Diego Suarez ( East Coast ) Madagascar Jan 2014

sami G

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Jan 19, 2008
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Princeton, NJ
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Sami Ghandour
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whatever get me out there
After watching some solid report for the past couple of years and based on some feedback that I received from friends and customers, it was the time to consider hitting the east coast of Madagascar.
Hotel Emeraude in Diego Suarez was my choice. The fishing location was based on its wilderness and accessibility. The East coast of Diego is only fishable from mid-Dec to mid-March but still there is always a chance to hit a cyclone during that period.
Eduardo, Andrey and Slava from Russia where keen to fish that part of the world with me and we choose to fish using the Catamaran as our live aboard. The preparation took place and dates where sealed hoping for a great weather.
We all met in Antananarivo, which is the capital in Madagascar. I flew through South Africa and they sure did disappoint me upon my arrival as I found out that my rod tube is missing.

On our second day we took the flight from Antananarivo to Antsiranana in Diego Suarez. Upon our arrival, the driver was waiting for us and took us to the hotel for a quick briefing with Philippe and our Captains Nicolas & Bruno.
Philippe was on the top of everything, made his phone calls and assured me that i will be getting my rod tube on time for tomorrow. He definitely made it happen and thumbs up for Air Madagascar to keep their promise.
We headed out on the center console to start fishing followed by the Catamaran to set anchor for the night. There we got greeted with Fusilier at the entrance and the guys start getting some GT’s until we decided to head for the doggy ground.
The guys put us on a ledge starting from 40 meters and going down to 120 meters. On my first drop I got smoked at 95 meters by a solid fish and I could not stop it. My line broke, but I was not sure if it was due to a nick on the line or I got reefed. However, it was very solid and the run was spectacular that got everybody on board pumped up.
The sharks did not leave us alone and they were very aggressive to a point that they start hitting our jigs. If I recall correctly, they were oceanic white tip sharks. Over all that first day was a good start to our trip, everybody on board was happy.
Early in the morning we headed south for about 20 miles, until we came across a small bay that has some nice pinnacle right in the middle with a drop off. According to our captain Nicolas there were lots of big fish that was hooked in that area, although not too many landed. We started our drift and the guys began smashing fish left and right. The early morning topwater bite was very good; the GT’s were very active. We would start from 30 meter and head up to 10 meter giving the 12 meter mark to be the ideal depth for most hits. The fish sounder was full of life. Ultimately I decided to drop a jig right at the beginning of the drift only to get slammed by a monster fish that did not allowed me to get back any crank on my reels! From the way she took it and I felt it was heading for the rocks as I could sense what ass happening with the line. All I can say - I lost a massive grouper.
The bite faded down as the sun gets higher and higher so we switched to jigging. We landed lots of fish variety until the sun was ready to set back for the GT ground. We finished the day with a few fish.
The service on the Catamaran was splendid - we had hot water and every person onboard had his own room and shower. The food was prepared by the Captain Jean Pierre and his son Julien - really top quality while we enjoyed a great evening talking fishing and destinations on every night.
On the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] day we ran the same plan. Right after couple of GT landed by the guys we saw a solid one hits Andrey‘s lure. A few minutes later we saw the color and the fish looked hefty and solid. We got it to boat side to measure at 134cm, Andrey did a great job fighting it and did not give in inch. I would estimate that fish to be around the 48kg to 49kg, took a few pictures and released it safely. That was Andrey’s biggest GT so far.
Then we went off to the jigging ground as the sun began to get straight up.
We jigged a shallow area around the 30 meter mark and in no time and right off the bottom by 2-3 meter I get a solid hit with a great run. I was afraid that it was going to end up like yesterday in the rock but after tumming the reel I managed to gain a couple of cranks and the unexpected surfaced! A beautiful Napoleon fell to my jig and here we go - I opened the 2014 season with another one. The guys were very happy and we worked quickly around to get the pictures and released it as quickly as possible. He swam nicely and made his way to the deeper water.
Back to the shallow reef but it seemed the fish get scattered away by hitting the spot 2 days in a row. The evening was quiet and based on that it was time to head further south.
Our last and most far destination south is Cape Du Diable, an inaccessible spot hard to do due to distance, boat accessibility and weather condition.
We headed to Cape Du Diable on our 4[SUP]th[/SUP] day and we stopped at a couple of jigging spot on the way. Nothing crazy or enormous but it kept us all busy with a lot fun and laugh in between.
We reached Cape Du Diable afternoon. The place fits its name properly; there definitely was something weird about it, a wide passage with solid current running on the reef with a depth ranging from 4 meters to 15 meters. It looked very fishy so we put up the time for no takers until we spotted the fusilier from a distance. We steered slowly to that direction and made cast and boom - the fish was on.
Eduardo was on but the fish seemed not really fighting. Then all of a sudden it grew and right at the boat side we saw a solid 40kg GT hitting the job fish that was on Eduardo’s lures, It was one of the wildest things I’ve seen lately. I took the advantage and casted right away and get smashed by a nice GT but he came off.
The fusilier looked frantic and nervous at all time and we soon start seeing more and more patches of fusilier all over. In about 15 minutes period the place looked alive like no tomorrow and all you could see were GTs smashing the bait. All guys were firing from different direction to a point that we all have our own patch of fusilier. I must say - it was insane!!!
Tired, exhausted but very happy with the results, that evening got us going through the night thinking what to expect for the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] day.
We started as early as 6:00am on our 5[SUP]th[/SUP] day to the same spot. For sure it was not like last night but we still got couple of fishes. In order not to disturb it for no reason our Captain Nicolas and Bruno took us to a different spot to try but it was slow so we decided to switch to jigging. The action was great; we caught many job fish, rosy fish Bluefin trevally and many other species including a small doggy. Around 3:00pm we headed to the GT ground to set up for the evening bite. There were very small patches of fusilier so we decided to start casting. The water condition was great with calm sea that made the poppers explode on the water with big noises trying to attract the black devil GT of Cape Du Diable. 30 minutes passed by with no bites, we turned to our self and said for sure it is not going to be like yesterday... until I saw a big GT coming to my lure and hitting it twice. Unfortunately he missed it twice, the back was completely black and was massive, all guys on board saw it - it was really nice and I was just happy to see the hit.
We set up for another drift and again on the same Shell Shaping prototype lure in red wine color, a massive back raised up just like a submarine come to it with vengeance! I strike it once, twice and 3 times. The game was on from the bow he drags me all the way to the back of the boat with a full drag on the 2002 old Stella and we all know what the max drag on that reel is. The line was peeling and the GT was heading to the shallow water. Half of the spool was out with full drag on and boom the line broke. I lay on the boat with my head toward the water and I said deep inside I promise you it is going to be 170lb hollow next time. I have great respect for a GT of that size to hit my lure and I consider myself very lucky to encounter such an experience. We win some and we lose a lot and this is the reason we come back and do it again and again.

