The Andaman Islands 2008.
By Jonas Nyqvist.
Our 2008 Andaman season started with this big Sailfish for our Argentinean angler living in
Switzerland during the crossing from Phuket. After refueling and clearing the customs and
immigration formalities we departed for Barren Island. 15 miles east of Havelock Island a
300 lb Black Marlin hit a 16Ē PWR lure in green color. Urs the Swiss angler set the hook and
started the battle from the fighting chair. This fish made some spectacular jumps before it was
released after a 30 minute fight. On the way to Barren we had two more Marlin strikes but
both fish pulled the hook. Two miles before we reached Barren Island, Stefan hooked and
released this 100 lbs Sailfish on one of the Marlin lures fished from the outrigger. We also
caught some small Yellowfin Tuna that we had for dinner and bait later on in the night. Urs
proved to be the lucky angler during this trip with Marlin, many GTís and this nice Yellowfin
Tuna. We named Christopher the Barracuda King of the trip, he caught only
Barracudas (8 of them) when it was his turn on the Marlin rods! Here is a nice one.
Barren Island used to be infested with Reef Sharks, but during this trip they were not there. A
Phuket based diving live–aboard vessel that we talked to did not see any sharks at all they told
us, but they spotted a huge school of big Tuna like this close to the Island. The absence of the
sharks was soon forgotten when we started to catch some very big Groupers here, here, and
here, and other big bottom dwellers.
Our Swiss anglers also enjoyed the popper casting from our RIB dinghy close to the
rocks. In 3 days of fishing they released 43 Bluefin and Giant Trevally. During the return trip
to Havelock Island and Port Blair we had a couple more Marlin hook–ups but all fish came
off the hook. The Swiss team enjoyed this trip very much and promised to come back in the
future. If you understand German language you can read Stefanís catch report here.
Our second group of anglers was from USA, and they fished two days around Narcondam
Island, and one day around Barren Island. The first strike of the trip was from a big Marlin
just 30 minutes outside Port Blair Harbor! The fish broke the main line in the strike, still not
sure how it happened, the line was brand new Momoi 130lb. We caught Wahoo and many
mid–size Yellowfin tuna like this before reaching Narcondam Island. This team of anglers enjoyed
Shark fishing and they had come to the right place! The first night saw non–stop action from
different kinds of Reef Sharks, with multiple hook–ups on a couple of occasions. Altogether
they released 17 big Sharks, Trevally, nice size Red Sea Bass and Sweet Lips. This night
after midnight they also hooked 3 unstoppable Dogtooth Tuna on the 50lbs Shark equipment.
A strike from a very big Dogtooth is like hooking up a speeding Ferrari, not much you could
do to stop these fish from an anchored boat. The 3 big Dogs were lost after cutting the main
line on the drop–off edge 200 meters from the boat. Here is one of the Shark pics, and heres
the pic of the Red Sea Bass.
The next day produced many Wahoo, Barracuda and smaller Yellowfins whilst trolling and
the night fishing was nearly as good as the night before with 13 Sharks released. During the
crossing to Barren Island I spotted some birds on the horizon and headed for them, when we
reached the birds the water was boiling with 40–120kg size Yellowfin tuna. This was the
biggest school of large Yellowfin Tuna I have ever seen on the Andaman Sea during 20 years
of fishing here, and this promises good Tuna action for the years to come. The Yellowfins
were chasing small flying fish and were not interested in anything else. We tried different
size lures, downrigger fished lures, poppers from the front deck but to no good, Yellowfin
Tuna fishing can be very frustrating some days, but it was very exciting to have all these big
Tuna jumping all around you.
We arrived late in the evening at Barren and anchored at our normal reef on the east side of
the Island. We caught numerous White Tip Reef Sharks on baited hooks and Chez hooked a
GT on a surface popper that a Reef Shark inhaled. Here is a picture of the Shark with the
popper sticking out of its mouth (Stellar performance by Chaz!). We also released this big
Potato Cod (Jewfish or Goliath Grouper as they are now called).
Our 3rd groups of anglers came from Sweden, and were mostly interested in popper casting
for GTs. We started the fishing around Middle Button Island and caught some mid–size GTs
from the front deck and like this from the dinghy. Here is a pic of the action.
Next day we did the crossing to Narcondam Island and here the GTs were bigger,
most fish were between 10 and 15kg like this one here and provided excellent
sport on the popper rods. During the breaks we trolled around the Island and caught many
nice sized Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo. During a lunch break Tomas caught this rare Black
Trevally while bottom fishing. One day we did some bottom fishing and deep jigging on the
underwater volcano west of the Island. Tomas hooked a big fish on his jig but lost it after a
very strong run, the hook pulled. On baits we hooked 2 big Sharks and many big Groupers.
