Duarte Jnr at 7 yrs old release his first Mozambique Marlin
Duarte Jnr at 7 yrs old release his first Mozambique Marlin: just please don’t ask if it’s black or a blue?!
Congratulations go out to young Duarte Rato Jnr, who, all on his own, and on his spinning outfit, caught and released his first Mozambique Marlin!
At age 7!
If a marlin can live to about 30. And a human say, 75. Then that marlin and Duarte Jnr would be about the same age! Cool stuff Duarte Jnr, I’ll start changing all the search terms to you instead of your Dad!
Yip, the FishBazaruto.com team took advantage fo a super-flat and calm day, to get out there and drag a bait or two around the inshore reefs and banks. And unbelievably, Duarte Jnr hooked up and fought the feisty little guy to the boat for a good few pics and a great release.
It’s been great watching these two kids growing up. Duarte Jnr has a little brother, Dario, who was just so amped about Duarte Jnr’s fish and was super-stoked to pose along with Duarte’s third kid, this one adopted – the ever-enthusiastic newbie angler – Diogo Martins (45 yrs young)! Otherwise knows as Diablo!
Anyway, it’s a helluva team that FishBazaruto.com present during the lockdown and other recreational times – or when customers are just simply not in existence!
That said…Mozambique’s absolute and outright victory at the Covid Competition might see people heading up to Bazaruto, correctly, as a safe-haven.
Just got to wonder when those borders are gonna be opened up?!
Get in touch if you like heading up thataway for a real escape sometime when it’s possible again. Sean on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +27793269671.
See you there!
We run a YouTube Channel jam-packed with as much video as we can make, and we are on FaceBook too.
Fishing aboard Vamizi through the 2018 marlin fishing season, Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto.com has won the distinction of tagging the most marlin for the African Billfish Foundation. Alongside Tarka from Kenya, and, then also got the biggest tagged black marlin for the second straight year!
Duarte has just recently compiled his latest fishing report on http://fishbazaruto.com, and it is jam-packed with news and photographs.
The table of contents reads something like this:
42 kg GT off the shore
1040 lb Blue Marlin
ABF tagging results
Big Blue Sailfish Competition
Guinjata Species Comp
And a selection of photographs from the report…
You can follow the link below to read the full report…
The season up at Bazaruto is about to fire up. The Sardine crew will be operating there after the Sardine Run in the Transkei. In August we will be heading northeast and will be operating in Tofo, Pomene and Vilanculos and all else in between. We are booked for September (Botswana) but back up to the marlin waters there the first week of October and will stay right through the season. And into 2020!
So get in touch if you would like us to arrange your perfect fishing, surfing or diving trip. You can browse some of our packages at the following link, but we can make up your itinerary as and how you want it.
We can fetch you at the closest airport and leave the rest to us. We have places to stay or camp. We have boats up and down the coast. And a network of great guides and skippers. Each are experts in their waters and target species/activities.
Sonar tagging Zambezi Sharks: Calum Murie could have been anything. But he chose to spend his life chasing huge sharks around with sonar tag in hand, ready to abuse the first full grown Zambezi Shark he sees. In the name of science, research and conservation, Calum’s motivation for this career path runs deep and his commitment is exemplary.
And so it was that Calum enlisted the crew and facilities at the BCSS (Bazaruto for Scientific Studies) this September, to get some more tags installed in some Zambezi Sharks and other suspects. The tags are monitored by sonar listening stations set out up and down the coast between Pemba and Cape Town. So if one of Calum’s tagged sharks goes on leave and heads off for a holiday, Calum is gonna know about it.
This behavioural study of horizontal movement is aimed at supplying decision makers with the correct information regards shark activity along our coastline. Sadly, there have been over ten shark attacks in the Inhambane Estuary just down the coast from the BCSS. It’s the poor crab ladies who are getting taken the most. They are sitting ducks working in a metre of cloudy water at best.
And so Calum is fiercely chasing Zambezi’s, the prime suspect as usual. Although bronze whalers are also on our shark tagging list for being a suspicious character. Calum is also after Tiger Sharks, but we have not been successful at this as of yet. Hopefully we can find a small one somewhere!
You can actually get involved in our shark tagging exploits if you like. The success of the project that Calum is running, has opened up more funding for his studies. More listening stations are being deployed in association with the BCSS and Dr. Mario Lebrato. And we now have another batch of tags to deploy. At over $1000 per tag, we have got responsibilities!
The BCSS was built in order to facilitate research and conservation. So if you are aligned with these objectives, get in touch to join the team for a week or two. Rates are very reasonable. And you get to stay with us out here on the edge of the whole world!
Get in touch on email@example.com to make arrangements.
Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!
We had been catching and tagging Zambezi sharks. And recording humpback whale and calf conversations. For three weeks straight. In all kinds of seas and conditions. And so it was absolutely great to be out to tag marlin again. The core BCSS crew were aboard. Captain Bento and crew Pedro and Mario. Dr. Mario Lebrato. And me. We are all fishing mad and this heaven-sent day was just what we all needed to unwind and blow off some steam.
I wanted a marlin for Dr. Mario but when we got down to business, the sharks had eaten our entire box of 22/0 circle hooks. And we were left with our sailfish sized models. But there have been loads of small fish about, and sailfish. So when that beautiful little very unlucky skipjack found itself on the deck. I rigged it up with the small circle and let it go.It took a while to find a frigate bird way up on top, circling with promise. The bird was way above a flock of terns enjoying the action down below. And as we sneaked up on the bait ball, with action all around us, I got a solid strike. Then the fish picked up the bait and headed off with purpose. When the lines and smoke got cleared, I looked down to see the heavy shark purposed braid already melted off towards the half way mark. I pushed the lever forward and felt that almighty power as a huge black marlin took to the skies. Her bill was soooo thick. By now the reel was down to a third and it was with some relief that we all saw her throw the bait, still kicking, way through the air. We would never have turned that boat in time to give chase. But we were out for a laugh and we have been seeing so many marlin that we really, just had a laugh about it.
