Our latest report is a sort of mixed bag of weather, fish and activity. While most of the month of April showed excellent weather we did get quite a bit of rain for a few days. Water began to cool early in the Month down to 76 F and within a week’s time went back to 80 F everywhere we went to fish offshore. The highlights of April have been black marlin, blue marlin, quite a bit of tuna and the old striped marlin. Most days have been crystal calm while a few have been windy and choppy due to storms in the area.
Some anglers hit it just right while others experienced more challenging weather. The fishing has not been great when compared to other years but most anglers are still experiencing multiple and double digit raises of marlin on their trips. Fly fishing has been difficult as fish have not been as of aggressive as in the past. Black Sheep Bank has been the place to be as all other banks have showed very little marlin action this month with the exception of nice blues reported by several boats.
One interesting observation seeming to be the pattern most of the month is that all types of marlin were more consistently raised on long baits from the riggers and very few fish were raised to teasers. Boats trolling only lures were not raising as many fish as boats trolling baits.
April 5, 2011– Captain Edwin Buenano reported raising 3 striped marlin and a blue onboard his own vessel Kelly, a 26 ft center console. He released 2 stripeys and caught several tuna on Rosa Blanca and reported water of 79 F with calm seas.
April 7, 2011– Gus Hernandez reported fishing on his boat On the Hook. He fished Black Sheep Bank pulling lures with his guests from Argentina. He reported raising 11 striped marlin and releasing 3.
April 8, 2011– the Big Fish onboard with Jim Gallagher, Totto Groenmeyer and Gerd Ellerbrook went to the ole’ fishing hole known as Braden’s Bank or 0-30. The water was 80 F and blue. No marlin raised in the area but several nice dorado in the 25# and a few peanuts were caught. Gus Hernandez reported raising on Black Sheep Bank 8 striped marlin and releasing 2 on lures onboard On the Hook.
April 9, 2011– the Big Fish ran to Black Sheep Bank and found water 80 F green/blue and very calm. Most of the day was spend fishing baits with circle hooks. Anglers Jim Gallagher, Totto Groenmeyer and Gerd Ellerbrook each caught striped marlin in the 150 to 170# class on 30# and 50# stand up plus spinning rods. The highlight of the day was the last fish hooked, caught and released by Totto, a black marlin estimated over 400#.
A memorable accomplishment for Totto as he now has caught striped marlin, blue marlin and black marlin in just 2 trips to the Galapagos Islands. A total of 17 marlin were raised with 12 bites and 7 releases all on circle hooks. We also spend almost 2 hours fly fishing during the day where we did not raise a marlin. A nice wahoo about 45# ate bait and made for a nice dinner meal.
On The Hook reported raising 8 striped marlin on lures and releasing 1 fishing the same area of Black Sheep Bank.
April 10, 2011– Gerd onboard the Big Fish requested we search for tuna and big blue marlin so we made the 50 mile run to Bank 90. Famous for being on the 90th degree West. The World has land every 90 degrees. Bank 90 has produced lots of big eye tuna and some large blue marlin in the past. Most of the day went uneventful with small tunas pestering and ruining our baits.
We caught several tuna that varied from 5 to 20#. Around 2 pm a very large dorsal fin from what seem like a blue marlin chased the left long bait 3 times. The width of the fins was well over an inch which usually indicates a fish over 500#. She did not eat and we came back a few minutes later and again raised another very large fish this time on the right long that may have been potentially the same blue marlin but again only chased the bait and did not eat. The day was cloudy and we did encounter sporadic rains along the way.
April 11, 2011– onboard the Big Fish we ran to Black Sheep Bank. We had the pleasure of being joined by fishing writer and photographer Mark Hatter. Mark has produced some amazing photos in the past. One such photo can be found on our business cards of a marlin chasing sardines underwater. On this particular day the weather was the most miserable I have personally experienced all year.
Choppy seas and a storm that never ceased to rain all day was the story. We arrived on Black Sheep and there were plenty of birds, bait, tunas and life in general. The marlin were acting very finicky and we were not getting very many raises. Water was 80.7 F for the most part. The weather got windier and choppier throughout the day. We decided to call it a day around 1:30 pm. Four striped marlin were raised and 1 was caught out of 2 bites on conventional by Jim Gallagher.
