I'd only just returned from our family Summer holiday and was now back at work, and starting that boring ritual of opening all those hundreds of emails that seem to pile up as soon as you take any amount of time off.
But there nestled amongst all the rubbish was one titled 'Press Trip'.
Opening it up I was fascinated to see it was all about the Big Game Fishing Tournament that takes place in the Azores mid September, and would I be interested in going along?
With the chance of catching an Atlantic Blue Marlin, Swordfish, Wahoo, or the massive Yellowfin or Big Eye Tuna… silly question!
But I imagine I'm like a lot of people who've heard of the Azores but didn't know exactly where they were, well they sit out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and are just under 4 hours flying time from London, or just over two hours from Lisbon in portugal, which is another possible route to take.
So off I went, flying out from Gatwick on SATA airlines direct to João Paulo II airport on the island of São Miguel, the largest of the 9 volcanic islands in this archipelago.
After a ten minute taxi ride I was soon sitting in my hotel room in Ponta Delgada, the main port and administrative centre for the island.
Once unpacked, a dive in the shower, etc, I headed over to a place called the Clube Naval, which seems to be the harbourmaster's building, where all the commercial and leisure activities around the port were controlled. It also had it's social side and I soon met up with the tournaments organisers, who were great guys, and soon had me up to speed on what was happening over the next few days.
The first thing I found out was that the forecast for the week, weather wise, wasn't good, with predicted high winds that were not going to help the fishing… and the first casualty was the next day.
Instead of getting out on the boat for my first taste of big game fishing we were now going to have our first island tour.
But I couldn't complain as this place is stunning!
Heading out to the West of the island and a visit to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, which consists of two lakes situated in the crater of a massive extinct volcano. With the coach stopping high above the forested sides of the caldera the views were simply amazing.
My fishermen's nose did start twitching though when I came across a sign not only explaining the geography of the lakes, but that they also held plenty of fish too, with carp, roach, perch, crucian carp, pike and zander all present. Hmmm, could be worth investigating?
If you fancied something different to fishing and were fairly proficient at smacking a little white ball about then the island boasted two top venues and the first was the Batalha golf course.
Having played a bit when I was younger it was great to look down the beautifully tended fairways onto the immaculate greens, and of course we checked out the '19th' hole which did a reasonable line in peaty malts!
A late lunch followed, and we headed for a local restaurant that served up traditional food which was wholesome, not to fancy, and plenty of it, so for a guy with a gluten allergy it was great, and the perfect finish to our touring that day.
Our next two days were out fishing in the tournament, and am I glad my usual fishing buddy dropped me a text saying don't forget to pack some seasick tablets! I've not done any boat fishing for years and wasn't quite sure if I'd have my sea legs on, so at breakfast it was down the hatch with a tablet and not too much greasy bacon!
Besides the other day out being good for sightseeing it was also a chance to meet some of the other journalists and guests on this trip, and now three of us were grouped together and assigned to the charter boat Shanghai, a reasonably big vessel, and we joined the French team who were competing in the tournament.
As I said the weather was going to be the only winner on these days, but for me it was good to see how the trolling of big lures worked, with seven rods being used. A middle rod, and one in each corner were let straight out, and with two other rods on each side that had their lines fixed to the outriggers to create a fan of lures being towed behind the boat at various distances.
But gradually the wind picked up and we were now being tossed around in 10 to 12ft waves (keep your eye on the horizon in my video!). Besides making it uncomfortable for us it also stopped the lures working as they should, and the skipper and his mate spent lots of time sorting out tangles in the lines, and as we'd had a 7am start and could possibly be out until 7pm it was becoming a very long day.
We did latch onto something, and the French team leader wound in a fair sized barracuda, but by 4pm in the afternoon we'd all had enough and so we headed back into port. Hearing that one team had landed a 104kg yellowfin tuna did spur us on for our second day, this time we joined the Russian team, and even though we were battered and windswept, on hearing over the radio that the same team as yesterday had caught another big tuna, we managed to stay out until 6pm... but still with nothing to show for our efforts!
The following day felt good to be on dry land, and we were taken on our second tour, this time to the Eastern side of the island, and off to The Lagoa das Furnas, another area in the remains of a huge volcanic crater.
Starting with a quick call into their other golf course at Furnas we then arrived at the beautiful gardens of Terra Nostra Park, having one of the largest collections of camellias in the world, and it's history dating back to 1780, here's a place to really chill out, and saying that don't forget your swimming trunks as there's a thermally heated pool to have a dip in.