Then. The bait righted itself and there it was, kicking away merrily. Slowly I brought the bait back towards the boat, when bang, another strike. I was hoping it was not the same fish! And it wasn’t. A fish half the size of the first one greyhounded around us. A spritely male that also regurgetated the bait. Completely intact and still kicking determinedly we watched the unlucky skipjack fly through the again. Hitting the water with a splash we heard over the water from 30m away!
When I felt the bait still kicking again this time, I just handed the rod to Dr. Mario. Who promptly hooked a hammerhead of about 120kgs, that Mario broke the rod on, and we had to handline up. Easy job with that heavy braid.
It was super to encounter that first real big fish. She was so thick and fat. Compared to the rat that took the skipjack the second time. The reel wasn’t big enough either, even with that power braid, we would never have stood a chance. So in the end, the hook matched the tackle just fine. And it’s great that the fish got away scot-free.
Everyone else around us is also getting marlin every day. It’s an incredible scene. You can keep up by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
You can also check out Captain Duarte Rato and his marlin taming antics on their website http://fishbazaruto.com and social networks too. Duarte really has raised the bar and produces excellent results by global standards as he consistently releases marlin after marlin, species after species, up here in the waters around Benguerra Island and surrounds.
If you would like to join us fishing like this, The Sardine has many options on offer. From super budget camping and small boats. To luxury lodges and sportfishers. To live aboard mothership with 24ft gamefisher and a huge range.
First marlin for Jason Morkel: Small marlin are just the best. Especially the baby blacks that frequent the waters of Bazaruto, at around this time of the year.
The small fish, under 50kgs sometimes, perform so nicely, getting more air proportionally than their parents do. Really spirited.
And they release really cool too. Like this young marlin (video below) hooked on a daisy chain meant for bait. Luckily the 50lb line gave Jason the power to dominate right from the beginning. At at the end, we got a clean release without even having to touch the fish. He even gave us a farewell leap of thanks!
The marlin season here in the Bazaruto Archipelago has well started, but the beasterly easterly is making things difficuilt. Blowing literally every day. You can notice how rough the sea was this day – in the video. But marlin like the rough seas, they certainly seem more active when the wind is pumping.
This day we also got to see one of our live baits get devoured in an instant. By a huge blackfin shark. So quick! The BCSS (Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies) and Dr. Mario Lebrato, supplied GoFish cameras that we have been using successfully and it really opens things up for us. We also have a big bull dorado attacking a plastic. A Cobia (Prodigal Son) chasing and close-up inspecting and even testing. And a hundred little yellowfin tuna chasing us around. We glean so much information from this technology, and it is helping us increase strike and hookup rate phenomenally. You can see that video and read that article right here.
And if you would like to join us fishing up here in these waters, we have many options for you. From 5 star to camping, we can get you out here. Check out some of our options right here.
And a new offering on the go right now, is the mothership Catsanova and her daughter Reflection. The liveaboard Catsanova can sleep 8 or more. And has a few cool options regards range and catering. She is powered by outboards and can get you to all the real interesting places. Like Pomene in the south, and to Nova Mambone in the north. These places hold treasure. Reflection is a purpose builtgamefishing machine skippered by local pro Dean Taylor. You can see him in action in this post. Click here for more.
And in between us and them, are the really big fish.
Blackfin Sharks don’t mind deep water and they are as fast as marlin!
Fish behaviour studies include monitoring how these fast predator fish including sharks, attack.
A cobia comes in real close but does NOT like what he sees, and peels away nonchalantly.
Fish behaviour studies at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies: The accompanying video features four species of fish and their different reactions to some of our trolled baits up here in Vilankulos waters.
Some days the water got real blue lately, but many other days have been plagued by a bit of green in the water. However, we have worked out distances from camera to fish nicely – the last clip in the sequence shows a huge blackfin shark come screaming on our marlin bait, chomping the wax thread that help the tuna to the circle hook, as they do.
The first clip, is that of a real nice sized bull dorado having a go at a paddle tail. Spectacular as the fish uses it’s prolific sail in the attack sequence. One of our best shots ever (thanks to Dr. Mario Lebrato for going to all the effort to get these clips).
Then a real interesting one comes on, revealing a noisy, ugly white hard plastic noisy lure, that just outright fails to convince the spritely little Cobia that came up from out of the depths to have a look. A very close look. Centimetres behind the clanging lure. And then, unbelievably, he gives it a nudge. When it doesn’t react like a real fish, the Cobia tries again until he convinces himself that it’s not worth it. And peels away unimpressed.
Then we were going slow for some reason, and a whole shoal of cute little yellowfin tuna come into the scene. The camera was upside down at this slow speed so the video can look a little confusing.
Enjoy the fish behaviour action…
The BCSS, on Benguerra Island, has been real busy hosting a group of whale behaviour scientists right now. More about that to follow…
BUT, Captain Duarte Rato officially started his season this week, and he will certainly be doing his homework and tagging and posting for us. His latest report can be seen here -> http://fishbazaruto.com/2018/09/18/early-september-18-fishing-update/, and is a real good one again featuring shoals of yellowfin, some wahoo, and two sailfish. All in days work for Duarte and crew once again on the good boat Vamizi. Who I saw moored at Vilankulos the other day – looking beyond spectacular in preparation for the season.
Benguerra Island: Where you have to count fish to sleep!
It’s 02h00 in the morning on Benguerra Island, and I am trying to sleep again.
But I just can’t. Every time I close my eyes, imagery from the previous day’s fishing out off Benguerra Island in Mozambique, comes smashing through my mind, in 4K Technicolour. Screaming reels, crocodile couta, gas bottle yellowfin, bus sharks, acres of bait and baitballs so intense that the fish were pushing themselves out of and onto the top of the foaming ocean. And you know what that means – marlin!
But, let’s rewind and try play the day out in words…luckily we got some great pics and some video that we will also explain with.
