The Andaman Islands 2007.
By Jonas Nyqvist.
Our Feb-March trip to the Andaman Islands started with a nice crossing from Phuket with
no strong winds and nearly flat seas. 30 miles before we reached Port Blair I decided to
put out 2 rods for getting some table fish for the crew. After 20 minutes trolling with only
myself awake, one of the 50lbs Tiagra reels screamed out loud. I slowed down Gecko and
was down in the cockpit in seconds fighting the fish. The fish went deep and fought like a
big Tuna. One of the Thai crew woke up and took over the helm. We had no time to
waste because of a one day late departure from Phuket, so I decided to take the fish hard,
got it in to the transom in 3 minutes with a short stroking technique. Toy our Thai
deckhand helped me to gaff the fish and we were very pleased when we saw the size of
the fish on the deck. We scaled this fish to 73kg, the biggest Yellowfin Tuna caught so far
in the Andaman Sea on rod and reel!
After arriving in Port Blair and clearing the customs and immigration, we welcomed
American customer Wade McArthur onboard and set course for Narcondam Island,
110 miles NE of Port Blair. We did an overnight crossing to get extra fishing time
at Narcondam. Next morning about 25 miles before reaching the island just after sunrise
we spotted a fining Broadbill Swordfish on the surface, we estimated it to be in the region
of 150–200kg! The fish finder showed that the fish dived down to100 meters before we
could get the lures close to it. We also spotted 3 Sailfish on the surface before we reached
Wades friend soon caught this 35 kg Yellowfin Tuna on one of the diving lures trolling
close the island that put up a good fight. Later on in the afternoon we hooked this, the first
Dogtooth Tuna also on a downrigger fished lure. Not a monster but a decent sized 20
kg+ fish. Wade also caught his first Yellowfin Tuna a 20 kg size fish. In the late
afternoon a huge Marlinís tailfin came up behind the lures, but to our frustration it didnít
strike any of the lures. We anchored before sunset on the south side of the island on one
of my favorite spots, in 40 meters depth very close to a 300 meter drop off. We caught
many nice fish here last year and we also had fish that spooled us here.
We had BBQ Yellowfin and Dogtooth Tuna steaks for dinner and rigged the bottom
fishing rods for big baits targeting Dogtooth Tuna or Sharks. It didnít take long until we
hooked up the first of many sharks we caught this night, a 40 kg Blacktip Reef Shark that
came up after a short fight. We released many bottom fish including nice size Red Sea
Bass up to 10kg. The best strike of the night was Wadeís friends who hooked a shark on
a 20 lbs rod, from beginning we didnít understand that it was a big shark, it took line very
slowly in not very long runs, but after 20 minutes it suddenly starting running all over the
place and we understood itís going to be a long fight. After an hour fight the fish was still
not tired and was deep down, I told the angler to start to short strike the fish and it
worked better. After another 30 minutes we saw the fish for the first time, a big White
Tip Shark about 150–170kg. The fish made a couple of more fast runs to the
bottom until it was tired and we released it from the swimming platform. Not a bad fish
on 20lbs equipment! We caught many more Sharks this night but not as big as this one
until we collapsed in our bunks from fatigue from fighting too many big fish!
Early next morning we started trolling close to the island and landed many nice size
Wahoo, Yellowfin and Dogtooth Tunas pictured here, before we went out in deeper water for
Marlin. We didnít sea any Marlin during the day time trolling pass, and returned to the
island were we had a nice size Sailfish coming up on one of the outrigger lures. It just
played with the lure and was not interested in swallowing it. Later we saw a huge school
of Bottlenose Dolphins 500 meter south of the islands, and around this area we were soon
hooked up to 20–40kg size Yellowfin Tuna that put up tremendous fights on the stand –
up rods. We anchored at the same spot again in the evening, and had plenty of nice bait
this time, so we decided to start chunking with pieces of Yellowfin Tuna. At first we only
raised Sharks in the chunk line, and caught and released a couple of them. After 2 hours a
huge Yellowfin Tuna came up just under the swimming platform, it was much bigger
than the 73kg I caught, and we estimated it to be around 100kg+. I grabbed the first
baited rod available and it swallowed the Tuna chunk quickly I set the hook and gave
Wades friend the rod, he could do nothing even with 80lb line, the Tuna took off faster
than a speeding Ferrari and we could only watch the spool getting lower and lower on
line. The Tuna cut off the line on a drop off a couple of hundred meters south of our
position. It was absolutely amazing to hook up a fish this size just 75 meters from the
Wade wanted Marlin only and wanted to try an other area, so we decided to try Barren
Island 70 miles south of Narcondam, another volcanic island with big drop offs close to
the island. Another boat had had some strikes from Marlin here the week before. 40 miles
south of Narcondam one of the 50W Tiagras screamed and Wade set the hook and started
stand–up fighting the fish. After 15 minutes he changed to the fighting chair, the fish
fought deep like a big Tuna. After 30 minutes we saw the beautiful gold metallic colors
under Geckoís transom. The fish was hard to get up and fought all the way up to the gaff,
I helped the deckhand to haul it up on the deck, and what a nice fish it was! We estimated
it to be around 80kg just little bit bigger than the one I caught the week before. We
had great steaks for the BBQ for the next weeks and some very nice Sashimi as well!
