In between injections of gin and quinine we went to test the health of gill-bearing aquatic vertebrae off Linene Island, on the southern tip of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. On the surface there were plenty of healthy signs; breaching whales, popping heads of loggerhead turtles and pods of spinning dolphins. Below the surface too there was plenty of action. We were ‘taxed’ catches by sharks and even ‘upgraded’, when the fish on the line was swallowed and became part of a larger catch. Most of the fish were tagged and released save some sashimi and seared tuna, succulent king mackerel and ‘chicken of the sea’ dorado. Seven species were recorded, although the estimated 250 kg of Black Marlin escaped after 10 minutes of blistering bursts, and the yellow spotted kingfish was de-bodied by a shark.
Dorado/dolphinfish known as the chicken of the sea. Caught on surface lure, leaping out of the water. Waves of iridescent blue-green colours course over the head, body and fins. Golden below with numerous spots. The colours disappear quickly when landed.
The smooth aggressive King Mackerel took surface lures and drop shots. Blue grey above and silvery sides made delicious meaty and flavoursome steaks.
Striped Bonito took small silvery lures, immitating sprats, cast into the bait ball on light tackle. The flocks of terns would indicate the feeding fish below, picking off silvery sprats being chased by the bonito. Heavy and muscular fish.
Kingfish/GT – caught on dropshot and plugs over the reef, gave a fantastic fish. All of these were returned tagged and measured, due to their declining numbers.
Garfish and suckerfish – caught on a silver spinner on the surface – a beautifully sleek bluish-green fish
Yellow spot Kingfish – drop shot above the reef.
Black Marlin – caught on bonito livebait, trawled 20 metres behind the boat, just below the surface.