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|
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.
|Finally a fish on the new rod, a small GT! A quick pic and back in the water with him to fight another day|
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
October 9, 2010
|Barracuda - good sport at this size|
A group of 4 of us set out on captain Kaleb's boat just before 7am on a blustery and rainy morning headed for a fishing ground that we had had some success with the month before. After battling squally conditions and choppy sea we finally arrived at our destination and got to work. We were casting towards a fringing reef but keeping our distance to avoid the large and irregular sets that were breaking onto the reef. Rich and Francis got off to a good start landing a few good sized BFT with the best around 6kg. I was trying out a friends outfit (in the search for a heavier light tackle rig) which consisted of a Shimano FA Stella 8000hg reel and a Smith rod (cant remember the details) and PE #6 Varivas line with a 100lb leader.The outfit was well balanced but wasnt really suited to the poppers that I was trying to use with it, so I moved to a mid sized stickbait (Duel Surface Slider 140f) and has instant success with a solid strike taking line and then dropping the lure. After a few more casts another heavy strike, with line peeling off the real under heavy drag. I didn't want the fish to take my lure into the reef so I tightened the drag right up (max drag) and the hooks on the belly treble straightened! I was a little upset at myself because I hadnt upgraded the hooks on the lure like I normally do. I didnt have any hooks really suitable and used some larger than suitable trebbles. The very next cast I hooked up and landed a very nice BFT of about 6kg. The rod and real preformed beautifully, the Smith rod was great with very good lifting power. I would love one but they are about $800! No thanks.
We fished onto lunch with Kaleb giving us some entertainment hooking and landing a large black tip reef shark which we managed to de hook and release. Kaleb was using an old Penn 850 that had seized the last time out, so I was just waiting for it to pop but it never did!
After lunch we headed inside the reef to a sandy area about 6m deep with large bommies and patches of reef. It was Red Bass city, with one cast Kaleb had 7 or 8 large Red Bass darting at his lure, great fun.
I hadn't lost any lures yet and decided that it was time to throw some money away as 2 red bass accounted for two of my lures!!GRRRRRRRRR! Actually I see losing gear as part of the game, I would much rather hook up and lose gear than not hook up at all, so I put my gear in danger and have a ball! The lures that I lost were a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Slider 140s, Duel 150 GT and a Maria Bull Chop, they have gone to lure heaven. So my tally against the Red Bass was 2 lost lures and two good sized fish around 5kg.
Francis was in true form and landed a couple of bruisers around 7-8kg, really tough fish.
I caught one nice sized emperor in about 1m of water. It had me under a rock but I was using my GT outfit and managed to yank him out of there. The last fish in that area was once we got into deeper water (about 10m) and a large red bass smashed my popper and broke me off in open water using the PE #6 gear (60+lb)! Sometimes you just cant win against these guys! Red Bass 3, Me 2...
For the last hurrah before we went home we tried one last place and I took out my heavy gear hoping for a GT. Instead of a GT I got a barracuda! I used to think of them as a pest but the local people love to eat them and they can be good sport. This one absolutely CRUNCHED my big popper (Yo-Zuri Surface Bull GT - Pink mackerel) and set sail! Usually barracuda leap around getting tired quickly, not this one, he just ran! I had my 80lb rig set up with maximum drag and he was still screaming line of the real! Eventually we got him to the boat and my neighbors has a great feast!! Happy days!
MVP: Francis - stopped some real high octane Red Bass
Best Lure: Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper 130f (green mackerel)
Catch of the day: Barracuda