Game fishing at Andamans India
Oh the Andamans! An Anglers Paradise. The only hope for the anglers living on the Mainland of the Indian Subcontinent to sail out to catch that big trophy fish they so dream of all their lives. All the more now than ever as big catches get more and more elusive along the coastal belt. The Andamans are one of the last bastions of big Game fishing in India and a home to a populace that strictly has in place its ethics and values when it comes to Game fishing, be it catch and release, restricting the size of the catch or limiting the numbers caught, the Andaman’s have their hearts and heads in the right place and we have to salute them for that. No wonder the catches that Anglers brag about from this region of India have no rival to match anywhere else (If anyone has a top to that, we would sure love to know).
One of the union territories of India, these islands are located 2000 Km from the Indian mainland and just about 750 Km off the coast of Thailand (Yes it is easier to get here from Thailand than from India in case you plan to take a flight from your Thai vaccy). So if you purely go by distances, it makes it easier to get to Lakshadweep (Laccadives) islands , the other sea fishing Haven off India which lies just about 280 Km off Kochi (Kerala) which is on the west coast of India.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are nestled in the pristine blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. The 2 groups of the islands (All in all totaling in excess of 570 of which just about 38 are Inhabited) are separated by a 10 degree channel of water with the Andaman’s located in the north and the Nicobar group of islands in the south. Being so far off the grid, this place offers an abundance of game fish largely since its waters still remain unspoilt by a great deal of human intervention. Commercial and large scale fishing is strictly not allowed here which adds to the list of positives about this place. Port Blair is the capital and the islands also boasts of having South Asias only active volcano, the Barren Islands which is about 60 miles off Havelock and the waters around which are in itself fertile fishing grounds.
So if (or rather when) you finally decide to head out to the Andamans for the salt water fishing trip of your life, there are a few things you need to take note of. You will require a game fishing permit to start things off. The fees at present are at Rs. 2500/- (Approximately $ 34.5/ € 28.5 / £ 24.75) per person per day for foreign Nationals and Indian citizens can get it for about Rs. 500/- a day (Though it is best to check for latest updates just before you go). You might also like to know that you need to get Vaccinated before you land up on these Islands. You may also have to pay emergency evacuation charges and bear your medical and travel insurance. You will find a detailed list of all compliances right here.
So now that you have all the stuff you do not like out of the way, lets straight away dive into all of what you would like to hear. Andamans are a haven for large salt water and pelagic fish species like GT, Tunas, Kingfish, Mackarel and Billfish (4 different varieties) like the blue and black Marlins and many other big game species. Throw in the wahoo and the Sail fish and we ask you, what more do you need to hear about to be persuaded into book your trip?
Being as well explored by the Charters operating here for years, most of the popular fishing sports are well marked and thus it is hard for an angler to return back unsuccessful or for that matter even without getting a fish of his/her lifetime when you hit the waters at the right time of the year. Anglers brag of fish sizes that measure anything between 6 to 10 foot and the mean weight of the fish can be anything between 40 Pounds (18 Kg) to up to 100 Pounds (45 Kg). Catch and release is a strictly followed practice here and all the locals respect their fish and environment and do everything they ever can to inculcate conservation practices in their routines. The charters offer everything from food to cold drinks and water and take care of all of your needs when on a day trip out fishing (You can also arrange a night fishing trip if you feel so). They also have options to hire fishing equipment but its best that one comes prepared well in advance as all the available equipment might not be to one’s liking nor may be the best of quality.
Adding to the mystique of this wonderful place are the secluded islands that are inhabited just by the aboriginal tribes that are totally cut off from the mainlands and just live an isolated life all by themselves. These include tribes like the Sentinelese, Jarawa, Onge, Jangil, Shompens, Jangil, Nicobarese and Great Andamanese. They are well protected by the authorities of these areas and they fish for a living using indigenous methods. Its best to avoid getting close to these Islands and confining yourself to the places that your local guides take you to. But while you are here you could also indulge in Snorkeling, swimming the open waters or diving among the corals of one of the many islands that are open to tourist visits. You could also visit one of the many locals and buildings that have many a pieces of British history and the relics of India’s freedom struggle on display.
