Fishing is possibly not what you might at first associate with the island of Mauritius.Â Idyllic beaches, swaying palm trees, long sunny days, yes; fishing probably a no.We have been going to Mauritius now for the last seven years for a week of sun at a time of the year when England can be pretty miserable.Â We have stayed throughout that time at The Residence Hotel.Â The fact that we havenâ€™t tried any other hotel, speaks volumes for The Residence.Â We keep thinking we should try another hotel, but at the last minute our nerve fails and we always return to The Residence, because it really is what it says on the tin â€“ a true five star hotel in every way.
Understated by the standards of modern glitz, The Residence is a hotel that the English who go there love.Â Very luxurious but not OTT and with service that we would die for in England.Â With a kids club much much better than we have found anywhere else (and that includes other five star hotels around the world), The Residence is a great family hotel as all four of our children will attest.Â I didnâ€™t start off writing this article as an advertisement for The Residence and indeed they havenâ€™t even given me a discount for my efforts!Â However, for anyone looking for a really really good hot holiday during the winter months, then the Osborne family would thoroughly recommend The Residence.
This time whilst we were there, we thought that along with all the other water sports that they have on offer, we would go fishing. Given that none of the children are avid fishermen, although surprisingly our youngest girl Nell aged 7 really enjoys trawling on a small loch in Scotland when we are up there in the summer and catching (but definitely not killing!) very small wild loch trout, we were facing the unknown.Â We hired a fishing boat which I guess is about 25 feet long and has two powerful outboard motors.Â It is based alongside The Residence Yacht Club, but privately owned and run by skipper Gilbert, a charming Mauritian.Â He and his crewman Frederic took us out on Monday afternoon for a two-hour fishing trip in the lagoon.Â This is the area of sea between the coral reef and the shoreline which on this part of the island is probably half a mile or so wide but stretches for several miles along the coast and is an area of relatively calm water attracting a whole host of small fish.
We tackled up with relatively light spinning rods and the Mauritian equivalent of minnows with treble hooks.Â Gilbert set off down the lagoon and we cruised slowly, semi-trawling keeping the minnows off the lagoon bottom, although on occasions, we caught the seaweed.Â It would be fair to say that it was probably not an ideal day for fishing being very hot and bright, but by the end of our two-hour or so excursion, we caught several reasonable sized Berry and Captain fish.Â Three out of the four children had really enjoyed it (our eldest daughter either finding the whole exercise boring or in her words, not liking to see the poor fish killed), but our eldest son at 15 and our youngest son at 10, were really fired up.Â Â As a result, we decided to take them big game fishing the next morning.
We duly met Gilbert and Frederic at 6.30 a.m. at The Residence Yacht Club to fish in the sea outside the reef.Â This time the boat was tackled with serious spinning rods suitable for big game fishing, with massive Penn multiplier reels.Â Â We had five rods out including two outriders and were fishing plastic lures with massive trebles, trailed about 100 yards behind quite a fast moving boat, so that the lures looked very much like Flying fish as they were very close to the surface.
It was a lovely time of the day to be out, with sun but relatively little heat.Â We motored across the lagoon and through the reef.Â Outside the water was a fair bit rougher and with quite long swells.Â Within twenty minutes, there was a cracking noise (which was the rubber band holding the outrider breaking) and then the big Penn reel literally went ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.Â This was the first of two Barracuda caught.Â Neither were particularly big, but were very exciting as both the boys wound them in.
Some time later again the reel buzzed but this time the rod was really bending.Â Gilbert suggested that I should take the seat as it was likely that the fish was pretty big and might be too heavy for my sons to reel in.Â I then enjoyed ten minutes or so playing and reeling in what turned out to be I guess about a 35 lb. Wahoo â€“ a beautiful fish which finally came on board.Â This was a really exhausting struggle and although the Wahoo I caught was large, by the standards of big game fishing it wasnâ€™t and I can only imagine what it must be like to catch a truly big fish in this way.
We then fished for over an hour with no result, but had the opportunity to watch big and little Flying fish, do their bit.Â It was fascinating seeing them literally jump out of the water and fly for up to 30 or 40 yards before diving back into the sea.
We then turned for home, with the boys slightly disappointed that they hadnâ€™t caught another fish.Â 300 to 400 yards outside the lagoon entrance, just when we had given up hope, the starboard side rod gave a massive thump and the line shot out.Â Gilbert and Frederic had a very animated discussion, trying to work out what it was but then in the distance as Sam our eldest started to reel in, we saw this fantastic azure blue shape on the surface of the water.Â It was a white Tuna.Â Sam reeled it in, a fish weighing about 25 lbs.Â It was a great end to a lovely two and half hours fishing at a modest price.
The whole fishing experience was a great addition to our holiday at The Residence and something we would definitely do again.
The details of The Residence Hotel in Mauritius are
Tel:Â Â Â Â Â 00 230 401 888
Fax:Â Â Â Â 00 230 415 5888
For details of the fishing contact Gilbert on 00 230 494 7247 or through the Yacht Club at The Residence.