pêche aux gros

Big game fishing in Mauritius

Today, we’ve planned a sea trip dedicated to big game fishing. Laurent and I haven’t done any nautical activities and excursions in Mauritius for a long time. This sport fishing in the open sea is one of the best nautical activities to do in Mauritius during your holidays. If you are a thrill seeker, this activity is for you! Book your boat like us with the  BlackRiver Charters company which specializes in big fish fishing.

Mauritius is reputed to be one of the best destinations in the world for big game fishing. This sport fishing requires patience and perseverance to try to bring back big catches such as marlin, tuna, swordfish or dolphinfish. It has long been considered a recreational activity. But casting your hook on the high seas has become a real sport.

Departure on the boat Captain Spirit of the BlackRiver Charters

The meeting is fixed at 7am at the Morne Anglers Club, a fishing centre in Black River, located in the West of Mauritius. The departure on the Capt.spirit, a boat specially equipped and designed for  big game fishing is immediate. Laurent was impatient, me a little less because I get seasick. I don’t have sea legs and I’m sick, even on a catamaran in the lagoon… So on the high seas… it’s even worse. 🤣
I was advised to take a medicine before leaving. For Laurent, no worries about boat trips on the high seas. 

Je ne connais que la pêche à la traine, c’est donc une première pour moi de découvrir une autre façon de pêcher.

We board the 42-foot boat and are welcomed by the crew of three professional fishermen: Dominique De Baize, who will be our captain, Nicolas De Baize, and Jean-Claude, the skippers and specialists in big fish.

Discover the BlackRiver Charters fishing boat

We discover a comfortable and spacious boat. We visited the interior with its saloon, toilets and a berth for two people. From the roof to the first floor, the captain steers this 350-horsepower boat. We settle down in the small lounge inside and listen to the boat’s captain explain the day’s programme.
Here we go for a full day of big game fishing in the Black River area. 

In the cockpit, a seat dedicated to big game fishing is fixed to the ground. Raised, it is equipped with a hole allowing the fisherman to put his rod in case of a catch to relieve the weight of the fish. The boat has a capacity of 7 holes to accommodate 7 fishing rods. The size of the reels and lines is impressive.

A smooth start

A light breeze accompanies this sunny day. Laurent and I will settle down for a moment at the front of the boat. For a moment, I take myself for Rose in Titanic, with my hair in the wind (laughs). 

We’re still inside the lagoon so we haven’t passed the reef yet. So our fishing boat can pick up speed taking advantage of the calm sea.

Installation of the lines for for big game fishing

We leave from the back of the BlackRiver Charters fishing boat and Jean-Claude is already preparing the lines, bait, lures and hooks. There is such a choice. 

Waoooo! Some more beautiful than others… if I was a fish it would make my mouth water!!!! They all look so appetizing!!!! ”Laughs”

The choice of bait and rod requires good technical knowledge of fishing, as well as skill and practice. The ability to choose the right hook for the fish you want to catch, the ideal line size, sufficient ballast and the ability to put it all together is not given to everyone. It also requires prior preparation of the fishing equipment.  There are seven to eight rods in preparation.

Jean-Claude tells us that: “At 7h00 in the morning, we choose the baits and lures. 4 large rods are installed at the back of the boat for the marlin and 4/5 smaller rods for tuna, bonito, sea bream are placed on the sides with the help of the poles to move the rods away from each other and avoid them getting tangled. 100 meters, 75 meters, 50 meters of wire are released according to each type of fish. If the bungee breaks, a fish has bitten. I’ve been fishing for 42 years and I’ve caught 500 marlin! My biggest marlin weighed 1070 pounds. It was caught in 2006,” says the veteran fisherman. 

All the fishing gear is in place just before we hit the high seas. The first objective: to spot the “armies”! This is the term used for birds that hunt over the sea in groups and indicates that there are fish. So you have to follow them.

