Since the last report the world`s situation has changed quite dramatically and fishing news from Seychelles will surely not be of highest priority. Not too much to report anyways as the topic also impacts here heavily: all tourists are gone, hotels and restaurants closed, all amusements cancelled and social distancing is ordered. Currently 8 cases, all on Mahe and stable with about 150 people more in quarantine. Should not get much worse I hope as all international flights have been stopped. Thus Praslin is probably the best place to be as long as food, water and the other essentials are available. Also I am still allowed to fish while my club back in Germany a few days ago informed that the authorities closed all waters. Well, makes total sense to me as fishing is obviously a crowd activity... Sorry for the small excursus but I have been frequently asked about our situation recently. Time to take a look at a few fish now: some fresh bait had entered the bay a few days after the last edition and with all my popper flies gone I tried making my own. Nice that they worked right away even though the Trevally was not exactly enormous.
But that soft foam was not ideal soaking water and had to be squeezed after every cast so some work to do on these. Next day a charter with German guests Manuel and from the last report already familiar Jens was on so with Mervin (Divinity) we went to the Drop. Jigging the depths was simply frustrating as the Sharks really grabbed every single fish too big to be just winched up and getting just a head was a highlight already. The Yellowfin Tuna surfaced a few times with eventually two hooked on poppers and one on a jig. Working these in the shallows was nice in the afternoon until the Sharks also found us there but the anglers still had fun.
Also Rado from Ireland was still here and fishing. We had been in touch all the time and his first attempt produced two special catches on fly right away. Unfortunately no pic of his Bonefish but this Permit is simply a dream I have been hunting for a while now.
When learning where he caught it all was clear to me though. The fish are doubtlessly less cautious inside the Marine Park while the really nice chap had no information on it until we spoke. His charter on the 21st with Mervin went pretty much like the last one described. Again endless trouble with Sharks not matter if it was during a bit of GT popping around the islands or jigging at the Drop. Few jigging fish made it to the surface but he got a Tuna casting and eventually was very happy with the overall experience.
Along the following days the low winds turned southerly so the bay here became calm. Unfortunately the locals with their nets had taken a good lot of those bigeyed Mackerel and I suspect that is why the larger predators stayed out of reach of my fly casts. But they were still there just further out as Jens with his spinning rod and ultralong casts harvested consistently.
On the morning of the 25th lots of fresh bait had moved in though and the predators with even Little Tunnies only a meter from shore were all over it. Just when I got ready to fish the boats came and really netted a lot. Think it must have been around 1.5 tons or so.
Still a good lot and enough to keep the predators around got away from them so the following not even 2hrs of fly fishing were probably the best I enjoyed here so far. Not easy standing in the water up to the neck at high tide but did not have to cast too often as most was fighting time.
Frustration came quick though in the shape of one of the boats returning, putting an even bigger net more or less closing the area and taking everything out down to Rays and small Sharks. Since the bay is lifeless and I hold on to the thought that due to the wind having shifted north again I could not fish here anyways. Unfortunately neither from the boat as when refuelling and testing there was an issue. Managed to find and direct the probably only spare on Praslin to the mechanic but nothing moved forward for days until he admitted to have lost it somehow. So most delighted I am back to field one still standing there. Luckily found distraction in putting together the video of the Amirantes cat trip. Having plenty of time and assuming many of you also do these days it turned out 45mins long eventually. Hope I managed to tell the story of that week in a somewhat informative and entertaining way. If you want to find out just click here or on the pic below.
Was totally surprised when along those days Brandon (Island Rhythm) informed about a charter. Next to a Marlin that came away they had smaller gamefish and released this Sail.
Did not expect any more of those by then but it will probably have been the last one for an unforeseeable period of time. Also on Mahe only private boats fish a bit these days but results look good. This obviously not small Blue Marlin was released.
Another boat was lucky with this Striped Marlin that was of course also tagged and released. Really nice catch as these are not too common here and the pic of course is absolutely first class.
Josh who was on board also caught this beautiful Bonefish on Mahe. A big thank you to all for these most welcome contributions.
So as usually no lack of fish here. Just of anglers. Let´s hope things come back to normal the sooner the better here and everywhere else. Stay safe!
Bits of fishing took place here around Praslin along the first days of the month. Mervin (Divinity) and guests tested our GTs raising several but without a proper strike. Also he and Brandon (Island Rhythm) went trolling a couple of times raising a few and catching one Sailfish next to the usual smaller Gamefish.
