Monday, September 19, 2011

Fishing Report September, Target Red Bass and BFT

To change things up a little bit it was decided that we would head to the South in search of some Red Bass and Blue Finned Trevally. Previous months had been spent targeting Emperors with some success but a tougher challenge call us, so off we went at a gentlemanly hour.
Ryan starts off the day with a nice 'cuda
The fishing started off fairly slowly with Ryan getting a good barracuda as the first catch. We worked poppers hard for the first hour or so with little to show for it.
Small tigerfish probably looking for a mate rather than lunch
A few small fish were taken (tigerfish, Red Bass and Pink Snapper) on a gold Yo Zuri and the above pictured Secret Sauce "Long Cone" popper.
As the tide dropped we started to see some action with the Red Bass and Emperors starting to bite!
A good sized Emperor on the Secret Sauce Long Cone
Good Sized Red Bass
All of a sudden the fish were in a feeding frenzy with young Ben taking 3 Red bass and myself taking 2 Red Bass and a large Emperor all in the space of about 20 minutes. The action was HOT and the size and quality of the fish were excellent with Emperors over 50cm and Red Bass 60cm and over being wrestled to the boat. Our gear was taking a beating with Ben's split rings failing and the lures looking like they has been in a meat grinder!
Even the tiny Mackerel were in on the action
We took a good variety of quality fish on topwater including Green Job Fish, Blue Finned Trevally. Red Bass, Pink Snapper, 2 species of Emperor and a few other odds and ends. Ben managed on of the catches of the day with 2 pink snapper on the one lure!
Quality Blue Finned Trevally
We finished up the day with Ben taking an excellent Green Job Fish on a soft plastic and Ryan getting a 62cm Long Nosed Emperor in more than 100 feet of water!
Green Job Fish

Solid Sweetlip falling for the Secret Sauce
Unconventional approach but great result, thats one BIG sweetip
A truly awesome days fishing with arm cramps and a full cooler telling us it was time to go home with hours of daylight to spare. We might have to go to this spot again!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fishing Report September, In search of sweetlip!

With a great weather forecast it was decided that Sunday would be a good day to get after some sweetlip (Emperor) at our local sand bank. My confidence level was low considering it was the day before the full moon and the tides were far from ideal BUT the weather was nice for a change so we headed out with great anticipation.
The real interest for me in the day was to try out some lures that I have been making, in the field. I had a selection of 6 poppers that had been water tested but not put in front of a fish before. I was reasonably nervous about it but also very interested to see if the lures were as good as I had hoped. All of the lures swam and popped very nicely and with some tweaking of the colour schemes will be deadly I am sure. As it was they caught fish on the first try on a day when many of the commercial lures were not working at all.
First timer Ryan with a top fish, just what we were after for dinner
As you can see from the picture, the day was beautiful and generally the conditions were good. The fishing was not at its best but we returned home with a good box of sweetlip and other assorted reef species.
On the lure front, the lure that worked for me was a bit of a surprise. The best performed lure was a natural wood coloured lure with a tiny bit of silver on each side. My idea with the lure was to present something that the fish wouldnt have seen, while showing the beauty of the wood.
On several occasions a large school of fish were seen competing over the lure, with the lure being hit by several different fish before finally getting a hook up - exciting stuff. The colours in the commercial lures that worked best that day were gold/brown/red varieties with the blue/green lures catching only one fish all day (Ryan's sweetlip pictured above).
My best lure for the day, who would have thought that this colour would be the best? Pictured here with a good sized (45cm) sweetip.
So a great day and some good fish and a even better BBQ with sashimi and grilled sweetlip the stars.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fishing Report August #2 Full Moon, Friend or Foe?

So what is it about the full moon that drives fishermen crazy? Locally it seems that EVERYONE wants to fish on the full moon especially at night, bottom fishing. So what about  those of us who chase top water game? What then?
Well if yesterday's effort was anything to go by, topwater fishing on the full moon is hard work.  We set off mid morning due to unfavorable tides and started fishing about an hour and a half before low tide. As it turns out, this was the best fishing of the day.
Naoko with a great Green Job Fish. A superb catch on topwater!
There were several strikes from Emperor but no good hook ups until Naoko squealed as out of a school of competing Emperor a good sized GJF snatched her lure and took off. On 20lb line the fish put up a great fight but was eventually landed. First fish of the day and the best fish of the day!
Soon afterwards the rain came which put a damper on things for a couple of hours. Once the rain had cleared up we got back to fishing but with little luck. I personally fished 75% of my time with topwater lures and got skunked. Using the usually reliable Yo Zuri Hydro Popper, I caught zero fish. The other 25% of the time I fished several 4 inch soft plastics with better but not wonderful results. I landed around 20 fish of which about half were under 40cm and therefore released. The catch for the day included Green Job Fish, 2 types of Emperor, 4 types of Grouper (Black Grouper, Coral Trout and Coral Cod), Blue Finned Trevally and the always pesky Needle Fish (Long Tom/Datsu). As I fished the soft plastics, I switched back to poppers regularly and towards the end of the day, couldn't get a bite on the poppers to save my life. The fish weren't even following the lure but when I switch back to the plastics I would get bites straight away.
It got me to thinking, do the fish not attack on topwater so eagerly at the full moon? Or was it just coincidence that they were biting on plastics and not on poppers? Anecdotally I would say that when the fish are biting, poppers outfish plastics when it comes to size and quality of fish. Yesterday, the opposite was true. Was it the moon cycle or was there something else at play? What do you think? Let me know...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Are these the world's worst hooks?

