March 28, 2015 Last Updated 1:34 pm

* Mauritius Marauders!

Our globetrotter Stan Ryan is just back from a trip to Maritius. It is great to get a honest opinion of an abroad trip..... This one looks like a cracker! (Don't forget the classy video clip at the end)


(Click on any picture to enlarge)


Marlin rods





Over the course of the Borough SAC Christmas dinner Eamon, a friend of mine, mentioned that he was going to Mauritius fishing in February and asked me if I would like to join him. He did mention a trip out to a famous mark, the Soudan Bank, and this definitely caught my attention. Our night out was on 6th December and I booked a flight on the 7th !

So for my part there was NO plan but Eamon’s invite definitely lead to one of the most exciting trips I have ever had or am likely to experience again.

Airbus 380Emirates


There were several choices in airlines but I chose Emirates. Having flown with them a number of years ago they are way ahead of most others. As I am tall the space between the rows of seats on their planes suits me. The service is excellent and the food is very good. The movie choice onboard is excellent and makes the journey seem a lot shorter.

My working life involved flying to many destinations around the world so you quickly get to know “the good, the bad and the ugly” airlines!


Good….provide a good service….. may cost a little more but will go the extra mile to please. Should a problem arise such as missing a connecting flight all the stops are pulled out to get the next possible flight. Emirates tick all the boxes.

The flight involves 2 legs: Dublin -Dubai ( 7.5 hours) and Dubai – Mauritius (6.5hours) plus a stopover in Dubai 3 hours on the way out and 1hour 20 minutes on way back.


Mauritius - CopyMauritius 2


First impressions of the island were that it is very green and mountainous ,surrounded by crystal clear blue sea.

Originally colonised by the Dutch in 1638 for growing sugar cane ,the island still has this crop as a major source of income.

At one point this beautiful country was known as Paradise Island and the name really explains all.

For most of the year the climate is warm and sunny. During their summer period cyclones are common.


Ethnically it is multicultural with various races and religions living in harmony.

The official languages are French and English but many people speak several languages. The local language in Blackriver is Creole French. At various stages the country was occupied by the Dutch, French and English. The different countries left their mark there.  Crops from the Dutch, Creole from the French and style of government from the English.

My experience was that it is a very safe and friendly place.




We stayed in the Marlin Creek Residence in Black River. This area is in the SW and is noted for being dry.

Eamon chose the venue as he had stayed there before. It was a 5 minute walk to the boats.

The owners, Christoph and Amouri are twins and they take great pride in their work. Together with their wives Pascalina and Ingrid they provide the friendliest service possible. Nothing is too much for them to do. Several times when we were going to the local shopping centre or restaurants we were given a lift by one or other of them.

Every morning we would have a chat with them about the day ahead and in the evening have a discussion about fishing .The bar/restaurant has photos of clients and their fish hanging from the walls. So it is a fisherman’s dream.

Basically the Marlin Creek Residence has apartments and chalets for rent. Breakfast is provided in the morning and consists of a choice of cereals, fresh fruits, bread, cheese etc. Clients that want an evening meal must tell either Christoph or Amouri by 9am. Their wives then cook the dinner in the evening.

Rooms are cleaned daily and are spotless.

This residence is perfect for people who wish to do their own thing. It is not a hotel but more like B&B accommodation with evening meals, if required. There is a bar that is open from about 6.00-8.30pm.

The pool is very welcome after a hot day at sea followed by a cool “Blue Marlin” beer or  a Mojito ….in fact I would say that this is the best Mojito that I have ever tasted!!!




In my recent articles in TOPFISHER.EU I have emphasized the need to know the pedigree of the angling company that you are about to hand over a shed load of money to.

Eamon has been travelling to Mauritius for 15 years and has built up a relationship with JPH Charters.

They have a fleet of fully equipped fishing boats.

We fished on 4 different boats and they all looked like they were brand new. There is a routine among the crew to clean up as fish are caught throughout the day. On returning to dock everything is hosed and mopped down. The crew take great pride in their boats. You would not believe that some of these boats are over 20 years old. Another  feature of this company is that their crew have all been with them for many years…..once a JPH man always a JPH man!!!  I think that this speaks volumes for their employer.


Marlin lure - Copy


The target was Marlin.

We set out at 7am on one of the 42ft  Moana boats. These are luxurious stable boats that do not bounce around if the seas get rough.

In total between outriggers , a centre rigger and rods with lines straight out ,7 rods and rigs were set up as we left port.

