Michael de Min lives in the Andaman islands in the bay of Bengal. Of the 572 islands, only 36 are inhabited! There is no commercial fishing there, so the reefs are abundant with fish and many of the reefs have never even been fished so it is a true paradise for the fisherman. Michael runs ‘Mikes fishing adventures’ part of the Barefoot group where he is busy most of the year, putting guests on the fish. Mike eats, sleeps and breathes fishing so here he is now with his interview…
Me: What are your earliest memories of fishing?
MdM: I grew up in the Netherlands until the age of 9. I was therefore
surrounded by rivers and lakes. My grandad had a live board boat on
one of the back waters just outside The Hauge. We used to frequently
visit him there during weekends and would sit in the sun gorging on
cakes and doing some fishing. By using a pole, and maggots as bait, we
caught all sorts of small fish as well as the occasional carp. Before
i even realised it, I was completely hooked. My real passion became
lure fishing, which is a very active form of fishing and I loved
seeing the Pike and Zander crash in to the lures.
Me: What was the fishing like in Oman, where your family moved to next?
MdM: Wow – growing up in Oman is every boys dream! I brought all my lure
tackle with me and started to fish on the rocks. Very soon I was
catching a great variety of fish including Jacks, Queenfish,
Barracudas, Groupers, Breams and the occasional lost Dorado. My dad
then bought a boat and things started to get serious. After a while I
met some guys who had been fishing there for a long time and they let
me join them. I was allowed to take their boats out by myself a short
while later. I was 14 then and would wait for my school to finish at
1, straight after which I’d head down to the harbour and take off. It
was about 4 km from the shore where the oil tankers docked to get
loaded with the oil from the refineries. These spots were the best to
fish and we would camp around the area and end up catching some huge
Dorado and Queenfish. But the fun really started when we headed to the
deep drops in search of dolphins. These were always accompanied by
huge Yellowfin Tuna. I would use all my pocket money for fuel and boy
did it pay off. The best trip was when with a couple of friends I
landed over 15 Yellowfins, the biggest being a 46 kilo one. It took us
over two and a half hours to bring it in!
Me: How did you decide to go to the Andaman islands, and what was that
first trip like?
MdM: I was helping a friend start up a fishing business in Goa when I first
came to the Islands. The boat had been delayed so he asked me to head
over to the Andamans. I had never heard of the place so with a little
hesitation I took off. I hadn’t done any research and had just landed
up there with my rods – What an absolute treat it was! I then headed
to Havelock where i would charter the local boats for about 15 pounds
a day. The fishing was out of this world! Unbelievably, I was hooking
into monsters even from these tiny makeshift boats.
Me: Can you tell us when and how you decided to set up a business there?
MdM: After this amazing experience 10 years ago, I was back in the UK
working a boring desk job and couldnt stop dreaming of fishing here
again. I had saved up all my holidays and had even managed to get
permission to take 4 weeks off to go back to the Andamans. Whist
skimming the net I stumbled across barefoot scuba who were advertising
for a job as a snorkel/kayak/fishing guide. I sent them a quick mail
asking them what kind of fishing they do. To my surprise they said
they fish with hand lines and only catch small fish. It was then that
I wrote back to them about my experience, provided them with photos
and made them an offer to start a game fishing outfit. They accepted
and there my journey begins.. I quit my job, put my flat out on rent,
sold every thing I could and left. I started fishing on the local
boats. Within a month, they saw some potential and we bought the first
game fishing boat. Since then we have upgraded and bought a second
much larger boat to deal with the extreme distances which gives us
access to some of the best places to fish in the world, like the
Me: It’s one of the best destinations in the World for giant trevally
and dog-tooth tuna, can you tell us about fishing for these?
MdM: The place is teeming with GT’s, you can catch them practically every
where! From mangroves, to shallow water flats to 100 meter jigging
spots. My favorite way to catch these is using popper on small patch
reefs out in the open sea. It requires a great deal of stamina though
if youre out popping here. Big poppers equal big fish! Using PE 12 set
ups with 120lb braid and drags set for about 15-20 kilo. That’s some
serious gear. When a 30kg fish or bigger hits, you are in for a real
shock especially if you haven’t caught one before. They hit so hard it
will give you nightmares! My favorite fish is the doggy. These guys
never give up and go on some blistering runs! Although it is possible
to catch these popping early in the morning, normally we jig for these
around the sea mounts. The best thing about these guys is that they
grow big, really big! They are a very impressive species. Huge teeth
coupled with lightening speed.
Me: What other species are available, and whats the best time of year to visit?
MdM: We get some really impressive looking fish such as the Rust Job Fish,
Wahoo, Sail fish, and monster Barracuda! The best fishing is normally
at the beginning of the season i.e.October till January, but the
weather can be a little unpredictable. March and April we tend to have
flat seas which means you can fish the far away spots like Barren
Island and the Invisible banks.
Me: Whats the shore fishing like there?
MdM: The fly fishing guys have had some great sport stalking Triggerfish in
the flats. But I love to use very light tackle to catch blue fin
trevalies. If you head south of Havelock on a rising tide you’ll catch
some really nice fish. Great fun on light gear. be prepared to lose a
few lures. The jetty can be a nice place to fish at night as there are
lots of Big Eye Travalies under the flood lights. Its all about the
light gear though.
Me: What have been your own favorite catches over the years?
MdM: My long standing favorite was that Yellow Fin when I was 14. But
recently I caught a 87 Kilo sail fish on 20lb tackle. I was on my day
off with my girlfriend and we were trolling for Dorado, when this guy
hit. We had only been fishing for 15 minutes. What a battle that was.
She had to clear the remaining 4 lines and control the boat.
Me: Where else in the world would you like to fish?
MdM: I have heard there are some monster Doggies in Tanzania with my name
on it. But for now I am very happy here, with every day bringing new
Me: And finally Mike, what are your hopes for 2014?
MdM: Big big fish! With the arrival of the new boat we are now fishing even
further away and finding new reefs all the time. We have created some
great overnight packages as well which include night fish for
tigersharks. I am looking forward to the new season which has already
started to book up fast. I cant wait to get out there again and hear
my reel scream!
Me: Mike thanks a million for talking to us.
MdM: Anytime guys….