I have a confession to make. Before last weekend's fishing trip I insisted that everyone upgrade their treble hooks to some 3X strong hooks that I had bought from Mustad. Previously I had had no problem with these hooks and they seemed to hit at a price:performance ratio that I was happy with.
As my regular readers would know I prefer to use Owner ST-66 trebles on all my lures but it can be an expensive exercise when at any time a large Red Bass/Barracuda/Shark is pretty likely to take a shine to your lure and barring a miracle you will never see the lure or your expensive hooks again. So the Mustad 1/0s seemed like just the ticket. WRONG!
One of the 7 or 8 hooks that failed in one session. The rust came in the week after fishing, it was brand new when it broke.

MUSTAD? I thought it meant quality
So with a boat full of fisherman using these hooks, we went on to lose 7 or 8 fish to broken hooks! Not all were big fish, some were but THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR TACKLE FAILURE! Some of the hooks broke without the guests even realizing that they had had a fish on! To say I was pissed off is a major understatement not to mention the embarrassment of having put these hooks on everyone's lures to start with! Oh well MUSTAD, all I can say is these hooks SUCK and I wont be buying or recommending any of your products ever again! Or at least till something changes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fishing Report August

Despite the complete shit weather that has been hounding the islands for the last two months, your intrepid blogger hit the high seas last weekend in an attempt to find something to eat other than frozen chicken - blaah.

Well the weather was crap, big southwesterly winds and a northerly swell made for an uncomfortable ride out to the fishing spot, add to that the heavy overcast skies and constant showers and you get the picture.

On the positive side we had 4 enthusiastic fishermen ready to do battle!

Unfortunately the fishing was really hard work. We tried our best for about 5 hours and yielded a very humble catch of about 60 pounds of fish.

Young Ben with a solid Long Nosed Emperor, not sure what the "tough" face was about though!
All in all it was a difficult day but we enjoyed a decent catch of Blue Finned Trevally, Long Nosed Emperor, White Snapper, Grouper and Green Job Fish. Looking forward to some good weather and really getting into the fish! Till next time...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fish Species that we Love - Barracuda

I thought that it would be a good time to take a look at the species that we regularly catch here in Palau. First cab off the rank is the Barracuda
My best 'cuda to date caught on a Yozuri Surface Bull (120g)
 When I first came to Palau and fished primarily for GTs, I saw the Barracuda as a nuisance and great way to get my lures smashed or stolen. These days I appreciate them more for the sport they provide (especially the big ones) and the locals LOVE to eat them, so if there is someone we know having an important ceremony or family party, we donate them. Most times though, we release them if they aren't injured.
Most Barracudas are released as this one by Iwasakisan is. This one caught on a floating slider
 The classic way of catching the bigger 'cudas here is by trolling, they are often caught when trolling for Spanish Mackerel or Wahoo. For us though almost all are caught during topwater fishing in shallow reef areas on poppers or surface sliders.
Another beautiful 'cuda caught in 1.5m of water on a 125mm surface popper
There are two species regularly caught, the ones pictured are the larger of the two and are generally caught between 15 and 30 pounds with the occasional larger ones. To sum up my thoughts on the Barracuda; big, smelly, toothy and good fun!

Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 So far...

Its been a while since I posted a fishing report, why is that I hear you ask? The honest truth is that the internet service here in Palau is so poor that I just get pissed off trying to upload pictures and lost some interest in the blog due to that.
Anyway, as I am in Tokyo at the moment, i thought that I would give a brief report on the year so far.
Decent fish caught form the beach on 20lb line and 4000 size reel. 
The wife and her first GT again off the beach
One if my favourite eating fish, Long Nosed Emperor. Holding it as close to the camera as possible! Actual length 70cm

Hajisan with a nice shallow water coronation trout, caught on a Kastmaster of all bloody things!
Hajisan with a DONKEY of a barracuda - his record fish 140cm+

The weather has been crap for most of the year so quite a few trips have been aborted. I only fish for fun so if it blowing a gale, I generally give it a miss. We have had some good catches with the most memorable day being the day the Hajisan got his big barracuda (see pic above), the crew and I caught 35-40 good sized 45cm - 70cm sweetlip, the barracuda, several good sized trevally and a few other random species (green jobfish, pink snapper, tigerfish etc) all in the space of 3 hours.
Brian and Ben were crewing for me on another good day which saw Ben get his first GT (around 20lbs) and Brian bring in a horse of a Red Bass (69cm estimated 15-18lbs). Brian's bass is the new boat record and the biggest RB I have seen landed. It put up a huge fight and actually broke one set of split rings on Brian's lure only to get hooked by the other treble (that had hooks almost straightened). The colour of the fish had turned almost to olive green, making it look like a PNG black bass.
Other highlights include a 4 foot bull shark taken on the kayak and my first MahiMahi.