Yesterday (Sunday 19 August Diogo Martinez’ birthday) was one of the most mind gobbling days I’ve ever had on the water…
Here goes …
Diogo Martinez. My latest victim. This guy has lost it. Completely. He even stopped partying as hard as his reputation. 6am, I’m collected. We’re both in perfect shape. Unbelievably for a Sunday morning in Vilanchaos.
Bahia Mar is where all the cool kids work and our rendezvous with our brand new ride. Reflection. Owned and operated by Hooper and Louw, she comes with a pro skipper, Simon, and pro guide, Dean Taylor. Who came with a girlfriend, Mazerine, who has also already lost it to the fishing fairies.
We collected another fishing crazy girl Lwana, from Bahia Mar, and carried our coolers and equipment down to the surreal beach out front. Dhows and Sportfishers anchored up and down.
The three of us chatted and enjoyed a thoroughly peaceful moment as the good ship Reflection, came in to get us. Soon we were at Benguerra, where we collected Keegan, of Cape Town.
There was a lively congregation gathered on the beach at Marlin where we got Keegan, on the inshore lee of Benguerra, and pro guide Dean sprang into action! Halfbeaks! And then the breakthrough idea of the day…Lula! Huge. They are called East African Squid. Or Potter’s Squid. And this one weighed in at four pounds! Since my mate in Jeffery’s Bay, Marc White, chatted with me about swimming a big squid bait down deep with a Mydo, I been very eager to swim a huge squid around here. I also have been under the heavy influence of my colleague Dr. Mario Lebrato, who says that in Europe he fishes with Lula all the time. For blue fin tuna!
We bought the squid! A few actually. And some of the biggest halfbeaks ever seen. Plus a few small ones too. Halfbeaks are the best and most hardy bait of them all.
And then…Margaruque became a reality, by about 7am. But someone told the fish there that we were coming and they were totally in hiding. But that’s Margaruque. And after a solid two hours of serious casting, we gave up, with the wind luckily. The pumping South South West had backed off and we were looking at melted plastic. But the swell was way up and the washing machine from back of Margaruque to the blue is about 10 clicks! Of bashing and bouncing.
But it’s so worth it! We got through the surf easily enough that Dean started tying the biggest squid together with wax thread. He tied the head to the body. And then stitched in a huge circle up top. Then he cunningly inserted a stinger single for wahoo. And buried it’s tip in the head so a marlin wouldn’t feel it. It’s just a 8/0 single wire hook that would rust away if left behind. Tied on with seven strand.
And here starts many stories…
One many named lure (Rapala since I was born, Halco later, and now every man and his dog makes them). One halfbeak on a Mydo. One on a pink Hawaiin eye (I am 48 and thats what they were called back when I started!) And the huge squid. No gaff. But I don’t mind fishing without a gaff, I find the fish really win, and I’m actually on their side these days.
Nothing comes along. The huge squid is skipping and slapping the water audibly from the boat. Well those brand new Suzuki 140s on Reflection, are literally silent. The huge half beak is sliding along solid. The Mydo and other thing with many brand names are down and away.
Still no fish. It’s mid-day. Mozambleak.
Then…all of a sardine…
Birds and bait. Baitballs. Action. The whales start performing. And we get close…and closer, until, spoons and dropshots away!
But the still green crew weren’t getting their range and targets right.
And then it began. The lure with many names on a TLD 25 spooled with 30lb that literally melted off the reel to the most delightful sound. After such a long morning of nothingness. I grabbed the nearest victim and she bucketed up and took over. “Put some drag, more drag!”, consented Dean, as I pushed to sunset. The lines cleared and the fight was well on. Lwana is well versed in big game fishing and she had control soon enough. Lwana has already battled a marlin! Assisted by some great driving by Simon, I thought she may have had a a chance. But what I never thought about, cost us the fish. It must have been a 30kg class animal and it had so much line out still. That, when we fought the fish with the boat, we got ourselves on one side of the 30m ledge, and the fish on the other deeper side. I saw the rod twitch and flick, I grabbed it from Lwana and started cranking. I felt the line hit the ledge again. And pop, it was gone. That’s 0 for 1 on big gamefish. And one no name R200 lure gone.
Then the next one went, a far more controlled fish this time. Skipper Simon and I, actually saw the shoal of wahoo come smashing into our wake, we were screaming. I am used to fishing without a gaff. I actually like it. I crossed the floor a long times ago. It’s risky business having no gaff. But I really release literally every fish I catch. And often, they are what I call forced releases…when the hook shakes right next to the boat. This is actually ideal scenario for me – except for getting a nice photo and measurements. But we don’t even touch the fish. It gets away scott free!
And this is exactly what happened to our second wahoo. It was green as hell and Dean hung over as far as his lanky frame could and grabbed the fish by the tail. It went mad. Shaking it’s head furiously, splashing everyone. Then the hook fell out. And the fish did a cartwheel type maneuver right out of Dean’s hands. It just twisted itself free!
0 for 2 on big gamefish.
By now people were kind of avoiding each other on the boat.
But we had found the fish, and we were on a ledge, and so the jigging sticks came out.
The first victim was Keegan. All dressed up with a 30lb braid weapon and lots of innocent intent. BANG! But it let go!
0 for 3?
But I had a beautiful rigged half beak from the mornings shopping, and it was happy to swim to the bottom in the zero wind and minimal current. And so I dropped it to the bottom. Dean suggested, “Hey man, crank that thing to the top?”
And so I started. It wasn’t five when the THING hit! And absolutely annihilated me. The first 15 seconds I had the edge of surprise, and instinctively hit the throttle. But I got pulled back down, so hard, it could have only been Ambo, GT or Garupa! The fish reefed me in less than a thrifty thirty seconds! Mydo trace gone!
0 for 4?
0 for 5 was another on off on the jigging, only lasted a few seconds.
Now Dean knows his game, and he has the drag on his huge 8000 coffee grinder as tight as it can go. It’s to stop GT’s going into the reef and cutting you off as they do. The drag is so tight that I could not pull any of the 130lb braid at all. Dean calls it GT drag.
