Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gone fishing

I went on a week’s holiday lately, on a boat in Madagascar! An all in one package for me really. Diving, sleeping, fishing, relaxing, eating… It was my wife and I and another couple, and their 14 year old daughter (Floater).

Earlier this year I got a small taste of what deep sea fishing can be like, when I went to Mocambique with a friend and eager fisherman from Norway (Oyvind). The catch was properly documented on this blog (, much to rub it in for my friend that went home empty handed. This time I must say that I was looking forward to do some fishing, catch a big one and maybe rub it in even more… and document it like with all the salt and chillies to make it utterly painful for Oyvind, hahaha. Well, that was just a thought that snuck into my mind in a flash of a second… no more!

Well on board the boat, we are presented with the rules and we quickly move on to the priorities for the week. We’re a bunch of landlubbers and beg the captain for some calm waters. That means south of the Nosy Be Island sheltered by lots of smaller sand banks and islands. That also means bad fishing he says… I’m thinking to myself that during a whole week… if I keep the lines out at all times… I’ve bought some fancy lures… but I need all the luck now.

Kailash, the teenager on board has got a bellyring with lots of glittery stuff. We decide that she can be our floater… and all the tackles can easily be hooked onto her bellyring with an easy on and off clips… so Kailash is officially renamed “Floater”!
I take a look at the chart, and figure that our calm waters vary only between 20-30m deep. What big pelagic fishes can you catch in shallow waters like that?? I don’t know, but decide that I have to rely on “The Secret” as well… the power of the mind. Whilst all the others are relaxing and minding their own stuff, I will have to meditate on the fishing and visualize for myself how I battle to get that huge monster of a fish onboard the boat… then the fish will be “heaven sent” back to me as answer to my prayers. In these waters and the captain’s optimistic tone, that might be my safest bet… so the whole fishing thing fades out of my mind…

I don’t know what happened to the the prophets of doom… For two days there where nothing… but then suddenly one day the reel was screaming wildly. The captain had to wake me up on deck… fish, fish!! The line was pulling and pulling… and I just had to accept that only when this thing stops pulling can I start pulling back… but as soon as I started it was suddenly gone… F**K!! But at least something was lurking down there…

Only a minute later it happens again, and this time I landed a nice Cuta that I estimate must have been about 5kg. In an hour or two I landed two more, the biggest one now about 7kg… a little bit smaller than the one I caught in Mocambique, so still no proper salt to rub it in with for Oyvind… but I’m a happy fisherman… and me and Henk had 3-4 other ones on that we lost… so at least we had some good action there for a while!

As we are talking there at the back of the boat… my gaze is constantly swiping the horizon and in the direction of the fishing lines where our hopes lie… From out of the blue comes a fin… I jump up in the air, shouting shark, shark!! It could only be a shark or sharklike something big… and just as I’ve uttered the words the reel start running!! I’m at the rod in a second… but Ali the captain is shouting; “Let it go! Let it go!” I am too excited though and start pulling immediately. I can feel something heavy… and that it suddenly falls off sort of… It was Ali’s special tackle that went… a hairy piece of cotton is a fully good description of it!!
Apparently the cotton thing is a special thing for Marlins and Sailfish. They need to tangle up in the cotton properly before you bring it in… so I blew it big time with my eagerness… Like a premature e****lation it felt like… so bloody exciting but over before it even started!! Who could have dreamt of a Marlin before this trip…?

I’m scouting for fins in the water and Sea Gulls on the hunt now… Suddenly I see two more fins in the water, but nothing happens… Then again we see two fins… Sailfish Ali confirms. As we pass the spot I’m waiting and waiting… and there the line goes again. “Hold it, hold it” Ali is screaming! I’m ready with the cup belt and just waiting to pull and pull like crazy… “Hold it… hold it”; Ali goes again. I’m getting a bit impatient now… I’m wondering whether Ramadan and his fasting mean that he can’t take any fish either… and now he is buggering everything up for me as good as he can…?! Insh Allah (if Allah allows it)… isn’t it… and not for him to decide?!! The line has been running forever now, but then suddenly a huge Sailfish leaps out of the water like a mirror reflecting the sun, spinning around in the air and disappears into the blue again… “Bring it in!”; Ali screams now… and all my doubts in him are gone!
I pull and pull, and realize the fish went quite a distance whilst I was on a hold, waiting for Ali’s go signal. The sailfish jumps spectacularly out of the water again and again and threatens to circle around the boat. I feel very alive with that big thing wriggling, pulling and jumping out there. I am happy only to have seen this live… like on TV. Already I will have a hell of a story to tell… but I manage to land the beast though… the Sailfish only a tad more exhausted than the fisherman. Assany, my dive buddy and crewmember, takes a firm grip on the spear and gives it a couple of knocks to the head. Together we carry it to the front of the boat where it is all mine to cuddle and be photographed with. I really had to sit there for a long time to study in awe this amazingly beautiful creature… almost sad that it was going to the pots in a few hours.

Our chef on board made a lovely Sailfish carpaccio, followed by a lovely garnished piece of Sailfish fillet from the braai. Ali (the captain), Assany (dive-buddy/crew) and Gerrard (chef) shared the rest of the Sailfish in three equally big bags to feed their families. They seemed very happy with their share!! Although we did not have a weight on board we estimate that it must have been around 55-60kg. That’s rubbing salt into Oyvinds already wounded pride!! Cheers!!!
Ready for sundowners we pass a couple of Humpback Whales playing in the surface… I’m full of impressions for the day… and it’s still not deeper than 32 meters according to the instruments…


abraxas said...

Hey welcome back to blogworld!
I am JEALOUS and GREEN with envy!

That is a really awesome catch, and the photos carried that clear blue of the open sea :)

nice ...

Sevika said...

u tell a nice tale. wanna watch the video footage sometime though! I believe it is for sale to the highest bidder!