27 Nov Location GTX Weekreport – 1. Nov. – 7. Nov. 2014
GTX Jurassic park – Testimonial by Jonathan Berg
It was with great anticipation I stepped out of the plane at Sorong Airport which was our final destination before boarding Solid Adventures Indonesian ship “Flying Condor” who was suppose to take us the 12 hours over open water to the Raya Ampat Marine Park. Myself along with most of the rest of the group had done quite a bit of research of the area before going here and our expectations were high to say the least. Raya Ampat is by many ranked as the number 1 place in the world for diving and holds more species of fish than any other area on the planet! We were of course here mainly for the GT, or Giant Treavally, but waters full of aggressive predators is always nice when chugging big poppers, stick baits, swim baits, well actually any lure you dare risk loosing!
After a pretty long but comfortable boatride with lots of good local food and Bintangs (local beer) we finally arrived to the area we were meant to fish, the Misool area! It is very hard to describe what you see when you arrive at this place but I can honestly say that all my expectations were met right away! The scenery is absolutely spectacular! Small coral islands, channels, underwater reefs, bigger islands full of vegetation, and on and on. Lets just say it’s nice, ok!
As soon as we arrived we were greeted by the local king “King Halim” who has given Solid Adventures exclusive permission to fish in his area. Meeting King Halim and his people on the island is like travelling several hundreds years back in time and I was really thinking that this is like Jurassic Park right here. What really impressed me was that these people have a great understanding of preservation of resources which of course is fundamental to their own survival. They are very particular about the amount of fish they kill and eat to make sure never to exploit their resources in a not sustainable way. I know that Solid has done a lot of tagging and DNA sampling of GT specimens down here and are working with a German University on a research study to learn more about Giant Trevally and their behavior which interests me personally a lot.
Back to the actual fishing: the first day we had very strong winds and fishing was hard. We still landed a couple of GT as well as some groupers, snappers, triggers and other fish I don’t know the name of. When the wind continued on the second day King Halim asked us to follow him to his secret Lagoon located inside of one of the islands. After a short hike over a small cliff we found ourselves in a perfect little blue lagoon, totally sheltered and invisible from the outside. We all dove straight in for a swim and cruising in the lagoon was a school of magnificent Napoleon Wrassie! For me this was an absolutely amazing feeling and even though Napoleon is on my dream list to catch I am still glad we didn’t bring any rods and could just enjoy the experience. To be swimming with those Napoleons in a place like that… I was lucky to have a mask and snorkel with me and was able to dive down and look at them close and they were not scared at all. I would estimate one of those fish to be 40 lbs + and let me tell you that is a huuuge fish! Amazing!
The following days the wind calmed down and the fishing really picked up. We landed a lot of GT but unfortunately we didn’t catch that big size fish we were hoping for! Although we saw many nice GT in the 60 – 65lbs + range when we were snorkeling near our boat we couldn’t get them to bite this time.
I think it was on the 4th day when Sinan, one of the guests and my friend from back home who have never fished for GT before, found himself on a real streak, landing 4 GT in 4 cast! The expression on his face….Priceless! For those of you who have never fished for GT I should say that the takes are often very violent and the fight is hard and intense. You have to really man up and fight for it! Already on the second fish I could see Sinan was really suffering but managed to hold it together and land it. Why he kept casting after landing that fish only he knows but on that third cast and third hook up he was screaming and complaining loudly, offering the rod to me only to change his mind when I offered to take it. Somehow he managed to get that fish in too after some loud complaining and shouting calling the GT some not so nice names during the fight. I don’t know what it is with us fisherman but I guess it is that feeling in your gut, telling you that even though you are suffering now this might be your day and you better make the most of it, or maybe it is just plain stupidity but for some reason Sinan made another cast in the opposite direction, away from what we had deemed to be the hot zone. It took one splash with the pooper and BAM! Surface exploded and Sinan was screaming again! I am still laughing today when I think about this, the facial expressions he made, the stuff he said or rather shouted, and he total exhaustion in his eyes! After landing this his 4 th fish in 4 casts, a GT in the 55lbs range he simply put his rod away and lay down in the boat for a good 20 minutes not saying a word! Haha, fantastic!
The last couple of days there was fish everywhere. We had so many contacts, strikes, followers and lost fish due to leaders breaking that we lost count. We found this perfect area, like a chain of small islands with a really nice drop of from the reef where the fish was going crazy! They were hitting our poppers from all angles at full throttle! On the last day and last session, just when the sun was going down and we had to start driving back to the mother ship I hear a great splash behind me. I turn around and see a big fat pig of a GT hitting Pers popper just next to the boat. He tries to set the hook but there is not enough line to set it properly and the GT disappears down the depths again. An unreal finish to an unreal Adventure!
If you want to explore an area where very few people have been before, and even fewer have fished. Or if you are looking for an Adventure beyond the beaten path, to have a story to tell that most of your friends or acquaintances will not! If you want to spend time in the most scenic and beautiful archipelago on this planet than this is a trip for you!
If the only thing that matters is catching a world record size GT then perhaps there are other places to go to but for the overall experience this is hard to beat in my opinion!
All of us fished spinning gear with poppers, stick baits and swim baits. We had most success with the smaller 80 gram poppers in light colors like pink/ white, but I don’t know if this was just random. You can easily fish with a fly rod from the small boats over the reefs if you want. There is Marlin and Sailfish around to but we never fished for them. We never actually did any jigging either because we were to tired during the nights and preferred fishing with Poppers daytime but there is Dogtooth tuna and many Trevally species to Jig for if you want. Oh, I should probably mention that there is many Black tip sharks around that love to go for the poppers and their takes are really spectacular!