The outer islands of the Seychelles have spawned more fishing tales than the incredible fish populations that it protects. Described by Jacques Cousteau as one of the last sanctuaries on our planet, when you visit the Alphonse group of islands, it takes no imagination to see why.
This salt-water wilderness is far more than one of the finest fisheries in the Indian Ocean, it is a marine reserve that safeguards a diverse array of fauna that will mesmerize you.
We had cracked the envious nod, to join the custodians of this incredible island looking to experience the thrill of sight casting to tailing fish on the flats.
You only have to step off the skiff to introduce yourself to the ghosts that roam these sand flats. And with so many within casting distance, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Regardless of one’s angler prowess, you’re guaranteed multiple casts at the large schools and there’s nothing like the white fox to spin the cobwebs out of your reel.
But the problem with these flats, is that you are distracted by fish in every direction, literally spoiled for choice. Triggerfish are what I was hoping to notch on my species post, but these fish are as skittish as they are prolific. By flapping away sand with their fins or blasting water from their mouth, they uncover mollusks and crustaceans on which to feed and in doing so reveal themselves to the trained eyes of your guides.
But your cast must be on point, with a gentle presentation, leading the foraging Trigger, letting the fish find your fly.
This fish is so deserving of it’s reputation, ploughing into the coral,
regardless of size, they make Tyson look like a clean fighter. So be prepared to make many a cast and enjoy the action.
My fishing cohort on this trip was Scotty Brown and he had his sights set on a particular fish that has eluded many an anglers’ advances. These shoaling plankton feeders deserve their distinction as the hardest fighting fish that frequent the flats and he wasted no time in hooking up. Sadly, his first attempt ended in tears, but undeterred he kept putting his fly in the path of the oncoming traffic until he subdued an absolute beast. As he will readily attest to, his best fight of any fish he’s had on fly.
But if you had to press any of the seasoned guides as to which singular specimen they rate as the game fish that has all the attributes, it would have to be the fish that has frustrated all who have stalked their sickled tails.
My shot was only by virtue of my guide’s eagle eye, coupled with his quick intervention when the line peeling off my reel wrapped around the handle. Nerve racking is an understatement and the relief you experience at seeing the Indo Pacific Permit in the net is only surpassed by your jubilation.
But most battle-hardened fly veterans’ journey to the outer Atolls for the brute that is known as the gangster of the flats. The Giant Kingfish has a reputation that is hard to match in respect to the length’s they will go to chase down your fly.
They’re the biggest bully on this playground and have the power and aggression to prove it. Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to stick a good GT, Scotty managed to land a beauty, giving him the accolade as top dog on this fishing adventure, ticking off every fish he had on his bucket list.
‘You can never pay a good guide enough’, is a well-worn fishing adage that anyone whose been guided into their personal best, will gladly repeat.
Not taking anything away from the skill that it takes to land your fish once hooked, the fact is, irrespective of your fishing quest, such indelible memories can only be made in the right location and with the invaluable help of the men who put you on the spot.