We planned this hunt for many months. Aaron Simser had fished with me before, but this time he wanted a marlin. I told him that the best place and best time for a big marlin would be off Bazaruto Island, Mozambique and Mid-September till end November was the season. He arrived on the 3rd October for just that.
The wind had been howling for two months before he arrived and hadn’t stopped.
The trip we planned would start out of Silver Fish Lodge, Maxixe, where we would fish up to Pomene (about 50 miles), overnight there in calm waters in the estuary, then make our way to the Canyon just south of Benguerra island, where we know there are big marlin. We would sleep over between the islands, in calm water, on FV Bounty at night, and be on the fishing grounds looking for marlin within 15 minutes of up anchor.
Well, I had a motor that would find the computer to make gear, so we were down. The mechanic couldn’t sort it out after two days, so I bundled him into the land cruiser, and headed north on Saturday, the 6th.
The marlin fishing community here is a small group of guys. I put out the call that we needed help- we needed a good boat and skipper, and a bed to sleep, and a marlin. You help a friend in need, that how we do things here. It was a 12th hour call…….
The guys from Inhassoro came to the rescue and soon we were accommodated with Derek and Wendy at Cashew Bay, drinking beers, eating well and planning the hunt over, and over. The wind was still howling, and we needed a break in the weather. Tuesday, 9th seemed 50/50. We knew that the wind would be there but couldn’t wait the extra day. Besides, our livers were pickled!
We pounded out there the next morning but were full of enthusiasm and will. Sea conditions were taxing, but soon found bait, which was rigged, and subsequently fed to a shark. The first of many. We saw one marlin finning in front of the boat. No fish raised, no fish hooked……. We had some bycatch, but that doesn’t count here.
Wednesday 10th, the weather was good with a swing in the wind between SE and NE expected. Conditions were great, but the sharks were out in full force. A bait would get rigged, and in a few minutes either get sharked, or we would have to pull it out the water and dunk him in the tubes and run for another location. We went through 16 baits- saw two fish that didn’t feed. Day two over.
I told Aaron before this hunt that if he gives me three days, we have an 80% chance on a Marlin in this time. Day three had arrived. We still hadn’t had a hook-up and were feeling sharked out! Good weather met us, and we headed out with slightly bruised egos. Wind was blowing from the NE, steady, but not strong. We saw quite a lot of birds diving out deep and subsequently picked up a bait, which was fed to a shark that came out of nowhere in 300m of water, within 5 minutes. Another two baits, where one was bleeding and the other died.
We put on the lures and headed first to the 500m line, and then worked back in. We worked and worked and were only interrupted when a Dorado Bull took one Kona and a Cuta took another bait stick in 38m of water. Still no marlin.
It was 12 o clock, and we were in Sail bay and weren’t looking good- little birds, hot as hell sun, but we knew the place had produced many marlins before. We were heading out of Sail bay in 100m of water when I saw the fish behind the long centre rigger lure. I first didn’t believe it, and thought I was seeing things. I muttered some ineligible sound, and then shouted centre rigger. The fish came back and hit the lure, this time proper! Even though the fish and the lure were far away, we all saw it this time and she looked massive!
Hook-up! And the 130# started screaming. Marlin fishing can be described as hours and hours of nothing, followed by absolute chaos. She came out the water to her shoulders, started shaking and then ran like hell. We frantically started clearing rods- of which there were many. You sort of think when it gets quiet, that you need more baits in the water…. Any “unused” rod needs to get put to work. Well, when you have a marlin hook-up, everything needs to come out of the water at high speed in case the marlin changes direction and fouls up other lines!
Aaron was in the chair looking flustered. The size of the fish was called at a close grander! The ultimate. She really looked big- the distance between her dorsal and tail was vast! In that split second you see the fish, it gets bigger and bigger when it starts to peel off 40 kg drag like a big gamefish on light tackle!
Her first run was an easy 600m, and we were on the backing! Aaron now looked even more flustered! We got him calmer and started following the fish. Now the work started, as we had to get that line back! The sun was hot, and the task was great. Water flowed out of his skin, but he stuck to it. When a fish takes a lure, it is usually bill-wrapped, so not only is it strong, but you usually don’t get a good hookset, and for that reason you need to keep tension. You can’t let up for 5 seconds.
Charles, the skipper, did an excellent job of using the boat to retain the tension at times when the fish turned towards us.
The fight lasted two hours after much encouragement from Aaron to touch the leader and make the pain go away. When we got hold of the leader we saw that she was bleeding from her gills. She was finished.
Its always a pity to boat a fish. Believe me, we don’t like it. Sometimes you are left with no choice.
She weighed 752 pounds, a good marlin in anyone’s books. Bazaruto lived up to its reputation of being one of the best places to get a big Black marlin. The hunt was difficult, with bad weather, a broke boat, and him having to reschedule his return flight, but we overcame, and won. It was a great hunt, and I was happy to be a part of it. Well done Aaron, see you next year, same time, same place!