There’s always much excitement and anticipation in the build up to an exotic fishing trip away.
But Living a busy life with work schedules and kids, before I knew it the trip was upon me!
I had checked my list to make sure I had all the essential Tackle and accessories needed to make the trip, and as any angler knows packing this all in to meet a required weight limit is not easy!
Deciding on what’s really necessary and what’s surplus is very important.
I had gone for a powerful spinning reel for retrieving lures fast and capable of handling big fish off rocky shore ledges, along side a smaller Diawa Emcast spin for any lighter fishing situations.
The problem is you never really know what you going to hook when traveling overseas and I guess that’s a big part of the excitement.
So after packing and re packing the essentials I realized it would be necessary to fill my pockets with the unhooked lures I would be using! It’s surprising how many lures can fit into a fleece pockets. I had managed 3 kilos of lures as I would also be doing some lure testing down there.
The trip over was a fairly straightforward flight and a long overnight bus to my destination followed by a taxi and boat ride to the island I would make my base during the trip.
It wasn’t until unpacking I discovered somehow someone had stolen my GoPro cameras probably during the bus trip whilst I went to toilet.
Even when you think your an experienced traveler you can be caught out and realize that being a gringo you stand out and can become an easy target!
After an initial moment of anger, I decided to buy a camera move on and and enjoy the trip and use it as a learning experience.
Apart from accidentally arriving with only the socks I was wearing, everything else was in order and I decided to get straight out and hit the water.
I’m a landbased fisherman and love to be moving about over rocks looking for spots that could hold fish.
I had arranged for a local boat to drop me at islands between 10 -20 ks out to sea.
It was my second trip here so I had an idea what to expect although it was a different time of the year.
I started at a spot I had enjoyed fishing on my last trip! We only had a few hours today as Victor was borrowing this boat for the afternoon, because our boat was being fitted with a back up engine and the boat lengthened to be able to handle stronger seas.
Typically in these places everything is done at the last minute!
First cast of the trip I was into a crocodile needle fish!
Great start! Not really a target fish but I wasn’t complaining, these fish would be great fun on light tackle with there hard takes and acrobatics once hooked.
This isn’t always easy as they have bony mouths and a high percentage of hits result in a miss especially when using bigger hooks and lures.
I was here primarily targeting Snapper, Roosterfish Jacks, with the outside chance of some other species that could be around including Tuna and wahoo.
After my first short session out to the islands I returned with Victor to pick up the boat we would be using for the rest of the trip, which gave me the opportunity to get the GoPro I would need for taking footage.
The next few days were somewhat disappointing.
Apart from a few more needlefish, the Fishing was slow to say the least.
Victor pointed out the invasion of tiny jellyfish that had arrived and causing the fish to go down deep to avoid being stung in the eyes.
The local fishermen were also complaining about the lack of fish! But it wasn’t due to dwindling numbers but more a temporary thing I believe.
I decided to use sub surface lures and try letting them drop down a bit.
I did have some success with some nice snappers but these captures were hard work and as of yet nothing really big!
After a few days out on the rocks catching mainly needlefish, I decided to try the estuary where I noticed there was no jellyfish, and had a few late afternoon sessions seeing if there was anything around.
I had never fished the estuary before and always headed out for the allure of the islands and rocks at sea which is more my type of fishing.
However I found the peaceful relaxing setting of a calm estuary a great way to end the day after all the hard toil out on the rocks with swell and boiling temperatures, it was a welcome change.
I was using a 30g Enticer Sub Surface tweak bait which looked ideal just tweaking it slowly across the shoreline making sure I retrieved it right to the end where I soon realized most of the action was taking place, due to the tiny bait fish that were in close.
I hooked a nice fish right at the shoreline, only for it to slip the hook .
The next hit was from a small jack again in very shallow water, I’ve caught bass in similar depths before but was still surprised how close in these fish will hunt. But I guess if that’s were the food is….
Although it wasn’t the type of fishing I had come for I was certainly captured in the moment and enjoying the challenge.
That’s really one of the attractions of fishing! Being caught up in the moment and just forgetting everything else concentrating on the task at hand and enjoying the environment around you!
Over a couple more sessions I ended up hooking a bigger Jack Crevalle and a nice Snook after a thunderstorm which was a first for me, and being a bass fisherman this was a rewarding catch.
This year there seemed to be something about thunderstorms and bass!
I knew there was corvina in the estuary but these were normally fished from boats jigging down into the deep waters.
I decided to increase my chances of catching and put out a live bait from shore in hope of a passing fish in the strong outgoing tide, whilst I spun with my lighter tackle set up!
A little while later I looked round only to see my rod tip banging over and and line flying out on the light drag.
I rushed over, tightened the drag and struck into what I immediately realized was something very big.
I was aware that we was around 10-15 minutes or so away from total darkness, and had no torch with me.
Victor who drops me off by boat doesn’t like to be out on the water after dark, and as we always leave at dusk, I hadn’t thought about bringing the torch with me.
But I also hadn’t accounted on hooking into something big so late on in the day!
The reel was screaming out and I knew I would need to fight the fish hard.
I realized this wasn’t fighting like most fish I was used to, and before long I was sure it was some kind of Ray I had on.
So with a tight drag I held the spool and pumped hard on the fish.
Knowing how they can just stick to the bottom I did my best to keep it moving.
After a hard fought battle with some great runs, and not allowing it to stay still, I soon had it to the side.
Here’s where I needed help but I was alone!
There was a short stale mate with me just holding the fish at the edge of the sand bank waiting for Victor to return.
Fortunately he was returning to pick me up and after shouting out and waving my arms frantically pointing at my rod he noticed it doubled over. He quickly anchored the boat and got out to help me unhook this big catch.
There’s no way I could of done it alone as Victor knows these fish well, and estimated it to be between 180-200lb of stingray.
He was understandably very wary of the tail after a hospital visit from a prior accident treading on a smaller one of these rays.
This certainly made me think twice about casually wading through the shoreline spinning with not a care!
These can swim right up to your feet feeding in the shallows and bring an abrupt end to a trip, so from then on I decided to keep my feet firmly on the sand, which was a good idea as I often noticed them in just inches of water.
We managed to pull it out and take a quick photo! Pushed it back and off it went!
This Ray certainly wasn’t a target specie for this trip but was definitely a very nice surprise and took the sting out of the first days slow fishing!
But I was certainly looking forwards to getting back out on the rock!