One afternoon we fished close to the beach on the north side of the Island, where there is an
Indian Military outpost. The Indian soldiers wondered what we were doing so close to the
rocks, they came out to us in an old Avon dinghy and asked for our restricted area
documents, after finding all our papers were in order they begged us for some beers or liquor,
we gave them a couple of bottles of cold beer and they looked like they had won the first
prize in the national lottery! Must be hard to be 3 months on this outpost in the middle of
nowhere without cold beers (or fishing rods!).
On the crossing back for refueling at Port Blair we came in to a huge school of jumping
Yellowfin Tuna, most fish were over 40kg size and they were feeding on small Flying Fish.
This time I asked the anglers if they had any poppers that looked like a Flying Fish, they found
some silver colored ones, and I told them to go up and get ready to cast to them from the
Under a floating bamboo log a school of baitfish was hiding, and big Tuna crashed into them
from all directions. When we were 30 meters from the bamboo log I told the anglers to cast.
Just seconds after the poppers landed on the surface we had a double hook–up from big
Yellowfin Tuna, one of the anglers nearly lost his popper rod! He was not prepared for such a
hard pull; he was half way out over the rail with his rod bent over, and the rod tip was under
the surface when he finally got control over the situation. He told me later he was amazed by
the strength of the Tuna, and that a GT is nothing compared to a big Yellowfin on a popper
rod. Unfortunately the hook pulled and he lost his fish. Tomas was luckier and landed this
beauty after a hard fight. I found the school one more time and this time Tomas hooked an
even bigger Tuna while his friend lost one that broke his main line. Tomasís Tuna was 42kg
and took over 30 minutes to subdue. Popper casting for Yellowfin Tuna this size is
extremely exciting and I hope that we find the huge schools of Yellowfins next year again. I
will load up with Flying Fish imitating poppers. We got all the strikes and the fights on VDO
and after editing the film we will upload it on this site.
After Refueling we headed south to the Sisters Islands. Halfway to the Sisters we hooked a
300lb Black Marlin that jumped many times before throwing the hook. At the Sisters Islands
we had fantastic popper action for GTs, most of the GTs were between 10 and 17kg and we
had many multiple hook–ups and even a triple hook–up! The next day we started the crossing
back to Phuket. Between Sisters and Invisible bank we hooked an estimated 300 lbs Black
Marlin that fought hard on the 80lbs bent butt chair equipment, the fish was released
unharmed and swam away with a fast tail beat. Only minutes later I spotted a big school of
jumping Yellowfin Tuna and we hooked a 50kg+ fish on one of the Marlin lures. The fish put
up a very hard fight. Out with the lines again and a 400 lbs Blue Marlin hit the same lure!
This fish came up on its tail and tried to throw the lure, but the hook held. This was a
beautiful Marlin and it was released after a short fight.
The next trip in April was with famous American angler, Terry Tri. The weather changed and
we had water close to 30 degrees Celsius. This made the Marlin fishing very hard work. All
the Marlin that we hooked came in the early hours of the morning. Terry was looking for
Marlin and big Tuna. He caught our biggest ever Yellowfin Tuna we caught so far in the
Andamanís, this beautiful 160 lb fish. He also caught a very rare Black Trevally one night,
and many Wahoo along with some smaller Yellowfin Tuna. Here also is a pic of a nice Sailfish.
The last two days the weather changed once again...
We first had a big lightning storm during the night, the next day the
wind changed from east to south to north in 30 minutes and I got cyclonic warnings over the
radio from the Port Authorities. I decided to head back to Port Blair and wait for a good spell
of weather to be able to do the 400 mile open seas crossing back to Phuket. Just after Gecko
came back to Phuket the storm changed direction from heading for Bangladesh to hitting the
Irrawaddy Delta in southern Burma (over 100.000 Burmese are feared dead by this cyclone),
we were very lucky to escape this cyclone. It made me very angry to hear that the military
junta in Burma refused aid from the outside world to help their own people! These generals
are not even worth being Shark bait on Gecko!
You can read Terry Triís own catch report on this webpage:
All in all the 2008 Andaman season saw some very good fishing action for a multitude of
different species; we caught over 100 GTs, tons of Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo. We hooked
15 Marlin and many Sailfish. We had fantastic night fishing for Shark and Grouper. The only
thing that wasnít as good as last season was the Dogtooth Tuna action. We hooked 3 big
ones, but they all cut the line on the drop–off edges.
We are now accepting bookings for the 2009 Andaman Island season and the dates for our
first monthly trip will be between February 6th and March 6th and the for the 2nd trip between
March 22nd and April 18th. The dates are normally fully booked before November so donít wait
too long if you want to be sure of a 2009 Andaman Island trip.
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