Month: April 2021 (page 1 of 2)

Eden Bleu

The Seychelles has become the go to place for fishermen who want to experience wild, untouched fishing in a pristine environment. The island nation consists of a hundred and fifteen islands, scattered over a large area of the Indian ocean. The capital city, Victoria, is on the main island of Mahe’, as is the country’s international airport.

Just off Mahe’ is a fifty-six-hectare man-made island and marina with accommodation in the form of penthouses, townhouses and apartments. Also on Eden island is the magnificent four-star Eden Bleu hotel. The hotel rooms either have garden views or views over the island’s beautiful marina.

The Eden Bleu hotel is the perfect jumping off point for trips to the Seychelles outer islands, when one needs to overnight on Mahe’ prior to or after a visit to one of the remote destinations. Day fishing trips can be undertaken from Eden Bleu, where one can be taken out to the drop off of Mahe’s plateau. This involves a boat ride of around thirty-five miles each way.

Fishing some of the outer coral atolls is spectacular and is generally reserved for fly fishing. Most of this is done on the flats around the islands and species such as bonefish, permit, triggerfish, milkfish, GTs and many others can be caught. Most of the fishing is sight fishing and is some of the most exciting fishing experiences that one could possibly experience are to be had. 

The fishing around the drop off is excellent. This normally takes the form of trolling, jigging or popping with strong gamefishing tackle. Big gamefish such as marlin and sailfish, yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, dorado, wahoo and giant trevally are commonly caught in this remote and isolated area.

The drop off, as the name implies, is a massive underwater wall, coming up from the depths of the ocean, to around 30m from the surface. There is excellent fish holding structure along the drop off and plenty of current upwelling to bring nutrients up from the depths, which results in plenty of filter feeding baitfish being present in the area.

Charters out of Mahe’ offer either a day trip, or one can undertake to spend a night on board a bigger vessel out on the dropoff. Apart from the excellent fishing, the area also has world class scuba diving and snorkeling, which can be arranged with charter operators.

Eden Bleu hotel is luxurious and comfortable, with free WiFi, flat screen TV’s, spacious rooms and spectacular views. Meals can be taken in the hotel’s Marlin Bleu restaurant, which offers meals all day. Meals are typically prepared from fresh produce sourced on and around the island. Bountiful seafood is one of the hallmarks of this establishment and the delicate flavours of Seychelles cuisine can be explored here.

Eden Bleu is very conveniently located, only a five minute drive from the international airport and 5 kilometres from the capital, Victoria. It has conference facilities and can be used as a wedding venue for those wishing to tie the knot in paradise.

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

Luxury in Paradise

Every once in a while we do a fishing trip where we stay somewhere so ridiculously luxurious, that I feel guilty walking into my room all salty and sweaty after a day’s fishing. The upside, of course, is that I get a super comfortable night’s rest and wake up refreshed and strong.

One of these destinations is the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island. In keeping with the Four Seasons standards, the hotel is a luxurious five star resort. It is situated on the beautiful Desroches private island, with 14 kilometres of exclusive, white coral sand beaches and surrounded by the stunning blue Indian Ocean.

Transport around the island is on bicycles and golf carts, which one can use to access remote and isolated beaches, the giant tortoise sanctuary and numerous other points of interest. Rooms are privately appointed, and fitted out with king sized beds, huge bathrooms, private balconies and a mini bar.

Exploring the fishing around the island on foot, or by bicycle is a real Robinson Crusoe experience, with walks down stunning white beaches. Fish that can be caught in the shallow, clear water, include a variety of trevally species, bonefish, threadfin and a whole lot of tropical reef associated species.

Offshore fishing on the sport fishing boats is exceptional, as the atoll is surrounded by deep water. Species such as sailfish, yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, wahoo, giant trevally and dorado are common in the waters around the island. Boats are fully equipped with trolling equipment and also have some spinning gear on board.

A day trip to the nearby St Joseph’s atoll is a must for fly fishermen. Walking the flats on St Joe’s is a marine wilderness experience. Between casting the fly at species such as bonefish, triggerfish and permit, one can enjoy sights of turtles, rays and sharks literally swimming around your feet.

