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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This was the big one, the trip I had been waiting for for almost a year since Dave mentioned it - a trip to a remote, fairly exclusive and difficult set of reefs and islands in the Indian Ocean.

St Brandon's or Cargados Carajos Shoals - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargados_Carajos

I met Dave at Gatwick ahead of time and after careful packing and checking had just about hit my 30Kg limit with Emirates inc my rod tube - had to dump a fair few jigs and poppers to slim it down but I took a fair arsenal. Reels and a few heavier non lethal items went into hand luggage (I take my spools off but Chris carries his through with line and all and has never been stopped) - I took my laptop as I intended to diarise as I went along (didn't happen!).

We stayed overnight up in Grand Bay before heading down to meet our skipper Jean-Francois Pitot on the SA registered 45ft Catamaran which had adequate space for us all - albeit sharing a cabin / bunk as there were 5 of us and three cabins available.

We set off ontime on Thursday morning and it rapidly became clear it was going to be a rough crossing as soon as we were out of the lee of Mauritius - big swells that I estimated to be around 3m either way hampered us for 48 hour steam (usually takes 36hrs) coupled with 25 knot winds and heavy rain squalls made for an unpleasant start! I dosed myself up on travel calm pills and managed to make it withour succumbing to mal de mer ... we also managed to lose one of the skiffs that we were ferrying up - got swamped by a big wave and promptly sunk after being cut away.

We arrived on Saturday morning and was greeted by stiff 20Kt winds but relatively stable sunny intervals at one of the South Islands - we were going Bonefishing!

I had a Bloke XL50 8Wt coupled with a Bloke 8Wt reel running a Rio 9Wt Tropical Bonefish line finishing with Rio Bonefish tapered leaders from 13lb to 20lb dependant on the environment. Flies I used were Gold Gimps and Dave's home tied version of a tan / pink Gotcha on smallish hooks. I have only ever been flats fishing once before with little success but watched and learnt from the guys who had done it before. Francois was acting as a guide / spotter for the two guys who hadn't done this before it was a boon. I soon got the hang of spotting (read spooking) Bonefish and managed to present twice to a singular fish in a little back bay on the edge of a drainage channel (water was approx knee deep and overcast). The fish saw the fly the second time on a >10 yard cast so I saw it all in slow motion ... it pounced and inhaled the fly before I realised that it had taken *short strip strike* and after a few seconds the fish realised it had been stuck and sped off peeling about 70m of backing off ... at this stage I was hping it would slow up a tad so I could recover some line and it did before speeding off again but not so far into the backing this time. It was beat as I guided it onto a shallow sand spit for the photos - adrenalin pumping at my first bone at approx 6lbs!

I didn't manage to snag anymore fish on day one but I had got my first bone so I was very happy. The evening consisted mainly of rigging and checking gear for popping the following day wind permitting. I have been shown a way of rigging a 200lb hollow core loop onto the end of my 100lb mainline which is bombproof as well as a couple of knots for tying the swivel onto my leader - Grinner or a modified nail knot. Leader was 200lb Jinkai casting wind-on onto the 200lb 8ft loop section spliced into 100lb mainline braid.

The 2nd day the wind had dropped enough to head slightly north and get a skiff out to do some popping - myself and other Dave on the skiff (Dave is very experienced and I needed to be shown the ropes!) with Colin, Dave and Chris using the Cat as a popping base - more stable but you need to be able to belt the cast out as you can't get as close to the reef. Dave F showed me how to set the drag on my Stella ... round and round it clicked to full drag then one turn back for the greenhorn!

We circled numerous little islands with sharp reef drops - the aim is to get the popper into the breaking surf wave as the GT's hide out waiting to pounce - the nastiest, knarliest, biggest coral reef and waves will produce the goods.
We circled one islet with some fairly knarly waves and coral visible - the idea is once the fish strikes the popper you give a huge couple of strikes to release it from its jaws and sink the hooks - after a few follows from tiny reef fish we were puzzled - the terrain was correct and the weather and conditons were nearly ideal ...

We moved onto another islet which was slightly larger and after 15 minutes or so the inevitable happened.

A grey shape came powering up from the reef about 20 yeards from the boat and a large swirl engulfed my popper !STRIKE! boomed Dave F behind me my sweeping popping action gave me leverage to sink the hooks and get into position to fight for my prize! ITS ON! Holy Sh*t Holy Sh*t as my arm tendons creaked at full arm extension - lean back and use all of my 13 stone to stop it taking line as Romain (the crew) powered the boat away from the reef and swell. Words cannot describe the power that these fish exert - I have had YFT and Doggies and thought I had enough under my belt to be fairly comfortable ... wrong!

