Oxeye Tarpon

Ota san is back in Bolgoda Lake

Ota san, from Japan, fished with us 3 years ago and has a good trip at Bolgoda Lake. Then he decide to come back and this time he has a better trip with good action with Wild Golden Barramundi, Mangrove Jack and Oxeye Tarpon.

First day, we concentrate our effort on the main lake in search of Mangrove jack and Ota san has a great morning catching them. Afternoon, we go for Barramundi spots. Water color were perfect but the wild golden barramundi don't seems to bite... But on our last spots we found plenty of Oxeye Tarpon rolling on surface. Ota san caught some with small silver color minnows. I suggest him to put a small popper for fun and he has a great time catching these jumper fish on light tackle. A good way to finish the fishing day.

Second day, we try again some Mangrove Jack spot and Ota san caught 2 nice one with his Duel Hardcore Minnow. Just before lunch, we go for Barramundi spots and Ota san miss one and after a coupe of cast caught a nice 63 cm Wild Golden Barramundi. Afternoon, we went to our featherback spot. Last trip Ota san was unlucky with this elusive fish, but this time he came with some good soft plastic bait. Featherback were there rolling in surface, but they don't seems interest by Ota san lures. Hopefully, Oxeye Tarpon were there also and like last day he has great fun to catch them with popper.


Third day, we are looking on Barramundi spots, but the morning timing tide was not so good and Ota san caught some small mangrove jack and a nice Ladyfish. After lunch, tide was running well in Bolgoda Lake and his backwater, good time for Barramundi !! Straight away we reach a good barramundi spots.

On the third cast Ota san has a nice bite, immediately the fish rush and jump. Sadly on the second jump, hooks came off. Ota san was a bit disappointed, I told him to keep casting in the area and less than 10 minutes he caught a 56 cm Wild Golden Barramundi. He was so happy. On his barra lure he caught a nice featherback also and just before sunset time, Ota san lost a big fish at the edge of a lily pad patch. We don't see the fish but it was a powerful rush, certainly a nice Barra.

Sportfshing Lanka Golden Barramundi Fishing at Bolgoda Lake.JPG

The last day, Ota san was fishing only the morning due to his afternoon flight. I couldn't guiding him for this session but he gone with our local fishing guide Shaktivel and he has a very good morning session with 3 barramundi bites but he hasn't landed one !!! Shaktivel was telling me, Ota san lost an easy 15 pound barra just before to put the fish in the landing net. 

It was nice to guiding you Ota san and see you soon again at Bolgoda Lake.

Tight Line 

Nico - Head Fishing Guide

Fishing trip at Bolgoda Lake with Malaysian group

Last week, we had 3 Malaysian friends fishing at Bolgoda Lake. Their goal was to catch Featherback on lure. This year the monsoon is late and there has been little rain. The Featherback are most active when it rains and the water is slightly turbid. However our 3 fishermen, instead of being worried on hearing the news were more motivated than ever.

The tide was not favourable to fish Featherback on the morning of the first day, so we focused our efforts on finding the Mangrove Jack and other species that can be caught at Bolgoda Lake. Our 3 fishermen caught Mangrove jack, a couple of Herring and missed a fish identified as Barramundi.

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Mangrove Jack Rapala

In the afternoon, after a delicious Sri Lankan rice and curry prepared by our chef and a small nap, we reach one of our favorite Featherback spots. They were there, rolling on the surface, few but active. The boats are anchored and lures fuse towards the elusive « knife fish ». After an hour without any bites a spot of rain arriving, one of the boats decided to return. The other boat decided to stay and it was a good idea because in the late afternoon after the rain, the Featherback were active and they caught three along with a nice mangrove jack and some herrings.

Sportfishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Mangrove Jack

The next morning we set off to ours Barramundi spots and Chang was lucky to catch one of 61 cm with our favorite lure for barramundi in Bolgoda the Rapala Flat Rap.

Sportfishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Barramundi.jpg

The other boat missed one and caught some Mangrove Jack. Chang was happy to catch a tarpon as it’s a new species for him. 

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Oxeye Tarpon Bolgoda Lake

After lunch and a short nap, it was rainy and we decide to wait little bit before to going out again. When headed out to our Featherback spot expecting good action after the rain stopped. The fish were there and they were active. Chang wanted to try a small jig head and soft plastic shad. A few casts and he caught his first Featherback that gave a good fight in the current. Chang was very happy and after some pics, the fish was released.

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Featherback Soft Plastic Bait

He cast immediately in the same area where the Featherback were increasingly active and has a bite as soon as his lure fell. This time it was a nice Mangrove Jack.

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Mangrove Jack Soft Plastic Bait Bass Assassin

The other boat caught some Featherback too and Chau landed a proper Giant Herring, a beast ! and one of the biggest we have seen in the lake!!

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Ladyfish Giant herring

The morning of day 3 we concentrated our effort on Barramundi but without success. Instead we caught some small mangrove jack. The afternoon was better with some fish lost or missed especially Featherback but our fishermen were happy, fishing is fishing…

The plan for the last day was Mangrove Jack in the morning and Featherback in the afternoon. We caught some Mangrove Jack and one of the boats missed a nice Barramundi. In the afternoon, Chang caught another Featherback with his soft plastic lure and lost another one on the first jump. His two friends caught Herring, Tarpon and Mangrove jack but Chang was the only one to catch a Featherback that day.

Sport Fishing Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Featherback

It was a pleasant trip, our 3 Malaysian friends enjoyed these 4 days of fishing at Bolgoda Lake and tell us they are very impressed by the quality of our accommodation, food, boats and diversity of fish species that can be caught.

Sportfishing Lanka Team

Angling Sri Lanka Bolgoda Lake Sunset

Sahara & Yamada back in Bolgoda Lake

After their previous great fishing trip, where they caught some nice Barramundi and Mangrove Jack, Yamada san and Sahara san scheduled another Bolgoda trip. It was a pleasure to guide these two expert Japanese fishermen on the last trip and I was excited to be guiding them again, especially Sahara san who had lost 2 nice fish on the last day of his previous trip and was out for revenge !

When I welcomed the guys around midnight at Colombo airport it felt like a reunion of old friends. We loaded up the gear and set off for Bolgoda Lake, talking fishing, remembering fish lost or missed from the last trip and catching up on other fishing adventures. We arrived late in the night at Bolgoda and set a time of 7am to go fishing which sent everybody to bed to rest for the following day.

After breakfast and coffee, the morning of the first day we started out fishing some spots looking to target Barramundi. Sahara’s lure box looked like a mobile tackle shop! He has obviously been doing some shopping since his last visit and had plenty of nice minnows specifically for this trip. I noticed a nice Duel Hardcore Flat Minnow and advised him to start with it. After landing a couple of ladyfish Sahara san has a serious bite close a lily-pad patch and a nice 66 cm Barramundi came to the net after a couple of jumps. Great start !!! They caught some average size mangrove jack and dropped a few Oxeye Tarpon, before we headed back for lunch.

Wild Golden Barramundi Duel Hardcore Minnow Tulala rod Shimano Excense Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

After a nap we set out to target the elusive Featherback. When we arrived on the spot we can saw them rolling on surface. Sahara san fished a lipless from Bassday and Yamada wanted to try his luck on a soft plastic. First catch was 2 nice Mangrove Jack.

Mangrove Jack spoon lure casting Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Sahara changed his lure for a spoon and immediately had a bite from a Featherback. The fish jumped and sadly shook the lure. We tried another spot for Barramundi and Sahara missed one close to the boat and Yamada hooked one but on the first jump the lure came free. We returned to the initial spot for Featherback and on the second cast Sahara landed one.

