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For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
My pal Steve has just been on a trip to the Maldives and he sent me this 'postcard':-
I thought you may like an e-postcard/report for your website
Lyn has been going on about a cruise for some time now, but I just can't face all the palaver of what I think a cruise may involve. All that dressing up for dinner and no/little chance to go fishing when all that water is all around.
I have fancied going to the Maldives for some time, but fishing isn't allowed around any of the resort islands - well shore fishing isn't at least.
Then I came across a holiday offering the best of both worlds - a cruise around the Ari Atoll on a 'live-aboard' dive boat where the stop off points were deserted islands and sand bars, where shore fishing is not prohibited.
Anyway - it was a bit of a long shot and it didn't pan out exactly as expected, but we both had a great time and some fish were caught along the way.
Our cruise was on the Yasawa Princess - a Live aboard dive /cruise ship - only 22 passengers including us during the fortnight that we stayed aboard her.
We stopped of at around a dozen tiny islands like this one during our cruise.
The profusion of fish life was beyond my expectations It would have been like fishing into a tropical marine fish tank if I had used bait (I don't think the divers would have been too happy about that)
Something that I hadn't bargained for was the amount of coral growth around the islands which made fishing from the shore almost impossible. Any fish that was hooked was likely to bust me off on the coral within seconds even though I was using 30lb braid with 60lb and 100lb fluoro leaders.
The coral grows right up to the shoreline and the drop-off was often easily within within casting range, but you would never get any decent fish back in over the coral without continual losses.
There were some areas of typical tropical flats, but despite spending hours wading and casting, much to my surprise I never saw a bonefish or trevally on any of these. The only fish of any numbers were packs of needlefish and sting ray and eagle rays.
Despite persevering with poppers in the hope (expectation) of barracuda and trevally for the first half of the holiday I didn't raise as much as a sniff off anything and I was getting a bit anxious that I had made a wrong choice about the fishing destination.
I decided that a change of tactics was called for so when the divers and sun worshipers weren't using the ship's tender I managed to sneak in a few hours fishing with the boat crew out along the drop-off.
The most productive areas were in fact right on the reef edge, casting into the breaking surf. This wasn't without its risks!!!
My best session was at this shipwreck mark where I had 13 bluefin trevally up to around 10lb. You could see the fish running in groups along the surf as it broke on the reef and casting beyond the curling breaker resulted in some solid hook-ups and plenty of action as they invariably headed for the wreckage.
Note that I removed the belly treble on the lure (Maria Chase SW) as the first several fish had all taken the tail treble and the fouled the belly hooks up around the eye or gill area. From then on every fish was landed cleanly.
It was possible to fish off the back of the ship at night, as the ship's lights attracted hordes of plankton and baitfish which in turn attracted masses of scad and I'm sure that larger predators would come to feed on these shoals of baitfish, but we also had dolphins that came to pick off the scad and I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't have gone down well with the dolphin watchers if I'd hooked one of those :-)
The highlight of the trip was a snorkelling session where we had the company of 8 manta ray for over half an hour.
One morning I came across several small black tips (1m long) that had pushed a shoal of baitfish up against the beach. I just waded into the water to take this pic.
All in all it was a good holiday with plenty of fishing for me and lots of sun for Lyn. Plenty of memories of a beautiful part of the world too.
If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you!' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - firstname.lastname@example.org