Indian Fishing Adventures that you must check off your list – Part 3 (Game fishing at Lakshadweep Islands – Laccadives, India)
Game fishing at the Lakshadweep (Earlier Laccadives)
The Wonderfully endowed Lakshadweep Islands (Earlier Laccadives) are located about 200 to 450 Km off the West Coast of India. Just about an hour and a half by flight from Kochin, Kerala (India), the group of Islands or Archipelago is the smallest Union territory of India and the name literally translates to one lakh Islands in their native language. Lakshadweep actually has about 36 main islets located in the Arabian sea off the west coast of India. Of these only about 10 are inhabited and just about 5 are accessible to tourists. Lakshadweep has a surface cover of just 32 Sq Km and the islands and lagoons are spread over an area of 4,200 Sq Km. Well with so much water in between the land cover, needless to say these islands are teeming with big fish. (Don’t we all love to hear that?).
It would be quite interesting for Anglers who love their geography to know that the Lakshadweep Islands are the northernmost of the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which form the tops of a vast undersea mountain range called the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge. The islands fall in the “Giant Trevally triangle” of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. (Music to your ears right?)
Scattered all over with Atolls (atolls are nothing but ring-shaped coral reefs, island, or series of islets), Lakshadweep is characterized by white sandy beaches having the softest sand that you will ever walk upon, tall swaying palm trees, and crystal clear lagoons which remind you of your favorite island adventure Hollywood movies. The waters around Lakshadweep are teeming with marine life and promise a Game fishing adventure of a life time. The seas look turquoise blue from the flight and you can literally see the coral beds around the islands with your bare eyes as you land or when you walk along the many beaches. Some of the famous islands here are Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Bangaram and Kadmat. Kavaratti island also has a marine aquarium which could be part of your travel itinerary.
To give you a perspective of distances, Kavarati island is located about 404 Km off Kochin (About a 100 Km less than a Mumbai – Goa road trip distance) and is the administrative capital of Lakshadweep islands. Whereas the Kalpeni island is just about 287 KM off Kochin (by driving distance, that’s about a little more than half way to Goa from Mumbai which would take you roughly about 4 to 5 hours to reach if you could drive all the way there from Kochin at 60 Km Per Hour i.e about 37 Miles per hour). So with this you would understand that it is much easier and quicker to get to Lakshadweep for a fishing trip from India than to get to the Andaman Islands (the other fishing Haven off India) which lie about 2000 Km away from the Mainland of India (4 Hours by Flight).
Kalpeni atoll has a huge storm bank of coral debris along its eastern and south-eastern shorelines, something interesting to dive and snorkel about for those who fancy it. Lot of other watersports can also be indulged in while out here at Lakshadweep like reef walking, kayaking and pedal boating.
Minicoy island is about 398 Km off Kochin and is the second biggest island of the archipelago (The largest being Andrott) spreading out over about 10.6 Km and has the largest lagoon of the whole group. Minicoy is an important Tuna fishing center and even houses a Tuna Canning Factory and an ancient Lighthouse. Covered with dense coconut groves and lazy winding village roads, Minicoy has a tradition of having beautifully maintained village houses.
Game fishing at Lakshadweep is a must experience adventure for anglers as the seas around Lakshadweep are rich in fishery resources and the main fishery resource of the islands are Tuna fish (Some real big ones to go by). It might also interest some Anglers to know that Octopus is a delicacy around these parts and if you get a change to befriend a few locals you could also get to learn octopus hunting with them. Needless to say a large part of the population in Lakshadweep depends on the fishery resources which is also the main livelihood of the inhabitants of the islands. Of all the islands and a number of submerged banks and open reef’s, the fishing activities are mainly concentrated around 11 islands and reef areas of Perumul Par, Valiyapani and Cheriyapani.
The Yellowfin tuna resource is almost unexploited here since the technology for deep sea fishing is not prevalent in the territory of Lakshadweep. Local fishermen Target Yellowfin Tuna with fishing poles & lines, something all anglers can try in the evening when they head back home after a long day over the waters. The Locals treasure their natural resources and carry out their fishing practices in the most conservative manner, something that all anglers should keep in mind when they set out on an angling trip to Lakshadweep.
Again much like in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the other Angling haven lying towards the eastern side of India, all Anglers require to apply for a fishing permit if they wish to fish these waters for Game Fish. Non-Indians will also require to apply for Government entry permits and transfer taxes. Well you anglers do not need to go fishing out far to find where you can find the entry permit as we have left the link to the Government site right here . You can also find the whole link below.
All Indian travelers are permitted to visit all the islands of Lakshadweep for angling or otherwise. However, Foreign tourists who carry a valid Passport and visa for visiting India, can only visit the Islands of Agatti, Kadmat and International Tourist Resort of Bangaram, that too with permission of Administrator. Its best to plan your trip and book your charter well in advance so that you have all your permissions and paper work in place when you finally land here. Needless to say all good charters will help you thru with the whole process.
All party Anglers must remember that no great luxuries are offered on the Islands. However, your tranquil sea view cottage will more than cover for it. Beer Guzzlers do note that except at Bangaram, beer nor any other alcohol consumption is allowed on these islands. The locals here live simple and are very hospitable. You can cherish the food in these parts which comprises mainly of local grown Rice along with Fresh Fish Preparations, Meats, Veges and Legumes.
Fishing can be done around one of the many atolls, lagoons and islands. If you go chasing the big fish like sailfish, GT’s and Wahoos, it will require a few hours of sailing off into the open waters. The boats used for fishing are mostly traditional wooden boats that can clock speeds of 10 to 12 Knots. Usually expeditions are best carried out overnight wherein Anglers can have sleep ins in either the boats or at one of the overnight stay alternatives available in the lagoons. The whole journey can be quite demanding and is only meant for anglers that are physically fit and up to the challenge. Usually a minimum of 2 boats carrying 3 to 4 anglers each, along with the guide crew go together for added safety. It would be pertinent to note that most spots cut you off from any cellular networks. Nothing better to enjoy some uninterrupted angling time …right?
As always it is best to come prepared with your own tackle to avoid disappointments as the tackle you may find here may not be up to your liking.
Here is the list of most of the details you need to know before setting off on a Game fishing Charter to Lakshadweep
Fishing Season Time – November to May
Best Take Off Airport – Kochin (India)
Average Price – Euro 3800 Per Person 8N/6D (Rs. 3,35,000, $ 4700, £ 3300)
Requirements – Government Entry Permits, Fishing Permit, Transfer Taxes. Link here
Fish to look out for – GT (Giant Travalley), Dogtooth Tuna, Bonefish, Triggerfish, Milkfish, Sialfish, Rainbow Runner, Red Snapper, Indo Passific Permit, Bluefin Travalley, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Wrasse (Humphead or Napoleon), Coral Trout, Grouper, Shark, Spanish Mackerel, Amberjack
Fishing Techniques – Popping, Jigging, Spinning, Fly Fishing
Tackle – Rod Casting Weight – 180 Gm, keeping in mind the travel and the need to be portable, a 3 Piece fishing rod is best. 7 to 8 Ft. would be ideal for Trolling whereas 8.6 Ft would be great for far casting. Long lines help get better casts so you may have to compromise on your braid strength. 60 LBS braid achieves a good balance between long casts and being able to land satisfactory fish size but 80 - 110 LBS is the recommended strength. For lures, Skipjacks , Splashers and Dumbell Poppers work best here though any poppers and stickbaits of 20 cm and up can also be put to good use. (Recos – Heru Cubera, Dumbells, Paro Paro, Sebile Splasher, Heru Skipjack). Jigging can be done with 200 to 300 gm Jigs.