Dream destinations : Madagascar

We thought we would be a little different and decided to go and have a look what the other side of the island had to offer.

When you think of fishing in Madagascar, you most probably think Nosy Be. We thought we would be a little different and decided to go and have a look what the other side of the island had to offer. Our destination, Antsiranana or Diego Suarez, which is actually a very popular wind surf destination.

For wind surfing, you need wind, and we got plenty. But we were not there to surf. The first 4 days of our trip we could only fish in protected bays or near the main bay to get away from the wind. Luckily the skipper knew what he was doing and still put us on the fish.

The first day we mostly popped which produced a couple of species including green job fish, barracuda and quite a few nice GT with Stephan’s 20kg GT on a Kamatsu GT Pop popper the highlight of the day. I also caught a white tip reef shark of about 50kg on popper, which really made the lower back burn for a bit. Duane managed the only fish on jig for the opening day with a decent Bigeye Trevally.

The second day started of with a rush of adrenalin when I hooked into a massive sailfish. Unfortunately, the hook set wasn’t good as the jig was hit on the drop and after the second aerial assault the line went slack. The rest of the day delivered a few respectable GT and a large barracuda for Duane.

Day 3 started off with everyone except me suffering from severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Stephan was feeling the worst and ended up staying in the hotel all day after a quick visit to the doctor. After a quiet start to the morning my pink Kamatsu GT Pop got hammered. “Big GT. Big GT.” And so, the tug of war began. After a few heart-stopping runs for the reefs and the Konger Saltex 8000’s 65lb drag getting a proper workout, I finally started to get the upper hand. I’m not sure how long the fight lasted, but the fish and I were both wasted at the end. The reef we were fishing was only about 12 meters deep and sometimes even shallower. Fishing with an experienced, professional captain and crew really help in situations like this. The GT made it onto deck with high fives all round and after measuring and tagging it, the paparazzi snapped a few before we released the 45kg monster to fight another day.

The fourth morning all four of us were on board again. The cloud cover had lifted a bit, but it was still quite windy which meant we had to spend another day in and around the main bay. Everyone managed a few GT, but the day belonged to Hardus. He landed a stunning 25kg GT on popper and was so delighted with his catch that he decided to take the next day off and joined his wife for a tour to some nearby sites.

Day 5 we finally got some decent weather and could head out a bit further. The fish also seemed to enjoy the better weather. Stephan was into a decent fish first up, and even before he managed to get it to the boat all hell broke loose. Duane hooked into something serious. After lapping the boat, we finally got a number plate – Dogtooth Tuna. The doggie really tested Duane’s back (He injured his back before the trip and had to fish on painkillers) and after a few solid runs he managed to land a 30kg dogtooth tuna. The paparazzi did their bit again, before the fish swam off strongly. We moved spot and Stephan got into the action again. The GT really made him work but he managed to land a stunning 24kg specimen.

On our final day we got greeted by the picture-perfect weather. We headed all the way north to fish the most northern point of Madagascar. We started by popping near a few cliffs, but it seemed that all the fish had left the area. We then went further out to jig a drop off, which was also deserted of fish. After moving spots again, we finally found the party. Drift by drift we hooked into fish from GT, rainbow runner, amberjack, job fish, dogtooth tuna, bluefin trevally and a few more species. Stephan was again into action, like the day before, with a solid 28kg GT that bent his Konger Vertical Jigging rod and his back double. Interestingly enough we didn’t manage one grouper for the whole trip.

We returned home with a lekker rosy job fish for the table and smiles all-round. It was truly an epic adventure. Until the next one………….

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