And he had it on this setting, when all hell broke loose. I was in one back corner. Diogo in the other. Dean in the middle. Dean had the simbiri pole and 8000 with 130lb braid tied to a plastic and he was cranking it up off the bottom at hyper speed. Keegan was watching eagerly from the front and noticed a hyper huge fish come under the boat at the same hyper speed. It was going for the dropshot. And it connected with Dean, very, very hard. Right under the motors. The couta hit that lure and Dean buckled. The impact was so severe it pulled Dean a metre, almost right out of the always open tuna door between the motors. He had jammed himself between the sides for grip by the time I got to him. The fish never had a chance to turn away and run, it was trapped by the amazingly powerful drag and short line, to Dean. It just went around in hyper high speed short circles under the boat. Dean grappled over and around the starboard motor and was hanging over the gunwhale with the rod tip pointed right into the water going round and round in circles. I was hanging onto Dean. Keegan was hanging on to me.
Dean eventually got the drag off a turn. And the huge fish finally it got it’s head away and tore off towards Linene. At blistering speed. Only Keegan saw the fish so I was convinced at a huge GT. So much violent and raw power. Dean was just hanging on for life. But he also said Serra (Couta).
Then the fish stopped. The sharks got it. And we got the head back from a fish that might have gone 35kgs. Or 25. We will never know.
0 for 6.
We were all stunned, even I went quiet, after all that.
But the birds came back, the fish surfaced, and I threw my Luck Shot into the fray. Bang, I got one. I gave it to Lwana to bring home, and soon I had my favourite livebait. A jube jube bonito. I had made a two treble trace just for this eventuality, earlier on during the morning. It fitted perfect, and I dropped my beautiful little bonito over the side.
It wasn’t one minute and I got smoked. Whoohoo! This is my game and soon I had an angry couta, another really big one, at boat side. Dean went into fish tailing mode, and luckily the cameras were rolling. On the first pass, Dean couldn’t a decent grip around the fishes real thick tail. And the second and now the fish was getting angry. Only one of the trebles was holding. The other was flailing about a foot up the line. So dangerous. So Dean couldn’t go for the gills. I brought the fish around again, and Dean grabbed hold. The fish was really big, and as usual when tailing a fish, the hook came free. I knew straight away what would happen next. The fish got it’s head back into the water, found purchase, and literally blasted off out of Deans hands. It’s impossible to hold a fish that size like that. I really like fishing without a gaff! The fish escaped in perfect shape and health! Stoked!
0 for 7? Livebaits don’t count!
I realised now that we had better get a fish for the hatch. To at least remove the theatrical mombakkies we were still wearing (South African for No Fish masks).
I set lines in a more tuna like pattern, and we moved off to find the bigger yellowfin. And man did we find a big one. Diogo got on the rod. It was a double up strike. Diogo was doing real well. Keegan on the other rod too. But Keegans fish was acting strange, and so was Diogo’s. They were coming to easy, because when I saw Diogos fish, it was huge! Well for this place anyway. It looked 30kgs.
Then the sharks hit. They smoked Keegan and soon he was watching line melt off his TLD. I went into panic mode and grabbed Diogos line. I almost got to the leader when the line snapped. But, above me. Diogo had been pulling against me so hard he snapped the 30lb. But I still had the fish on, and was winning as the sharks circled below. Then Simon ran over to help and grabbed the leader, pulled too hard, and the hooks came out?!
Zero for 8?
Nobody could believe it. And everyone was facing outwards on the boat, or looking down.
Now I really felt the need for a fish.
The yellowfin came up, I got in a real good cast, cranked the handle twice and bang. It was a small guy, maybe 5kgs, and Keegan thoroughly enjoyed the tough little fish. His first ever. And Dean grabbed it’s tail so hard he left fingerprints as he triumphantly hauled our only fish over the gunwhale. The boat erupted with life.
It was far from over as we got our groove on and forced released and released a bunch more fish. The sharks were living off our live baits though, so we were mainly jigging and sight casting. We got a another lovely yellowfin, about 10kgs or more. And were drifting merrily down the ledge.
The huge squid bait from before was still intact and lolling around having fun behind the boat. A ratchet made a noise and we all looked around confused. The TLD 2 speed has a normal sounding ratchet, not like those gold reels who gurgle and gargle. It was the big stick. I sprang up and got the rod from the rocket launchers. But, I was too late as it turned out. By the time I had gotten the 2kgs of drag off – the fish had started jumping already. It had found the stinger buried in the head for wahoo. And was not going to swallow the whole lula now, so that circle hook could do it’s work.
All I could do was hold on knowing that the trace would fail. The marlin wasn’t small, and jumped three beautiful times before breaking the seven strand that was holding the wahoo stinger! Some people on board hadn’t ever encountered a marlin before, and the looks on their faces were unforgettable.fg++
The day never even ended then. The fishing still continued for hours, but after the marlin, my memory kind of just faded away! It all became a blur of ratchets, flying spoons and jigs, and fish on. Double and triple strike action.
Until 02h00 on Monday morning! When it all came flooding back at me.
Benguerra Island is a very hard place to sleep!
If you want to fish with us like this, there are very many options you can choose from – on The Sardine News. From USD to Rands and even Mets, we can get you out into these wildest waters imaginable. We have our operations, and partner operations who have been working with us for many years, even decades. We operate anywhere we have to in Africa.
It’s totally wild down there as GoFish blows it up!
Gofish Cameras. Totally wild.
When we first reviewed a bunch of underwater recordings shot with GoFish trolling cameras – of fish attack behaviour, that we made out off of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies recently – some crazy sounds came booming from out of the studio.
More and more gasps and exclamations, hoots and howls from the reviewer – until he crescendoed with an almighty bellow, “COME AND SEE THIS!”
Myself and Callum Roberts (visiting shark scientist and the reason for us targeting Zambezi Sharks as he completes some serious scientific research work at the BCSS) bounded into his office, only to be exposed to the most eye-widening imagery ever seen by either of us. Mainly Zambezis – the particular troublesome species we have been targeting for spatial monitoring and movement tagging.
