wind is around 12 knots at present - a reasonable breeze.

Tackle ... I was hoping to do a big post on tackle I am taking and rigging however I have run out of time with still alot to do tonight so I will list whats going;

Popping Gear
Ocean Revolution GT Explorer Widowmaker PE10 Popping Rod
Stella 18000SW
JB Hollowcore 100lb braid
Streamline Leader loop to loop Jinkai mono 200lbs or fisherman 240lb twisted leader

Lamiglas PE5 Spinning rod rebuilt by ****'s contact
Twinpower 12000SW
JB Hollowcore 60lb Braid
Streamline Leader loop to loop Jinkai mono 80lbs

Jigging Gear
HOTS Wei World PE8 500g Jigging rod
Stella 20000SW
JB Hollowcore 60lb Braid
Streamline Leader loop to loop Jinkai mono 200lb

Tenryu Supermix 270
Twinpower 4000PG
JB Solid Core PE2
Seagur Flouro 30lb leader

Fly Tackle
Loop Blueline 12/13wt
Shilton SL7 with 65lb GS backing
Airflo 12wt GT lines -WF floating and intermediate

Bloke XL50 8wt
Bloke SW Reel 9wt with 30lb GS backing
Rio Bonefish lines WF 8 and 9wt

We are flying with emirates so a default 30kg limit inc the rod tube is pretty good plus a laptop bag and hand luggage - just about managed it!

16 Large GT poppers / swimbaits - Fullscale/Orion/ Darkstar/ Heru
10 Medium poppers / swimbaits - TackleHouse/Smith/Orion
10 Large jigs - FClLabo/Fisherman/Sevenseas
6 Small Jigs - FClLabo/Smith/Xorus
15 small swimbaits and poppers - staple UK bass plugs
20 SP's ranging from xlayers to large shads
30 bonefish flies approx
40 bluewater / gt flies approx
Terminal tackle - spare line, leaders, hooks and tackle plus tools
Jigging Master Dual Fighting plate with back support
Fisherman casting gloves

We are all sticking 20EU into a pool for the evening PE2 challenge - biggest fish sweeps the 100EU at the end of the week - well beats playing cards whilst drinking beer! (its a lure only challenge!)

I am taking a waterproof vid cam plus a headcam (POV a first?) and a normal Canon Ixus in a waterproof housing - oh and my laptop to write it all up day by day so I can post as we get back on the 26th to Mauritius.

Fairly nervous and anxious on what to expect but at the same time looking forward to it immensly (going to miss the wife and doggie as its been years since we have been apart for this long!) - it has been around 3 years in the making sinvce I saw gtpopping.com to do a proper GT trip - and now the wait is over!
 

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Wow !! What a trip planned, and what an awesome collection of gear !!! I hope you get into them in a big way !! Tight lines Amigo !!!!!
 

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Wow....

What a trip that will be, you lucky, lucky chaps.

I am going to be following with interest. Will you be doing a catch report each evening, or one big one when you get back?

Mark
 

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Enjoy it seems your in for one hell of a trip Alex, makes me feel better going to Norway after seeing all the gear you had to buy holy duck lot of ££££ spent going on this adventure.. have a blast......
 

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Have a great time Alex. Good luck with all your gear, that lot must take some carrying around!!!! Surpised by the absence of an LRF gear though.......
 

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Good luck Alex, I hope all goes well and you get some PB''s, keep us informed of your progress. By the way, who is going to carry all that gear ?
 

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Alex did you see what the wind strength and direction was?

So looking forward to getting out there, just got the nerves about baggage weight and getting stung for excess by the check in staff, never happened yet on Emirates but there's always a first. Luckily you're allowed a set of "golf clubs" in addition to your 30kg. I store my golf clubs in a 7ft Carmate Rod Case so that should be fine. Unless they ask to check the contents.....

Got a 36 hour sail out and back so will be having fin trying to catch some billfish and wahoos, tunas etc on jigging gear. Just hope they don't run to far, last trip a marlin ate a bonito I was reeling in and nearly spooled my Stella 20K. Then it spat out the bonito and I got laughed at for getting nearly cleaned up by a 4kg fish....
 

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Have a great time Alex. Good luck with all your gear, that lot must take some carrying around!!!! Surpised by the absence of an LRF gear though.......
My LRF kit is a Smith KGS68M with a Twinpower 5000HG and PE3. LRF quarry in St Brandon is 10KG red bass, 20KG doggies, rainbow runners and green jobfish! If we get a rainbow runner or jobfish at night they'll be getting released sporting a 12/0 circle...
 

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Good luck guys......I hope all goes well for you...Don't forget to take plenty of photo's and post them for us mere mortals to look enviously at.....
 

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Good luck guys,sounds like its gonna be a great trip.Think it might go on my 'to do' list.
 
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