Joined: 11 May 2005
|Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:49 am Post subject: Madeira Marlin.
Member Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Spalding, England
Thoughts and memories on the 2007 season so far...
Well, after a much talked up 2006 season to live up to, could Madeira throw a fast ball, and come up trumps again in 2007?
After glorious reports in Marlin Mag and sites across the world wide web, it was inevitable that a number of visiting boats would have a poke around this season.
With several of the worlds best know skippers arriving during the late part of May and early June, I knew we were going to have an extra pressure on what is always a low numbers high quality fishery.
By all accounts the season got off to a good start, even if a little late, with world class skipper Capt. Peter Bristow tagging a nice fish in the 900lb class. Fishing was steady through to mid June, when the winds started blowing from the west and messed things up!
Sea temps dropped, bait vanished and the fish were few and far between. When the winds finally settled at the end of June, Dustin flew out and I was in daily contact with him. His only reports were ones of one fish a day for the fleet, a fleet that was numbering as high a 16 boats on some days. The Last couple of years, the best fishing had been seen during the last week of June and the first week of July, I had prepared myself to the fact that the best fishing had passed by with the spell of bad weather.
So I arrived in Madeira on the 9th July, and made my way to my hotel, the "Quinta Penah Franca." Last year I walked into a bar full of anglers, skippers and crew, all sharing stories about their day on the water, this year was different, the bar was empty. Well it wasn't that long before Dustin poked his head round the door, and before to long the familiar faces of Nick Bayntun and James Roberts turned up. At least I could have a drink now!
Now, down to the fishing. July 10th, and we are spoilt with and awesome day on the water, at around 10.30 we find some trash floating in the water and all rush to the cockpit when Gab, our deckie shouts fish. We are all stunned to see the smallest Mahi jumping towards our stinger bait. The fish takes a little line but fails to hook up. Another pass and we have lunch, another pass and we have tomorrows lunch another pass and he falls into the drink during de hooking and another pass and he throws the hooks. 3 for 5 and still not even 11 o'clock. At about 2ish the stinger line pings from the clip and the sound of line getting stripped off the reel comes to a quick halt. Anibal thinks Tuna, Dustin thought he saw a bill, so calls it a Hatchet and I think Spear, as they don't normally make much of a show. Anyhow I am kind of thinking that that is it for the day, and it isn't much longer before we start the run home. We get to ponta da cruz and we enter what is rather a large rip that throws us about quite a bit. Now I am one who likes to take a drink, and still feeling a little rough from the night before, I tell Dustin that there is a fish on the short corner. We rush outside to the cries of "fish" from Anibal, and wack, the Pakula Wombat on the long corner comes flying out of the clip. I don't remember much after that, I think the fish had a sniff at the all black lump of lard on the long rigger before fading away. Anibal turns the boat around and up she comes again and wacks the Pakula mouse in lumo rigged with a small size 10 hook from the short rigger. So here we go, I feel crap, we are in a pretty bad rip swell, and the standing joke about me fishing at my best with a hangover comes back to haunt me. Well I do my job and get the wind on back on the reel in a little over 10 mins, over to you then Dustin! Not a chance, the fish is full of beans and shoots off and we get into a tug of war that lasts over another hour. Dustin is aware that the hook is on the small side, and asks me not to put to much pressure on the fish that we are fighting on an 80 outfit that was out in the hope of a Tuna bite.
Finally the fish gives in, and we are able to get the snooter on her. Once safe and de hooked, I put the rod in the holder and rush to get my camera. Once again lady luck has blessed me with a fish that Anibal called in at 750 to 800. The hook was partialy straightened during the fight, so I am glad that I listened to Dustin about keeping off the drag, I guess it can be all to easy to up things and give the fish some stick when in a long fight.
Well, that's it for the catching, I had to endure another 6 days after that without raising a fish, but still had an amazing time none the less.
Last year we saw a remarkable upturn in the quality of fishing around the island of Madeira. Many of us read Karl Anderson's report in last Novembers Marlin Mag - he was right there in the thick of it - so was I. Many boats were lucky enough to see fish nearly every day. Last year Chunda had seen 25 fish by the 3rd week of June, Peter Bristow skippered his way to 5 fish in 4 days for his charter, who then went on to fish as a guest on the Arin and made it 6 in 5 days on the water. Balancal owner, Jonathan Fletcher went out on his birthday and caught 3 fish to an est. weight of 2550lb - not bad going. I think it is fair to say that the bite is happening again, it's just that year is like every other, different.
If there is one thing to be sure of in this world, it is the fact that as humans we can not predict mother nature. None of us knew that the winds would blow from the west for a fortnight, a period in time when the warm summer weather should be warming up the waters around the island and bringing in the fish that Madeira is still well known for. What happened was the water cooled, bait vanished, and now in the 3rd week of July, the waters are finally warming up to were they should be in June.
There is a reason why so many of the world greatest Skippers, Crews and Anglers still find Madeira a magical Island....Granders!
This year is no different, Ron Hamlin got his Madeira grander for the boats owner, Peter Bristow released a fish that he was sure would have made the weight for the womens 130 record - the angler didn't want to kill it - Chunda had a fish up last week that all on board knew would make the weight for the 30lb record AND make the 1000lb mark, but she failed to switch.
I myself have only a very limited amount of time fishing for big Blue Marlin, but my stats are good. I have in the last 3 years raised 4 fish, all have taken the lure and hooked up. I have won the battle with 2 of them.
I will continue with my time in Madeira for a few years yet, and yes, it is personal now, and yes I would like my grander. The island holds some magic that I can't explain. My up most respect goes out to the skippers that call the island home, be it for a few months or all year. The sometimes-tough times that they endure are testament to their true professionalism. They don't look back at when they caught their last fish, but look forward to catching the next, and then making the magic happen for another lucky angler!
I had the whole trip filmed by a local guy, Paul Watson. After last years fishing effort which failed to get one single photo of the fish, I splashed out a bit this year and hired some profesional help. He has edited down the best bits, which can be viewed at http://www.marlinvideo.tv/
To all that take time to read this, thank you. To all those I met on the water through this board, I hope that one day we can all fish together again, it was a pleasure to meet you all. Tight lines, and heres to 2008!
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If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.