Thursday the 5th a proper storm with gusts over 40 knots hit the Inner Islands putting another question mark over our catamaran trip to the Amirantes scheduled to start the next day that anyways had been in jeopardy due to the Corona virus. But somehow everyone was in place Friday morning so we entered our home for the upcoming week and at 3:30pm we threw the ropes.
The 20hrs crossing pretty much straight into 15-18 knots of wind was not really fun but most of the group handled it well. On arrival all was forgotten just by the sight of the pristine St. Joseph atol. The ring reef with several islands along it and the stunning lagoon in the middle must be an Eldorado for fly fishing.
Staring at it in awe we dropped the jigs for the first time and action came right away. My first fish seemed stuck at the bottom so I wanted to break the line. But at the limit with the rod vertically down and the hand blocking the spool things suddenly started moving. On my rather fragile PE5 rod and just a Shimano 8000 reel it was nearly endgame and took a good while until the opponent finally surrendered. Not a bad Doggie to start with.
After some more fish for all of us and on the way to the nightly anchoring spot off d`Arros we popped a bit. This produced a handful of smaller GTs until Artemi got a big one on. Massive actually.
A little later I hooked a similar one on a stickbait while fishing at the back of the forward moving boat. The fish bolted straight into the opposite direction and despite my usual just short of sommersault drag setting was not to be stopped and made it into the coral before the letahrgic boat could reverse or even just stop. Still these were of course most promising first hours raising expectations for the days to come. But after this drone view of St.Joseph atol it was dreaming along the night of a week`s fly fishing this lagoon - a new project ahead!
Fully motivated we started early Sunday morning popping and jigging while travelling south. Was not as good as the previous day any more but decent fish were caught and some really good ones got the better of the anglers like Marc`s Sailfish on the Slow Pitch combo that came away before I could capture its leaps on the cam. Also the Sharks taxed heftily during the jigging while leaving us alone while popping instead of annoying continously as the do here around the Inner Islands.
All in all this was still a not so bad day and a rather short though night of Poivre island building another impressive atol together with the Ile du Sud.
The next morning we started at 4am with a good hrs crossing to the western side of the Amirantes plateau ahead. Distances are quite large down there and such cat is a slow boat. Finally there we started popping around a sandy cay without too much success, jigged the edge with similar results, returned to popping finding no more activity at all and everntually travelled north into the meanwhile shifted wind jigging here and there. But the bite was off and the full moon rose round like a ball. On these days and just after I have seldomly had good fishing here so I was not really surprised. And of course still an acceptable number of also mostly presentable fish surfaced but our skipper Jeremie was not happy at all with the situation.
This persisted along our fourth day which was Tuesday. Once more we travelled and fished into the northerly but lower wind up to Remire. Highlight was to find ourselves in a proper Tuna boil at last. Saw fish of 40-50kg leaping meters into the air and as two comrades hooked one of these. On top two smaller ones were on and only these we eventually got. It is just abolute chaos when these barrels bolt around crossing other lines and the skipper can do simply nothing about it.
No more catches beyond what you saw already and thus worth showing so instead another drone pic of the little island.
We left it s well as the adjacent huge reef behind very early and still in the dark to get straight to African banks which again took around four hours. But neither the cute little sandbank with its three palmtrees nor the also vast reef, the surrounding drop offs or the nearby shallow Lady Denilson produced us any improvement of the fishing. Means of course we still caught fish so here are a few of these.
First time for days we saw other human beings and boats again. Guys were obviously well off enough to afford next to the huge Power Cat also a +50ft Sportfisher from Mahe and on top an inflatable 3m pink Flamingo.
Did not help them to reasonable catches along the three days already spent there as we learned. With the crossing time back to Mahe of 24hrs including a safety buffer we had to make a plan what to do. Either spend the night there, fish a little more in the morning and then head back. Or use the night for a sleepless crossing to the southeast Drop Off of the Mahe plateau to fish the last day there hardcore once more and then without the chance to sleep make the rest of the crossing along the following night to be in the marina Friday morning as demanded. While the foreseeable decision was made Marc sent his drone up for a last time. What a stunning place again! What might the fishing be there if it is just average?
