20 Dec Scouting Week Report 4: Fly Fishing Division versus too good weather
The weather can’t be too good… well, in the world of fly anglers, especially GT anglers, it can. We want moving water, turbid whitewash and a bit of wind to cover up what we are secretly up to. This week, we had good weather, exceptional weather to be more precise… for beach holidays, postcard images and sunbathing. Our 7 fly anglers from Norway were grateful to escape the snowy fjords of their home country for a week, but the flats fishing has proven to be tough. The week started off well though, with 22 fish spotted on the dunes on one morning session and 3 GT landed on the fly, including a 105cm beauty that annihilated a brush-fly and a bunch of proper bonefish…and a small 65cm GT that was tailgated by a big black cow GT during the fight.
Weather & Water
The forecast promised a much-needed change of weather, from too good to stormy. Unfortunately that never happened. It was hot throughout the week. Initially with a lot of humidity in the air and hazy fog resulting in weird lights and hard spotting. We are complaining on a high level here, but the weather was simply too good. With the tides high early in the morning, then rapidly falling to very low under the high noon sun, the temperatures rose very quickly on the flats, leaving us with 28° Celsius plus bathtub water. Too hot to fish, too hot for the fish, too hot to cool yourself a bit. The tides, still pushing very strong with long high and low phases, also limited the window of wading time in the right temperature belt. All in all, despite the visibility, anything but ideal for our fly fishing endeavours this week. In situations like this, the reef and surf zone promises the best results.
Only three of our anglers were able to do the reef walks and sure enough they would run into some alpha GT’s that left them awe-struck. True surf GT’s, some of them too close for comfort and a cast. Andre had a shot at a true giant in the gnarliest surf break point that section 1 has to offer… she charged the fly before she came a bit too close and refused. An amazing fish that without a doubt would have shredded both gear and angler.
Due to the high temperatures on the falling/low and beginning of a rising tide, the bonefish moved into deep water with a lot of commotion, making it difficult for our anglers to target them. A good handful of them were landed though. Not surprising but still memorable, the big single fish our reef anglers walked into: We have seen it before, difficult fish in the mid double digits that really like to cruise the inner surf belt when the tides are pushing – this time, the fish would come out on top, but we are on to them.
The elusive Giant Trevallies appeared in better numbers at the beginning of the week before the duck pond weather forced them to move into colder places. Our popping division would move most of their fish over deeper water along the current line, underlining this trend. Still some GT would show up on the flats charging the flies but lazy and not as hungry as we know them.
Yet again, we ran into a couple of Napoleon including a perfect head on tailing fish shot that inspected a Merkin crab, but wasn’t to convinced. Napoleon are moody fish, when they are on the prowl, they hit everything. When they are cruising, they are a bit more tricky. Flemming managed a juvenile Napo on Popper during a high noon break from fly fishing.
The Yellowfin Tuna fishing has saved a lot of sessions. Ever abundant and ready to hit topwater lures even when they are not surfacing or actively feeding on the top. Rickard and Harry decided to give it a go on the tease and switch game after Andre and Joachim managed some fly fishable size fish on the popping gear. Sure enough, only really big tuna would blow up on the hookless teaser. Fish up to 85kg and many of them. At one occasion 5 tuna took turns on the teaser on one single cast…flying in like jumbo jets ready to kamikaze bomb the teaser with their massive bodies. Although they would follow and hit the teaser for about 25 Minutes on every cast, they would not turn on the fly. We were playing prime bluewater gamefish like cats on strings much to the amazement of our local boat crew who could not understand what was going on. At some stage, one of our deckhands inspected the hookless pencil-bait before handing an armed popper over, saying “try this maybe”. The introduction of fly fishing has been much of a cultural shock for the local crew already, especially when it produced numbers of fish on the flats… tease and switch lead to utter amazement. Ole and his wife managed to catch their very first yellow fins on popping, followed by a dune lunch BBQ with fresh thick tuna steaks – life was good despite the hard inshore conditions.
The reality of fishing is, that the conditions don’t always align the way we want them to. Still, you have to be out there and get going. Even though the fish showed up in fewer numbers, we would see fish every day if we looked into the right spots…the warm water made them a lot more picky on top. It’s tedious to work over the same flats under low fishing conditions, but it’s a big part of hunting GT on reef and flats areas and all part of the learning process – to see the area under every tide, moon, temperature to see how they perform. This week has produced a lot of AHA-Moments and we have added a lot of valuable info to our bank of knowledge regarding the fishing in Lakshadweep.
Alpha GT’s and Nemesis Fish
Throughout the scouting and exploration of the surf zone, we ran into some real alpha GT’s on almost every place. These fish are predominantly single fish, dark in colour and their behaviour is distinctively different from most other GT’s. Caranx Ignobilis develops habits…some good and some bad ones. Despite their odd behaviour and habits, they have one thing in common: They are big. These alpha fish have adapted to certain areas and developed certain behaviour pattern and with a little bit of luck, these patterns apply to prevailing conditions. On the first week of the autumn season, my dear Co-Scout Rick and I happen to run into an absolute beast of a dark GT cow on the inside of the coral reef in knee-deep water… too shallow to hide her big body, so she was tilted to the side, pushing a big bow wave ahead of her. When we saw her the first time, we were on a trigger fish patrol in the shallow coral reef rubble on the inside of the atoll. The water had just started to rise and she was already in there to terrorize the baitfish and reef creatures in there. An amazing sight that unfolded right in front of our eyes, and before we could switch to the GT rods, she was already too close for comfort and refused the fly. Rick had a split second shot at her and she followed with moderate interest until she was close and turned away. One could easily tell that she didn’t do this for the first time. Week no.4, we were back on the spot and the conditions were in favour for her to show up. It was late afternoon and the last shot of the day. The sun in the back I was wading again a slowly rising tide. With the water being too low for a better fish, I decided to fish the outside edge for some Bluefin trevallies that were chasing bait frantically. They didn’t like my big brushy, so I changed back to a Slater’s Poon Bug in black that has proven to be an excellent Bluefin fly. The fly had a go in the whitewash behind the wave and a fish pushed a wave into its direction. It came in hot, but not trevally hot. After some fast strips to entice the bite I realised a bit too late that it was a nice Napoleon who was interested in the fly but the fish had already come too close and spooked…
Back on the inside, I had plans to change back to the brushy when a bow-wave straight into my direction unmistakeably marked the arrival of that particular fish. I had enough time to strip more line of and give a straight, forward shot. Just when the fly touched the water, she flared up, charged it zig-zag up to my feet and left me with the salty tears of defeat back there… with my silly little Bluefin Trevally fly hanging down from my leader…