Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fishing Report, Oct 30, 2010

Have you ever had one of those days on the water that made you think you were in oppositeland? Thats how I felt yesterday as everything that I thought I knew was turned on its head.
Enter the usual protagonists of late, Kaleb, Richard, Francis and myself. The captain had decided that we would be fishing the southern fringing reefs closest to Koror (the main town) and it turned out to be a good call with a large swell hitting the Islands from a typhoon near Okinawa making fishing on the reefs or outside onto the reefs a little dangerous to say the least. Coupled with that was a 15-20 knot Easterly breeze that was gusting higher, so a long trip would have been painful and slow.
We hit the reef at around 8am on a rising tide to find a curious sight, 8-10 foot sets peaking on the outer reefs, peeling and barreling as if we were on Oahu! These were big mean waves hitting a section of reef on the south of the Islands (you can imagine what the waves would have been like on the northern reefs!!!) after already wrapping right around the western reefs and almost heading North again. I had never seen waves like that hitting the reef down there, so already the day started out strangely.
As the tide was quite low we decided to cast on some inshore reef patches until the tide got high enough for us to try to get to the normal area that we fish. Within a few casts Rich had snared a nice little GT of around 10kg using the legendary wide mouthed Hydro Popper f in green mackerel. A couple of casts later my Fisherman Long Pen was followed by a reef shark and 6 or 7 GTs. Kaleb was next to hookup to a GT but it threw the hooks.
I decided to try out my new rod, a Daiwa Saltiga 6'6 Jigging rod that I thought might be ok at tossing lures around with too. And so it was with my second cast getting swarmed by a school of GTs, unfortunately right next to large rock and I was cut off seconds after hooking up using a Duel Surface GT 150. As I tied another leader we drifter away from the reef patch and the bite stopped. We continued our drift with little action until I got another GT hookup using a Duel Slider 140f, alas I was again broken off on a patch of reef as the fish made a screaming wide run that just happened to put a rock between me and him... 2 lures down and no fish caught!
We got to our fishing ground and saw cloudy water, something very unusual here. It was cloudy white. either from stirred up sand or bubbles from the massive surf I wasn't sure. The conditions had obviously spooked the fish, with very little biting. Francis and Rich managed to catch a few Long nosed Emperors and Blue Finned Trevally but little else.
Soon after lunch a rain system moved in and we headed for the shelter of some nearby islands. By that time I was having a tough time of it having lost 2 lures, dropping 5 or 6 decent fish and landing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I was skeptical about trying to fish around the islands as they are really heavily fished and our day had been a bit of a bust so far. But I am happy to follow the local guys when fishing with them and it really paid off.
Having come from windy, rough cloudy water fishing the calm, clear, lakelike conditions were a blessing and within a few minutes Rich had caught a fish! Here? I almost couldn't believe it as he boated a nice sized Spangled Emperor.
Fish of the day. Spangled Emperor at a perfect eating size
      These fish are exciting to catch on small topwater lures (this on was again taken by the green Yo-Zuri) in shallow water. They hit with power and charge back to the reef, this one made the mistake of running and was easily handled.
Several other good sized fish followed, coral trout, Red Bass (cubera), rainbow runner and several trevally species. I was still sucking and hadn't caught anything at all and it was getting late and the rain was really getting set in.
Then it finally happened! I got a good hit on a Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper (silver and black) that I knew was a trevally. You really get tot know the different way each species attacks the topwater lures and you can often call what type of fish it is just by the strike type.
So I had a nice little trevally to test my new rod with. Looking at the rod you wouldn't believe that it would have much power, but in shallow water, heavy current and a heavy drag, it did a great job of stopping this fish. I was really happy to finally have broken my duck (at 4pm no less) and also to have christened the new rod with a solid test of its action.
Baby GT. Finally a fish on the new rod! A quick pic and back in the water with him to fight another day
We fished on for bout another hour landing a few more fish, including one Long Nosed Emperor (of about 2kg) I took on my GT outfit! Talk about being over-matched!
In the end it was the strangest of days, catching fish where you wouldn't normally, not catching fish where we normally do, North Shore type surf conditions in Palau and losing as many lures as fish caught! Strange but good and totally worth it!
MVP: Richard. He caught as many fish as the rest of us combined
Best Lure: Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper 130f (green mackerel)
Catch of the day: Rich's Spangled Emperor
Play of the Day: Captain Kaleb's call to fish around the islands after we got blown off the reef

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