Pretty buggered by constant lack of sleep the next morning we dropped the jigs at the southeast Drop Off of the Mahe plateau and instantly all was different: a red hot bite that persisted all day apart from just a short slowdown around the noon low tide. We caught around 30 Doggies, even more Amberjacks, countless Rosy Jobfish and also about all the other usual suspects were feeding. That day alone we caught more fish than in the preceding 4.5 days. Must have been well over a ton as it was over a hundred in the 8 to 40kg range. Only the real monster remained mising. Did not do that much filming and fotographing any more but here is a small selection.
Returning to civilisation was tough as always and after having been totally cut off the latest news of the world did not make it any better. Jacob and Artemi knew they would go straight into quarantine when returning to Israel. Mark and Per-Olama de it home to Germany and Sweden though but no news from Stephane yet if he got to France and home. Thanks to the group that did not know each other except for the two Israelis but worked together in the best possible way. And a huge thank you of course also to our as always perfect chef Damien and skipper Jeremie who was open for any nightly crossings to maximise our fishing time and really gave it maximum effort in every way.
He rated our Amirantes fishing at 3 out of 10 possible points but with a view to the excellent jigging of the last day and at last the opportunity to experience these outcast places I was totally happy with the trip. Indeed it had been `only´ one GT out of about a dozen and two Doggies from the roughly 60 caught scraping the 40kg mark but we had our chances for more big fish. There was that massive Grouper I was not able to lift up just an inch from the bottom where it moved around unbothered during a good 20mins of teases by the others but everyone had his moments of agony when another big one came away. With just the odd one of these showing its face it would have all looked substantially more spectacular. Next time we get you! Here to close this little travel log a gallery of pics that I will probably add to as the footage of the other partcipants comes in. Just click through.
On and around Praslin fishing in the meantime of course continued though to a much lower extent than expected due to Corona related cancellations. It also had been relatively dull here at the full moon day and after. Only Thursday Jigging came to live again so Greg (Bite Me) had a good day. Trolling all in all also was rather slow especially in the mornings while better in the afternoons with unusually many Sailfish showing and the odd one caught. Greg and guest tried for them on fly but only this one got hooked on a lure trolled as teaser while the others raised felt like a more substantial meal than just hair and feathers.
Shore fishing meanwhile remained consistently good as I learned from anglers Jonas and Jens who I briefed before my departure with Trevallies and other predators caught on spin and fly.
With the transition ahead we are looking forward to mostly calm and ideal fishing conditions. Just hope that there will be guests to enjoy but it does not look good: a few weeks back it was about impossible to get a day on one of the popping and jigging boats while now due to virus related cancellations it looks to become a meager time for the skippers and probably the whole tourist industry here which eventually means about the entire economy as such. Let`s hope the situation calms and gets under control the sooner the better. Stay well, safe and healthy wherever you are.
Rare not to bring you a mid month report in February but the first two weeks due to strong winds allowed for next to no fishing. Greg (Bite Me) went to the Drop Off twice with insisting guests for jigging. For the conditions it was not bad with the usual suspects but after three hours in the superfast drift working heaviest jigs they had enough and scrambled home in tough upwind conditions. Meanwhile German repeater Jochen was waiting for his chance. As to fish a bit I directed him to that one protected spot that last month had produced me the decent Golden Trevally. Nice to learn there was another one for him that provided the typical long and tough fight on the fly gear.
Place produced nothing else noteworthy for him along the following days so I could calmly recover from the really bad flu that knocked me over for nearly two weeks. Because of that I also did not tag along on the 8th when Jochen eventually went with Scandinavian angler Ludvig and Mervin (Divinity) for that Drop Off day. Conditions were still pretty rough but jigging was quite good. Two Tuna were hooked popping of which one came away and a 2m Bullshark on jig killed Jochen`s back properly. No pic of that one though as it came away close to the boat.
Only by mid month the constant wind became a bit more erratic occasionally luring anglers on the boats and at sea. Often though it was windier than predicted and a trip with very nice English angler James to the Drop was impacted by that. Poor James was already unwell when we reached the destination and after a couple of fish caught had to admit he could not bear it. He felt a little better when the boat was moving and as the return trip was pretty upwind trolling home was the option. Marvin tried hard to find a Sailfish for him but as none showed two Wahoos had to make up for that somewhat.
James understandably cancelled his second trip scheduled for two days after. Weather looked good enough for a bit of fly fishing that morning though so I invited him to join me. We had a splendid morning exchanging fishng tales, laughing a lot and were on top blessed with three proper size Brassy Trevallies that made the lines sing next to a few smaller fish. Was excellent fun and I was most happy to have provided the real gentleman with a good time fishing even if it was different than planned. Spectacular on top was the Shark attacking the last Trevally several times right until the rod tip.
