Bazaruto Is­land

Sportfishing Adventures - - Content -

Text and pho­to­gra­phy by Ch­ris­tiaan Kru­ger

They say “home is where the heart is” and in my case it is cer­tain­ly true: por­ce­lain white beaches, palm trees, pris­tine islands and crys­tal clear wa­ters are on­ly the be­gin­ning of the ar­ray of beau­ty that Mo­zam­bique’s Bazaruto Ar­chi­pe­la­go has to of­fer. Whe­ther you’re an avid fi­sher­man or just an ad­ven­tu­rer loo­king for the per­fect ge­ta­way des­ti­na­tion, then my home town is what you’ve been loo­king for.

I am si­tua­ted in a quaint coas­tal town cal­led Vi­lan­ku­lo in the pro­vince of In­ham­babe, al­so known by ma­ny as “The Pearl of Mo­zam­bique”. We are sur­roun­ded by five islands; Bazaruto, Ben­guer­ra, Bangue, Mar­garque and San­ta Ca­ro­li­na (com­mon- ly cal­led Pa­ra­dise Is­land) all of which at­tract and ca­ter for ma­ny di­verse in­ter­ests like di­ving, fishing and boa­ting. The is­land wa­ters are al­so home to the rare Du­gong - a me­dium-si­zed ma­rine mam­mal with a ma­na­tee type ap­pea­rance - which sai­lors in the 1700’s clai­med to be mer­maids as they too “breast­feed” their young.

This par­ti­cu­lar part of Mo­zam­bique’s coast­line has a ve­ry im­pres­sive ma­rine bio­di­ver­si­ty, in­clu­ding dol­phins, sharks, hump­back whales and game fish, such as the fa­mous Black Mar­lin. Our area in par­ti­cu­lar at­tracts ma­ny big game fishing en­thu­siasts who are in­ter­es­ted in lan­ding that fish of a lifetime: a large fe­male Black Mar­lin. Al­though we have a short mar­lin

sea­son (stret­ching over Sep­tem­ber, Oc­to­ber and No­vem­ber eve­ry year) the Bazaruto Ar­chi­pe­la­go boasts on­ly a hand­ful of boats du­ring the sea­son as op­po­sed, for example, to the bu­sier Cairns in Aus­tra­lia.

Our area in par­ti­cu­lar at­tracts ma­ny big game fishing en­thu­siasts who are in­ter­es­ted in lan­ding that fish of a lifetime: a large fe­male Black Mar­lin.

Ex­ten­sive re­search on Black Mar­lin over 1000 pounds caught along the coast of Africa has shown that the Bazaruto Ar­chi­pe­la­go has pro­du­ced al­most all Black Mar­lin over 1000lbs - on­ly two were caught slight­ly south in To­fo, ano­ther quaint sur­fing spot south of our home ground here in Bazaruto.

I re­cent­ly had an ex­ci­ting ex­pe­rience with a beau­ti­ful 500 pound Black Mar­lin as we star­ted off the mor­ning fishing for tu­na and wa­hoo. Af­ter a few

of those, I told my crew take one of the Yel­low­fin tu­nas and put it out as a live bait for a mar­lin on the big rod. We put the tu­na in the lu­na tubes and ran out to dee­per water where there wouldn’t be too ma­ny sharks.

Got out there, put the bait in the water and it was swim­ming ve­ry ni­ce­ly. Fif­teen mi­nutes la­ter we had a strike. I jum­ped to the rod and free-spoo­led the reel so the fish had time to get the whole bait in its mouth. Tigh­te­ning the drag, the fish didn’t be­have like a mar­lin so I tigh­te­ned the drag fur­ther but the fish just didn’t take line and be­gan to dive straight down. Af­ter a twen­ty mi­nute fight I told the fi­sher­man in the chair to go up once more on the drag be­cause this fish was most pro­ba­bly a big bull­shark. As he went up on the drag I saw the fish make a change and didn’t like the pres­sure of the in­crea­sed drag. She swam straight up and did a huge

jump 30 me­ters from the boat. Now we knew it was a mar­lin and a nice one at that. Un­for­tu­na­te­ly on the se­cond jump she spat the bait and the hook. Not a nice sight to see when a mar­lin jumps and you see your hook flying out of her mouth. I ins­truc­ted my deck­hand to reel up the bait and put out the lures. Maybe we can find ano­ther one…

As he was ree­ling it up the mar­lin came back out of now­here and ate the yel­low­fin (which was dead now) again. The deck­hand did a great job by going straight down to free-spool so that she could eat the bait. Then he went slow­ly up on the drag again and we were hoo­ked up to the same fish! Du­ring the se­cond round

she jum­ped se­ve­ral times and we lan­ded her about fif­teen mi­nutes, took some quick pic­tures and set her free to fight ano­ther day.