Let the big-game fishing begin…

Laurent and I go up on the roof and enjoy the moment together. We move forward at a brisk pace and soon, Mauritius is getting very small behind us. 

Downstairs, the excitement is at its peak. We go down the stairs and arrive in the cockpit. A fish has taken the bait.  Jean-Claude didn’t have the time to pass the rod to Laurent because the fish was already gone. What a pity for us (But what a happiness for the fish 😉). A fish is considered caught only when it has been put ashore or in the boat.

We continue our journey in the immensity of the Indian Ocean. We only see the sea on the horizon. The further we get from the coast, the more we realize that the wind has increased and the waves are getting bigger and bigger. You feel so small in the middle of the ocean.

The crew chief tells me that the tide isn’t right for catching fish today, but that’s okay, we believe in it and we keep moving forward.

Big-game fishing requires a lot of patience. There are so many factors that can influence a fishing day: the weather, the waves, the tide and the location. Nothing is ever guaranteed in advance.

Here is a good fishing spot 

We find a good fishing spot because the birds are circling over the water. We change baits and hooks. Still nothing. We wait, wait, wait, wait. Laurent and I take the opportunity to take a little nap. The boat turns around the fishing spot, and finally… Great, we have a hit.

Laurent starts bringing in the fish. Bringing back a fish is a real sport, it’s very physical and requires a lot of strength. It pulls, and pulls. After 20 minutes unfortunately the fish stalls. What a pity… But it happens.

It’s already late, and it takes an hour and a half to get home. We were at the right place to catch fish, but we have to go back to shore.

What an adventure! Even if we didn’t catch anything, this experience at sea to track the fish is very exhilarating, we get caught up in the game. It’s intoxicating and this walk in the open sea will have given us iodine! Take advantage of your stay in Mauritius to live this unique moment in the Indian Ocean.

The best season for big game fishing in Mauritius

Nicolas De Baize, from BlackRiver Charters, tells me with precision the different fishing seasons in Mauritius and the seasons suitable for big game fishing:

  • From November to March, i.e. summer, is the best period for big game fishing, especially for marlin fishing (the dream of all fishermen because it is a fighting and powerful fish). You will also be able to hook sea bream and tuna. Yellowfin tuna are gradually starting to settle in this season.
  • But the marlin is present all year round with blue marlins in summer and black marlins in winter.
  • From March to May is the time of the passage of large tuna, up to 120 pounds. 
  •  From September to October, you will have the opportunity to compete with hammerhead sharks. A very combative fish that fishermen love to face.
  • From June to August, it is possible to catch smaller fish, tuna, sea bream, whaoos and becunes.
  • From September to December, you mostly fish for sea bream and tuna.

In conclusion, each season has its own fish, and each fish has its own fishing technique, hook, lure and bait. 

The fish that we fish in Mauritius

Many species can be fished on the high seas. In order to allow you to better visualize these giants of the seas, here are some photos:

Marlin: The Marlin lives in tropical and subtropical seas. This fish is very fast, it can go up to 120km/H and can reach 4.5 meters! It is very appreciated for deep-sea sport fishing. Its dorsal fin is large and its blue and green colors are magnificent. In Mauritius, it is one of our favourite dishes. It is usually smoked and sold in slices or pieces.

Yellow Tuna: Yellow Tuna is found in tropical and subtropical regions. It lives deep in the sea and is very popular with fishermen for its fighting spirit. Only its fins are yellow. Its flesh is red! It can measure up to 1M 50. 

Sea bream : The sea bream lives in tropical and subtropical waters. This powerful predator is prized in big-game fishing and can reach speeds of up to 92km/hour. It is called chameleon fish because it has the ability to change colour. Its natural colouring is very bright, metallic blue/green with golden stripes underneath.

Swordfish: It lives in tropical to temperate seas. This pelagic can reach up to 2 m and can go up to 90 KM/H. In Italian its name means big sword. Indeed, its beak is very long. It looks a bit like the Marlin but its dorsal fin is much smaller.

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