First Look at the Andaman Sea

A glimpse inside a hot new undiscovered marlin fishery

April 12, 2019
andaman islands temple
Just one of the many stunning Buddhist temples we encountered in Myanmar and Thailand. Jon Whittle

“You’re going…where?”

That’s the usual reaction when I explain that I had the chance to fish not only a distant destination halfway around the world, but one that has received almost no exposure in the media. Only a handful of well-traveled international anglers and captains have even heard of the Andaman Sea, much less the incredible action and near unlimited potential that it holds.

At the invitation of Brett Hall, owner of the 60-foot Bertram, Deja Blue, and investor in Blue Oceans Adventures, Marlin photographer Jon Whittle and I traveled from Florida to Southeast Asia, where we spent five days exploring the seamounts over 100 miles west of Kawthaung, Myanmar, in the heart of the Andaman Sea. Joining us on the trip was Brett’s brother, Mark Hall, and Capt. Eddie Bairez from Guatemala.

map of andaman islands
The Andaman Sea lies west of Myanmar and Thailand and east of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in the Indian Ocean. We fished a region known as the Burma Banks, a series of underwater seamounts approximately 100 miles west of Myanmar. Google Maps

Here’s a sneak peek photo gallery from the trip. We will have a full-length feature in an upcoming issue of Marlin, so stay tuned for more on this stunningly beautiful destination.

sport fishing boat in the andaman sea
Deja Blue at anchor. The 60-foot Bertram has been converted to a comfortable liveaboard, perfect for exploring the distant offshore seamounts. Jon Whittle
small motorboats in the andaman sea
Long-tail skiffs are the standard means of transportation in this part of Southeast Asia. These small boats are versatile and draw very little water. Jon Whittle
group of passengers in a boat near myanmar
Crossing the Kra Buri River that separates Thailand from Myanmar in a long-tail with a local guide. Jon Whittle
man rigging up bait for marlin fishing
Capt. Eddie Bairez rigs a flying fish, netted the previous evening, as a pitch bait. Jon Whittle
marlin breaking the surface of water in the andaman sea
A savage pitch-bait bite from a nice blue marlin. Our most productive spread consisted of a pair of teasers from the bridge paired with lures on the long rigger and shotgun positions. We encountered blue and black marlin in equal numbers, ranging in size from 150 to 500-plus pounds. Jon Whittle
marlin jumping out of the water in the andaman sea
A lure-caught blue takes to the air. We fished over a dozen seamounts approximately 100 miles west of Myanmar. Jon Whittle
marlin jumping out of the water in the andaman sea
Another look at this acrobatic blue, which was released by Brett Hall on standup 50-pound tackle after a relatively short fight. Jon Whittle
two men at sunset after fishing for marlin
Brothers Mark and Brett Hall. Australians are always entertaining to fish with, and these two were no exception. Jon Whittle
a plate of crunchy friend shrimp
A midafternoon snack of sesame shrimp. The food was outstanding during our trip, thanks to the efforts of American chef Laramie Duncan. Jon Whittle
marlin jumping out of water
A small black marlin goes airborne. It took a day or two in order to find the seamounts which held good concentrations of skipjack tuna, but once we found the bait, the marlin were there as well. Jon Whittle
man holding up a red and yellow-spotted fish
An early-morning coral trout for the author. Fishing began at sunrise while still on the anchorage, and went on well into the evenings after dinner. Jon Whittle
bridge and sign over the entrance to myanmar
After returning to Myanmar, we went ashore to check out the port town. Jon Whittle
a stall in the markets of myanmar
The local market is a full-on assault of the senses. Especially intriguing were the fishmonger stalls like this one. Jon Whittle
man holding up a menu in the myanmar markets
How many kinds of tape can you name? Jon Whittle
sunset over myanmar and andaman sea
Each evening, the sunsets lit up the sky in a beautifully stunning display. No filter needed here. Jon Whittle
aerial view of andaman islands temple at sunset
Another sunset, and the promise of adventure on the horizon. Jon Whittle

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