Thailand is relatively new on the world freshwater fishing map, but it's full potential is being uncovered as well is some of the best sport fishing in the world.
Fishing Report 2
Team Fladen Fishing
at the Andaman Islands.
By Jonas Nyqvist.
On first March 2006 trip to Narcondam Island (a non–active volcano 140 miles NE of Port Blair) we had the pleasure of having Captain Pontus Bengtson, the owner of Sweden’s oldest fishing charter company; Fladen Fishing (before called ELBE Varberg) along with Stefan "Manta" Mostroem, his son Tim and good friend Lars joining us.
On our way to Narcondam Island we trolled for Marlin. Just east of Havelock Island a Marlin came up and had a look at a lure trolled over one of the outriggers, but unfortunately wasn’t interested. Further north, Pontus lost a 10 lb Yellowfin Tuna, but Lars had a bit more luck and landed a Barracuda in the same area. We had dinner at North Button Island and tried some shallow water popper casting from the dinghy; Stefan had 3 – 4 fish on, but lost them all in the corals. As we arrived at Narcondam Island the next afternoon, the action started. Stefan quickly landed a 32 lb Wahoo and a similar size Yellowfin Tuna, both caught on the downrigger. His son Tim caught a 11 lb Dogtooth Tuna and had a couple of big strikes on the downrigger, but unfortunately no hook–up. Captain Pontus caught his first ever Wahoo of 30 lb, and Dogtooth Tuna of 32 lb, and Lars managed to land a 16 lb Yellowfin Tuna before we anchored over a 40 meter deep reef, on the north side of the island.
Stefan rigged his shark gear and baited with a big slice of Yellowfin Tuna. He lowered the bait 20 meters and tied a balloon to the line as a float, and was immediately rewarded with a big strike. After a hard fight he landed the trips biggest Dogtooth Tuna, a beautiful 90 lb fish. Tim started by catching quite a few Barracudas on his baited hooks, but after a short while the sharks started to show up. Stefan was cut–off a couple of times, while Lars released an estimated 150 lb Whitetip Shark and Pontus had a smaller Shark we still haven’t been able to identify! Before we called it a night Lars was cut–off by a big Shark. The strangest catch of the day was a Barracuda that jumped into the boat, hit Stefan and almost landed on the BBQ!
Next morning we headed out to a seamount west of Narcondam, and just before we reached the peak of the seamount a very big Black Marlin (estimated at around 900 lb) hit one of the 16 inch skirted lures trolled over one of the outriggers. It jumped a couple of times and then took off for the horizon. Even though it was hooked-up on one of our brand new Shimano Tiagra 130 reels on a Typhoon 130lb bent butt chair rod, the fish still managed to take 600 meters of line in no time, and I decided to make a u-turn and follow the fish, to avoid being spooled. With an estimated 700 meters of line in the water, the knot between the 130 lb IGFA class line and the 150 lb backing broke! We never had time to feel sorry about loosing this monster Marlin though, because just a couple of minutes later a 2nd Marlin hit the other outrigger lure and this fish was proper hooked and Stefan fought it professionally. The fish was estimated to 250 lb and released unharmed.
After this a few Wahoo and Tuna was caught on the trolling lures, before we decided to try fishing with baited hooks for the first time on this seamount. That was a choice I never will regret! Every time we lowered our baited hooks, we had big fish on; Sharks, Groupers, Rainbow Runners, Trevally and more. Captain Pontus caught his first ever Hammerhead Shark, which is also the biggest fish he has ever landed! The fish was estimated at around 220 lb, and put up a tremendous fight on the 20lb rod! Tim was fighting a smaller fish, when a big Copper Shark (also called Bronze Whaler) showed up and ate his fish! It almost pulled him overboard, but with a bit of help from his father and Pontus, he managed to get the estimated 400 lb Copper Shark at boat side for a photo and quick release. At one point Tim actually used big Lars as "Fighting Chair"! Lars released one Whitetip and one Blacktip Reef Shark, and also caught many big Groupers. Bottom fishing over this seamount must surely be some of the best in the Indian Ocean. Very impressive action that can not be truly described!
During the night we fished close to Narcondam Island and yet again had plenty of action. The capture we will all remember the most, must be the 38 lb Giant Trevally that had a 2 foot long Barracuda still sticking out of its mouth, that Pontus caught!
Next morning we caught a couple of nice Dogtooth Tuna on the downrigger near the island before we once again headed out to the seamount. Tim, now with experience from the fight with the big Copper Shark yesterday, succeeded in landing two Silvertip Sharks (130 and 175 lb) all by him self, well done Tim! Pontus also released a 175 lb Silvertip Shark and some nice Groupers. Stefan, a little embarrassed over losing the family record to his son Tim, took revenge when he hooked an even bigger Copper Shark. This Shark was over 440 lb and also fought very hard. We decided to try a new reef for the night fishing, a place we now call "Grouper Bar". Both Pontus and Tim hooked up with nice Groupers in their first try of the evening. We lost many big Groupers in the corals that night, as our only chance to stop them reaching the corals was to jam the drag completely! Pontus hooked up a very big Dogtooth Tuna that nearly spooled him, before it bit through the steel leader! Stefan also hooked a big "doggie" that went around the anchor rope a couple of times and broke the line. Next morning when we retrieved the anchor we saw a big fish hanging dead in the anchor rope; it was Stefan’s 65 lb Dogtooth Tuna!
Stefan "Manta" Mostroem is the only angler to have caught a Manta Ray on my boat during 20 years of charter fishing, hence the nick name. The one he caught last year west of the Similan Islands took a whole tuna rigged on a shark rig. So much for harmful plankton feeders! Anyhow, he managed yet another one later this night! Next morning we headed for Havelock Island’s beach No. 7, which has been voted "Best Beach in Asia" by Time Magazine, for a bit of relaxation and a nice dinner before sailing to Port Blair.
Thank you for a great trip,
and hope to see you all again.