Al­though the Black Mar­lin is a main at­trac­tion for me per­so­nal­ly, and al­so where I put all my fo­cus as a skilled an­gler, the Bazaruto Ar­chi­pe­la­go boasts ma­ny other game fish, in­clu­ding the im­pres­sive Giant Tre­val­ly (GT) which are tar­ge­ted in the sum­mer months (Sep­tem­ber-March).

Top-water GT an­gling is some of the most ex­hi­la­ra­ting and chal­len­ging fishing you can ex­pe­rience out here. The GT is pound for pound one of the stron­gest fish in the ocean, and you will gain res­pect from fel­low fi­sher­man if you can catch one. Some of the other game fish we find here in­clude Wa­hoo, Yel­low­fin Tu­na and King Ma­cke­rel to name but a few.

GTs on top-wa­ters lures

Cas­ting stick­baits on a shal­low reef just off Bazaruto Ar­chi­pe­la-

Tu­nas (top) and job­fish (bot­tom) can al­so be caught while tar­ge­ting GT.

go is a dream for ma­ny people and I’ve been ve­ry for­tu­nate catching some real­ly nice GTs here. One af­ter­noon ano­ther guide and I de­ci­ded we were just going to take two big pop­ping rods and go see if we could find some GTs. On my se­cond cast I had a big splash on my stick­bait but the fish un­for­tu­na­te­ly didn’t get stuck. I cas­ted again and we saw this huge shape be­hind my lure. I thought it was a shark so I star­ted ree­ling the lure in as fast as I could to get the lure away but the fish was fas­ter and as he hit lure I could see it was not a shark but a real­ly nice GT.We pul­led the fish off the reef with the boat and a couple of mi­nutes la­ter the fish was lan­ded, tag­ged and re­lea­sed for the next an­gler to have brawl of a lifetime with. De­pen­ding on your bud­get, I re­com­mend Vi­la la Mar Vi­lan­cu­los as an en­try le­vel self-ca­te­ring op­tion for ac­com­mo­da­tion. Vi­la la Mar Vi­lan­cu­los is a beau­ti­ful beach vil­lage with ful­ly equip­ped bun­ga­lows right on the beach where we launch for char­ters at sun­rise. Should wives and chil­dren join in on fishing ho­li­days Vi­la la Mar is the per­fect des­ti­na­tion, with BBQ areas, ample sha­dy trees and gar­dens, woo­den decks over­loo­king the ocean and a large swim­ming pool with a kid­die splash pool, in­vi­ting the en­tire fa­mi­ly, young and old.

For di­ning op­tions, a great fa­vou­rite in town is Fru­tos do Mar. This lit­tle sea­side sea­food res­tau­rant and bar is the cen-

With its rich eco­sys­tem, the Ba­zu­ra­to Ar­chi­pe­la­go holds the lar­gest po­pu­la­tion of du­gong in Mo­zam­bique (around 300 ani­mals) and al­most cer­tain­ly is the last re­mai­ning viable po­pu­la­tion of du­gongs left off East Africa.

ter of Vi­lan­ku­lo’s night­life and serves some of the best food in town. It is a beau­ti­ful space with vis­tas of blues for days, ex­cellent ser­vice and a range of cock­tails to let even the most stres­sed lin­ger a lit­tle lon­ger.

Tra­vel­ling to our lit­tle piece of pa­ra­dise is ef­fort­less and com­for­table. We have a mi­ni­mum of two di­rect flights flying in­to Vi­lan­ku­lo In­ter­na­tio­nal air­port eve­ry day, one from Ma­pu­to and one from Jo­han­nes­burg. Vi­sa en­try fees and va­ry from na­tio­na­li­ty to na­tio­na­li­ty, but can be be is­sued at the bor­ders, at any gi­ven time of ar­ri­val. Over­land tra­vel is al­so an op­tion as the na­tio­nal roads south of Vi­lan­ku­lo connec­ting us with the do­mi­nant ar­ri­val point of Ma­pu­to are in ex­cellent condi­tion and even se­dan ve­hicles tra­vel up and down the coast with ease. Mo­zam­bique's lo­cal cur­ren­cy is Me­ti­cais and cash is rea­di­ly avai­lable from ATMs with both Vi­sa and Mas­ter­card op­tions.

I’ve had the for­tu­nate ex­pe­rience and op­por­tu­ni­ty to fish nu­me­rous places on the pla­net, in­clu­ding As­cen­sion Is­land, South Africa, An­go­la and Ma­da­gas­car and will al­so vi­sit Cape Verde for their Blue Mar­lin sea­son ear­ly next year. No mat­ter how far and wide I tra­vel in my life, I know I will al­ways re­turn here, to the home I share with Mo­zam­bique’s Black mar­lin.

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