Featherback Knifefish lure fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

With Darkness fast approaching, I decide to fish the spot where Sahara lost his 2 big fish on his previous trip and after a couple of casts Sahara has a serious bite but the hooks didn’t set properly and he lost the fish. Damn !!! Same spot, same fisherman with the same lure and again lost, amazing ! Wonder if it was the same fish ?!

The morning of day two we were greeted with overcast weather and a little rain. We tried some Barramundi spots but without success but caught some average size Mangrove Jack and a couple of ladyfish.

Mangrove Jack release luring casting fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Later on in the morning we found Oxeye Tarpon rolling on surface and we decided to focus on catching one. Sahara had never caught one before and was very excited to add one to his species list. I advised him to use a small silver minnow he had plenty of bites but the Oxeye tarpon like their bigger cousins have a hard bony mouth and are not easy to hook. Finally, after some perseverance, Sahara landed one which put a big smile on his face – mission accomplished ! So it was back to the Villa for lunch and a nap.

Oxeye Tarpon luring casting fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

That afternoon, we focussed our efforts on the spot where Sahara lost his fish the day before. This time we had a bit more luck and we landed two very nice Mangrove Jack and Yamada boated a Wild Golden Barramundi.

Wild Golden Barramundi luring casting fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

The morning of the last day dawned sunny and hot. On the way to reach a spot for Barramundi, I spotted an area with some bait activity on the surface and decided to try our luck. Third cast and Sahara caught a 63 cm Barramundi – good decision !

Wild Barramundi casting lure fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

We continued to fish the shallow area and again Sahara had a bite. This time the fish looked bigger and it turned out to be a nice 67 cm Barramundi. Lucky and happy fisherman!! We rounded off the morning session with some Mangrove Jack and ladyfish.

Wild Golden Barramundi Duel Hardorcore Minnow Tulala rod Fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

That afternoon Sahara wanted to try again for Featherback and asked me to bring my light spinning rod to show him how I use my "Finesse" technique to target Featherback. We arrived at the spot in the upper reaches of the lake and found plenty of Featherback rolling on the surface. Yamada fished with a lipless and Sahara with a spoon. After 30 minutes without success Sahara asked me to demonstrate my technique with a 5 cm soft plastic Bass Assassin shad and the 2g jighead. The lure is very light and sinks very slowly. The technique requires a lot of attention because if you want your lure to reach the bottom, your line needs to be little bit slack and a bite of fish can be a light « toc » you feel in your rod or you’ll see your line begin to slightly tighten. On my third cast I caught a Featherback (phew!).

Featherback soft plastic bait finesse bass assassin fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Sahara gave it a try and on his second cast he missed one. Sahara is a really good fisherman and a fast learner, after few cast he hooked a big Featherback.

Featherback finesse fishing soft plastic bait bologna lake Sportfishing Lanka

A few minutes later Yamada had a hit on his lipless, the fish gave a good account for itself leading us to believe it was a Mangrove jack, but to our surprise it turned out to be a Black Seabream – a specie we had never caught in the Lake system before.

Black Seabream lure bolgoda lake Sportfishing Lanka

With sunset fast approaching and the light fading we decide to try another area for Barramundi. After a few casts, Sahara missed a big fish leaving us gaping at a huge swirl in the water. Yamada was up next with a nice hit, the fish ran straight into the lily pads fouling up Yamada’s line, luckily after some deft manoeuvring Yamada managed free his line and the fight was on. The fish was strong and after an intense fight a very nice 76 cm Golden Barramundi was landed.

Big Barramundi casting lure fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

By this stage the sun had set and the day was over, I asked the guys to have a few last casts, just in case and Sahara caught a 56 cm Barramundi the last fish of the trip.

Barramundi bologna lake sportfishing lanka

What a nice way to finish their trip with 4 barramundis, a big Featherback, a new specie with the black seabream and a couple of decent Mangrove jack.

This trip was a great success, guiding Yamada and Sahara will always be a pleasure and guess what ? They want to come back again ! I am waiting for you guys!

Nico - Head Fishing Guide