I don’t sleep well after an absolute thrashing from big fish. Sure, I ended yesterday by landing a giant trevally, but honestly, I would have preferred to catch those fly line busting snappers. After staring at the magnificent star filled sky most of the night I woke up very early and gave every inch of my rigs the onceover.
Ed and I fished together again. We started by getting dropped off at an endless flat. We walked the sand and grass flat slow and attentively for about a mile, all the way to where it ended at the reef. There wasn’t much there. I cast to a huge pufferfish that showed no interest in my fly and Ed and I both rolled our flies off the backs of several rays. The mud rays kick up often attract other fish but none this morning.
When we got to the reef Ed stashed his fly rod and broke out the teaser rig. It was time for me to get revenge on the bohar snappers (also known as the two-spot red snapper). Unfortunately, just like the flat, the reef was deadsville as well. I picked up a weird fish while blind casting at the coral heads. He’s the redmouth grouper (Aethaloperca rogaa).
We meandered along the reef teasing on occasion while keeping a watchful eye on the flats all morning. We saw one titan triggerfish. The beautiful fish tailed once but we never saw him again. There are at least three species of triggerfish here, the titan, yellowmargin and Picasso. All three take flies but it’s the titan and yellowmargin that get big enough to excite fly fishers. In fact, I make a fish catching goal before every trip I go on. On this trip, the one fish I must catch is either of these two triggers. I’m not sure why they “wow” me so much but they do and I’ve got my eye out. Word is they don’t come easy.
It was almost time to meet for lunch and other than the strange fish I caught we hadn’t hooked anything else. Not one fish chased in the teaser. But Ed is just as persistent as I and we kept on going and sure enough we had a chase on the teaser. The grouper looking fish wasn’t aggressive on the teaser; in fact he turned off about ten feet shy of Ed. You don’t wait around when it comes to saltwater fly fishing so I fired out my cast anyway and stripped hard and fast. It was a good move because my first coral trout burst from the reef and devoured my fly. Just like the snappers, these guys are known to dive for any hole they see in the coral so I clamped down on my line. This beautiful fish was going nowhere.
The coral trout will likely go down as one of the most gorgeous looking fish of all time. When I was landing him the striking spots on his back indeed reminded me of a trout. They were much like those of a brown trout. But once in my hands Mr. Coral Trout took on his own look. (Look at the change in the color of the spots in this picture and the one above)
Many saltwater fish change color with excitement. For instance look at pics of dorado (dolphin fish). The coral trout may top all. The inner part of the black spots that resembled the spots on a brown trout turned blue before our very eyes! Then they enlarged. They shrunk. They went all dark and then again back to blue. Meanwhile, the sides of the fish switched from light to dark several times and he even flashed some stripes. The coral trout is an amazing fish.
About the time I released the coral trout we heard one of the pangas headed our way to pick us up for lunch. Based on yesterday, when one fish chases the teaser there are usually others around. Ed and I ignored the oncoming boat and launched another tease. Sure enough, two large bluefin trevally zigzagged behind the teaser. They too veered off before reaching Ed so I fired a long cast. Instantly the largest of the bluefin was on!
I had quite the rodeo with this guy. I couldn’t clamp down on him and he stole line right up to my backing knot. Then he went sideways and although I held my 12-weight Winston tip high I could feel my line ticking the coral. Too many bumps like that and the line should sever. Each time a wave rolled in I surfed the tiring bluefin our way. Finally he was in and in a quick swoop I tailed him.
You should always carry at least a glove in your pocket when wading for trevally. Unlike jack crevalle, they have vicious spikes in their tail and although I sometimes do them without a glove, a glove is better. By the time I held him the lunch boat was here and Rob hopped out and took these very nice pics.
After lunch Ed and I booked it back to the reef in hopes the teasing was still on. It was and it was bohar time – time for my revenge. Once again, the bohar is the two-spot red snapper. His range is from the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean and throughout the Indian Ocean. Their maximum size is about 20lbs but trust me, hook one half that size on the coral reef and good luck – even with 150lb leader. If you don’t believe me, read yesterday’s blog!
Today was different. My rig was perfect and my head was in the game. The very first bohar that came in hot annihilated my fly and I crossed his eyes with a firm strip set. Then, I not only kept the line from slipping through my fingers (unlike yesterday), I backed up. The strength of this bohar was no less than shocking. He nearly pulled me off my feet twice, but the stamina of snappers is short lived. 30 seconds of tug-of-war and I had my bohar.
I ended up with two bohars before the afternoon session was over. This first was a beast of more than 15lb and the second just slightly less. What a day! I added three new species to my list today, the unknown, coral trout and the bohar. Good stuff! And I haven’t yet tallied up the fish from Dubai or yesterday. What a trip!