Posted on: 2017-09-23 13:20:58 +0530 (IST)



Tips to Fish Neil Island

It is not possible to crack the code of fishing holes of an area in one visit but one can at least draw some pointers which can act as any future fishing to be done from same spot. Here is few tips, emerging out of the recently concluded AIGFA's All India Saltwater Competition which can help other anglers in search of good sport and adventure from the shore of this beautiful Island.



Located in Ritchie’s Archipelago, The Neil Island is a favoured destination for sport anglers across the world for saltwater big game. The channel between Neil Island and Sir Huge Ross Island (Small Neil) has a lot of potential and had produced many a trophy catch over the years. Except for few individuals, almost all the fishing exploits have been by charter boat and very less is known about the shore fishing, which has lot of potential and can present greater challenge to any angler.

The AIGFA All India Saltwater Competition was the first of its kind as all angling was done from the shore. The collective knowledge base emerging out of this effort has bring to light many facts which can be a pointer for anyone willing to fish these waters from the shore of Neil in future.

Unlike its neighbouring landmass, the Havelock Island which is formed from coral detritus only, Neil is formed by combination of volcanic activity and coral detritus. All around the landmass, one can see the flats formed by molten lava which are flooded during the high tide and reaching  the fish holding drop-offs during this period is impossible. Once the tide is low, one can walk close enough to deeper water and fish till the upcoming tide allows.


Considering the above, unlike boat fishing, it is wise to plan your trip during Neap Tide, when the tides are not very strong. The local wisdom also testifies to the fact that the best fishing is to be had during such tides. It is a well understood fact that the best time to fish such locations is early morning or evening twilight and fishing these windows during spring tides is impossible.

It is highly recommended to use strong and long leaders while popping these drop-offs. To bring a determined fish over sudden drop-off and Coral rocks is not easy. A twisted long leader can withstand the abrasion much better and is advantageous in these conditions.

No emphasis is more for your footwear. You will get very small rocky formations to stand and cast and in the precarious condition, hit by a big one can unbalance you. A fall on those sharp rocks can cause serious injury. Always keep your body in such a position that the centre of gravity is behind and brace yourself for a hit at all times.

Good bait fishing can also be had from these drop-offs. Do not attach any weight and use thicker diameter monofilament lines attached to your main line. Circular hooks are the best bet as they do not snag easily. Beside these rocky shores, one of the best places to bait fish using a beach fishing setup is Neil’s Jetty during the night. The reef on the left hand side (If you stand facing towards the sea) is a likely place to get a good fish. All good fish, including two mammoth Guitar fish of 68 inches and 75 inch respectively and a 21.5 Kg GT where landed from this spot only. The drawback while fishing this spot is that the only place, a set of steps going down to water level, are on the opposite side of the jetty and in case of a hook up you have to guide the fish round the jetty and only then you can safely land it. May sound so but it is not an easy job.

It is not easy to explore and understand the complete topography of this beautiful island but whatever we have understood, is being marked on the map of Neil below.

The best thing will be to take help of local traditional hand liners as many of them have been informed and trained by AIGFA in identifying good places suitable for sport fishing. Give reference to AIGFA Competition and you will get lot of support. 

It is our request to all of you that take help from this article and fish Neil, please don’t forget to share your experience with AIGFA ( With inputs from all of you, this document will become a comprehensive case study for Neil Island in particular and fishing any such Island in general.