But also King Mackerel – reckless and lethal as they were hunting in packs – they operate together. Amazing to see. Even the big ones. And when your livebait starts to panic like it would after a few minutes in these waters, make no mistake your bait is being stalked and charged from all angles. What was amazing is that they turn away so often. It’s about one in ten charges – that the ‘couta actually hits the bait. The pack seems to goad one of them into eventually taking on strike duty. And they all hang around and share the spoils after the striker gets the bait off the trace! Which happened surprisingly often.
The Zambezi’s were the same, as in there was never only one of them. Up to six at a time were recorded happily sitting barely two metres below the propellers, easily keeping pace with us as we dragged a dredge and a bunch of lures around behind us, at quite some speed. Obviously, as we had a strike, it was barely a few seconds and a shark would climb on.
The Cobia acted the same. And often swam with the sharks. In amongst them. Huge fish.
As did the Talang Queenfish we were lucky enough to film off of Paradise Island. We scored an unlucky flying fish that flew onto the boat. About 5 inches long. The trace we had was too heavy for starters, but a bunch of queenfish came in and inspected, mock charged, turning away every time. A custom trace with light nylon would have gotten that strike. But we did get one on spoon, which may show a relationship between strike rate and live baits in the water.
Yellowfin Tuna, at these initial stages of fish behaviour analyses, have been the most wary and sensible. The bonito and skipjack footage that we recorded in our wake following us – unbelievable. Like an over-stocked aquarium, there were fish everywhere, and going in all directions!
This particular application of video technology to our favorite past time of fishing has potential to completely shift the way we see and treat the ocean and it’s fish. It was far more of a thrill seeing what had happened as recorded and reviewed through the day than actually catching and fighting the fish.
The following video was compiled to study the king mackerel as they come in hot and fast onto the target. You will see that they definitely come in from the flank or rear, and that they go for the tail first. In this clip, one couta actually removes the tail completely with a lightning-fast strike. And then another of the three featuring king mackerel comes in and takes the bait right off the trace. But he hooks himself. And then, in a flash, he just shakes the trace free. All we could see from the boat, was a few dips on the rod tip. The fish never even took drag, since they were coming in for the strike in the general direction of the boat ie towards us! And for sure the camera was always deployed on a real stiff big gun. Tackle just too much for them. We lost quite a few cameras in the end. Sharks and other beeeeg fish we will never know about.
But basically, without the GoFish camera, we would have experienced none of the thrilling wildlife action going on barely a few metres behind the boat. It really has made an effect on us as we now are using this information to make new sfyle traces. But more about that in another article.
All the imagery we attained on our last three weeks of shooting underwater with GoFish cams, has been processed into data and video and is studies. Some of which you can see online at the following links:
Prices are very reasonable from 75$/person/day including all (excluding some leisure items), and
include first-class cooking and catering by local Chef Fernando. Three meals a day are served.
Warm and cold drinks too. Don’t think it twice, this is a life-time experience.
Accommodation is in the real deal safari tents, or in single and double sharing rooms. The facility is built right on a beautiful beach and bay, on the north side of Benguerra Island. Views are over the channel to Bazaruto Island. A thousand shades of blue.
Volunteer activities will take up half your day, the other half you can swim, snorkel, hike, game view, fish…anything you please. There is a surcharge for activities involving boats or vehicles.
If you wanted to get on over to the very edge of the world, this is one very cool way of doing it. The prices are a fraction of what it would cost to stay on the highly exclusive Benguerra Island. And you get to do something and learn some cool things about how we can all help conserve the environment that we live in.
Dr. Mario Lebrato and Callum Murie taking a small break from capturing and editing
Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies
Activities appeal to all ages really, but it’s the get-up and go type of volunteer we are looking for!
Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies Website
The BCSS website has recently been launched. Take a look at the following link:
Use the website to get in touch. Volunteer programmes and activities can be viewed on the website.
BCSS Underwater Obervatory Project: The first ‘croc couta comes in for a real close look but turns away right the last second. There are two of the +-20kg class fish circling the live bait with piqued interest. In a flash the hapless bonito has its tail sliced off. Blood streams out. Another fish circles and bang! The couta comes from in from below and chomps into the bait. Vas! But somehow he misses the hooks and another guy comes in and finishes off.
This action is all part of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies’ (BCSS) Dr. Mario Lebrato’s long-term ocean observatory project. One of only a handful worldwide, Dr. Lebrato is set to deploy a multifaceted underwater monitoring system. Cameras, sensors and a myriad of other sampling equipment will be installed all over the Bazaruto Archipelago. For long-term data recording and analysis.
Luckily, part of these underwater observations includes predator fish kill behavior. Trolling tow cams on marlin dredges and teasers, and right in front of live baits, is opening a huge new three dimensional perspective of a mostly viewed in 2D wake and prop wash. What goes on down there is gob-smacking. So many fish come in interested, but then shy away at the last minute, and move on. In fact, the plentiful and ever-present Zambezi shark is far more careful than the aggressive king mackerel. Tuna seem to be the most suspicious so far. Cobia are also wily characters. Talang queenfish get super excited about a live bait, but will not touch it! Then it grabs a lure! Amazing revelations about fish learning and behaviour.
Wait ’til you see the Zambies following the boat!!!
The hours and hours of material recorded will go back to Europe for careful analysis and processing into data.
Fresh in from Bazaruto Island: Captain Duarte Rato has been hard at all February, and rounds it all off with a fantastic trip he got together with his Dad and his son. Spanning three generations, the effort was serious enough, but with the help of Duarte Jnr’s mom Gretha, those yellowfin were really in deep trouble!
“As all who fish with us know my Dad, Jose Duarte, is a true salt, a real old man of the sea who spent his life in the Ocean, mostly on commercial vessels. He took me to sea from a very young age and, from a very early stage in my life, when my friends wanted to be Doctors, or fireman, or engineers, I knew I wanted to be a charter Captain. My oldest son, Duarte, who just turned 5, as definitely inherited the passion of the sea from us. Or should I say obsession! The boy dreams fishing, watches fishing videos as opposed to cartoons, spends huge amounts of time looking at my BlueWater, Ski-boat and Marlin Magazines and, at five, can easily identify between a Blue, a Black and a Striped!”
