Lula’s Paradise (Part 1)

Don’t be afraid to throw in the dark as one often gets the bite when it is still pitch black

My dream destinations relook at some of my best trips over the years was so well received and most of the requests from my shore angling mates were for this one – quite honestly possibly the best short angling expedition I have ever had …

“Hey my bru this is Ferdinand Rabie how would u like to join me on a trip fishing to Lula’s Paradise  Mozambique?” This was the call I received a week before departing  on a epic angling adventure for 2 short days to Lula’s Paradise, a lodge situated at Bartholomew Dias point on the northern end of the Bazaruto archipelago at the mouth of the Govuro river approximately  110 k.m  [11/2-2hours]from Villancoulos.

The journey started with a flight from Durban to Johannesburg then on to Villancoulos via Imhambane. We were greeted at the airport by lodge owner “oom Boet” who had a cooler filled with refreshments on ice. With “2ms” flowing and Ferdi the entertainer to keep us laughing – the one and a half hour trip took no time at all the last 30 km is driven along the beach with a permit  obtained from the Port Captain of  Inhassorro – this adds to the anticipation as one passes local fisherman with couta, kingfish, queen fish and natal snoek. It is easy to spot the anglers in the vehicle by the rubber necking every time a good fish passes by.

Having fished this area under the expert guidance of Craig Thomassen some 5 years previous I was interested to see if the area was as good as I had remembered. I wasn’t to be disappointed …. Because this area is such a diverse one offering both shore, deep-sea and estuary angling I am going to do this article in 2 parts. I will start with shore angling and next edition concentrate on the deep seaside as well the lodge itself with some helpful tips for visitors.

SHORE  ANGLING

Possibly the least practiced form of angling  in this area, I feel that this area has the potential to be a world class light tackle spinning destination. For those spinners who would like to cross  species like, couta [king mackerel], kingfish[ g,t, green spot, yellow spotted and even bludger], natal snoek [queen mackerel, eastern little tuna, prodigal son, queen fish and even possibly yellow fin tuna off the list, then this area should be right at the top of your bucket list.

BARTHOLOMEW DIAS  POINT

A hop skip and a jump from the lodge, the point is situated at the opening of the river mouth, masses of water move in and out of the estuary and right on the point there is a deep drop off that holds  amongst others, Couta, G.T, Green spot kingfish, queen mackerel and sea pike.

This area is best fished at first and last light  and although tide dependent can still produce results over both changing tides.

We have had success with a number of lures here but my top would be:

  1. Halco max sardine colour – worked with a jerk retrieve
  2. Kingfisher Onda – sardine colour or white – allow to sink and retrieve full tilt
  3. Surface poppers like the rattler popper or the halco roosta [medium]
  4. 5 inch drop shot minnow [Berkley pearl watermelon or McCarthyGoldfish] or a paddle tail  4-6 inch McCarthy coppertruese. [We had great success allowing the drop shots to sink right to the bottom and just twitching in the current especially on the outgoing tide-try inserting a bass rattle into your paddle tail for more effectiveness in low light
  5. Glow spoon like the CID couta casting or chase bullet [best in low light or even dark conditions].

We have had best results here just before/ just as the sun rises. Don’t be afraid to throw in the dark as one often gets the bite when it is still pitch black – glow spoons and colours work well at this time – it is not necessary to glow the lure fully as the slightest of glow sometimes out produces the bright glow. As the sun rises you can change to a shiny lure or a popper if the water is glassed off. As the day progresses change to drop shot. For the inedible angler one can also walk down the beach from point [in line with entrance ramp].

Throwing or sliding a karapau, baby couta or queen mackerel head or a fresh Lula [chokka] could produce amongst others, Giant guitarfish, Blackfin or even a Bow mouth guitarfish.

B. D. Island

A small sand island some 10 k.m  boat ride from Lula’s , this must be one of all time favourite places to fish from terra firma – there is nothing  more exciting  for a shore angler than catching a game fish on artificial lure – watching the water explode to froth at your feet with feeding game fish is an adrenalin rush – throwing a lure into the middle of it  and the anticipation of the bite  can only be experienced for oneself.

The inland point of the island is my best spot – there is a massive drop off on both sides with huge water movement both ways as the tides push and recede.

Once again, the first and last light principal does apply, however when it is happening one can have bites throughout the day. It is important to remember that driving the boat in the dark is dangerous here due to the extensive netting that takes place. Arrive as early as safety will allow, perhaps the lodge may be able to organize a sleep over tour to take advantage of a late afternoon early evening and an early morning session. I am sure leaving a baited rod out would produce some big fish or a ghost crab maybe a big stumpy.

When you arrive start by throwing blind just of the edge of the wild side – look out for current lines or any activity – birds or feeding fish. In a group I would suggest one throw top water [stick bait or popper], one throw a spoon, one throws an onda and one a drop shot.  On the drop shot I always fish a short piece of AFW steel wire joined to the leader with an Albright – the Couta seem to swallow the softer plastic and often bite you off. I also tried using the 60 lb AFW CAMO nylon coated wire – it is supple and almost invisible in the clean conditions. While throwing be on the constant look out for any bird activity or smashing game fish – you need to keep an eye on both sides of the island as you never know where they will pop up.

Hear it is often a case of match the hatch especially with the eastern little tuna – who at times will only eat the smallest of spoons – on this last trip this clearly demonstrated as we had thrown into a shoal of feeding fish many times with bigger lures with no result I changed to a 28g couta casting spoon as was one immediately – I released the fish threw again and was one straight away – landing 2 bonnies of between 6-8 kg in 2 throws is spectacular.

I have personally caught Couta, Queen Fish, G.T, Eastern Little Tuna , and this trip 3 bludger kingfish[this is the first I heard from shore]. If things go quiet or as the day progresses one can throw or slide baits for couta, prodigals or even sharks and sand sharks. If you can catch a live bait even better. Using a balloon to drift a bait out in the current can it the bait out over two hundred meters at times.

Remember if you are going to B. D Island to take enough fluid, sunscreen and a gazebo for shade and of course the makos.  Don’t forget the Camera as the sunrise and sunsets hear are spectacular and if you happen to get a fish at these times you will definitely one for the wall.

Tackle

I like to take two out fits  for spinning my first choice is the Poseidon ultra light spinning  11’6 matched with a Diawa Oceano 4500 J loaded with 33lb 4 or 8 weave gator braid and a 65 lb kingfisher fluro leader, this outfit is absolutely awesome light enough to throw all day but strong enough to put the brakes on a  good fish. My back up is the new 9ft’62 Diawa saltist plugging rod matched with a Diawa Caldia 4000 loaded with 30 lb Diawa tournament braid – I rig this outfit with a small spoon for the fussy bonito. I try and re rig my spoons, ondas and plugs with the new Mustad o shaunassy single hooks to cause less damage however I suggest you do this before arriving as when things start happening there is no time!. Look out for the new Mustad in line lure hook coming soon.

Estuary Angling

Lula’s is situated on the Govuro Estuary, this huge system holds some great fish. For bad weather days or for estuary enthusiasts one can target spotted grunter, cock grunter, perch and the mighty river roman as well as kingfish and even the odd couta. The rocks right in front of the lodge hold a myriad of smaller fish to keep the youngsters busy.

As you read this lodge owners Boet and Jakkie are revamping the website and Ferdinand’s tours are putting together packages for both drive in and fly in  clients. I would suggest you check out their rates  you may be pleasantly surprised.

In the next edition we will supply the updated web details as well as exploring the offshore fishing and tips for visitor’s.

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