04 Dec Solid Adventures GTX Testimonial by Marko Freeze, 21-27th November, 2014
“„So beautiful – you want to cry…“
This is how Christer Sjöberg, Founder and CEO of Solid Adventures, announced this destination when we talked about the trip for the first time. Location GTX is one of Solids newer Operations in a remote Area located in the backcountry of West Papua, Indonesia. Raya Ampat translating „Realm of the 4 Kings” is considered one of the most diverse marine Ecosystems on the planet. I know this may sound a little bit splashy but with reference to the spectacular photographs the Solid boys brought home from their scouting tours, my expectations were considerably high anyways. Still, I can with clear conscience say they were exceeded by far! Being a marine biologist by profession, I am fortunate enough to call travel part of my job and in the past years some wonderful and impressive parts of the world have been among my travel destinations. This trip nevertheless was literally a dream come true giving me the opportunity to go on one of the greatest fishing adventures of my life.
Already on the boat trip from Sorong to the fishing grounds it became obvious what gem we were getting closer to. Huge dolphin pods crossed our ways, confirming our expectations to be steaming towards promising fishing grounds. Besides that, ridiculously beautiful sunsets and freshly caught and onboard barbequed mahi mahi filets ensured us that the following days would be a time to remember. Throughout the whole trip the food was not an issue at all. On the contrary! Chapeau to the crew – I was really impressed what these guys were able to do in their rather small kitchen. Three course meals – traditional Indonesian dishes, chicken satey with peanut sauce, fresh fish, sashimi straight from the sea – no problem!
We arrived in the morning and while the crew of the mother ship prepared the dinghies for us, I simply could not hold it any longer. I grabbed my rod and the first lure I could find and did my first few casts straight from the mother ship to the edge of a nearby reef. I was not really expecting anything so I just shot a little freshwater jerkbait out there to get the right feeling for my comparably heavy popping combo. Well, on the second cast already I got a glimpse of what I was asking for: Some big old 20 pound spanish mackerel furiously attacked my Lure at the surface and catapulted itself some 4 feet out of the water. I reacted immediately to set the hook and… nothing! That fish just instantly ripped the split ring of the lures belly treble apart and at once reminded me how foolish I was to bring a knife to a shoot-out!
These waters accommodate a large variety of strong and furious predators and you are well advised to prepare yourself appropriately. The following days of the trip confirmed what I already was expecting: I got to see some of the most beautiful and healthy coral reefs I have ever set my eyes on. The whole scenery is a mixture of rough tidal currents, savage volcanic rocks, steep cliffs and on the other hand quiet, steady sandy beaches and numerous shallow coral reefs, colorful as a rainbow. In other words: everything an avid fisherman and adventurer could ask for.
It became obvious immediately that one week here in paradise will not even be enough to explore the nearby surrounding area with its islands and numerous offshore seamounts. There is so much to discover: GTX is a huge area packed with fish and heaps of wonderful sights that most people will only expect on postcards. Postcards?! Whatever! Don’t forget what we were here for…Fishing was fantastic! In fact: you can choose for yourself what you are into. A variety of gamefish like snapper, grouper, mackerel, bonito, barracuda, houndfish, pompano, napoleon wrasse, titan triggerfish, bluefin- and giant trevally (just to name a few) are waiting for you.
The tidal phases are perfect to chase the potential main target, the giant trevallies that are plentiful and roam and ambush around the points of cliffs and rocks right between the remote and turbid areas of the channels in-between the various islands. These fish hit your lures and flies with bad intentions… And I can assure you – this game here is different from fishing GT from straight sand flats. These fish are used to harsh currents and know that the reefs and cliffs mean cover. It is on you to convince those brutes to keep away from the structure. This challenging game is so exciting, the success of your mission is not a given.
Go see for yourselves and try to hold back your tears…