Another two days later Jochen did a second Drop Off jigging trip again with Mervin and this time German angler Dominik. Popping rods were at hands and we indeed saw a large school of Tuna feed in the morning but no chance to hook them as when the boat approached they just dived. Only during the jigging when engines were off along a few suspicion casts when birds hovered around the boat a couple were hooked. Jigging was solid. Bit below par in numbers but some quality fish caught as you can see.
Dominik`s Doggie in the left upper corner produced a run so crazy that we expected a much bigger specimen. Only other option was a foul hooked one and that is what it eventually was. Still the run was abolutely impressive. Posted a little video of that on the facebook site here. Just scroll down to the 20th. Definitely worth watching. Along the following week wind speeds oscillated at around 15 knots and boats went trolling every so often. Not much to earn for them at the Drop Off as the pelagic activity is still on the plateau. The Sails also are still around in good numbers. JD (One Love) had a big one, Brandon (Island Rhythm) two and Mervin even three in a half day. No pics at all sadly as it was just too rough or they ended up with the clients. Surprisingly few Marlin seen here so far as the season is on. Only Mervin lost one as the guest somehow opened the reel drag by mistake and the fish made best use of the subsequent bird`s nest. Mahe boats fared a bit better on those with a specimen of just under 500lb weighed and this one caught by local angler Darryn that was released. Nice underwater pic.
Totally wrong went an afternoon`s GT popping and light jigging on the 25th for German angler Dietmar with Mervin. Weather looked calm with just some scattered showers at sea all morning so at noon we headed south to Fregate. While jigging few spots nearby at low tide the sky turned grey from north, the rain poured down hard, the wind came up strong, and we had a long and bumpy ride back into the protection of La Digue. Jigging remained slow despite the nice rising tide and to add to misery Sharks took about every reasonable one of the rather few fish hooked. The Sharks were unfortunately also the only ones interested in the poppers cast when the tide was good and the rain never stopped along the trip. Was pretty miserable in all aspects except for Ditemar`s nevertheless happy mood and this Bluefin Trevally is the only fish somewhat worth showing from all that.
The only good part in all that was that we at last got some more precipitation as the whole rain season has been far too dry. More rain was forecast along these last few days along with the usual wind peaks brought by these cells. But while we got much lesser than predicted of both nobody wanted to go out with such perspective. On the morning of the 27th the wind was actually completely gone and the bay off my place even looked good enough for an attempt with the fly rod. Checking for activity I saw the Trevallies go crazy off my favourite rock so grabbed the gear and ran. Had about 15 seemingly clear takes of the 4 inch Clouser along the first half dozen casts but for whatever reason no hookup. Switching quickly to a much smaller pattern only half the size worked instantly though. The Brassy Trevally was followed by his buddies all along the fight until a meter from the rock but after the release they all disappeared: none more even just seen along the next two hours during which the northerly wind set back in making further fishing of the spot impossible. But yesterday morning it was calm again so added two more in a lively two hour session with several follows, missed and a few that dropped the flies. Just sad that the afternoon session planned with Andre was blown away by the north wind and now the perfect bay is the seasonally typical murky mess again.
Once more and as usually it is all about being in the right place at the right time and it is just luck to live right there as else the opportunity rare and unexpected opportunity at this time of the year would have passed. Useful learning on top that reducing fly size drastically can make all the difference. My boat meanwhile was unattended for the whole month apart from a few hours one afternoon when I had to run the engines a bit. Took a popping rod and just went to the harbour rocks. Lots of activity there with a bunch of not too large GTs in the 1m range following the popper twice pushing and shoving so none really had a chance. Raised several Doggies without a hookup a little later on the other side. Not the biggst fish at 5-15kg but had not seen any of these there for years when they loitered around the structure for a while. As soon as there is a chance I will check if they are still there. But this will have to wait until the weather that is right now a proper mess will improve.
Despite unusually good weather for a January not much happened here on the fishing side. Simply due to the traditionally low numbers of tourists along the statistical rain season which should peak by now while we actually had rather little precipitation so far. On top the forcasts predicted winds on the limits for most of the time while these were actually weak or even not existant on some days. But one could hardly ever see it coming so planning and conducting any boat trips was a headache. On the rather late morning of the 16th weather looked to remain reasonable so I went despite a sharply dropping tide. Useless to pop in those conditions but the light jigging done was okay regarding frequency with around 35 fish caught. Still a bit frustrating as the lousy Pickhandle Barracudas stole another dozen jigs and the countless Sharks every fish bigger than about 2kg that could not be winched up fast enough. But at least the kitchen was reasonably well supplied again.
