Along the whole first half of the month northerly winds of 15 to 20 knots blew steady offering no chance of going out for me. So instead had to resort to occasional fly fishing and on the 3rd visited that one small and protected spot once more that had been unproductive for months now. Again not even a knock on the usual pattern sizes of 5-7cm but I wanted at least a bit of action even if just from those small fish seen. So reduced the pattern size to 4, then 3 and eventually 2cm but no interest. Still went one smaller in the shape of a Crazy Charlie not even 1.5cm long and suddenly it was fish on every cast. Nothing big of course but in good variety and incredible frequency.
There were a few more species next to those shown and along these about one and a half hours it were over 30 fish including those 5 Permits which all really wanted just that tiny bite. Found it most interesting that at least half of those fish could easily have handled one or some of the previous larger offers they had ignored. A few days later there again the situation was totally different. No spotting conditions and on top the residential groups of small Milkfish and Mullet seemed even more panicking than usually. Hoping that at last larger predators might have come in a larger 8cm Clouser was offered and instantly cut off by a not so small Barracuda in the 80cm range. Replacement was a home made popper fly of similar size and that thing also produced attacks instantly but this time from Trevallies. After several spectacular misses one was on and provided some 15mins of quality sport. A good part in that had the stupid fish trap placed by someone some 40m out as the fish went around the bouy and rope so I had to swim after it. But it all worked out and a little later this decent Brassy Trevally surrendered.
As expected no more action afterwards and all hopes to try again the coming days got literally washed away. The following night brought rain so strong and lasting that the next morning I found three happy little creeks running along the ground floor of my place and the sea around Praslin`s shores was dark brown for days from all the soil washed away. As more heavy rains typical for February followed all further fly fishing was off the table for the rest of the month. On the boat fishing side the 16th offered acceptable conditions but it was not the greatest of trips. For a start the Public Utilitiy Company just that morning had decided to fix a water line leak announced to them days back and had dug up our driveway so had to wait to get out and away to the boat. As the wind was predicted to come up again the next day already I still went after the hole was closed. Was nearly noon until on the water at last and only enough time left to fish a single spot. Plan there was to drift along the structure casting and switch to jigging for a while when the water got deep enough before going up again for repeat. The casting raised a GT that turned away still some meters off the lure and else just countless Sharks. Not always to be avoided so lost a few good lures and my favourite stickbait to those. And they also remained a total nuisance while jigging as you can see.
Managed to catch some 30 fish or so but nearly all even just slightly bigger ones that could not just be winched up got taxed badly. Just before landing one of those smaller Jobfish accompanied by some of his buddies a massive torpedo of about 1.5m bolted into that group. By shape and colour most probably a massive Dogtooth Tuna. Guess it was that fish that minutes later provided me with a firece bite and the typical endless run. After a few seconds about half of my 280m of PE2 line were out and despite motoring after the fish I kept losing more. Was sure to get spooled and had maybe 40m left when the line got cut at the bottom. Luckily just a few meters above the leader knot. Happens occasionally that one of those big barrels settles around a GT structure so far inside the plateau for a while. But so rarely that it is just not worth fishing there with heavy gear and actually I doubt such would help much in the shallow water full of rocks and coral. Nothing more to report from Praslin I am afraid. Along the rest of the month the weather would have permitted me just one more day to go out but I had injured my back two days prior and had to let it slip. No charters at all here as far as I got aware and also about no news from Mahe. Only Bruce reported on a nice day with a Black Marlin released and some bycatches trolling while bottom fishing visibly also worked.
Upcoming March should bring better weather and allow for more fishing of all kinds. If guests will be able to make good use of that seems doubtful though. Plan here was to until mid of the month have all adults representing 70% of the total population fully immunized. Of these roughly 70,000 people about 52,000 got the first jab until now and about 24,000 the second. My estimate is that mid of March nearly all adults will have had one dose and about half of them the second. No schedule to immunize the minors that represent some 30% of the population yet. Not sure at all if this will be enough to achieve herd immunity within two weeks time and thus safely open the country to all visitors no matter where from to come in with just a negative PCR test. The authorities remain optimistic while I am glad not having to make that difficult decision. We will wait and see.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.