Then we're whisked off to the Furnas valley which is in complete contrast with it's dozens of thermal springs, bubbling mud pools, and steaming geysers, but my eye is wandering again.
I'm now looking out over another huge picturesque lake from which the area gets its name. I have a chat with one of the local guides and find out this lake also holds a very good head of fish, with plenty of carp to over 20lbs, and some seriously large pike. He tells me that you do need a licence to fish it, and that they cost two and a half euros... but that then allows you to fish all the lakes on the island! This place is so under fished?
Our lunch is slightly different in that it's cooked by burying a cooking pot in the ground which is then heated by the thermal springs all around it. Very tasty, and loads of it.
The final destination on the tour is a visit to a tea plantation, as it's the only tea producer in the whole of europe, and with various teas on tap its a relaxing way to finish up.
In the evening we're back at Clube Naval for a farewell meal (for a lot of the competing teams arrived before us), with some great speeches, and the prize giving for the eventual tournament winners with their two massive tuna.
So we're down to our last couple of days, and we're also down to the last four guys, two Canadian journalists, one American charter boat skipper, and myself. And all we're hoping for now is the chance to catch some fish.
Again the organisers get things sorted for us and we're picked up early the next morning and taken acrosss the island to a small bay thats full of dark, knarled volcanic rocks that push out into the sea. We clamber across them to get good vantage points as the gear is set up, and as we're all anglers it feels good to get a rod in our hands and do some real fishing.
But the weather turns again and after a couple of hours the winds up making the water very choppy, our baits are being pulled this way and that, and to top it all it starts raining. One of the Canadian lads manages to pull in a few small bits, but in the end we decide to call it a day.
Sadly it's our last day and we have a mornings inshore fishing arranged for us, aboard the Seazores which we find at the new marina in Ponta Delgada port. Skipper Sergio is waiting and welcomes us aboard, we tell him this is our last chance to catch something, and in his very good english he says that's no problem and he's sure we'll all get a fish. Nice to have a confident and upbeat skipper in charge, and soon we're motoring out to one of his spots.
We're using small diving lures which are trolled behind the boat from normal sized rods, and very kindly the lads have put me in as first to go if we get a run.
And would you believe it, after about half an hour one of the rods twitches, then pulls round, it's handed to me and I start to wind in until there's a flash of silver just under the water, then the mate grabs the line and hoists the fish into the boat. At last I've caught, and it's my first barracuda, I can't stop grinning now, and the camera's start to click.
During the next couple of hours we all get the chance to play and land almost a couple of barracuda's each, with not all making it back to the boat, as some come off during the fight, but we all get nice 'trophy' shots for the album, and all the lads are smiling now!
After a little quiet spell I'm lucky for it to be my turn again as the next take is a belter. The fish takes plenty of line and as soon as I have the rod I can feel this is different, I have to really pump and wind to gain line, with the fish easily taking some back. But after moving all round the back of the boat I finally have it alongside and we can see its another species.
Pulled on board Sergio tells us it's an Atlantic bonito and that I'm very lucky as they're usually only get caught on the North of the island, well I don't care, I just know I've never caught one before and now I have!
After another couple of barracuda have been caught we take up Sergio's suggestion of going in for lunch, where the bonito and the largest barracuda are prepared at one of the harbours restaurants. A couple of beers, a few glasses of wine, some of the tastiest fish I've ever had, and enjoyed with some new friends, finish off an amazing week.
We all agreed that the big game fishing here may be fairly well known and is probably the biggest draw, but the potential for the inland, coastal, and inshore fishing is virtually untapped and is just waiting for some opportunist anglers to open this place up.
Then again, the whole island itself is waiting to be explored with wonderful vista's at every turn.
I came here for the fishing, but ended up loving the people, their affable nature, and the incredible scenery… I'll definitely be back, and perhaps get a chance to land one of those big boys next time!
Tour Operator package
Seven nights fishing in the Azores with Archipelago Choice starts from just £1,120 per person which includes seven nights’ accommodation (on a B&B basis) at the Hotel do Colegio in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island), direct return flights from London Gatwick with SATA International, airport transfers and three full days fishing (with lunch). Price is based on departures from April to June 2015. To book, call Archipelago Choice on 017687 75672 or visit www.azoreschoice.com
Tourist information www.visitazores.com