(To see great Mozambique fishing exploits, be sure to click through all the photos in the gallery above...)
A couple of years ago, while fishing in Ascension Island, my good mate Kevin Hodgson from Cape Town, South Africa, started telling me about his plans for building an “expedition” yacht to explore some of the untouched coastline of Africa. He’d already started building the boat, a 75-foot oceangoing Power Cat named Quo Vadis, which is Latin for “where to from here,” with his partner and longtime friend, Mark Delany, a second-generation owner of Two Oceans Marine out of Cape Town.
At that time, the plan was to carry along a 25-foot catamaran or center-console ski boat to launch from the mothership and fish with. Since most South Africans fish in these boats, it made a little sense, but Hodgson soon saw the need for something a bit more substantial to fish from, so he included a 48-foot custom game boat (Big Bob) in the excursion’s plans.
When he asked if I wanted to captain Big Bob for the 90-day trip, I was all in. Having been fortunate to chase giant marlin in most of the world’s hot spots, the Indian Ocean, in my mind, represents fishing’s last frontier. I’d only fished a few days in the Indian Ocean, and having a shot at a grander was all the motivation I needed.
While the two boats were being constructed in the factory, Hodgson told me of his plans to travel 1,200 miles up the coast into the Indian Ocean and fish the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. The location, infrastructure and other logistics make Bazaruto a difficult place to get your boat to for any serious marlin fishing. So the goal of the trip was to give a serious effort with the right equipment in order to assess the viability of the black-marlin fishery.
Hodgson grew up fishing the wild coasts of Africa with his father, Graham “Big Bob” Hodgson, mostly chasing the numerous varieties of inshore game fish from Cape Point up the Indian Ocean all the way through Mozambique. As with most hungry fishermen, Hodgson wanted bigger game, so he eventually began chasing big yellowfin tuna in the exceptionally rich tuna waters off Cape Point. But when he caught his first marlin off a ski boat while surf launching out of Cape Vidal near the Mozambican border, the seed was planted.
In 2011, the two of us took a trip there to assess the possibility of making the adventure happen. Bazaruto is the main island of the four that make up the archipelago. The islands are mainly big sand dunes surrounded by turquoise lagoons and spits that complement the beauty of the warm Indian Ocean. The strong Mozambican current that runs north to south through the channel between the African continent and Madagascar pushes an abundance of marine species directly into the Bazaruto Archipelago and the reefs that lie in and around it.