Rodrigues, February 2017

Target Fish: Dogtooth Tuna

Rodrigues is better known for its high winds and waves. However, it is also a simple fact that there are no firm rules and always a chance of a surprise when you go fishing. The latter was the case this time – a mirror-like sea and water temperatures of up to 31°C made fishing very challenging. While billfish were still being caught almost every day in January when conditions were ideal, a change in current direction, a complete lull in the wind and rapidly rising water temperatures meant that there were hardly any forage fish around the island and that the billfish had moved on.

The target we had set ourselves was to catch a decent dogtooth tuna, although February is not regarded as the best month for them in Rodrigues, and the high water temperatures were an added handicap.

For the first couple of days we tried our luck with poppers along the reef and caught GTs of up to 128 cm in length, a few doggies and other reef inhabitants with sharp dentures. At short notice we organized a small local boat for this type of fishing.

After that we joined Cyril and his crew on the “L’oiseau des Iles II”. Trolling around Rodrigues turned out to be extremely tough-going. We caught a couple of wahoos, dorados and small yellowfins. The dead calm situation even allowed us to try a bit of fly-fishing in comfort – that’s when the fun started.

We decided to switch to the Eastern Bank for the next 3 days and this was a wise decision. As far as we were concerned, trolling, jigging and fishing with bonitos for dogtooth tuna turned out to be excellent considering the difficult conditions. After dark every jig we dropped was attacked and our rods had a permanent bend in them. When we retired to our bunks for the night we always drifted a calamari squid to attract swordfish. We had bites every night but unfortunately only from sharks but you never know. What more can a fisherman’s heart desire?

Cyril, the boat-owner and skipper, really knows his area inside out and in our opinion he did a great job. When jigging it is very important to know how, when and where to fish. This requires knowledge of the local area, necessary techniques, fine-tuning and flexibility for the type of fishing involved. The vessel is also suitable for longer trips. It is clean and technically well-equipped. We caught our target fish so the trip measured up to our expectations.
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This time we stayed at the “La Giraudiere” Eco Lodge. Its rooms, surroundings and food can be strongly recommended.
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Tight Lines
Stephan Kreupl
February, 2017