Take a trip to St Lazarus Bank – or Banco St Lazarus – the ultimate holiday destination for fishermen and one of the only places in the Quirimbas Archipelago sea where Marlin are known to breed. This incredible underwater coral outcrop or atoll, that rises from the deep Mozambique Channel and is a paradise where fish have made their playground. Hotel accommodation in the Quirimba’s is peaceful and chic, ideal for fishermen and divers!
St Lazarus Bank, about 30 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide, rises up from a depth of 2 400 meters in the Mozambique channel. The epitome of a dream fishing trip and a challenging scuba-diving location for highly experienced divers only! Although this formation is known as an atoll, the reefs do not reach the surface and it also lacks back-reef lagoons which are distinctive of atolls. There is a middle, table-like podium which drops deeply down all sides.
Fish of all kinds come to this hidden atoll to feed on the Mantis Shrimp during its season from August to December when billions of them rise to the surface to mate! This is a fishing hotspot for Black and Giant Kingfish, Barracuda, Dorado, Queenfish, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna and Sailfish. All fishermen have to use the catch and release policy and all divers will revel in the corals and brightly coloured fish, the extreme drop-offs and clear waters!
Quirimba accommodation for divers and fishermen close to St Lazarus Bank is ideally situated on Ibo Island, within easy reach of Pemba, the gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago. The area has never been developed and remains an unexplored tourist paradise.
Book a unique Mozambique Holiday Package at Ibo Island Lodge which specializes in fishing trips, scuba diving and snorkeling, sea kayaking and Quirimbas mobile island hopping safaris. Fishermen have superb accommodation in 300 year old mansions with elegant decor and delicious fresh seafood! Charters are run from the lodge.
Fishermen have caught massive Dogtooth Tuna in the channel between Ibo and Matemo Islands with its 1.4 kilometre drop–off into the channel. In these waters, large quantities of pelagic fish can still be found: 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.
The best time to fish Banco St Lazarus is mid September to the end of November. Incredible catches of Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, Wahoo, Grouper, Jobfish and other reef fish are caught using a variety of fishing methods from trawling lipped lures to casting bait, plugs and spoons to releasing live bait to Vertical Jigging and Fly fishing. The main reason this period of the year is as good as it is, is because of the shrimp mantis coming to the surface in their billions. This abundance of an easy nutritious meal attracts schools of baitfish, mainly Rainbow Runner that attract the game fish – the cycle of life!
Trips to St Lazarus Banks start in Pemba, Northern Mozambique, with regular flights from Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dar Es Salam. We have the best rates on charters and a great selection of boats.