Line either comes off or goes on a voice behind me comments - grind grind get it on ... ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz lose a bit ... grind it back on and a silver shape kites below the boat - after only 5 or so minutes of brutal tug of war the fish is tailed and sitting in the boat unhooked and ready for the photos! I was gobsmacked at the power and size but at the same time elated that I had done it! thats what we came for I thought as we estimated the fish around 15Kg. It has scarred a nice new Fullscale Kong 180 in midnight black but heck thats what its all about!

We continued popping as GT's are usually a pack animal (these ain't fish!) but alas all was quiet - we reasoned that the bad weather the week before had shut it down ...

We moved onto another island with a sunken fishing vessel shipwrecked upside down and had gone around the other side when we encountered another GT. Dave F had what he felt as a small take on his Orion Nambas until all hell broke loose - I jumped out of the way as a large ex rugby playing guy got bested and ragdolled down the skiff towards the back of the skiff - F*ck! total power as the rod was straight sticked (Dave near enough locks his drag solid) and braid started to peel off - the glove went over the spool and way back on his haunches braid still peeled off - I took a peep over the side to see a monster kiting away under the boat as we tried to force it off the reef (this was the one - just huge!) but it just kept going even with a locked drag and a hand over the spool - something was going to give ... *Bang* alas 170lb braid snapped like cotton and the fish returned to its home with a bit of jewellery to munch on ... Dave F estimated at 40Kg plus and I wasn't going to argue secretly thinking that I was glad to have a smaller fish under my belt as a first!

During the ret oif the afternoon we continued casting with no joy - the boys on teh Cat had landed a smaller fish and Chris lost a biggie too so the final score for the day was GT's 2 Anglers 2 ...

Unfortunately the following days the wind and rain picked up forcing us to flats fish inside the reef complex for the remainder of the excursion - not alot you can do but I had got my first - just leaves me wanting more.

We flats fished for the next few remaining days and on the leeward side of the islet we were moored near - it ws tough with overcast conditons, 20Kts of wind each day and rain squalls made it hard to spot fish and cast BUT we all perservered and managed small Bluefin Trevally, Bonefish and Chris snagged a fantastic Golden Trevally. We had a few hours casting from the beach on the islet - we had spotted some decent sized Bluefins that were crusing roung ... I had my SuperMix 270 with TwinPower 4000PG loaded with 20lb braid - standard Bass gear ... would it cut it?
I cast ahead of a group of three Bluefin approx 7-10Kg each ... one accelerated away from the pack and homed in on my paddletailed SP ... sh*t!!! as it nailed it at lightening speed ... the following few seconds were a blur as the bluefin showed me it tail and sprinted out to sea with my little reel screaming and the SM locked over ... 100mtrs+ of braid and *ping* the Bluefin had found somne coral and cut me off - so no Bass gear doesn't cut it!

We were late departing because of the weather and we had a morning left to fish a flat close by - we spotted a huge shoal of medium sized bones that numbered over a thousand at least static and swirling on the edge of a flat. We all approached and snagged a couple of fish - why weren't they moving?
I had managed to wade into the edge of the shoal and had a mass of bonefish swirling in a 6ft diameter around me - a wall of solid grey where I got fish after fish after fish - all around 3 or 4 lbs but they still stayed static!???

Suddenly it went mental about 30 yards behind me - like a huge school of baitfish getting smashed BUT these fish were bones!!!!
GT GT GT! a monster fish slowly cruised 3 foot behind me cutting a swathe through the nervous bones - cursing myself that I had left the setup 12wt on the Cat as this was the first time I could of had a shot ... I will know for next time ...

We slowly departed for home a few days behind schedule - fortunately the weather had subsided and the wind changed direction to give a fairly calm and sedate journey back - we just had to contend with Emirates ineptitude at re-organising flights and the kick back from a volcano ash cloud we knew nothing about ...













































 

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Cracking report Alex, looks like you had a great time !
 

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Alex, great report, looks like you had a good trip. Did you get to use the big poppers?
 

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cracking - sounds like you've got the G fever!
 

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wooooh those are some good fish!! i wish my dad(Tim) would take me fishing to places like that. Nice one!!!
 

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Good stuff Alex, looks amazing.
 

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Best report I've read for a long time, Alex. Brilliant stuff, especially this bit:

"We all approached and snagged a couple of fish - why weren't they moving?
I had managed to wade into the edge of the shoal and had a mass of bonefish swirling in a 6ft diameter around me - a wall of solid grey where I got fish after fish after fish - all around 3 or 4 lbs but they still stayed static!???

Suddenly it went mental about 30 yards behind me - like a huge school of baitfish getting smashed BUT these fish were bones!!!!
GT GT GT! a monster fish slowly crusied 3 foot behind me cutting a swathe through the nervous bones"

Could somebody please mention 5 odd countries where you can fish for GT's please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)

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Great report,pitty about the weather.Hope we gonna get good weather when you will be over here.By the way i just bought kayak,so if you bring yours we can organise paddle around.
 

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Thats one hell of a trip Alex well done to all involved, any plans for a return visit
 
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