Seychelles at this time offers around 200 boats for fishing charters and other maritime activities. The majority is based on the main island of Mahe, which exceeds Praslin & La Digue in terms of population, size and hotel capacity by approximately the factor 8.
The variety of different boat types is vast starting with small economic outboard vessels of around 6m in length. These are perfectly suited for single anglers or smaller groups aiming at jigging, popping or bottom fishing.
The other end of the bandwidth represent flybridge sportfishers in the +40ft class or larger. Among those are some nearly brand-new Rivieras, Open
Cabos and a beautiful 60ft Viking. These and other vessels of comparable size can also be chartered as liveaboards for extended trips. So all individual needs regarding the style of fishing,
required amenities, weather conditions and budget can be met.
The bulk of the local fleet consists of 24-30ft front or centre consoles which are usually equipped with two powerful outboard motors. Such boats are suitable for most undertakings and weather conditions, offering an ideal compromise in budget terms.
Usually half and full day charters are offered. Still, most skippers are open to individual arrangements. Quite popular is to fish the morning, enjoy a barbecue on a neighbouring island and spend the afternoon sightseeing or snorkeling, Charter rates for small boats start at 300-400€ for a half day while mid-size boats are available from around 900€ for a full day. Larger boats obviously are more expensive and in the luxury segment you will have to budget for a few thousands.
If you are offered substantially lower prices this is virtually always for one specific reason: licensed companies, or more precisely their boats, all bear a very visible number preceeded by the letters HC (for hirecraft). Such boats are subject to annual technical inspections extending to distress and safety equipment. Also clients are protected by insurance and boats classified for trips beyond the vicinity of the islands are equipped with VHF radio. All unnecessary? Only if nothing goes wrong. Keep in mind: Seychelles are a good 1500km off any appreciable and inhabited landmass and about the same distance from any frequented shipping routes. So chances to be found are slim if you are not able to make yourself noticeable in case of distress. Then you have plenty of time to reconsider if you really got such a great deal. So please: safety first!
Hard bargaining is generally uncommon in Seychelles and this is also true for charter businesses. With a bit of insight into the prerequisites under which a fishing charter company operates here this is comprehensible. Due to the lack of any industry virtually everything - fuel, spares, fishing tackle down to the very last hook - needs to be imported at high freight costs and in most cases substantial custom duties on top. This and a general level of prices comparable to Central Europe usually leave little room, if any at all, for discounts on single bookings. Multiple bookings occasionally allow for a bit more maneuvering space, though.
The boats`s configurations and equipments can differ widely. This begins with amenities like air condition, toilet & shower and extends to navigation and sonar equipment, teasers, down- and outriggers etc. Handlines for bottom fishing and at least functional but in most instances high quality trolling gear is standard.
This is not necessarily true, though, when it comes to more specialised tackle. Hardly any skipper here can survive just on his fishing charters. Nearly all also offer various excursions and in fact for most these are the main source of income. So if a skipper has on average one or two monthly charters it is simply not worth the investment into high class jigging or popping gear that might stay unused throughout the year. Then improvisation is the resort that usually works. But if a trophy fish enters the equation things might become tricky. Thus it makes sense to inquire on the tackle available or ideally take a look oneself. This also offers the opportunity to find out more about the skipper`s general and most recent experiences with the particular fishing style. For Praslin the author knows about most boats and their equipment, the skippers and their main focuses. So if in doubt feel free to get in touch.
As the local fleet so far never was even nearly booked out there is no need to make fixed arrangements prior to arrival unless you want a particular boat. Making your choice on site offers you flexibility to react especially to the then prevailing weather conditions. If you still prefer to book in advance the official destination website here offers a quite comprehensive listing of operators with some of the search results providing price indications & pictures.
Catch & release - an important issue. Ever since the first settlers reached Seychelles some 300 years ago the seas and its inhabitants have been the major source of food. Due to this tradition and the fact that the skippers need plenty of fish for their excursion barbecues, personal consumptions or relatives maybe running a small guesthouse or restaurant the release of fish until about two years ago was still rather uncommon. In the meantime though the situation has improved quite a bit and especially the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club works hard towards adaption of the internationally accepted customs to tag and release Billfish by holding workshops and providing tagging equipment along with other incentives. Admittedly still rather few skippers will propose it proactively but if you express the wish for a release it will be done readily.
Advisable is the release of any Billfish and Giant Trevally in the first line. In the contrary it is little use releasing Groupers caught bottom fishing or jigging. Usually such fish are hooked at larger depths than the critical 40m. So on their unnaturally fast lift to the surface the air bladder expands, thereby often damaging internal organs. Such fish have practically no chance to survive but on the other side are of exceptional eating quality, so the very best destiny for them is your plate. Trevallies and Snappers on the opposite tend to have no troubles with barotrauma and can usually be released.
The hopefully plentiful catch basically belongs to boat and skipper. But he will readily let you choose one or a few fish that you can have your hotel prepare for you later. Regarding tips for crews the especially around the United States customary 10% of the charter rate are not expected here. Still, any such expression of your contentment and appreciation will be warmly welcomed and keep you well remembered.