Coming back to Fishing, Popping and Jigging along with Trolling are the best methods employed in these parts of the world waters. Live baiting and spinning of course have been showing good results too. Braid line of 80-100 Pound strength is recommended with the best quality leaders, hooks and the right knot rigs to compliment it. Strong rods and reels with drag strength in excess of 30 Pounds are recommended. GT is the fish of choice in these waters purely because of its aggression, abundance and the tendency to catch them with any method employed. But this definitely doesn’t mean you can leave out the rest.
The season opens September and ends in early May (Of course the furious monsoons have to be avoided in these parts) though the best time to get a good catch they say is just as the Summer starts to set in. If you scan the underwater grounds at the numerous fishing spots that have been marked by the charterers thru the years, you will find varied formations like reefs, steep drops, treacherous rockbeds and flats alongside current rips which house thousands of fish making Andamans one of the most sort open sea angling destinations of the world.
There are a number of charters that operate in these waters and arrange for everything right from the fishing Permits to Airport pick up and accommodation and go on to plan the whole trip for you. Our best recommendations will soon be listed below.
Here are the concise details of all that you would need to know when planning your Fishing trip to the Andamans
Season – Sep to May (Best months Feb-Mar)
Fishing Types – Jigging, Popping, Trolling (Bonus – Live Baiting, Spinning)
Tips – Advisable to carry your own equipment if you want to avoid rental fees and substandard equipment.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP) Fees- Rs. 500/- for Indian Nationals. Rs. 2500/- (Approximately $ 34.5/ € 28.5 / £ 24.75) per person per day for foreign nationals. Please verify the latest fees with your tour operator before you book. To apply online and latest rates, check details here http://andssw1.and.nic.in:8081/sfpermit/index.php (Site of the Dept. of Fisheries, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Govt of India).
What is Required for RAP – Photograph, Passport Copy, License Copy of the Fishing Vessel Hired.
Other Requirements – Visa (For International Travelers), Medical Insurance, Travel Insurance, Immunization as per governmental regulations.
Game Fish Species – Dogtooth Tuna, Yellowfin Tunas, Skipjack Tuna, Bigeye, Giant Trevally, Black, Blue & Stripped Marlin, Red Snapper, Coral Trout, big Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda, Bluefin, Pilot Trevally, Wahoo, Bonito, Sailfish, Grouper and Dorado.
Departure options – Chennai (Most Favored), Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune. (There are no direct international flights arriving here so International visitors have to travel via mainland India)
Other Sea Creatures to watch out for – Green Sea Turtle, Dolphins, Hammer Headed Shark, Tiger Shark, Blue Shark.
Some of the popular game fishing sites - Barren Island, Sister Island, Brother Island, Cinque Island, Passage Island, Incredible Bank, Button Island, Neil Island, Havelock Island, Invisible Bank, Little Andaman, South Sentinel Island, Rutland Island, Middle Button, North Button, South Button, Outram Island, Sir Hugh Rose Island, Inglis Island, Campbell Shoal Island, South Banks, Middle Banks, West Coral Banks.
Recommended Tackle Setup for Game Fishing at Andamans –
- Popping - PE 10/12 Rod for Popping, 18,000 to 20,000 series Reel, 7-8 Foot Rod for lending you the power, 100 – 120 Pound Braided Mainline, 150 Pound Leader, 220 Pound Terminal tackle, 100- 250 Gm Poppers, 4/0 and 5/0 ST-76 hooks.
- Jigging – 5-7 Foot rods which is rated for 400 Gm.16,000 to 18,000 size reel. 60-90 Pound Braided Mainline. A 3-5-meter fluorocarbon leader of 100 Pounds. 150 Pound terminal tackle. 150 to 300 Gm Jigs. Owner SJ-46 11/0 Hooks.
If you are a foreign National, read all about the permits required here .
In case you are looking to extend your holiday and check other places to visit, check here
If you have any interesting stories to submit about your Andaman Fishing trips or any other fishing trips anywhere and would like us to feature them, do mail them to us by visiting our contact page and we will be happy to publish them giving you full credits. And while you are here, don’t forget to leave your comments below. Happy Angling!!!