The yellowfin tuna have also made an appearance of Tofo recently. Acres of birds enjoying the feast of small sardine-like fishies all over the place right now. Judging by some of the smashes going on, visible over a few kilometres even, there were some big fish on the hunt. Voracious attacks on the surface!
In the backline at Tofinho were the bonefish again. They looked like they could have been spawning as every now and then one lolled over another and a flash of underbelly was occasionally seen. Very cool to see them all so tightly knit and floating along just shy of the waves. If they were not spawning, then I am not sure what they were getting up to?! And no, they were not lemonfish!
Along the beach at Fatimas the bonefish pros were baiting up with prawn and squid and getting a handful of foot longs each. These guys just seem to know exactly when and where these fish decide to show up. This was a few days ago, as a front came through.
The markets are overloaded with lovely gamefish like couta, kingfish and tuna. The weather has been crappy, but aytime the row boats get themselves out there, they bring back nice fish.
Catching Yellowfin Tuna in Mozambique
Well the biggest one caught up in these tropical waters here so far, has to be this 72kg monster, by Duarte and crew, taken on a marlin rig, a few years ago. This fish caused quite a stir, as on this same day, they were all over the place. These huge yellowfin tuna, out of nowhere! And on a mission to smash into everything they could. Luckily this fish held on right to the end. Quite a few got away!
At around the same time, bigger class yellowfin tuna were being encountered up and down the East Coast seaboard of Southern Africa. Even Durban got a fish over 50kg’s. A new club record for all the years of that clubs existence.
Traditionally, yellowfin tuna just don’t hang in these tropical and warmer waters at all. Once they reach sexual maturity, which is 35 to 40kgs, they shoot over the horizon and into the “tuna lanes”.
But, tuna, all of the species, are well known for their feeding patterns. They can stick to a regimen like clockwork, often traversing hundreds of kilometres in a day as they migrate between feeding spots. Feeding spots that these highly intelligent fish know are going to produce at those times. And they can change feeding habits and patterns, completely.
Bluefin tuna used to use False Bay as one of their spots. These fish were most likely Southern Bluefin, which we still get in quite prolific numbers, right off our coast. The Transkei Wild Coast regularly sees legal longliners from Japan, there are two of them, catching Southern Bluefin Tuna, within cellphone signal distance from shore. These ships are based out of Durban and can be monitored on any AIS app, anytime. They catch serious fish. Billfish and Southern Bluefin. but the Bluefin that vacated False Bay in the seventies – have never come back!
Weirdly enough, Bluefin started pitching up off Ireland a while back. After a very long absence. Local anglers were amazed to see these huge fish coming right up to them, as they plied their regular fishing techniques right offshore. Soon, these guys were posting online, questions on how to catch Bluefin Tuna. And sure enough, they caught quite a few!
So the influx of bigger tuna to these shallower and more tropical waters, could be seen as an adjustment to their feeding patterns. An adjustment to the adjustments made as so many variables have to line up for natural events like sardine runs to occur.
So tackle up this next season. Keep that heavy duty popper at the ready!
Duarte and his team have been operating the Bazaruto waters since forever. Duarte actually grew up fishing Mozambique. He has been doing marlin and sport fishing charter trips, ever since he was in school in Maputo! Right in the most hectic times around here!
Duarte mainly targets really big marlin (I’ve heard him say – “I hate light tackle!”, a number of times). And he has caught them! Over a thousand pounds is the mark, and Duarte has had many fish over that size off the famed Bazaruto Island. Including one released this season. You can read all about that fish right here…
The next time you plan a trip up to the Bazaruto Archipelago or Vilankulos, get in touch with FishBazaruto first to assist you in making the best arrangements and plans for your time here. Weather and tide are factors so the more in advance we can plan, the better.
Welcome to Vilankulos & the Bazaruto Archipelago, one of World’s best Giant Black Marlin fishing destinations. With 16 years experience in the area our experienced crew invites you to step aboard one of our fully rigged sportfishers, for a fishing experience of a lifetime. We have continuously been the archipelago´s top billfish charter boat for well over a decade and have caught more grander (1000 pound plus) Grander Black Marlin than any other in Africa. Blue and Striped marlin can also be caught out wide and the by-catch of other species such as sailfish, wahoo, Yellowfin tuna, dorado, cuda, Kingfish and other’s makes this an extremely versatile and exciting destination. We cater for experienced and novice anglers alike and for those interested in making the most of the Archipelago’s diversity we happy to combine & package for other forms of fishing such as plugging for GT´s, vertical jigging, drop shot, fly fishing, light tackle spinning & conventional light tackle trolling.”
Captain Duarte Rato submits and end of marlin season report from Bazaruto Island, filled with fantastic imagery and fishing stories. Tales of huge fish! Marlin over 1000lbs. Many just shy of the mark. Almost all marlin and sailfish are released by the highly trained and efficient team running the good boat Vamizi.
A few shots from this weeks gallery…(c) FishBazaruto
Big fish Bazaruto (c) FishBazsruto.com
Marlin season 2017 has been an absolute blast this year
FishBazaruto have been taking bookings now already for next years marlin season, which can start as early as September. Depending on the prevailing winds. If the South Easter howls through winter and into spring, and then gives way to the very mild low-pressure systems that can come through as we move into summer, the season can extend for months each side of November.
Duarte spends the whole December with his family. Greta and two boys who are growing up fast. And then starts again in January and fished his home waters of Bazaruto a while longer, until he heads on off chasing marlin all about the globe.
Get in touch with Duarte via http://fishbazaruto.com and while you are there check through the archives of all his posts since 2011!
There is a video section, and so much interesting and relevant information about Bazaruto and its waters. Including a table referencing the best times for each fish regards season.
