I had the opportunity to be part of the 2nd scouting team of Location GTX in November 2013. Since most of the area was still a white spot on the map, I spent a good amount of time to figure out what tackle to bring without chartering another Boeing 747…

Just a few days prior to my departure, a devastating cyclone hit the Phillipines. Due to the overall size of that supercell in that region, I was a little nervous that the outer edges might hit the vessel that was already out fishing the northern region. Upon my arrival I quickly realized that everything was fine – the coral belt and it’s sheer endless amount of islands is labyrinth with the equal amount of safe anchor places.

We were headed south, deep into the maze of underwater reefs and islands – some of them literally lost in time. Amazing scenery that compares to nothing I have seen so far. Coral reefs so vivid and alive – it felt like photoshopped. While in transit, we were trolling with 30lb and 50lb stand-up gear, which resulted in a bunch of decent Wahoos and a big black Marlin that took the bonito not even 10 seconds after we have dropped it. The first run on the underarmed 30lb travel-rod broke the 50lb line. What an amazing creature!

Our actual target, Giant Trevally, showed up in decent numbers considering the weather situation and the full moon, which apparently causes them to feed at night. Some nice fish were landed and on top of that, we had Bluefin Trevallies in abundance. One of the guest managed a Trevally Slam with a big golden Trevally, a decent Bluefin and double digit Giant Trevally in one day. We fished both from the mothership and two inflatable dinghies, even did some trolling with the small rafts. Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and some Bonitos were an add-on to GT, some of them even with the flyrod. On top of that, we have seen very good numbers of Napoleon Wrasse and Milkfish on the flats – certainly a good reason to spent some more time there. Great fun!

Our chef/local guide/tacklemaster took really good care of us. With simple methods and fresh ingredience (lot of fresh fish and seafood) he created delicious meals that would put Gordon Ramsay to shame.

Believe me when I say that being lost in time will get a whole new meaning when you are lost in this paradise. The transformation from working/office-mode to holidays takes just a splitsecond. A rare feeling in our western society and I consider this to be the greatest of privileges.

2nd Week

Stephan had to leave and I embarked with Rickard and a group of Swedes towards the soo sought after north region, which is surrounded by open water and heavy converting currents – a big fish El-Dorado. Again, we were trolling in transit. As we were approaching a school of Bonitos and Yellow Fin Tuna in casting distance, we switched to popping gear. Rick was retrieving on of the trolling rods to bring in the lures when a Black marlin showed up behind his lure and totally nailed it. A furious fight with some big airs followed by some vertical dives ended after one hour. We managed to land the approx. 500lb fish and released it safely. What a start.

We finally arrived at the southern tip of the north reef – it’s not easy to put in words what beauty awaits prospective GTX guest there. A paradise that only a few have been able to witness and it’s well kept. How ever the guys from Solid managed to find this place, they did more than well.

The first lures and poppers went flying and the GT were there – in very good numbers! But it was not only about GT. Yet again, we encountered a dazzling amount of species including Yellow Fin Tuna, Dog Tooth Tuna, Black Tip Sharks, Job Fish, Rosy Jobs, Horse Eye Jacks… endless list. The other day, we went out with a dinghi to fish the reededge – on the way back to the mothership we could see that they were handling a good size GT, so we decided to stay away in a 50 Meter radius till the fish was boated. 200 Meters away from our position started a furious frenzy – a big sailfish went beserk on bait. Peter changed his lure to a popper and got it into the hot zone. What happened next was as unexpected as spectacular. A huge sailfish turned immediately on the lure – we had to follow the apprx. 150lb fish with the boat before we could landed it. What a fish and the entire action was captured by my GoPro!

The biggest GT of the trip was a beautiful 40kg GT on a light tackle setup. What a fight and what a heavy weight reward! Top water fishing at it’s finest!

The fishing is as crazy as it get’s and I have seen quite a few big game spots. The un parallel fishing experience is round up by the most amazing night sky that one could possibly imagine. Good enough to lean back, enjoy a few beers over the fading day’s fishing experience. Yet again, the kitchen never seized to amaze with fresh and delicious meals. We kept some tunas for dinner – nothing better than fresh sashimi and tuna steak after some hard work.

Next season:

I am really looking forward going back in march 2014. The expedition vessel will be replaced by a solid boat and real tri-hul center console fishing rafts. As for myself, I will prepare myself even better – especially for the speed-jigging part when the outgoing tide is pushing. Doogies on brain! If you want to experience what I have, contact the guys from Solid Adventures for a custom fishing trip that will put the rest to shame. Next November (2014) I’ll be chasing that elusive Marlin that broke the line one the first week – and I won’t lose him next time. Haha!
Tight Lines,
Capt. Peter Cernold

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