Here is the photograph of the magnificent fish.
The Marlin action around Barren was a disappointment. We never saw a Marlin, but we
hooked and released many 20–40 kg size Yellowfin Tuna in the afternoon.
The next group of anglers was Jim Hayes along with his girlfriend; regular customers
who have been very lucky during trips with us. The weather changed during his 5 days
of fishing, the wind got stronger and water was not clear. We had to fish on the west side
of Andaman Island (the lee side). The fishing was not as good as around the 2 volcanic
islands we fished last week, but Jim caught many nice Dorado, Wahoo, a Bluefin Trevally
pictured here and a nice Dogtooth Tuna pictured here. Jim was very happy with the trip.
The wind had stopped when we returned to Port Blair. We fueled up and loaded the
fridge and freezer with more food, and picked up our next angler Charlie ďThe SnaggerĒ
Gardner, and his lovely wife Julie from Guernsey at Havelock Island. Charlie is a
bassist and has played with Elton John during his career. We decided to fish at Barren
Island and the crossing from Havelock took us 7 hours, we saw some whales and many
big turtles during the crossing.
We saw many Dolphins jumping west of Barren and it didnít take long until we were
hooked up with this and this 20–40kg size Yellowfin Tuna. Charlie had a long drawn out
fight with one Tuna, it fought very hard, and we thought we had hooked a massive
Yellowfin. The fish came up sideways; the fish was hooked in the back!
On the eastern point we got a big strike on a diving plug fished from the downrigger. My
first thoughts was that it was a big Dogtooth Tuna, but to our surprise we saw this 70kg Reef
Shark surfacing with the lure sticking out of its mouth. It put up a fantastic fight on
one of the lighter rods. The island was full of feeding Yellowfin Tuna and for the next
two days we had fantastic Tuna fishing action. One night Charlie hooked this 30kg Barracuda
on one of the Shark baits.
Here is a photograph of Charlie with another big Barracuda,
and also with a nice Spanish Mackerel here.
One afternoon west of the island, a 50 kg Yellowfin
Tuna nearly hit me on the fly–bridge! The Tuna jumped after a Flying Fish that it tried to
inhale. It apparently didnít see Gecko and missed the clears on the fly-bridge by one
meter only! The Tuna must have been 6–7 meter over the surface! The jump was the
longest jump I ever seen a fish make, probably 30 meters long!!
On the way back to Havelock Charlie caught a couple of nice Dorado like this one,and snagged
this big Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel. Charlie hooked an estimated 100kg Black
Marlin east of Neil Island the fish jumped a couple of times before throwing the hook.
Back to Havelock Charlie and Julie said that the trip was the best fishing trip of their
The next group of Anglers we took out was Sumanth Chaganti from Chennai, mainland
India. First when I saw him I thought that Freddy Mercury was back to life again. He
explained later that his family fled to India from the Muslim purge in Iran 100 year ago
and he was in fact Persian, same as Freddy Mercury!
We fished the 3 days on the east side of Neil and Havelock Islands and the Yellowfin
Tuna action was as good here as around Barren. I lost count of how many fish we caught
and released. Sumanth and his friends also caught many big Narrow barred Spanish
Mackerel here, and some big Wahoo here. Sumanth got a good strike on a
downrigger lure and had a long fight with this beautiful 77kg Dogtooth Tuna, the
biggest Dogtooth Tuna we have caught so far here, and he was over the moon. We had a
strike from a Black Marlin in the same area, but it was not hooked. Sumanth released a
couple of GTs east of Havelock caught on the downrigger.
Here is a photograph of a nice one.
I am very happy that the Yellowfin Tuna stock in the area is increasing and that the size
of the fish is getting bigger. Maybe an effect of all the 10.000ís of commercial fishing
boats destroyed in SE. Asia by the 2004 Tsunami? We are looking forward to next Feb–
April season in the Andamanís and we still have openings for anglers interested in fishing
Asiaís premier game fishing destination. We will hopefully have a bigger boat available
for next season but we will try to keep the charter rates unchanged.
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