Darran Davis is the boss at Gamefishing Asia, a popping and jigging outfit located in Port Blair, capital of the Andaman Islands, one of the most famous destinations in which to chase big GT’s on topwater.
Darran, how did you came to sport fishing?
I was born in Bangalore, India, and was introduced to fishing by my Grandfather, a retired Army officer, who gave me a fishing rod for my 7th Birthday. The natural progression followed from bamboo stick to spinning reel and rod, from pond to lake, then finally to the river where I fished a lot for the mighty mahseer on the famous Cauvery river of Southern India. I followed a career path as a Merchant Navy officer with major oil company ChevronTexaco until the events following 9/11 and family commitments made me give up this option in late 2004. Then I had the choice of a 9 to 5 job or the option to turn a passion (fishing) into work, I naturally chose the latter.
When did you decide to start a sport-fishing company in the Andaman Islands?
After deciding that I would follow a fishing career I looked for options to set up a fishing business in India, something different. There were no professional outfits and research indicated that extreme tropical fishing was the in-thing at the time with a fish called the giant trevally top of the list. India too had this fish in a place called the Andaman Islands, situated roughly 800 nautical miles away from the Indian mainland. It was a place where the fish were supposed to die of old age…. and so, I made my first foray into extreme saltwater angling. Many lost lures later, on completion of the trip, the decision was made and I started the Gamefishing Asia company in 2006.
What does the archipelago look like? What are the main interesting angling species to be found there?
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprises a group of 572 islands in the middle of the Bay of Bengal that cover an area of approximately 2,500 square miles, forming a part of a volcanic ridge of new fold mountains that extends from Indonesia to the Himalayas. There are large fringing coral reefs, deep drop-offs, channels and banks on parallel ridges. The archipelago forms a nirvana for many species of fish, especially the ones we sport anglers like, with the main ones being the giant trevally (the most abundant sport fish), dogtooth tuna, grouper and come the summer months the yellowfin tuna are abundant.
Can you tell us about your boats and the main programs you offer.
We currently operate two boats, a 37ft Rampage and a 30ft Halcyon III, plus we will have another 37ft boat available for bookings in the new season as well (from October 2017.) All the boats have been carefully selected and equipped to be safe, fast and reliable sport-fishing platforms. Equipped with state of the art Garmin electronics, we can get to the best spots quickly and in comfort. We have our own range of lures (poppers and stickbaits) to fish the Andaman Islands and offer equipment rental including top of the line SaltyWater Tackle Race Point rods and Shimano reels.
Our crew is our main asset. All the people who form a part of our team love fishing and the water. Our boat skippers have many years of fishing experience between them and know these waters like their backyard.
We offer a standard package of 6 days fishing with 7 nights accommodation which is all-inclusive from arrival to departure at Port Blair Airport. These trips focus on popping and jigging exclusively. For the single angler wanting to experience a full fishing trip, without having to hire an entire boat for himself, we provide great value “Single Angler Trips”, the details of which are regularly updated on our website and Facebook page. We are also by special request, able to run shorter or longer trips and can offer different types of fishing such as trolling for billfish, live-baiting and light tackle fishing.
We run our own conveniently located guesthouse to provide accommodation and meals to our clients. Our rooms are spacious with ensuite baths and ensure a relaxing experience at the end of a day’s fishing.
When is the best time to fish the Andaman?
The best time to fish here is from October to May with the prime months being October to mid-December and then from mid-January to mid-May each year.
For more information, check www.gamefishingasia.com