Snorkelling and scuba diving on the reefs around Desroches is world class. The only visitor to these reefs are guests of the hotel, so coral is pristine and untouched and the fish are undisturbed. With warm water one can spend hours exploring the reefs and swimming with all manner of beautiful sea creatures.

A climb up the lighthouse for an elevated view of the island and its surrounds is well worth while. In fact I would recommend taking a few beverages up there to enjoy a sunset in breathtaking surroundings.

Meals at the resort are a gastronomic experience unparalleled in my experience. With a huge variety offering anything from cheeseburgers and Pizza, to the most decadent and delicious seafood treats one can imagine or something as exotic as veal and truffles.

A trip to Desroches is definitely one that you would want to do with your significant other. The resort and its facilities are too luxurious and romantic to be wasted on a single fisherman. I know that if I go there again I will definitely be taking my wife with me.

Anantara Bazaruto

Relaxing – Island Style

Bazaruto Island, off the coast of Vilanculos in Mozambique, is the flagship island of the Bazaruto archipelago. Situated within a national park, the waters around Bazaruto are a protected marine reserve. This area is home to one of our rarest sea mammals, the gentle, seagrass eating dugong.

Anantara Bazaruto resort lies on the western shores of the island, pretty much in the middle of its 35 km length. The resort has 44 luxury chalets, a world class spa and a number of lounges, bars and dining areas.

Access to the island is either by boat from the mainland or by flying in on a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft to the island’s private airstrip.

Arriving at the lodge and being greeted by smiling staff with trays of colourful cocktails gets you into island mode very quickly and you can feel the stresses of daily life leaving your body.

Anantara offers a variety of fishing experiences. Shore fishing at a number of prospective areas can be arranged, these are good for fly fishing, lure fishing and casting natural baits. Species caught from the shore of Bazaruto include King mackerel, springer, sharks and a number of trevally species.

Offshore fishing from one of the lodge’s boats is generally very good. Many anglers visit the lodge purely to fish for billfish in these untamed waters. Sailfish are plentiful in the area and during the summer months black, blue and striped marlin can be caught in the area. Other big game fish species commonly caught off Bazaruto include wahoo, yellowfin tuna and dorado.

Jigging and popping or flyfishing offshore is also very productive. There is a huge variety of species of predators in the protected waters around the island. Some of the resident reef species include jobfish, snappers, groupers and emperors. Queenfish and giant trevally are common in the area and are often caught by anglers using artificial lures and fly. 

Areas such as the gap between Bazaruto and Benguerra islands is well known for its catches of game fish. King mackerel, giant trevally, yellowspot trevally and queenfish can be caught here. Just outside of the gap is two-mile reef. This is an excellent snorkeling area, with plenty of shallow reefs to explore. Close to this is a dropoff where one can target anything from bludger kingfish to tuna.

The north point of Bazaruto is well known as an area which has many large sharks. From massive hammerheads to some enormous bull sharks, this area is rich in these toothy predators. Anybody wanting to do battle with a huge shark would have to look hard to find a more productive area for these powerful fish.

Anantara’s chalets are very comfortable, with many of them having their own private swimming pools. There is room service on offer and staff are attentive and efficient. Meals are either served in one of the dining rooms or out in the open on the deck on still evenings. The lodge’s chef prepares a variety of seafoods and other delicacies, which are all the more delicious when eaten with an amazing view over the peaceful Indian ocean.

Simwenge Lodge

The original home of tiger fishing is Zimbabwe. Back in the colonial days of Rhodesia, people would go to the Zambezi river or lake Kariba for their holidays. One of the most popular sections of the Zambezi for fishing was the area around Deka. This is the middle Zambezi, below Victoria falls and the Batoka gorge and above the giant, manmade Kariba dam.

That section of river, where the current is fast, the gradient quite steep and the water highly oxygenated by the many rapids, is home to some of the finest tiger fishing in Africa.