Under a magnificent sunrise we headed out a few Km to deep water and the teasers and lures were set out at the stern of the boat at various distances. Marlin are surface feeders attracted to tuna feeding on the surface. The job of the teaser is to bounce around on the top of water making as much disturbance as possible. Fish in the vicinity will be attracted to this and on rising towards daylight will see the lures as food and attack.

Mauritius, which was originally formed from a volcano, is surrounded by a reef and outside this reef the water depth drops dramatically to several Km. Our boat trolled in a zig-zag fashion away from and back towards this reef . We headed South towards “le Morne” Mountain (Paddy makes his mark everywhere!!!) and then back North again.

Anybody that has fished for Marlin knows that it is a waiting game. There is no guarantee of a fish on any particular day. At the end of the day we spotted a shoal of tuna and Eamon managed to catch 2 Yellowfins about 6Kg in weight. Small for this species but just imagine catching a mackerel of this size on light gear!!

Day 2

Bankety blank.




Day 3

Was a day off to do a bit of exploring and shore fishing. We travelled by taxi to a local rock mark. Eamon opted to bait fish while I decided to use poppers. On my first cast just to the edge of a reef a large fish charged at the lure as it bounced along the surface. My heart was in my mouth as it followed it right up to the rocks before heading back out to sea. It is always hard to judge the size of any fish under water but it looked about 12-15lb and was a blue trevally. Well that was it for the rest of the morning.



Day 4

We trolled lures further out from the island and at noon one of the rods got a ferocious strike. Reactions of the crew were immediate and very exciting at this stage. There was a lot of shouting and the boat jumped forward under full throttle to drive the hook home.

We had decided that the rods on the port side of the boat were mine and the starboard Eamon’s.


I had to get into the fighting chair immediately and the harness was attached to the reel.  Meanwhile, Kyle, the crewman wound in all of the other rods at great speed. The fight was on… against beast!!!! Every species and indeed every fish has its own way of fighting and I did not know what to expect. I had visions of a marlin leaping into the air, shaking its head before plunging back down into the depths. This fish just decided that he was not coming towards the boat and initially stripped off line very quickly. It was hooked on the 80lb class gear and so I could use reasonable force on it. The trick was to use my whole body to lift the rod and then wind in line as the rod was dropped down again. After 25 minutes a beautiful blue marlin was at the stern of the boat shaking its head from side to side. Francis, the boat skipper, reckoned itto be 150lb. As it was my first marlin I was given the choice to keep or release it. I could not see any reason to kill such a beautiful fish just to get a photo of me standing beside it. Eamon had some video footage taken of it ,which turned out to be superb.

The problem was that 2 large hooks were lodged in its bill and with very violent head shaking and its bill moving rapidly from side to side it took quite a bit of time to free it. The crew had to be very careful when the first hook came out not get buried in their hands. Imagine the damage this would cause as the other hook was attached to a very angry large fish!!  Eventually, both hooks were removed and after holding the bill for a few minutes to revive the marlin it was released to head back to the depths again.



Day 5

We took the morning off and did some exploring. Heading to the local beach we passed a graveyard. People of various religions and none were buried together there.  Some of the gravestones were very colourful. Usually, I find graveyards dreary and dull but these stunning graves definitely changed the whole atmosphere. They added a whole feeling of “ don’t worry be happy!!” to the place.



In the afternoon we headed out to fish for yellowfin tuna. FAD’s ( fish aggregating devices) are placed in several places around the island. Basically, these attract surface feeding fish like tuna and dorada in the same was as underwater wrecks in Ireland attract fish like ling, cod and pollock.  Both types of structure attract baitfish which in turn attract larger fish. So they provide shelter from which to attack another fish or to hide from a bigger predator.

Tuna occasionally erupted around us and usually like mackerel are easy to catch. They would not cooperate with either us or 2 local small commercial fishing boats.

More details on this at the end of this article.


Day 6

Another welcome day off.

Day 7

We set off at 8pm for the Soudan Bank. This was to be the highlight of the trip.

The Soudan bank is basically an underwater mountain that comes up from great depths to within 55-150M of the surface over a large area.

Game Fisher 4 is a magnificent 39ft Bertram boat. Pascal Henry himself was the skipper as we headed out on the 100 mile journey. Marlin rigs were set up and we got 3 strikes but no hook-ups….that’s Marlin fishing. We needed bonito ( skip jack tuna) for bait as we were due to hit the Bank at around 1.30 am. At 6.30pm terns were spotted diving and we managed to catch a dozen on light gear before the sunset. There is nothing as beautiful as watching the sun go down under a magnificent African red sky.

