SUN, SEA, DIVING AND MORE: IN THE MALDIVES YOU CAN FISH AS WELL
Wishing to add some fishing trip to your holiday? A liveaboard cruise is definitely your best choice and a fishing Dhoni can well perform as dinghy for all your needs. Seaworthy in heavy sea, the fishing Dhoni is a comfortable vessel, suitable for fishing and diving activities. The Dhoni’s large stern can easily accommodate a good number of fishing rods and its deck features comfortable and shaded benches for relaxing between catches.
If you are a fishing addict you can have fun on the boat just doing some Bolentino (bottom fishing).
In the evening, after dinner, you can indulge in the Bolentino in a sheltered lagoon. It is a very simple fishing technique: if performed with light equipment it can be very amusing and rewarding. Catching 5 kg red snappers and jacks from a 40/50 m bottom, using the same small rods we use to fish oblades and other small preys, can be fulfilling as daytime deep sea fishing. Yet, in the evening the most active guests can attempt the last cropping up fishing technique: the Vertical Jigging. This demanding technique can be enchanting as few techniques can be. You will be amazed at how a colored piece of lead bouncing on the bottom - if you know how to maneuver it - can work: it can turn the least aggressive fish species into real frenzies.
It is definitely the most practiced technique worldwide. Trolling is performed mainly on outer reefs and blue waters, aimed at all big-game fish and reef predators that hang around deep drop offs. Not forgetting the chance to catch some marlin while cruising between atolls, the peculiar big-game of the Maldives is thesailfish. There are many majestic sail fishes in the Maldives, from 30 to 50 kg, that once hooked will perform spectacular jumps. They are not great fighters, but the retrieval of a big sailfish is absolutely a great experience.
While other fishes can get hooked just sailing above the 7/8 knot of speed, the sailfish follows the wake of the konas, and starts to hit them several times with its sword. At this point we have to loosen our reel friction and keep the lure free to flutter as an injured fish. Once the fish has swallowed the bait, we have to strike several times with energy. It can happen to have a number of sailfishes in the wake of the lures, once we managed to have 4 sailfishes on 4 trolling rods, while at the same time a Maldivian boy was able to get another sailfish to play with the lures 10 metres from the stern. We can also catch dogtoothtunas, yellowfin tunas from 10 to 30 kg., huge barracudas up to 25 kg, plenty of 10 to 20 kg wahoo and also dorados, rainbow runners and some red snapper.
4 x 30 lb. trolling rods, 2 of them fitted with octopus or kona to be trolled at the surface at 50/60 m. behind the stern, a 120 lbs. (at least) steel leader, pulleys and 150 /200 lbs. snap hooks and also lures fitted with long shank, straight eye hooks, sized from 6/0 to 8/0. The other 2 rods, positioned closer to the stern - from 20 to 30 m – will be fitted with artificial lures as rapala, hidro-magnum and bonita. It is also suggested, as well as the use of a steel leader, to replace the standard treble hooks with the stronger 4/0 and 5/0 ones and split rings. In the Maldives a bait is never too big. 5 or 6 kg fishes usually attack a 22 cm rapala. Use bright colors for the lures: yellow, orange, green-yellow and the everlasting red-head are the optimum.
THE BOLENTINO (bottom fishing)
The calmness of the lagoon conceals a big vitality below the surface. In the darkness of night big game-fish swim underneath the boat, including sharks, ready to still your catch as you retrieve. You can fish jacks, red snappers, groupers and a kind of grey-greenish sea-bass with scary teeth!
Medium strength Bottom fishing rods - from 100 to 200 gr burden - a good 0,40 line in the reel and 50 lb metal leader. A couple of Sabiki (multi-hook Japanese lure) can be useful to capture some mackerel to use as bait and… here we start.
Developed in Japan about 15 years ago, this new fishing technique is exponentially spreading worldwide with a steadily increasing number of enthusiasts. Preys are the same as Bolentino even though Vertical Jigging can better select the size of the preys.
If possible, use dedicated 30/50 lb. rods. Rods must be very light, and the length of their handles must be long enough to allow the specific manoeuvres, powerful reels, fitted with a multi-fibre line - minimum 60 lbs.- 10 m of nylon 100 leader, a steel cable and a 150 to 250 gr. jig. Preferably use the wider shaped jigs instead of the ‘long’ kind used in the Mediterranean.
This well-known technique is practiced worldwide, but in the Maldives it can reach its maximum expression. We will sail along the reef searching for feeding signs of giant trevallies, then we will drop a popper or a skipping lure right on the spot: the sudden turmoil beneath the surface will leave us speechless. If retrieved quickly at the surface our bar shaped lure will induce fishes to swerve and nose up among plenty of sprays. Fishes: the most powerful – up to 30 kg - giant trevallies, then barracudas, dogtooth tunas and red snappers.
Spinning rods up to 300 gr burden, very powerful reels, 200 m. - at least – 70 lbs minimum strength multi fibre line and steel wire. For lures, poppers are our first choice – up to 20-22 cm of length – then skipping lures and pensils
THE FLYFISHING EXPERIENCE
The season in the Maldives runs from October to April and all trips are planned to co-incide with the best tides. Most of the fishing takes place either on the flats or in the surf zone of the numerous uninhabited islands. Ideally anglers will require a 9 weight and a 12 weight rod fitted with sturdy saltwater reels that have reliable drags. The main species taken on the flats are triggers, snapper, bluefin-, yellow spot-, and giant trevally with the occasional barracuda, bonefish and permit. The surf zone produces a multitude of snapper and rock cod species, green jobfish, giant trevally and an abundance of bluefin trevally. On the flats you will be sight-fishing to bluefin-, yellowspot-, bigeye- and giant trevally.
The flats are also home to abundant triggerfish that provide flyanglers ample challenging opportunities to target these very exclusive fish. To target giant trevally on the flats or in the surf, 12 weight rods are essential. Giant trevally up to 90 pounds are often seen and a number in excess of 60 pounds have been landed. In the recent past lemon sharks and giant barracuda have been hooked but not landed due to being bitten off.