It is in this area that Simwenge Lodge is situated. A small and intimate, family owned lodge, Simwenge reminds one of the fishing camps of old. Accommodation is in tents, which are equipped with air conditioners. The lodge has a spacious, open bar and dining area, situated to catch a bit of breeze on hot days. In front of that is an infinity pool with a view over the river.

Fishing is done from bass tyle fishing boats and the lodge also has a larger pontoon boat for bigger groups or for sundowner cruises on the river. There are plenty of fishing options, with excellent and productive water both upstream and downstream of the lodge.

One of the favoured methods used in the area by regulars is spinning with a large inline spinner. A piece of fish fillet is attached to the hook, and it trails behind the lure offering a natural scent to any following tiger fish. This technioque is very effective in the area and accounts for many trophy fish.

Apart from the tiger fishing, the area also offers species such as bream, chessa and nkupe. Tigerfish though, are the main target of sport fishermen visiting the area and they are challenging to catch. The boat drivers at the lodge are very experienced and have an uncanny ability to find fish in all conditions.

I had the privilege of watching a local guy catch a large tiger on some of the most rudimentary fishing tackle imaginable. He was fishing with a tiny hook and earthworms for chessa. His reel was an old tin can and his rod was made from two broken pieces of rod, spliced together. In the process of catching a chessa, his catch was eaten by a tiger, which tested his skill properly. We loaned him our net to land the fish, and we were very impressed that he managed it.

One evening the chef cooked us the most delicious pizzas imaginable and we ate these, seated around the fire. We were entertained by the lodge staff, wearing frightening-looking masks and traditional African attire, dancing around the fire.

Days were very hot, as only the Zambezi valley can be. The wind invariably picked up during the mid-morning, which gave us some respite from the intense heat.

Simwenge is a destination that gives guests the real experience of old, traditional Zimbabwean tiger fishing. From the accommodation to the fishing techniques, it is all authentic and real.

White Pearl

The coastline in Southern Mozambique is quite different to what it looks like further north. Large sweeping bays, edged by massive, forested dunes make up this part of the coast. Where the sea is flat and devoid of swell further north, there are waves in Southern Mozambique, giving the ocean an altogether different appearance.

One of the more spectacular bays in Southern Mozambique is Ponta Mamoli. This picturesque point and bay is also home to the impressive White Pearl Resort. The resort is a five-star establishment, built amongst the dune vegetation and has a magnificent view overlooking the warm Indian Ocean.

I was privileged to visit White Pearl with my wife, Pam, and we got to sample some of the luxury and decadence of the amazing resort. I was there to get some fishing done offshore from the jet ski. That area has some magnificent offshore fishing on offer, with a huge variety of gamefish which frequent the area and some exceptional reef structure to concentrate the fish around.

There is a launch site at the resort, with dive boats operating out of there, and a tractor to push and pull boats as needed. The lodge is connected by hundreds of metres of wooden boardwalks and each chalet is isolated enough from the next one to offer guests total privacy.

Meals are served in one of the dining rooms, or alfresco, depending on conditions. The food was excellent, prepared from the freshest of ingredients and stylishly presented. Staff are very attentive, with each chalet having a dedicated, private butler.

The sea conditions were a little challenging, as there were quite strong winds during our stay, but that didn’t put us off. We headed out every morning at first light on our jet skis, taking on the swell and the spray in search of some trophy gamefish.

I was very excited to land a nice wahoo one morning. One of the fastest fish in the sea, this speedster stripped a lot of line off my reel’s drag before I could get control and bring it in. It was a challenge landing it and getting the hook out, without using a gaff – as I was releasing my fish.

We also managed to catch a variety of trevally species and some yellowfin tuna. The area is definitely a healthy fishery, with plenty of predators to target. There are also quite a lot of sharks around, so fish had to be pulled in fairly quickly in some areas, to avoid losing them to the ever-hungry men in grey suits.

It was a very successful trip, not just from the fishing point of view, but because the wives were very happy to bask in luxury while we were out fishing. They could lie on the beach reading a book and raise a flag with our room number on it, to get the butler to come down with his tray and take drinks orders or bring some snacks. White Pearl guests definitely get a taste of the high life!

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