Marlin release pro Captain Duarte Rato checks in from Bazaruto
Marlin release pro Captain Duarte Rato checks in from Bazaruto with two more Captain’s Blogs from his recent excursions taming marlin out off Bazaruto.
It’s just amazing, that our eastern seaboard, right on our doorstep, has so many marlin. From as far south as the Cape, and right through KZN and into Mozambique, and further north…our continental shelf wavers and wobbles creating eddies and currents and congregations of all sorts of baitfish. That the marlin are after.
And it’s not only the marlin, we are so fortunate to live here. Huge yellowfin tuna swim these same waters. And wahoo. Dorado. Anywhere in the 80m zone along the shelf will tell a story.
It’s just all about timing. The weather can really play along, but often times it doesn’t! It has been really otherwise lately, as you can read in Duarte’s report – since that cut off low caused all the trouble a month ago. It seems that if we don’t get a cut off low, then the weather plays along just fine. But the huge pressure difference this last low brought, caused havoc up north. 40 knot easterlies!!! Luckily it gets better and better through November and into December.
FishBazaruto.com checking in with yet another post FULL of marlin. It’s time to stash the light tackle for whilst these denizens enjoy their annual holiday to Bazaruto waters. There are plenty smaller “models” as Duarte call them, available, courting the big ladies too. These smaller fish, presumably males, really put on a good show, even on the heavy tackle.
But it’s all about the big fish off Bazaruto right now. Four rods only. 80lb minimum. Everyone on alert!
The smaller fish make an excellent account of themselves either way
Read Duarte’s account of the second week of November. There are barely a handful of boats fishing out there at the moment – the weather has been terribly difficult still – but the amount of fish coming up is staggering!
Fishing Mozambique by Bus: Giving myself ample time, I arrive at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg. Only to find that my flight has been cancelled. LAM. Late and Maybe. Mozambique’s airline. Their excuse? No aircraft this time.
And so I gallop across the expanse of the international airport, fuelled by adrenalin, only to find that Safair, the only other carrier, is fully booked! No flights available. For the next week and more. Chokkablok.
My clients arrive this same day, in Inhassoro…a short hop from Vilankulos airport. So now what do I do?
So, I take the remaining flight that is available, to Maputo, and arrive at 10am. Now it’s on. Where do I go next? So I call up The Sardine’s Maputo connection – Marta Luisa Santos – and rally for her assistance. Sharp as always, I am soon directed to the Junta.
1100 Mets later, the equivalent of about R250, and I have a ticket!
I am going to be a day late, but at least I will make my charter, for the good weather the next day.
I just never realised how far it was!
And so the next morning, 4am, I taxi along to Junta. The bustling hub for all public transport heading north.
And there is my bus. In all her glory. She is huge. Single story though. But a huge improvement over the old models. I take the seat I presume to be the right one – without a chair in front of it, so I can lean over and sleep my well-aimed hangover well away.
At 8am! The bus is finally full enough to depart, and off we go.
Man, it’s far to Inhassoro! After we reached Inhambane province, I was well comfortable that I was going to get there in time. Sort of. What I never realised, is just how far Inhassoro is from Inhambane! It’s miles! In fact, it’s much the same distance from Inhassoro to Inhambane (336kms), that it is from Maputo to Maxixe (460kms)! Give or take an hour or two.
I have bussed a lot. And so I melt into my seat and try grin and bear it.
Around me are all sorts. Including tourists. Some also skunked by LAM. A delightful elderly couple and I chatted at every chance. Some were visibly grumpy about the prospect thrust upon them. But then I met two gorgeous French girls. They had rented a 4×4 and on their own did Etosha and Okavango! After Cape Town they had bussed along the coastline. And now were headed to Vilankulos to do some diving and island exploring. They chose the bus. It was safe they said. Cheap. Convenient. AND. The lightest method of travel for the environment! They did have a flight back as they were gonna be in a hurry. But were considering cancelling to avoid the drama all their fellow passengers had just gone through. Including me.
The journey gets underway. And this bus flies. It’s a big and powerful coach recently imported from China. Chinese decals and all the warnings are in Chinese symbols. But in great condition. The toilet was not working, but the bus stopped regularly enough. With passengers off and on taking a good few minutes. And a few official toilet and food stops.
On the bus the interactions are all pleasant. Bus culture. People politely keep to themselves. But are real enough to strike up one of those unforgettable very temporary friendships that becomes indelibly etched in your memory. Every time you pass a place where you chatted, or broached a subject in the scape, those pleasant memories flood back.
With some help, I sleep and sleep and sleep. A few nice stops barely interrupt my slumber.
8pm. I wake up, and I am the last person on the bus. And we are in Inhassoro!
A taxi to my guests at Cashew Bay lodge, and the next day we are out there catching a marlin!
But some trips don’t go as well as others. And so after the first marlin and nearly another one, and some real bad weather, I left my guests with Captain Derek Flaxman, and headed south. On another bus!
This one took forever, but only cost me 500 Meticals, including my huge bag of fishing tackle! That’s R120 or so. To go 600kms!
When I got to Maxixe, a taxi took me across (At this stage I couldn’t be bothered with a slow water taxi and all the carrying that goes with it). Then another taxi to Tofo and in one day, for 600 Meticals or less, I traversed Inhambane province.
So. For 1700 Mets (about R400 right now) plus a few taxi rides, I travelled a solid 2000kms!
That is less than 1 met per kilometre!
Considering my flight cost R3700 one way from Jhb to Vilankulos. This is one seriously cheap way of travelling.
And the most friendly on the environment. By far!
Definitely more reliable than LAM!
Mozambique by bus! And these busses go everywhere! Chimoio and Zimbabwe. Or north to Beira and beyond. In fact, you can go just about anywhere in Africa for a few hundred Rand! From Durban, the international taxis charge about R300 including a surfboard, to Maputo. Maputo a night at the friendly and safe Fatimas. Then 1000 Mets to Tofo or 1100 to Inhassoro. So, R600 for your transport to Bazaruto waters! You can spend all those savings on boat trips! Because that’s expensive!
