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The second day of fishing I drew blank. Not one single GT contact, while both Henrik and Christer had close combat GT experiences. Christer had decided to fish with a Saltiga 5500 and PE8 in shallow water, despite knowing better. It ended badly with him being reefed following a 30-40 meters run against a palmed spool and maxed out brake. Lesson learned: "do not bring a knife to a gun fight - or, go big or go home"! The GT took a ASWB SS130 Scad M series while it was virtually hanging still in some 6-8 meters of water, approximately 25 meters from the boat. I was looking at the pink/silver lure when it suddenly disappeared at the same time as Christer raised his rod to set the hooks.

Henrik, on the other hand, was using proper GT gear - a Carpenter Monster Hunter 79XH coupled with a Stella SW18k 2013, standard spool loaded with Sunline Castaway Monster Battle PE10. He was fishing with a sinking BFP Mafia One 140 in fusilier and had just made two casts after we arrived at a new spot when the brake on his Stella started singing. Unfortunately, the GT came off unexpectedly, following a short, but intense run.

Christer had a GT following his AWSB SS130 Scad M series Gold Band Fusilier, without connecting and that was it for the second day.

The third day, both Henrik and Christer had their chances. Henrik had three confirmed GT strikes - two on a Craftbait GT3 190, the same size and color (flyfish) he used when catching his 65.5kg monster last year and one on a sinking Hanta 180S in color two lined green fusilier. However, none of the fish got hooked. Christer lost one GT on, and had one following, his ASWB SS130 Scad, but it missed the strike. I managed to catch one more GT on the MAK Sandz 270. The fish tracked the lure basically from the time it landed in the water and made two attempts to swallow it before finally succeeding. The GT went deep as Mo backed up the boat and I pulled it off the reef we were fishing on. The fish was strong but the fight went well. The GT measured 126 cm and was caught on the Carpenter Endless Passion KLL 82/42.

The fourth day, we only had one GT contact during the whole day. Luckily Christer landed the fish who swallowed his pink/white Glide 180 popper just as he had stopped popping and started to wind back the lure. The GT did not get one meter on the Daiwa Dogfight and came into the boat in less than three minutes. It was 126 cm long and well fed. Just before we had to head back to shore, we decided to put in a few light tackle casts; the first during the trip. Henrik had opted for a pink/silver Smith Saruna Dragon and in his second cast, toward a small structure, he came tight. The drag on his Saltiga 4k was screaming loud and we were all thinking that he had hooked a GT. However, a few minutes later, when the fish came closer to the boat we saw that it was a large emperor snapper or sharia that had engulfed his lure. The fish measured 68 cm (fork length) on the brag matt. Not bad, and a very nice end to a very tough day.

The fifth day we woke up to a hauling wind. In addition to having picked up in strength, the wind had shifted direction and was now blowing from shore. As a consequence, the captains quickly decided that it was not safe to go out to the islands. Luckily, the inshore fishing in SO is also world class so we were not too devastated having to spend the day inshore. We caught 37 fish, spread over eleven different species - despite fishing with only two rods half of the day due to a massive line tangle. Among the species we caught were: bream, grouper, emperor snapper, wolf fish, needlefish, spangled snapper, bonito, puffer fish and mullet. We had no luck with the highly sought after inshore species: diamond trevally, golden trevally and permit, this time, but we still had tons of fun.

The sixth and last day, we were able to fish the islands again. We had no GT contacts this day. And it was not for lack of trying. Mentally very tough! It was a good think that we decided to try the light tackle while fishing at No Fish after having seen queenfish chasing just below the surface. Henrik and I were both using Tiny Yambal GT Harriers (in pink and fuislier colors) when a few queenfish started tracking my lure, which I was reeling back fast, close to and sometimes on the surface. The fish tracked the lure all the way to boat without committing. The next cast, the same thing happened but this time, one of the fish connected. I set the hook hard but the line broke just above the leader knot and in the process, I got another massive line tangle and had to change to my back-up spool. Luckily, the lure surfaced a few seconds later and could be salvaged.

When all of this was playing out, Henrik came tight. Another queenfish had nailed his fusilier Tiny Yambal. Once again the drag on the Saltiga 4k gave tone. However, the fight was short, albeit intense and a few minutes later we could take a few pictures of Henrik's first queenfish ever. The last fish of the day and the trip was a female Mahi Mahi that I caught on a MB Lures 95-35 fast sink in color Omani black flash. After a few jumps in the air it ended up in the boat for a quick photo session before being released.

When summarizing the trip, we had caught 40 fish, of which 4 GTs - 130 cm, 129 cm, 126 cm and 116 cm. We did not manage to catch any monsters this time. Admittedly, both Henrik and I had been somewhat spoilt our first two trips to SO, having caught one GT in excess of 50kg and two in excess of 60kg, but the fish were all in the +30-40 kg range, which is a respectable size and makes for worthy adversaries. As usual, the wild life experience had been amazing. We saw dolphins, hump back whales, mantas, eagles and lots of sea turtles during the week.

A few tips/lessons learned from our SO trips to date:

  • Come prepared - physically, mentally and tackle wise; GTs will exploit every weakness and the chain is not stronger than its weakest *****.
  • Go big, or go home! Only the best quality and the strongest fishing tackle is good enough. Bring proper tackle or rent or borrow one if you do not own one.
  • You may only get one shot, so make it count - treat every cast as if it is your only one.
  • Never give up - cast, cast, cast! You can go from zero to hero in one cast. Often when you least expect it, so be ready for it!
  • It is almost strange how things seem to even out during a fishing trip. If you hang in there and do not give up, you will eventually be rewarded. Something to remember when nothing seems to be going your way.
Finally, I would like to extend a big thank you to the No Boundaries crew. It is always a pleasure staying and fishing with you. We will be back!

Below, I have inserted some pics. Hope you enjoy them.

Tackle used (Henrik and Jussi):

Rods: Carpenter Monster Hunter 80H (first day), 79XH and Extreme, Carpenter Endless Passion KLL EP 82/42, Carpenter The Blue Lagoon TBL 80/40, Carpenter Black Current 80MRF

Reels: Stella SW18k 2008 and 2013, with SOM (3x) and standard (1x) spools; Stella 6k 2008 and Saltiga 4k with SOM and standard spools

Lines: Varivas Avani GT Max PE10 (3x) and Sunline Castaway Monster Battle PE10 (1x), Sunline Castaway Monster Battle PE3&4, YGK Ultra Castman PE3

Leaders: Sunline Big Game 210lb mono, YGK Castman Absorber 200lb mono, Seaguar Pink 200lb fluoro, Ande 60lb fluoro, Seaguar 60lb fluoro and Sunline 60lb fluoro

Swivels and split rings: NT #2/0 and #1 swivels, Carpenter 350lb and Owner Hyperwire #11H, #11 and #8 split rings

Top producing lures: MAK Sandz 270, ASWB SS120, Carpenter Seafrog Twinhook 120, Glide 180 popper, Craftbait GT3 190, Smith Saruna Dragon, Yambal GT Harrier Tiny, MB Lures 95-35 fast sink


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