Some of you may remember Lothar Sobek’s report about fishing around Bazaruto Island off of Mozambique. His article in the archive comes from 2014 and since then a lot has happened there: Skipper Duarte Rato, who operates there, now also offers fishing from the mainland – and starts phenomenally well! As Duarte told me, he was able to catch and release an average of one black marlin a day in September. The good phase continues. On October 20th he caught two marlin up to 800 lbs, the day before also two with 400 and 700 lbs.
In the current issue (No. 68) of the “Kutter und Küste” I have introduced the goal and would not like to withhold it from you here.
For big game anglers, the East African coastal state above South Africa is famous for paradisiacal fishing – and the black marlin around the Bazaruto archipelago in record sizes. The reason for this was mentioned by Lothar in his article: “The entire archipelago was declared a Nature Reserve by Mozambique’s government a long time ago, and the coast guard consistently ensures that restrictions are observed. The lack of commercial fishing therefore, has a very positive effect on fish stocks: The Black Marlin can be caught here in record sizes. Granders occur again and again,” he writes.
The fact that the Grander Marlin around Bazaruto was forgotten for decades was due to the civil war that tore the country apart until 1992. Meanwhile Mozambique belongs to the more stable democracies of Africa and attracts anglers again to the island of Bazaruto, located about 10 km off the mainland.
The unbelievable diversity of species there makes all conceivable fishing techniques possible: from light tackle on Mahi Mahi, sailfish and Wahoo to speed jigging on snapper and grouper, to popping on Giant Trevally and – the crowning glory – trolling on blue and above all black marlin.
One of the best Marlin skippers on the spot, the very likeable Duarte Rato, now has 10 (!) Grander-Marlins with over 1000 lbs. in his catchbook, more than any other skipper on Africa’s coasts. The 43-year-old thoroughbred professional has fished for Marlin in Australia, Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde and brought home successful techniques from there.
Duarte saw the biggest Marlin in his skipper-life in front of Bazaruto: A giant was attacked by sharks after more than five and a half hours of drill on the boat. What remained of him weighed 1107 lbs, according to the length formula the Marlin must have weighed over 1400 lbs. The biggest Black Duarte ever saw had chafed through the leader with a load capacity of 650 lbs after almost 6 hours. “It was a fish of many anglers’ lives,” he says. Duarte does not dare to estimate the weight. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a photo of the fish.
The best time for big black Marlin is September-December. A second run from March to May brings many but also smaller black marlin. The season for blue marlin (850 lbs. weighed the heaviest so far) runs from March to August. From January to February the water is sometimes too warm to fish for marlin. Marlin are usually all released, even Granders. Unless they die in the drill like this 1170 lbs. heavy Black.
Besides the pitch and bait on Marlin, the skipper loves popper fishing on Giant Trevally, “because it’s also a wonderful visual fishing,” he says.
But not only GT are caught popping or jigging. The diversity of species is great:
Successful surface lures are the Cubera Darkstar 150 as well as the Bobara and Ulua from Heru in medium sizes. Best time for GT is December-May. The average weight is 15-20 kg. Duartes biggest weighed over 54 kg.
The best news for us anglers: Duarte now also operates from the coastal town of Vilankulos. From there, the journey to the fishing grounds around the island is a bit longer with about an hour, but there are now hotels on the mainland in all suitable price ranges for anglers. – And boats too: From the 38 foot catamaran for the Big Game to a cheap 25 foot center console for popper anglers, speed jiggers or fly fishers.
The over 11.5 m long catamaran “Game Changer” lies like a board and has a top speed of 28 kt. The deck is about 5 m wide and offers space for up to 6 anglers. Freshly caught fish are also prepared there at lunchtime.
Duarte A. M. Rato
Tel._ 00 258 82 805 7160
00 258 84 639 0466