Olly Thompson reports on a memorable day on Cosmoledo.
The sun crawls over the horizon as heavy set wading boats trudge down the coral sand beach towards a fully kitted skiff. After a short briefing and explanation of tides and plans, the forty horsepower Yamaha powers the hull through azure blue water towards the northern high spots. Low tide is at twelve allowing for three and half hours of GT fishing on the dropping tide.
It is a high spring tide and fish are spread out, soon the level will drop forcing fish to migrate into the channel. We wait patiently on a narrow sandy spit set on the Eastern side, sweaty hands grip the twelve weight in anticipation. As the water shallows there seems little point in moving, the GTs have no option but to retreat to the depth of the lagoon.
Squinting, one hundred meters up-current the faint round shape of a sting ray starts to show. It draws ever closer revealing a passenger. Jet black and matching the rays colour a 60 cm GT circles, no beast but a welcome fish to start the day. Patience, breath, two rod lengths of lead, one long strip, like a bulldog desperate to escape its leash the fish charges, hammering the fly then tearing line from both hand and reel. Minutes pass before he is safely released and swimming away. The water is now dropping faster and to the right the high spot has become exposed. Rays are now more numerous, falling down in packs, with them schools of GTs angrily marching the shallows.
Better fish kick up rooster tails as they speed into the distance, bending both rods deep into the butt. We try to land them quickly, seeing a big single fish rudely exposing himself, contrasting black against the white bottom. Good cast, then long strips, the fly pulsates invitingly, the fish surges forward, to the barking chant of Strip! Strip! Strip! I desperately fumble the line trying to keep the speed, now chewing my shoelaces, the fish breaks, stopping on the spot before speeding back to depths of the lagoon. With the refusal comes a fly change, small, tan and no flash.
The skinny water brings confidence, now only the channel has depth and there is nowhere for the fish to go but to the shelter of the lagoon; we lie in ambush. This time we can afford to be selective, two groups pass by, glued to a mass of rays, but no a cast is made. Bigger single fish follow, lazily cruising behind. More lead is necessary, a long smooth strip lifts the fly a couple of foot in front of his nose, one small pump of the tail and a cavernous mouth opens, slowly closing on the small brush fly. The twelve weight is wrenched over as it’s flat sticked deep into the cork. Drag cranked to the max and line is still peeling, backing speeds through the rod eyes. After fifteen minutes of sustained pressure the fly line starts to meet the reel once again, the runs have become shorter and less powerful as the fight draws to a close. Minutes later two firm hands grip the tail of ninety centimetres of solid muscle.
Sipping Seybrew smugly we bask in the midday sun satisfied with the knowledge that there are still five hours of fishing left.
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About the author: Olly Thompson