After dinner we headed straight to bed in order to be ready for our arrival at the Bank to catch big fish. Food and rest are vital for such activities.  It was like Santa was on his way and sleep did not come easy.

Marlin - Copy

Game Fisher 4’s engines halted at 2am and light rods were set up with chunks of bonito set just above the seabed. Both rods got immediate strikes and one of the fish hooked was set out live on a shark rod. We continued to catch fish every couple of minutes on bait with the biggest being a dog tooth tuna of about 45lb.

The real action started at about 6am. At that stage we started speed jigging. This involves dropping a long jig to the bottom and jigging it up vertically. Both rods had a hook up immediately and yielded a bluefin trevally ( carrang blu) each. This is a species that has long eluded me and I was thrilled. They were about 5-6kg each but fought well above their weight.  As these are seen as a threatened species they were returned to fight another day.

Emp snapperEamon's wahoo

Next up was a green jobfish (vacoa) for Eamon, which looked like a snapper like fish to me. The crew told us that it is the best eating fish in Mauritius.

I could not manage speed jigging with the rods and reels supplied as it involved tucking the rod under the left armpit while holding the rod in the left hand and jerking the whole body upwards while winding with the right hand. So my own gear came out…a Shimano Terez with my trusty Stella 8000. Yep I pulled the jigs upwards in a different fashion but with the same result.


Eamon and I caught fish after fish. At one stage I remarked that we had none for 10 minutes and remarked on this!!!. Among the catch we also had yellowedged lyretails (yellow tails), ruby snapper (sacre chien), crown squirrelfish, blue stripe snapper, sky emperor and numerous other species.

When the jigging no longer worked trolling gear was set up and we soon hit some yellowfins.  At 40-50lb they were a small size for this species but on light tackle they fought extremely hard.


Eamon was using an ATC Jig Hunter rod coupled with a FinNor  Marquesa lever drag multiplier. Suddenly the rod buckled as a sailfish hit the lure and jumped behind the boat. Unfortunately, there was no hook-up.

After many more fish it was time to think about heading back to Mauritius. At 3.30pm Pascal decided to troll along the edge of the Bank to see if we could tempt a Marlin. The lures had only been bobbing around a short while when a strike yielded a large fish dancing around in the distance. Eamon sat into the fighting seat and after a great struggle a magnificent sailfish was brought to the boat.

This was rapidly followed by a magnificent wahoo.


As the sun went down we headed for a welcome nights slumber. As the sun rose Eamon was back waiting for another Marlin strike.

Day 5 revisited

As mentioned we were targeting tuna which for some reason would not cooperate. Suddenly there was shouting between the crew of 2 small commercial boats.  What had happened was that there was a marlin under the larger of the 2 boats and some small yellowfins had taken shelter under it. The  2 crew of this were asking the fisherman on the other boat for a bonito or tuna to try and catch the marlin. Yielding a gaff they managed to pull a fish from under their boat. This was tied to a hook on a handline and dropped over the side. The marlin grabbed it and a sensational fight began. The fisherman on the smaller boat raced over and jumped into the other boat to help. For about 30 minutes the marlin fought a hard battle while the fishermen above hung on. Their boat was towed around. Eventually, they managed to get the large fish to the side of their boat. One fisherman grabbed the bill while another drove a gaff into the fish. The third man hit the fish’s head with a baseball bat. The problem now was getting the marlin onboard. There was no way to drag it over the gunnels without turning the boat over. So one of the engines was removed from the transom and the 3 men dragged the fish over the stern. A 300lb marlin is a mighty catch and was nearly the full length of the boat. This is one of the most exciting events that we have ever witnessed and we gave the crew a great clap. It was like Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”  live !!!!

Unfortunately, I only had a GoPro camera and it was not good enough to take good photos as our boat was too far from the others.



The Video


Eamon and I did some of the usual camera work of the fish as they arrived at the boat. Pascal Henry did all of the underwater video. The clarity of the water is unbelievable. Another interesting matter is the clarity of sound underwater. The yellowfins and wahoo were hooked on Trembler lures. These have ball bearings inside which rattle to attract fish. When the yellowfin shakes its head the rattle can be hear very clearly.

le Morne2


Catch and Release

Marlin, sailfish and trevally were released. Other edible fish were kept and stored in ice. These would be eaten by the local population.



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