Benguerra Island

Make sure you take a lot of lures with as it’s inevitable that when fishing for these large gamefish you will lose a lot of lures especially if you are fishing the shallower reefs.

Growing up we were very fortunate that my parents took our family on many holidays to Mozambique, where we spent a lot of time in Zavora, Paindane and in the later years Pomene. It was in these years that I fell in love with this beautiful country and its expansive coastline. We spent a lot of time free diving and fishing on these trips and enjoying all the diversity of the Indian Ocean. As I got older life got busy and before I knew it 15 years had passed without a trip to this special country. So, when my best friend Lee called me and asked if I was interested to go on a fishing trip to Benguerra Island it was a definite yes without even thinking about it.

Lee & I have always enjoyed light tackle lure fishing, so we made sure that when we were up there that we went with a charter company that specialized in popping, jigging, spinning etc. We were recommended a company called Bruce Cooke Fishing. From our first communications with Bruce Cooke, we knew right away this was the company to use for our style of fishing.

Our trip was 7 days so we decided we would go out on 4 charters over this period. Our local guide for the 4 days was a gentleman called Dean Taylor who is very experienced in the region. He worked very hard to put us on the fish and to keep the fishing interesting with many different styles of fishing.

Our first stop on all the mornings was on deeper reefs where we would spend a few hours jigging Spro Bucktails and Majorcraft Jigparras. We caught numerous Kingfish species, Job fish and the odd Couta. As the day unfolded, we would then move onto the shallower reefs where we fished surface lures and large sticks baits for any GT’s that where in the area. We managed to catch quite a few in the 5-10KG range, and we were fortunate enough on the last day to get a GT of 40-45KG’s. This fish will be remembered as it was landed on very light tackle on a reef that was only around 10-15 meters deep. GT’s are well known for their explosive hard runs straight down to the reef to try break you off on the rocks, this specific fish lived up to this reputation with it trying to reef us 5 times. Somehow with a lot of luck on our side and very good boat manoeuvring from Dean Taylor we managed to not get broken off.

Another interesting later afternoon session our guide took us on was on edge of Bazaruto Island, probably only about 150 meters off the beach where we proceeded to cast into the shore break area whilst he slowly drove along to cover as much ground along this stretch. We caught very good fish in these shallow waters just off the beach and managed to get a nice GT which was chasing fish in the shallows. We also added another species to the list in this area, which was the Queenfish, they were not big but fun to catch on light tackle in the shallows.

On our third day out, we were in an area called the Gap which is channel between Benguerra and Bazaruto Island. This is a great area to fish when the offshore areas are too rough, as it’s fairly sheltered and can be fished when the sea is unfishable due to high winds. In this area we caught numerous species and hooked up with some large GT’s which we didn’t managed to land as they quickly reefed us on the shallow reefs. The better hook-ups in this area whereby my partner Lee who managed to hook 2 large Springer, which are well known for taking to the air very quickly to try throw your lure. We didn’t land these two fish as both threw the lure right at the boat with spectacular leaps out of the water. It was however special to at least get to see these elusive species up close as we had never hooked them before. We also had an epic surface take on a Halco Rooster Popper in this area from a Couta that came out of the water easily 1.5 meters on the hit. Normally when they go airborne like this on the take you don’t hook them as they come with a lot of paces behind them. Fortunately, the Hooks stuck, and we landed a beautiful Couta estimated at around 10KG.

On the final day out, we bumped into a large school of Bonita which also had the odd Yellowfin Tuna in it. These fish were feeding aggressively on the surface and we managed to spot this action due to the heavy bird presence in the area. We caught a lot of Bonita but couldn’t manage to connect with the Yellowfin, so I decided to throw out a large Halco Popper to try attracting the larger fish and after my first pop, it was smashed by a smaller Yellowfin Tuna which hit the popper with a lot of energy as they are known for. This was a great way to end a very special fishing trip.

With the week coming to an end, we were very happy with the way it turned out as we had managed to catch some trophy size gamefish but also managed to catch many different species over the week. This is what makes fishing in the Indian Ocean interesting as you never know what you are going to catch on each cast. We ended up with 13 different species for the week namely Giant Kingfish/ Green Spot Kingfish/ Large Eye Kingfish/ Yellow Spot Kingfish/ Green Job fish/ Rosy Job fish/ Great Barracuda/ King Mackerel/ Bonito/ Queenfish/ Yellowfin Tuna/ Garfish & Rainbow Runners.

In conclusion, I briefly wanted to mention the tackle that we used over the trip and what we found worked the best. Our plan was to fish light tackle and we stuck to this over the week with both Lee and I throwing the Majorcraft Giant Killing Buri Rod, this is a very lightweight rod which makes casting all day with it very easy, but it also has the backbone to pull the larger fish when needed. We both spooled our trusty Shimano spinning reels with 40LB Dangan Braid which is also a fine product from Majorcraft. The lures we used mostly was the Spro Bucktails in 1.5-2 ounce in either straight white or straight chartreuse colour. We vertically jigged these and used these to cast at fish that were feeding on the surface. The lure that pulled the most fish over the trip was the Majorcraft Jigparra Slow Pitch in Zebra Glow. This lure caught a lot of fish while we were vertically jigging on the deeper reefs. For those that may not know the Majorcraft line of tackle, it’s a very high-end JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) product that Outdoors365 in South Africa are the distributors for. Worth a try if you are looking for very high-quality equipment.

For the surface fishing, we used Halco Rooster Poppers/Chiselnose’s and the Jigstar Starwalker Stickbaits. It is critical that if you ever go on a trip like this you make sure that you have good quality equipment and make sure you take a lot of lures with as it’s inevitable that when fishing for these large gamefish you will lose a lot of lures especially if you are fishing the shallower reefs.

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