We had two fantastic guys from Japan, Yamada-san and Sahara-san arrive at Bolgoda Lake in our Villa. Yamada fished for GT's with us before and wanted to try the great Barramundi fishing at Bolgoda Lake. Sahara has fished for different freshwater species at various destinations but this was his first experience fishing for Barramundi.
The next morning they were ready to prepare their tackle and excited to start fishing with their guide Nico. The morning activity was slow with a few bites and no success landing a fish in the boat. They headed back to the villa for a nice lunch and a well-deserved break.
After lunch and a short rest, the afternoon displayed good activity in one of our favorite spots. The Featherback were rolling on the surface where some small baitfish were jumping. After a couple of casts Sahara’s gold colored jerkbait was hit by a Barramundi. The fish provided an acrobatic display, jumping a lot and fortunately after a few minutes, saw the inside of our net. This was the first Barramundi for a very pleased Sahara-san.
After this quick success, we target the Featherback. Fishing for “knife fish” requires a lot of patience from the angler and that you are able to stay “zen”. Sometimes you can see dozens of fish rolling; literally everywhere on surface without one single bite and all of a sudden in 5 minutes you land 2 or 3 fish… It’s exactly what happened this afternoon. Sahara manages to land his first Featherback, misses another one and Yamada has one too, but on the first jump the hook pulls and the fish comes off.
On the second day we decide to fish one of our favorite areas for targeting Mangrove Jack. Mangrove Jack love structure. You need to cast very accurately, right on the structure or under an overhanging branch to get the typical brutal bite of a Mangrove Jack. You then need to pull the fish off the structure as quickly as you can to have a slight chance of landing it, especially with fish over 2 kg ! Sahara’s cast is very accurate as a result of his previous experience fishing for trout in Japan. On the first crank of his second cast for the day, his Jerk Bait was smashed ! The fish was a Mangrove Jack for sure and on the first run it heads straight for the structure and soon after snaps the 30 lb leader. After this incident Sahara makes a longer 50lb leader but the next few hours prove unsuccessful.
We decide to try another area where we find more activity. Sahara again misses a nice MJ, Yamada catches a small one and finally 15 min before we go back for lunch Sahara in two casts manages to catch a Featherback and a nice, very red MJ!!
Afternoon comes around and we decide to try for the Featherback’s again. They are there, but show no interest in the lures presented in front of them. Yamada instead catches 3 small Malabar Trevally and a Tarpon. Sahara hooks and lands a nice MJ and a couple of Giant Herring before the night comes.
The morning of the third day the activity is a bit slow with just a couple of bites and nothing landed. The most likely explanation is that, the rising air-pressure is the reason the mouths of the fish stay shut. For the afternoon session, we go out a little bit later because of heavy rain pouring down over the lake, but luckily this rain make the fish hungry and active. Yamada quickly starts off with a Malabar Trevally. Sahara then follows with a nice 62 cm Golden Barramundi taken on a Rapala Flat Rap!
When the sunset arrives, the fish get more and more active and we can see the surface boiling with chasing predators. Yamada catches a very nice MJ and loses a big barramundi, which bends open the treble hook on his lure. When the night has come we decided to head back to the resort but with certain plans of returning to the same area the next day to get our revenge!
The last day we concentrate our effort’s specifically on various Barramundi spots around the lake. The morning starts out great as we fish a very productive area where we catch 2 Barramundi and a couple of Giant Herring. We also loose a nice MJ and a Featherback in the structure. The largest Barramundi of the trip is caught by Sahara, a nice 68 cm taken on a spoon normally used for trout fishing.
During the afternoon we head back to the spot of the day before, ready to have our revenge! The activity is the same with many bait fish jumping on the surface and some being chased by larger species. This results in two bites, and what bites they are !!! Sahara casts right on top of a shoal of smaller fish getting attacked by predators close to the lily pads and immediately the predator attacks his lure. The swirl on the surface is huge and Sahara strikes properly, but for some reason, the hook pulls on the first run.
A few minutes later at a shallow spot, Sahara again has a big bite on his lure. We see a big swirl on the surface and the V-shaped waves of the fish following the lure ! But the braided line breaks on the strike. To break the silence of the disaster Yamada tells his friend: “I think you hook a croc bro”. Everybody laughs and we decided to come back to have a cold beer with some nice Japanese snacks at the villa to celebrate this great trip!!
Yamada San and Sahara San have promised to return soon. Yamada still wants to catch a Featherback and Sahara definitely wants more of the big Barramundi swimming in Bolgoda Lake !
Nico - Head Fishing Guide