April 12, 2011– the same guest on the Big Fish went to Rosa Blanca to try luck closer. The bank was full of tuna. Lots of tuna 30 to 50# and very hungry were all over the bank. After catching enough for dinner we tried to find marlin but throughout the day we did not get any raises or bites we could confirm as marlin. Tuna were everywhere making it very hard to catch marlin. Water was blue and 80 F.
April 13, 2011– we decide to mix thing up a bit and go bottom fishing. In the morning we tried 5 Fingers rock with not much luck. The Big Fish headed North to a reef called the Barge that protrudes out the water. Upon arrival we hooked into a couple of wahoo and landed a nice 35# for dinner. Next we moved closer to shore to fish 130 to 90 feet of water in certain fishing holes.
It became a fun afternoon filled with various species of groupers up to 20# and lots of rod bending. Everyone caught groupers, wrasse, yellow trigger fish and some other species for which I don’t have a name for. Lots of nice fish caught for dinner. Spinning rods with 50# braid was the way t go. Jigs and baits worked well.
April 14, 2011– it was time on the Big Fish to get serious fly fishing again for Mark , Jim and Gerd. However a tropical storm that lasted all night and well into the morning cut our plans of running on the Big Fish to Black Sheep Bank. We decided to wait out a bit and try a different area. Finally by 8 am the rain let up and we headed North of the island. The Northern drop of San Cristobal is known for abundance of life such as dolphins, birds, tuna and even marlin.
Fishing less than 6 miles offshore form the island the seas were choppy and the rain followed by strong winds. Mark and Jim decide to head closer to shower to try for bottom fish. We soon arrived back on the spot where we had the action the previous day. Water color was not as nice but as soon as the anglers dropped baits down they were in on the action. It did not take long for groupers of various sizes to eat the baits. We spent the rest of the day bending rods with grouper and various bottom fish.
April 15, 2011– the Big Fish headed with Mark, Jim and Gerd to fly fish to Black Sheep Bank. Seas were about 6 ft and choppy. Winds began to die down towards the afternoon and skies were cloudy. Water temp was 80.6 in the morning and color was dark blue. We managed to raise 5 striped marlin and a large bull dolphin. Only one striped marlin teased in but did not eat the fly. The choppy seas made it a real task for the crew to work teasers.
April 16, 2011– the final day of fly fishing for Mark Hatter and Jim Gallagher. The Big Fish headed for Black Sheep Bank. Lots of rain all day and sea conditions started out choppy. As the day progressed, seas flattened out and made for a nice ride in the afternoon. Water was blue and 79.5 F. We raised several clusters of fish. One fish teased in and made a frontal bite on the fly from which we wound up with 7 raises and one bite on fly. Anglers chose to tease fish themselves which put the crew in an unfamiliar position making it hard to coordinate the action.
Jim and Mark’s experience fly fishing on the water is unquestionable as they have both caught many marlin around the World. I know I will get some flak from Jim for writing this but I feel my reports have to be a mirror to the best of my knowledge of what I see onboard or what is reported to me by other crews. Would we have caught a fish or two had things gone smoother and the crew would have been allowed to tease? Maybe not but then and only then do I feel the responsibility would have been more the crew’s. If you do not give the crew their space it has been my experience that cockpit chaos and fever can take over in the heat of the moment.
Captain Edwin Buenano fishing on another boat also fishing Black Sheep Bank reported raising 4 striped marlin and releasing 2 on lures. He also mentioned on the radio that a large blues he estimated over 600# attacked two lures but they could not set the hook.
April 17, 2011– Captain Edwin Buenano reported fishing Black Sheep Bank. Conditions were very good water temperature was 79.5 F and there was plenty of bait. He reported getting 15 bites out of 19 raises and released 5 striped marlin on lures.
Folks as you may assume from reading this report the Galapagos Islands still has some very good fishing even though we are experiencing a slower than normal year. The cause can be attributed to several things all of which I have not been able to pinpoint for sure.
Water temperature is warm but not unusually warm. Bait has been far less than normal and for some reason the mixing of currents typical for the region has not been felt yet thus providing less plankton and algae vital for bait fish to eat. Nevertheless we have experienced many days of double digit raises on Black Sheep Bank. Rosa Blanca Bank will come back around and as soon as it does we will be there to inform you.
We still have some limited availability for you to fish May and June. October and November 2011 are starting to book up as well as Jan to June 2012. No other destination has been raising or catching as many marlin altogether in the last few months much less the last 10 years. When you take into account that very few boats fish Galapagos by comparison to other destinations in the World then you will realize that the amount of fish raised and released is second to none.