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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Memsahib playing golf; UK weather sh*te....book short notice 3 weeks in Tobago having had good experiences there before.
Premium Economy return from Gatwick £620, direct flight with Monarch and 30kg baggage allowance.
3 weeks SC ensuite accommodation in Crown Point for about £24 a night...not a bad deal. Just need some decent fish now....
On time arrival, 26 degrees all day what could go wrong?
Following morning...



Conditions looking good at Sandy Point (click on photo)....



Standard overheads (click on photo)...



But for 6 days solid.....not a single fish to be found!!!!!!! Saw the odd decent size tarpon about 400 metres out, but this cracking snook spot just wasn't holding any snook. There was a lot more sand there than usual though?

Terry (Cascars) and Gary and their much more attractive ladies arrived after 3 days and first evening off the Beach Club jetty Gary pulls in 2 fish; a lizard fish and a trumpetfish (goodness knows how it got that lure into it's 1cm wide mouth?....



Much banter between the lads (nothing unusual there I gather!!....). 3 days later Terry and Gary have a trip booked out with Frothy (bit beyond my budget) and after a full day come back having had just 1 fish....although it was a 500lb+ marlin....well done Gary!.... and that didn't lead to any banter at all ????!!

Day 7.....this is getting stupid.....still no fish and I've even hired a bicycle for the duration to get a bit further, covering Pigeon Point, Friendship and Buccoo. Plan B....early morning half-day with Kester Herbert. (US$200 for 4 hour trip, but have to be at Pigeon Point jetty at 6am). Kester gets some small livebaits near the jetty with a cast net and we try Buccoo Lagoon for a tarpon close to the mangroves... nothing after an hour. Out to Buccoo reef... wade for some small crabs in the dead coral pieces....size 2 Owner SSW about 1 foot under a clear bubble float....see some activity around a coral outcrop about 40 feet away....quick cast....3 seconds....bingo!!....(click on photo)..



and a (small but) feisty permit....hurrah!...



Have things changed? Unfortunately not! We see some decent size bonefish, but they are extremely spooky and we can't get anywhere near them.
That's one expensive permit!

What is going on here? Well we are not helped by the constant strong easterly, NE'ly and SE'ly winds which are never less than about 15 knots. even in the usually sheltered waters off Friendship, the water is very murky....



I did see a couple of snook at this spot over the 3 weeks....one about 6lbs really took the p**s and leaped out of the water no more than 4 feet in front of me, but they just wouldn't take anything at all!

Day 8... long cycle out through Samaan Grove and the mangrove tracks out to No Man's Land and Buccoo Reef.



Still plenty of mosquitoes and hence still many bats in the abandoned bungalow out on the point (apparently Princess Margaret stayed there in the 50's...bet it didn't look like this then...?)...(click on photo)...



Wind is blowing a good 20 knots. Kester is out with another client...



...but he's a fly fisherman and they are really struggling to find enough shelter from the wind. I wade out about 50 metres (up to my chest at times) and try casting some 26g silver tobies across the sandy clearer areas. Good job I've got some light wire traces on too as within an hour there's at least 12 of these on the end....



and...



Not big...biggest about 4 lbs...but at least good sport on the Ugly Stik Lite 270 and Penn Captiva CV2....and there's some bloody fish at last!!!!

Part 2 to follow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As well as the outside of No Mans Land on Buccoo Reef, there's also access through Samaan Grove to an isolated jetty inside the East end of Buccoo Lagoon.



Here you can cast left and right within feet of the mangroves....



and



I tried everything here....even a selection of locally produced lures from John Trim's shop (The Mangrove Shop) on Pigeon Pt Road (£25 the lot)...



I saw a very big jack follow the small redhead popper and a tarpon of about 40lbs leaped out of the water and you could see smaller tarpon in amongst the mangroves, but the only thing I managed to get here was a small mangrove snapper. At least the outer reef continued to produce a steady stream of small barracudas to keep the interest up.

Early in the trip I had been totally stood up by a local who I had arranged to go offshore with. I stood on Milford Road at 6am till 7.30am and he just didn't bother to show (never did find him again!).

Halfway through the trip and I had been put on to another couple of locals who ran "Full Throttle" out of Buccoo (standard pirogue type with twin 75s on the back). Terry shared the trip with me for about £80 each.

