St Lazarus Bank is situated in the Mozambique channel about 100 nautical miles east of the northern Mozambique coast. This shallow seamount (approximately 30km long and 20km wide) covers almost 200 square kilometres has exceptional physical and biological characteristics that make it a biodiversity hotspot and a paradise for yellow fin tuna, dogtooth tuna and marlin.
Although the St Lazarus Bank is known as an atoll the reefs do not reach the surface and back-reef lagoons, typical for atolls, are lacking. The central, table-like platform of the seamount reaches from six to about 60 m deep on the margins and rapidly drops to around 2000 m on all sides. Expect an abundance of fish and birds feasting on an ocean of delicacies, especially during August to December when it is Mantis Shrimp season and billions of these crustaceans rise to the surface to mate every year.
Large exemplars of predatory fish species can be found in these waters and includes snappers, jacks and this is one of the few areas left on earth where pelagic fish can still be found in large quantities. Manta rays, sharks (around eight species to date), whale sharks, huge schools of feeding barracuda, many species of king fish, red snappers, green and hawksbill turtles, pods of humpback dolphins and humpbacked whales (in season) frequent these waters.
A trip to St Lazarus Bank is the ultimate holiday for experienced divers and fishermen. Here the fish are so abundant and monstrous that using rapala or tackle less than 50 lb is asking for trouble. It is not a surprise that this area is known as “Legendary St Lazarus Bank” and you could be one of the few who not only talk and dream about fishing or diving here, but can experience something that few people have experienced before.
Spring is just around the corner and the game fishing along the Tanzanian and Mozambican north cost is about to "spring" to life as the change from southerly winds to northerly winds swing to help flatten the sea conditions and improve the fishing conditions.
Each year in August / September through to December is Mantis Shrimp season along the East African Coast from Pemba to just South of Dar Es Salaam. Billions of these little crustaceans rise to the surface to mate every year. This abundance of an easy nutritious meal attracts schools of baitfish that attract Giant Yellowfin Tuna from as little 20 Kg's up to as much as a 100 Kg, Giant size Dogtooth Tuna of up to 75Kg's, GT's of up to 50 Kg's, Wahoo of up to 40 Kg's and Barracuda of up to 38 Kg's together with schools of a wide variety of other Game Fish and reef fish; too many to mention.
These feeding frenzied gamefish are being caught off the surface and down at 20 m's on trolling lipped lures or on casting flies, spoons or plugs while drifting. You almost can't miss!!! The best way to get to this frenzy is by yacht so that you can live right over the best fishing area and fish to your hearts content.
The best period to fish St Lazarus bank is from the end of August to mid December – based on 10 years of providing charters to the area. The absolute best period is mid September to the end of November. We have just had 3 charters visit St Lazarus Bank in October & November and thye caugh up to 70 fish in a day with the toughest days yielding no less than 20 fish per day. (Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, Wahoo, Grouper, Jobfish (Rosy and Green) and lots of decent size reef fish). These fish were caught using a variety of fishing methods from trowling lipped lures to casting bait, plugs and spoons to releasing live bait to Vertical Jigging and Flyfishing. The joke that is developing is “That if you have a lipped lure, spoon, plug or VJ lure that has never caught a fish... take it to St Lazarus and it will be hammered”
The main reason this period of the year is as good as it is, is because of a small crustacean coming to the surface in their billions. This abundance of an easy nutritious meal attracts schools of baitfish, mainly Rainbow Runner that attract Giant Yellowfin Tuna up to 100 Kg, Giant size Dogtooth Tuna of up to 75Kg's, GT's of up to 60 Kg's, Wahoo of up to 40 Kg's, Barracuda of up to 38 Kg's and Sailfish up to 50kg’s together with schools of a wide variety of other Game Fish and reef fish; too many to mention.
These feeding frenzied gamefish are being caught off the surface and down at 20 m's on trolling lipped lures, casting flies, spoons & plugs, while drifting livebait or vertical jigging. You almost can't miss!!! The only way to get to this frenzy is by yacht, which enables anglers to live right over the best fishing areas and fish to your hearts content.
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