Fought something really heavy for nearly an hour before the small leader gave in. The price one pays here occasionally even close to shores when fiddling around with a PE2. Felt like a fat Grouper or maybe a Nurse Shark but will never know. Along the follwoing week only a very few trolling trips took place. These revealed that the pelagic activity is still not at the DropOff but instead around the islands on the plateau with rather few Tuna but instead Dorados and plenty Wahoos. Also Sailfish are still in the area and were caught for example by Martin on Venture and Mervin (Divinity) managed two in a day. On the 23rd the big boat Alati from Mahe reported 3 out of 3 Blue Marlin that were all released.
That sent the local scene buzzing with a view to the annual Marlin Slam Tournament held two days later. But in the end only team 9G had released one small Marlin to take the win while for runner up spot out of the 9 boats a single Sailfish already did the job. Many more Billfish were seen and one boat even raised 5 Marlin but they were not interested at all. Was probably the weather as just that day the wind had faltered completely, the sea was flat like a mirror and the heat nearly unbearable. That morning I was out with Mervin and German angler Frank for a half day jigging and this also was just suffering. While we got absolutely cooked the boat turned in circles without any drift sitting on the same spot. So it was really tough to scrape a few fish together at all but looking at the circumstances we managed at least some.
Could have been some more as things gradually improved but poor Frank just before noon was on the edge of a proper heat stroke so we headed back in a bit earlier than planned. Two days later on the same boat but this time with Austrian angler Michael we went to the Drop for jigging. Again instead of blowing at the predicted and ideal 5 knots the wind had gone completely so once more we got roasted. Worse though that while all the many spots tested were full of fish these would not eat anywhere deep or shallow. The three of us fished hardcore all day but apart from a handful of small Groupers only two Bonitos and this Rainbow Runner surfaced.
That was definitely among the worst five or even three jigging trips I had experienced there among the hundreds I was part of. Hoped very much that trolling might save the day to some degree but it did not really: we had pulled lures for an hour in the morning already and again when changing spots without a knock and also all along the way back in nothing happened until at last already close to the Sisters we picked up a couple of Wahoos.
Interesting that these fish only came when we hat reached the clouds sitting above the islands bringing some rain and wind while also most of the jigging fish had come just in the half hour when a shower with a breeze had passed us out there at the Drop Off. So last chance to come up with something reasonable for this report was the fly fishing. Along a lot of driving on Praslin I found reasonable conditions on some days and in very different places depending on the prevailing and changing wind angles. One day conditions were nearly perfect on the flat in the west but no Bonefish turned up so instead of silver bars I had to be happy with this little shiny gem of a rather tiny Permit.
Lots of bad luck one afternoon close to the airport. A Yellowspotted Trevally followed and took right under the rod tip but managed to drop the hook. Same for a clearly much bigger fish that might well have been double digits in kg that got rid of the popper fly which later produced a couple more misses. Was fully compensated though another day at the large bay in the south. Already on one of the first casts a fish of about 60cm leaped meters into the air several times. Could only think of a rather skinny Oxeye Tarpon but when grabbing and looking at it was left scratching my head as I had never seen such fish before.
Needed that scratching hand rather soon though to keep a much stronger fish under control. Just on the strike I had seen half a dozen tails sticking out of the water so had an idea what I was dealing with. Needed a good 20mins and some luck that the strong fish did not rush into the seaweed djungle until my hopes were confirmed: Golden Trevally. And not bad at all I think. Especially on a #8 outfit and 20lb tippet.
So at least one highlight along these somehow rather unsatisfactory weeks and on top a goal for this year ticked off early. The skinny strange thing was later identified by Andre as a Ladyfish (elops machatna) also called Springer or Tenpounder in some places. Seems to be common in the southern Indian Ocean but rather rare and mostly unknown here. Since Tuesday the wind has set back in blowing from the seasonal northerly directions and also the rains have come. Not so much her eon Praslin yet but Mahe got more than a hatful and looking out of the window at the sea I think we will also get our share. Remains to be seen how long this will last and when we can fish again.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.