Shin Achiwa is the owner of GT Fishers Maldives. Having fished in several places for GT’s, he found the perfect home for his love of giant trevally fishing in the Maldives and what a location with the most gorgeous tropical islands in the World. To combine your honeymoon with a GT trip is the stuff of dreams to most anglers, or to the more serious fisherman you can stay at a more reasonable rate hotel in the capital Male than the resort islands with a group of friends. I was in the Maldives in 2007 though unfortunately not fishing, and can testify to the beauty of the place
So now over to Shin…..
Me: How did you begin in fishing?
SA: I was raised in the port town facing Bay. Dad took me to small fish fishing time to time.
Then around age 12 or so, started lure and fly fishing that was the time to get really in. However, when I left Japan for the US for University, stopped all in order to focus on study and turn around my life from drop out state.
Me: When did you get more serious into fishing?
SA: When I got married with my wife about 5 years ago, finally let myself restart fishing with my wife after 2 decades plus, then start going to fishing around Tokyo every weekend. Then gradually escalated for higher state of fishing from managed fishing ponds to Hokkaido Salmon, Native Trouts Amemasu, Seabass, etc…
Me: Can you tell us about GT’s?
SA:2011 January, went to Palau for vacation and 2 day GT fishing for the first time. Could not catch GTs but some red snappers, groupers, barracuda. Went back to Palau 3 more times in following 6 months to catch GTs and get bigger size. That was the start of GT. July/August 2011, went to Okinawa and Tokunoshima in Japan for two more expeditions. September 2011, went to Komodo Island in Indonesia then to Maldives. This trip in Maldives, hired Dhoni boat from resort for 2 days; caught record 25kg back then but stressed with slow 5 knot boat; then, met current local partner at the airport on the way back to Japan and complained about lack of speedboat then decided to jointly look for speedboat in Maldives. November 2011 – less than 1 year of GT fishing start, I bought my own boat in Maldives while living in Tokyo, Japan, by wiring 88,000 USD to the local partner whom I met him only once at the time. January 2012, took the boat for the first expeditions in Noonu Atoll, then decided to start external guide services since I cannot go to Maldives every weekend for fishing from Tokyo where I work in multinational enterprise as Japan President running over 100m USD business portfolio.
GT is the ultimate fishing with casting and standing fight. Particularly topwater fishing is exciting. Typically keep casting 600+ times everyday for 10-12 hours daily and go on for 7 days straight if not more. My body structure changed completely even after a decade of weight training. Chest size pumped up from 90cm to 108cm after starting GT in 8 months.
GT Fishing Topwater game started from Japan. There are GTs in Japan as Tokara islands hold world record but fish stock is much less; casting all day and end up having only 2-3 bites and lucky to catch 1 while majority of people/expeditions end up with no catch. I like to land over double digits including GTs and other fishes with some surprises such as monster grouper, Sharks, sailfish, and Napoleon Fishes.
I would like to keep the wall low for any bigginers to try GT fishing. So we keep top brand tackles for reasonable rentals such as Carpenter, Ripplefishers, Stella, those expert models for first time try honeymooners.
Me: How did you go to the Maldives?
SA: Maldives is by far the most beautiful ocean and beach in the world. Came for my own honeymoon and vacations when I did not restart fishing yet. Just like the nature and country there in general. Having worked in Indian companies going there from Japan many many times, Maldives are relatively familiar locations also. It is not that far away compared to go remote Okinawa islands, or closer than going to remote Indonesian islands like Komodo where you need to have transit over night each of the way at Bali whereas Maldives, it is just one day for 10 hours each with very smooth transit especially with Srilanka airline.
Me: Can you tell us about your guiding service?
SA: Last 2 years, we hosted so many customers from so many countries. We are proud that no customers including first try honeymooners came back without catching GTs. Size is luck and technique. Our Captain Mohamed is probably the one of the best in the world with high sense of professionalism and punctuality. He is importantly fantastic fisherman himself so that he knows how to approach points ideal for anglers, tuned individually for his/her capability for example for average casting range etc.
Me: What has been your personal favorite catch?
SA: Big GTs are always fun but huge sailfish and Napoleon Fish were good surprise that I got a lot of feedback from many anglers globally. One of photo is getting published next month!
Me: What other species do you fish for?
SA: Already mentioned earlier with some. Red Snapper, Groupers of many kinds, Shark (once found over 200kg/4meter long gray reef shark who ate 15kg GT first hooked on lure ended hooking to the lure after eating GT!), Napoleon, Sail Fish, Trigger Fish, Blue Fin Trevally, Yellow Fin Tuna, Dog Tooth (65kg 2 weeks ago by Scandinavian customers in Lhaviyani Atoll). Recently started Fly Fishing tours aiming for Bone Fish, that was fairly successful in February.
Me: What tackle is needed for GT”s?
SA: Let me share my contents from my web site:
Me: When are the peak times of year for GT’s?
SA: The beauty of Maldives is there is no OFF Season for fishing. There is no days that we cannot go fishing with our speedboat. Historically, large slow Dhoni boats are ones doing GT fishing. They cannot do anything in windy weather. But we can be very high mobility and agile to go to the points behind the winds for example. We are only one speedboat out in seas to do fishing that fishes are not so cautious. Better to check the Tide than Seasons for Maldives. Important to have longer period of currents with full/newmoon big tides.
Me: What are your fishing hopes for 2014?
SA: More diversified countries anglers to try our services. To do so, we developed and trained agents in Thailand and Mainland China that started functioning by bringing more customers. Denmark agents are bringing Scandinavian customers now as well as German and Polish. If Irish anglers start coming, that would be super!
Another thing is to start producing own lures and tremble hooks. We are 80% complete now.
Me: Thanks for your time Shin
SA: No problem Paddy