April 5, 2011
Madagascar – Day 6
We fished with George again today and will for the next couple days. George filled us in on pirates to start the morning. Everyone knows about the Somali pirates tormenting parts of the Indian Ocean these days and they do come as far south as Madagascar. Luckily George assured us there’s nothing to worry about with a boat of dirt bag anglers.
Fishing was flat out slow today. We tried to go way out to sea for a reef George knows about but the weather was a little threatening with wind and dark clouds. So we headed back closer in and went north to where we fished yesterday. The entire way George and his mate dragged two billfish trolling rigs but like yesterday afternoon we didn’t get a strike. Once we got to yesterdays fishing grounds the wind started to calm some and it was quite nice. We drifted a favorite reef several times. I chucked my 12-weight with the 700 grain SA Bluewater Express until my shoulder went numb without a bite. It was so surprising to me I asked George to disassemble one of his trolling rigs and dredge some bait along the bottom. If there were fish down there surely that would catch them, however he only caught three little strange looking fish. The fish just weren’t active.
By mid afternoon seas around Nosy Be were as calm as a small lake. With great visibility for any disturbances on the water, George said it was time to chase birds and tuna. Fishless to this point, Granny and I were all about the move. But once again it quickly became apparent today was a different day. There were no birds at all. The ones we saw were doing the same as us, searching for the odd bait crashing tuna. At last we stumbled into one cooperative school and lucked into skipjack tuna and frigate tuna. One, George called the blue is one I have never caught before. He was more elongated like a bonito and colored with an unusual blue, however I think this one also was the frigate. Just incase you’ve never caught a tuna before, even though these tuna are small, they gave us plenty of fight on the 8-weight. Pound for pound the power of any tuna is amazing.
Despite uncooperative fish today, every day in blue water offers some sort of thrill. In a previous blog I gave mention to the dogtooth tuna. I said one would be a real goal to catch. But what I didn’t say was that my chance of catching one on the fly is about as good as the Cubs winning the World Series this year. If you did not read about this specie in the link I provided earlier, do it now. Dogtooth tuna are one of the fiercest fish in the ocean. If you hook one at the surface while in 200 feet deep water, he’ll get to bottom and break you on the rocks in seconds. If you hook one at the surface in 400 feet of water, he’ll get to the bottom and break you in the rocks in seconds. From what I have heard, and with further confirmation from George, dogtooth tuna are the strongest fish on Earth. They also reach an amazing 300lbs and swim to speeds of at least 40 mph! Then you throw in the teeth they have that are four times the length of a barracudas, and you have little chance. In fact I’d start being concerned about a hooked dogtooth eating the boat!
But nothing is impossible, and tonight we chased a school of dogtooth. It’s rare that they feed on the surface but they were there and they were eating skipjack tuna over 20lbs each! They were simply shredding them in mid air! The doggies (as George calls them) were all easily 60lbs and leaving 6 feet from the water. It looked like they were in slow motion but we could barely keep up to these feeding beasts even with both engines running full throttle.
Its bedtime now and I’m absolutely stuffed with skipjack Carpaccio. All I can think about is those leaping dogtooths. So much that an hour ago I peeled the line off my Momentum #8 reel that I use for striped marlin in Baja. I checked every knot connection thoroughly and combed over my Scientific Angler 700 grain fly line for dings. Everything is as strong and ready as can be. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll hook a doggie!