By far not the most punctual guys....some confusion over Gas Station opening hours, etc, and they eventually turned up about 2 hours late! Anyway, we eventually got out from Buccoo about 9am and trolled all the way north to not far short of Parlatuvier till we turned round and headed back around the south coast and off the big rollers off Friendship. We tried hard for about 7 hours but all I got was 2 small bonitos/skipjacks on the west coast and 2 jacks/amberjacks and a barracuda off Friendship. Nothing big...the jack was about 5lbs...



on a rapala spotted minnow. Unfortunately Terry couldn't get a bite all day (it eventually became a 10-day blank for him!).

After Terry and Gary went home I had a further 2 days out with the locals....one day of 8 hours we covered a huge amount of ground for absolutely nothing!...and the second time I had 1 Blackfin Tuna of about 5 lbs on the little orange leadhead muppet.

I tried wading the outer reefs at Buccoo over low water several times. Hooked (and lost!) one very decent bonefish and then hooked an absolutely stunning permit of about 20lbs that I saw coming in from about 50 metres away. This is when we find out why it's called a Penn Craptiva as it proceeds to mangle the inner gears and totally snaps the crosswind block in two....



What a sh*tty trip this is turning out to be!!!....At least the beers are cheap and cold and there is plenty of rum to be had!

Part 3 to follow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Continued to try Buccoo reef. Looked really good at times...







Lots of frigate birds sometimes...



Still got a few barracudas on the silver tobies, but nothing else would touch the floated crabs...



Hired a car for a couple of days and fished almost constantly from Sandy Point past Plymouth and up to Castara and also Tobago Plantations on the other side.....for totally NADA!!!

This one of the Mt Irvine Fish Market just about sums it up.......



!!!!!!!!!!!!

The locals were similarly struggling and apparently have been for many months now too.

Won't be going back there in a hurry....not in February anyway.

Hope someone finds this useful.
 

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TY for the report! I love all detailed reports and few report unless they do well.
 

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Very detailed reports, great to read, I have been three times now at various months of the year, have you been before in February, we are planning April 2015. Don't know what to expect, anyone been around then, if so what did you catch.

Cheers Gregor
 

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Hi Dai,
So that's why you've been quiet! Shame, it looks like you caught some bad weather that knocked everything sideways.
Gregor, I've been in April before and (the sort of crap weather that Dai had notwithstanding) it was pretty good fishing. Offshore, the flying fish start spawning and the leeward (Caribbean) side is full of distracted baitfish looking for a shag. It's when the billfish run, if you want to push the boat out. On a couple of trips the water was alive with pelagics - just a mile or so off the airport, the sea was full of dorado, barracuda, kingfish, YF tuna, shark, wahoo and the like, all chasing the baitfish shoals. The boatmen just follow the birds - I've never seen such dense groups of frigates. Like a cloud over the water.
From the shore, I don't think it's ever going to be as good as, say, Guillermo in Cuba, and Dai's given you an idea of where to go. I'd just add that I had a terrific session on the rocks at the end of Stonehaven Bay, where in the hour between dusk and my don't even think of being late for dinner cut-off time, I caught nine mutton snapper (and a porgy) between 3-7lb on small scad deadbaits.
Good luck.
 

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Mark

Speaking to various anglers it looks like Tobago is no different to any other fishing venue, seasons come and go and weather influences things for sure.

April 2015 it is, thanks for your input, very helpful.

Ta Gregor
 

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Down south you always risk getting blanked in the "winter". Very much like northern "spring" fishing. It can be the best of times or the worst of times. I consider myself somewhat of an expert of transitional seasonal fishing, seeing this is the only two times of the year and destinations I want to fish then, that I can fish all year.
 

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To echo what others have said, fair play for posting in detail even when things haven't gone well. It can be galling to write up disappointing trips but they're still a good read and informative, so thanks!
 
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Thanks for the report Dai, I meant to see if you had posted one ages ago but never got around to it. That was the first holiday I have ever blanked for the entire duration, but it looks like the fishing was not great for you either:yucky: . I have to say, that after all the hype I had read about Tobago being such an amazing place it was probably the only Caribbean island that I will not be returning to. Hopefully we will meet up again some time, and dont forget that you have invites to get out with Gary or myself for some sussex boat fishing any time you want :victory:
 

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Hi Dai

No-one can say you didn't try hard enough!
As you know - I've fished Tobago a dozen times or so and you certainly tried all the marks that I would have tried.

I had two weeks on Antigua in March and didn't get a bite for the first week.
2nd week was better but spent much of it chasing permit on one particular flat - driven insane with frustration by the end of our hols.

Will put up a report which will also show to those venturing to the Caribbean that it isn't a fish a chuck as some think.

Cheers
Steve
 
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