ST LAZARUS BANKS
From September to December each year is the peak season for fishing at St Lazarus Banks, off the coast of Northern Mozambique's Quirimbas Archipelago.
St Lazarus Bank is situated in the Mozambique channel about 70 nautical miles east of the northern Mozambique coast. This shallow seamount has almost 60 square kilometres of shallow topography and 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 examples 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.
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 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.
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.