Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vamizi Island and Spearfishing the Metundo Canyon

Patrice Etlin 72kg Metundo Dog Tooth Tuna
Part of my 7 week Mozambique adventure was spending a week on the epic Vamizi island just out side of the Quirimbas Islands park. This was a unique trip in that it was actually a birthday party for Patrice Etlin, and being a passionate spearfisherman Patrice made sure spearfishing was on the top of the agenda.

Vamizi Island and its surrounds are actually a reserve and no spearfishing or fishing is allowed. So all the spearfishing took place off the adjacent island called Metundo. Here is the infamous Metundo Canyon and again I called on the expertise of Eric Allard of Extreme Blue Water Spearfishing to help with the organising, boats and local knowledge.
One of the unspoilt tropical beach's of Vamizi Island
This was a serious party by night and dive by day trip. Patrice's friends came from far and wide to celebrate his 50th and so every night was another massive occasion. Every night was another theme evening, it was a surprise that the guys who were spearfishing even got up in the morning. But every day there the guys and even one lady was there at the dive centre revving to go.

I don't usually take large groups of guys so I got Richard 'Snoek' Leonard and Robin 'Gumby' to help as guides in the water and also document the spearfishing for Patrice. Rich is also probably the best producer of spearfishing films so to have his expertise on the trip was awesome. So between Rich, Robin and myself we had the water covered and Eric and his team had the boats and logistics covered.

Mario, Patrice and Geraldo Metundo Island
The deep clear waters of Mozambique was a big challenge for the Brazilians. Not to mention using spearguns longer than 1m for the first time. But it was not long before the guys were getting on the spots and landing a few fish. The main ledge at Metundo is so spectacular that there was almost no drifts where the guys came back buzzing about something they had seen, chased or experienced. The ledge ranges between 10m and 40m and is few kilometres long, and drops off into hundreds of metres.

Rich, Patrice and Myself all smiles 
On the third day the unimaginable happened and Patrice shot and landed a 72kg Dog Tooth Tuna. This took the week long celebration to another level and this is possible the best birthday present any one could wish for. Better yet he shot the fish with my std 1400 Rob Allen ... oh ok it had a few little tweaks :-)
What was more amazing is that we were at the end of the drift in deep water, and the fish approached us at less than 15m! Patrice had been nailing some crazy long shots with the 1400 over the previous days and did not make any mistakes nailing the shot at the perfect time. The giant Doggie disappeared with a 35l Rob Allen Remora float and a 11l foam filled float. I thought that that was that and that it was the last we would see of all the gear and fish.

Back on the boat the guys had spotted the float come back up, and it was game back on. Patrice had a mammoth fight on his hands with the fished swim bladder being burst so he had to pull up the full dead weight of the fish. It was hard even once the fish had given up, and it was impossible to even hold on the surface once he had subdued the fish.
The beginning of much celebration.
Patrice's Vamizi spearfishing trip or party depending how you look at it was probably one of the most fun trips I have been on. I met so many incredible people who seriously love life and of course spearfishing :-) good times for sure.


P.S look out for the video on line .. should be up next week.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

MJK Spearfishing Lazarus Banks

MJK 65kg Dog Tooth Tuna - Lazarus banks
I have been away for weeks now guiding different spearfishing trips and adventures. One of the standouts was the week spent with Mohammed Al Kuwari out on the famous Lazarus banks in northern Mozambique. it was the first time I had guided out there so I teamed up with Eric Allard, who has been running charters there for the last year already and has access to good boats. Because Lazarus is so far from shore we needed a live-aboard which meant that we literally just did the 'eat-sleep-dive' thing for over a week.

We were also filming MJK's segment for a new film 'In The Zone' is working on. Richard 'Snoek' Leonard came out to direct the shoot and be extra hands and eyes in the water. Lazarus was perfect for filming with its crystal clean water and shoals of Doggies and Sharks.

Lazarus is an amazing spot, and has some incredible Dog Tooth Tuna. The shallow structure and numerous coral bommies meant that landing the fish was easier said that done. The Doggies were also very cunning and after the first few drifts would sit just a little bit deeper, close enough to pick out the big ones, but just too far for a perfect shot. You learn very fast that unless its the shot is the most perfect you have ever had and that you are 100% sure of hurting or stoning the fish its just not worth taking. Broken steel cable is testament to this, the big Dogs are just insanely powerful.

Mohammed who is known for his epic kill shots was on a good run at first with 3 kill shots (or as we joke with him "MJK shots") in a row. With a prize 65kg Doggie rolling over with a perfect MJK shot, possibly one of the best shots I have ever seen. The good run came to an abrupt end when he shot an even bigger fish. The fish rolled over and we were almost about to celebrate when the fish woke up, it did a slow dazzed circle around us at 30m and then disappeared with 2 x 35l and 2 x 11l floats. We eventually got the floats back, and the steel shooting line had sheared off!! So you can only imagine what happens if your shot is bad.
MJK with a 45kg Lazarus GT
Giant Kingfish are also numerous on the Lazarus and we saw shootable fish every day. MJK took one and it weighed in at 45kg, but I think if we were not focusing on Doggies we would have found a bigger one. Then again we were focusing on great fish on film so we also only took the shots where everything was perfect.
Rich, MJK, And myself
Lazarus is fairly big and a week is not enough time to explore all the spots. We would have loved to have stayed on for more days but we were limited to how long we could stay out there by how long the ice that was keeping the fish would last. So we left feeling like we need more days :-) I guess that's not a bad thing. It just means we will have to go back.
Lazarus is a serious logistical mare, yachts, boats flights and of course this all means that its not cheap. But if you have the means, then this is definitely a place you need to add to your bucket list.