The busses are not allowed to travel at night, so it’s daytime only. They are big and steady and safe. Almost comfortable. But one thing is for sure…Africa is being opened up even more for the much-needed tourism business, by bus.
Check out our fishing experiences and packages you can enjoy with all the cash you will save by traveling this way…
Lucky anglers fishing the Bazaruto waters and surrounds are having an epic season with many meritorious fish being caught every day out. Captain Duarte Rato has been keeping his journal up-to-date and this is his latest instalment…
Check out The Sardine fishing travel options by clicking here. We still have a few slots available for this summer coming up. Inhaca or Tofo. And on the KZN South Coast. Join us as we take care of your entire fishing experience. We have worked in the places we operate in for many years and know the areas really well. By coming with The Sardine Team, you will be able to maximise on the myriad of variables and options encountered when fishing each unique location. We can cater to your particular requirements and factor it all in for the best possible fishing holiday for you and your mates and/or family.
Follow the menu above to get to all our available accommodation and package options.
Bazaruto 2017: 1000lb marlin and other stories: It’s been a cracker of a season so far, for the small fleet of boats fishing the Bazaruto Archipelago’s waters. Captains Duarte Rato and Morgan O’Kennedy are hard at it every day possible. Quo Vadis is in place. Bazaruto is abuzz with billfish fever right now.
Duarte on Vamizi has been supplying a steady stream of marlin content culminating in this huge fish that the team were able to release in under two hours! Now that’s the way! Enjoy the read…
You can read Captain Duarte Rato’s journal of all these incredible fish on the FishBazaruto website at http://fishbazaruto.com. The information in these posts is priceless as Duarte recounts in words, and in his spectacular photography skills…every trip he has done since 2011! Duarte fishes all over the globe and you can get in on the action by making an enquiry on the FishBazaruto website http://fishbazaruto.com.
Fishing with Captain Derek Flaxman, from out of Cashew Bay Lodge in Inhassoro, Barry Viviers got his first ever black marlin Sunday last week!
After a real slow start at the south tip of 25 mile, where we were beaten by a nice couta and a GT that were herding some fusiliers, it was high time for some konas and a good spread out the back. We were only on our third rod when the real close kona started to really go. I did see a flash in the white water behind the magnificent Super Cat 38 we were on, but the fish never jumped until it got a food few hundred metres of line off us. By that time the other lines were cleared and Barry climbed into the chair. A few adjustments and we had Barry going back at the jumpy little black marlin.
At that size they really can perform, and this little guy was never gonna let us down. Luckily his antics seem to tire him quite quick, and soon Barry produced a leader! It took about twenty minutes on the nicely matched 30, and was oh so much fun!
The fish swam away with a new attitude to konas, and we had our spread back in order. Sitting atop the tower, I heard a shout from below as somebody spotted a sickle. Then we all saw it, I had such a cool view, as this fish, a much bigger and more fussy marlin came charging in but turning away at the last moment. This went on for a good few minutes when eventually she over took us in haste. It was a great encounter, but eish that was a big fish, and we already had one so it was back to gamefish a while.
Some angry skipjack gave us some serious revs. The couta were chowing the lures. We hit and missed on many frothing bait balls of scad and small bonnies, we wanted one for bait so bad!
Then I hooked a nice one and as I was passing the rod over, a shark came flying in. The bonnie got off. But the shark went straight for my beautiful halfbeak so nicely rigged on a #4 Mydo. It was a good fight and we got most of the trace back.
Fishing with Derek and his able crew is such a treat. And the huge Supercat 38, named Comforter, is just that. An absolute pleasure to fish from. Stay tuned, but the weather has been terrible. The after-effects of the cut off low that wrecked parts of Durban, is huge pressure differences, and so bad weather. And it’s been bad! Stuck on land!
To come marlin fishing with The Sardine team, click here.
FishBazaruto’s game-fishing video playlist getting bigger and better
Game-fishing for the camera! It’s real cool when the kids take over and just thump out cool little edits of your day at sea for you! Well this has been happening more and more as the young ones embrace technology – especially cell phones and video. Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto up in Vilanculos, Southern Mozambique, had some real keen and talented young crew on his boat Vamizi this last week – The Watt teenagers – movie makers and fishermen!
Young Benji Watt and his first sailfish is the first clip.
As you can see from these classic clips recently added to FishBazaruto’s YouTube playlist, authentic and quality video is a cell phone or a GoPro away. All these tools come with editing software these days – totally intuitive and built into the hardware. You can trim video right in your phone’s gallery, and assemble the whole lot with titles and if you really have to, put music on top.
Throwing a track over your hard earned authentic sound bytes is a no-no! And you lose out on the copyright of your own material. Any revenues generated go to the artist who originally recorded the song. Use original sound wherever possible. You can bleep out the swearing!
You also don’t need to commentate at all. You can but don’t talk to the camera. Do that afterward with a voice over helping to tell the story. Filling in any gaps. But mostly, the story tells itself, especially if you can tie off a shot and record the whole lot on a wide, and use another phone or camera for the close ups.
Assemble on your phone or your computer. Then upload to YouTube. And this is where all this extra cool new content is coming from! You! YouTube is awash with every fishing video you could dream to watch. Instructional stuff is all over and so well done. Knots. Traces. Fighting fish. You can glean so much from watching these videos. Often they are series’ of themed video- just like a TV show.
So what’s next from us?
Live from the boat! As the season kicks off in Bazaruto this year, there are some spots that have enough signal, to get a live stream going. Both Duarte and ourselves (The Sardine Team are operating up in Vilanculos through to January), will endeavour to get a live tangle with a marlin going.
Stay tuned via our Facebook pages, if you Like our pages, you will be notified when we go live.
Learn more about FishBazaruto at their content rich website over at http://fishbazaruto.com. Duarte and his team update the site regularly – in fact every trip Duarte has done since 2010 or so, is documented on the website. With photos.
As we move into the video age – when everyone has access to the equipment, and the interfaces become easier and more intuitive, it’s gonna be a very colourful – Future of Fishing.