Did I say we were done? This time was Eduardo’s time The GT came to his lure to hit and he kept on missing it time after time after time. While Eduardo was going with a fast retrieve to keep the GT existed and interested, that GT was going nowhere - he really wanted the lure. I had never seen such a stubborn and must be very hungry GT like that one. As I recall he hit that lure over 10 times until he finally took it and Eduardo was on with a bend rod and screaming reel. It was a nice solid fish. However, this time was not the line, it was the hook that broke and the fish gained its freedom. I felt so bad for Eduardo as he really put up a tremendous effort on casting all day to trigger a bite. He broke 3 Patriot design hooks on this trip and the hooks just simply broke while fighting a fish.
Defeated yes but not broken, Cape Du Diable we will back!
On our last and 6[SUP]th[/SUP] day we start heading north to the doggy ground. We covered some nice area on the way with calm sea and made it in no time. It was a bit iffy in the begging and from what I saw the fish looked like they get a locked jaw. After a couple of drops Eduardo got smashed by a nice doggy that ran wild and end up chewing through the leader. I would have to say that the bad luck on landing a doggy keeps on growing but It will not stop until the right time and place comes to end for this drama.
I had enjoyed the company and the guys and the crew and I am not regretting the long hours of traveling even though I am writing this report while I am stuck in Johannesburg in South Africa. I have made new friends and I was so happy to meet and fish with Slava he is a great guy and we had tons of laugh together in boat, I can’t wait for the guys to see them and fish with them in March in North Carolina!!

Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 300, 250, 150, Ripple Fisher, Carpenter, Patriot Design, Blue Marlin Custom Rod
Reel: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Saltiga, Blue Marlin Custom Reels
Line: Jerry Brown & Power Pro Hollow line, Varivas SMP, Sunline
Lures: Shell Shaping, Carpenter, Craft Bait, Patriot Design, Siren, Blue Marlin lures
Leader: Saltywater Tackle GT System Leader, Moi moi Fluorocarbon Leader & Seaguar
Jigs: Shout Width, Shout Shab Shab, Hot’s Drift tune, Haoli, Sevenseas, CB One.

Tight lines
Sami















Oceanic White tip shark






OBX-500 under a heavy load





A typical sunset







Ye







Yes and the unexpected surfaced :) another Napoleon to add more charming to the trip!








[

The biggest GT landed on the trip and measured at 134cm, estimated around the 48kg mark.





That shows how brutal they can be!












The chef specialty




















Cape Du Diable from the sea, the place has a magical devilish spirit into it in anyway you look at it!


Local fisherman



Our catamaran heading north














Happy to land that beauty!




It wouldn't be nice to leave the city without experiencing it is culture and the way people live in this part of the world, so we took a quick ride to the Zoo and it is surrounded area.









As sad as it is but will only make me appreciate the way we live.













They're probably poor but they are happy!
 
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kbray001

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Aug 18, 2009
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Kirk
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Thanks for all of the great post.

I have to say, one day, I hope to go on a single trip that is half as awesome as all of yours.
 
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tap

"The Roving Angler"
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Sami,

You must have permanent jet-lag. Out of curiosity, one way I rate fishing destinations is by the "effort per catch" ratio when it comes to number of casts or drops per jig. What has been your general observations on EPC comparing Madagascar, Tanzania and French Polynesia regarding number of casts to hook-up? Thanks for the great reports.
 
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sami G

Member
Jan 19, 2008
309
246
Princeton, NJ
Name
Sami Ghandour
Boat
whatever get me out there
Sami,

You must have permanent jet-lag. Out of curiosity, one way I rate fishing destinations is by the "effort per catch" ratio when it comes to number of casts or drops per jig. What has been your general observations on EPC comparing Madagascar, Tanzania and French Polynesia regarding number of casts to hook-up? Thanks for the great reports.

Hi Tap,
Fishing in remote area is a great advantage that lead to produce more hook up and strikes, I had the privilege to fish in certain places where nobody ever had a chance to drop a jig or to cast a lure and the fishing is defiantly is out of this world, however the fish learn very fast and in a couple of days the bites will start to fade away little by little if you keep on concentrating on the same spot,
there is certain time and place that we produce a bites on every cast and i have to admit it was insane fishing but we enjoyed every bit of it :)
Tight lines
Sami
 
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hiloboy

Okinawaiian Sencho
Feb 26, 2009
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Donald
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Yamaha 25 SR Flybridge
Awesome report! I'm always tempted to go straight to the porn, but always start with the story because I know I will be treated to a great read! Thanks for taking us along, and keep the coming and safe travels!
 
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sami G

Member
Jan 19, 2008
309
246
Princeton, NJ
Name
Sami Ghandour
Boat
whatever get me out there
Thank you for the kind words guys,
in Dubai at the moment heading to the Andaman, stay tune for another report soon :)
Tight lines
Sami
 
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Derby

My "Member" is Well Known.
Sep 9, 2010
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Thank you thank you thank you.

The most amazing posts Sami.

Love it every time.
 
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