Madagascar - Exploratory Trip

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The first exploratory trip in Madagascar was quite an experience, to say the least. I had already done some live a boards with EBWS but this would be the first one where the priority was just to explore new grounds and hopefully find some big fish.

We started on a couple spots nearby, that always deliver. The conditions were good and everyone shot some fun fish on the reef. This is an untouched place that holds stupid amounts of jobfish. Basically you get completely surrounded by solid Jobfish on every single drop so not a bad start.

Then we moved to Castor banks. This was my first time there so I was even more excited than our guests I guess. We had some marks with great potential and even though the tides were right we didn't see much fish. Well, not the ones we were looking for though. Some small doggies were shot and also a big Giant Sweet Lips.

Even though the spearfishing side was far from epic, the conditions were great and I was fortunate to make some cool footage on the drop offs with some sharks and also reef fish. For someone that's used to dive in the cold, murky Portuguese waters this was not bad. Not at all.

The standout for me was a big jobfish shot right next to the yacht, while everyone was chilling. The bottom was flat, there were just some seaweed on the sand but I was so excited to keep diving that I jumped into the water to check it out. As soon as I jumped in I found a couple Jobfish patrolling the edges against the current. I waited for them on the bottom, I sang for them, threw sand... Nothing made them coming in. That's when I tried the spoon. For my surprise, the biggest one came in to have a look and I was fortunate to get him. I was stoked!

That's when we decided to go North. We had a couple marks that Eric told me to check it out. No one ever dives there but the potencial was huge. It took us one day to get there and we just dove a couple shallow reef spots on the way. Always fun but no stand outs. Everyone was really just waiting to get to the new spots!

As we got the bank we were super lucky to find a super sick drop off. The sounder was marking 100m and it went straight to 35m. You could see an insane amount of bait hanging up current so we quickly jumped in!
That was one of the places you know you found gold from the get go. There was fish swarming everywhere. Insane drop off with a huge crack at 40m, bait, doggies, trevallies, groupers, snappers, sharks, dolhpins... It was really hard to relax and dive actually. I started filming right away while the guests were shooting decent doggies with 15/18kg. As the tide was coming in, the current was changing the angle and going straight to the drop off. You could feel the fish showing more and more. And also bigger and bigger.

To summarise it all, I'm gonna say we saw solid wahoo, doggies, kingfish, GT and sailfish in less than 3 hours. Not to mention all the smaller species like grouper, snapper, barracuda, etc. Even though I spend most of the time filming got my PB GT and some nice doggies as well. We were stoked!

Unfortunately, we had to go back to refuel and restock the catamaran. When we came back the tides had changed and we didn't saw as much fish. Not even close. Super fun diving anyways but of course now I'm crazy to go back with the right conditions again. That is a very special place and I'm sure we will have memorable encounters there in the future.

David Ochoa