For most, the idea of navigating a ski-boat according to the alignment of the stars, the shine of the moon or the accurate position of two landmarks, is virtually impossible. Let’s forget once and for all the use of these ancient techniques to find a tiny pinnacle in the middle of the ocean, literally miles and miles away from anywhere.
In recent times, fishermen have their pita bread spread with smoked snoek pâté on both sides! A digitally accurate global positioning system, better known as a GPS, takes all the fun out of skippering. A quick scroll of the fingers and you can almost put your hands behind your head, while your auto-pilot escorts you to the selected fishing spot and kindly serves up a freshly-shaken cocktail!
On a recent ASFN (Advanced Sport Fishing Network) trip, we were lucky enough to experience the exquisite Mafia Island, situated off the Tanzanian coast and forms part of the famous Spice Islands (Pwani Region). With a population count of 40 800, most of the inhabitants on Mafia Island live off the ocean through subsistent fishing.
The island is a big atoll measuring 48 km in length and 17 km at its widest point. And as we were flying over the island, my first concern was the serious volume of fishing ground to cover. But my biggest concern was the condition of the fish stocks and how much damage has already been done?
Our key target specie was the Giant Trevally (Caranx ignobilis), or as we call it, the well-respected and infamous GT. We also went in search of the various Kingfish species that frequent these waters.
After our first educational boat trip into the unknown, we could see that we had our work cut out for us. With a large number of local boats on the water, we knew that we were going to have to search for our fish…