Alright for some!

Bob Robert’s has just had the pleasure of targeting one of his favourite fish species from the Great Basses Reef off the coast of Sri Lanka, the giant trevally.

GT’s as we aficionados call them are pound-for-pound one of the hardest fighting fish you will ever encounter but what makes them so incredibly special is that they can be tempted on surface lures called poppers. Imagine floater fishing for carp and then multiply the adrenaline rush by a hundred. Now we’re talking.

GT’s have attracted a worldwide following in a very short time. The YouTube hits for a film that Stu Walker and I made in the Andaman Islands has already exceeded 1.2 million views and thousands more watch each week. We’re a shock global hit and the main reason is there’s not an awful lot out there to compare with our film.

You see big GT’s were pretty much regarded as uncatchable until relatively recently. The reason being they have the power to destroy conventional tackle. Take the finest carp rod, match it with the very best carp reel and test it against a trevally if you dare. I know who’ll end up in tears. Special tackle has evolved to match the power of these beasts.

I use a Daiwa GT86 rod (the clue’s in the GT bit) to cast the huge lures involved. GT lures are the size of a large spod and weigh anything up to half a pound. The hooks, split rings and swivels are mega strong. Daiwa Dogfight reels are loaded with 120lb braid and finished off with a doubled over and twisted 250lb nylon rubbing leader. I’m guessing by now you’re beginning to think I’m setting out to catch Jaws but trust me. This is the specialised gear you need.

The Dogfight is something else and has the most amazing gearing to deliver power. Unlike your conventional fixed spool reel it has no backwind. If it did have you’d be one slip away from broken knuckles. The drag is exquisite. Lesser drags literally smoke and burn out against the power of a GT and that’s when they are screwed down tight. I do hope you’re getting the picture.

After a preamble like this I’m sure you’re expecting me to report incredible hauls of fish. Unfortunately it wasn’t like that. The wind strengthened quickly each morning to the point where we’d have to head back to shore before noon. Talk about frustrating. The boat was tossing around so much it was all you could do to stand, never mind cast a heavy lure and work it back on the surface. Imagine floater fishing for carp and you’ll get the idea.

We were not expecting to catch lots of GT’s but the ones we were likely to encounter would be big. Hopefully bigger than any we’d caught previously. Unfortunately the weather was against us (again!) and the vision of flat calm tropical seas was about as far from reality as you could imagine. It was more like the North Sea than the Indian Ocean.

It was a tough old trip but you’ll hear no complaints from me. I scored my best GT to date on the very first day of the trip. A fish that cleared the surface as it smashed into the lure – and missed! But in the blink of an eye, literally a split second, it reversed direction and hit the lure again in an explosion of white spray.

All hell then let’s loose. Everyone on board sees the strike and everyone is shouting what they believe are helpful instructions and advice. Hit it! Strike! Don’t let it have any slack! Reel! Keep the pressure on! You get the picture.

Meantime I’m in a panic. That screwed down drag is yielding line at an alarming rate, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... it goes as my arms are practically wrenched from their sockets. Me, I just hang on and try and get the rod but into the butt pad before I get painfully bruised. I’m not too successful mind and carried the pain of sore ribs for the rest of the trip and a full week afterwards where the rubber butt cap dug in.

At least I managed to stay on my feet, which is quite a result on a violently swaying boat, but the fun had only just begun. Hooking a fish is one thing, getting it in the boat is quite another as these beauties have an annoying habit of throwing hooks. You see the jaws are incredibly strong and can clamp on a lure so hard it doesn’t move when you strike and the hooks are not set. You’ll see in the film where we’re being told to strike several times. It’s the only way I’m afraid.

I guess the Gods were shining on me that day. I landed my GT, a new PB of 25kg plus, yet under normal conditions that might only be an average fish for this particular spot. But there’s always another time.

Better get saving then. These trips don’t come cheap!