Tag: GT

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.

St Brandon’s Atoll

The Boneyard

If you’ve ever spent some time fly fishing on the Indian Ocean atolls, chances are you would have heard one of your guides use the word “Frommel”. Frommel is an Afrikaans word that directly translates to “crumple”. It’s an expression they use when a client folds or crumples under pressure and botches a chance at a fish.

“Frommeling” is part of the experience and everyone does it, even the guys who have seen it all before and spent countless hours on the flats will tell you a story of an epic Frommel they had. It happens when a sudden rush of adrenalin courses through your body and your usual calm collected self turns into an overzealous, stumbling buffoon, casting high-velocity projectiles at tailing fish. It happens with a split-second lapse in concentration when you cast the fly just too far at the last second or lift the rod on the hook set. Everyone Frommels.

Shallow saltwater flats are where fly anglers frommel more than in any other fishing situation. One of the hardest things to do is to maintain composure when a trophy fish, the kind that makes you Instagram famous, appears within casting range and your guide starts barking instructions. It’s what makes sight fishing on the flats so damn exciting, and you have to fluff a few shots to appreciate the fish when you finally land it. You also learn a lot with every fish you miss.

On a trip to St Brandon’s atoll with the FlyCastaway crew, I had my fair share of “frommels”. It’s not every day you get to stand 40 feet away from the holy grail of fly fishing in ankle-deep water with his golden sickle waving in the air. If I’m being honest the moment might have been a little too big for me and when I eventually found my grove, followed the advice of the skilled guides, and put the right casts in to get the fish to react, the fish would turn at the last second or just refuse to eat the fly… But that’s permit fishing I’m told. It was a frustrating session on the flats and will haunt me for a long time until I can settle the score.

What all the “Frommels” did do was prepare me for some of the best shallow water sight fishing I have ever experienced. Halfway through our trip, the weather changed dramatically, the usual strong winds that guides and anglers have come to expect from St Brandon’s disappeared, and 3 days of complete flat calm settled over the Atoll. We found ourselves wading in water barely covering our boots and spotting tails a hundred meters out. The bonefish were swimming single and tailing hard on yellow flat on the pushing tide, it’s what saltwater fly fishing dreams are made of.

Because of the calm conditions, the bonefish were on high alert and we couldn’t get too close, it called for some long shots and pinpoint accuracy, luckily, we had lots of casting practice the days prior. When the bonefish are tailing hard with their heads down you have to present the fly as close as possible for them to pick it up. Leading the fish and having them swim on to the fly simply won’t do the trick in this situation. Sight fishing nirvana is the word that comes to mind when I think back on those 3 days of flat calm conditions on the flats of St Brandon’s.

The Bonefish fishing is world-class on this particular Atoll not just because of the way you target them but also the quality of the size fish you catch. Four-to-six-pound fish is the average, but double figures are very common at St B’s and due to the cooler water temps, all of them fight like they are possessed, reminding you constantly what fly reel backing looks like and what saltwater fish are capable of.

The giant predators that swim around this Atoll account for a fair share of “Frommels” themselves, mainly because they don’t appear as often as they do on some other Atolls but when they do appear, they are usually big ones that tend to buckle the knees of even the most seasoned anglers. Unfortunately, I did not get a clear shot at one of the infamous St B’s GT’s but I did bump into a monster Bluefin cruising around a coral flat that could have easily been a GT, at a fork length of 87cm it was one of larger specimens I’ve encountered and gave my twelve weight rig a good run for its money.

As far as world-class saltwater fly fishing destinations go, St Brandon’s ticks all the boxes, it has just the right mix of remoteness, tropical allure, and trophy specimens that will leave even the well-traveled rod wielders satisfied. Yes, you will “Frommel” and yes you might get a little frustrated, maybe even cry a little but you will catch a trophy and be proud to send it to the “gram”.

Situ Island Resort

With all the traveling we get to do in the course of filming the Inside Angling TV series, we visit a lot of lodges, hotels and resorts around Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Every now and then we come across a rare little gem, a place that is different and has something special going for it. Recently, we enjoyed a direct flight from Johannesburg to Pemba on Airlink and visited Situ Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique, which we found it to be exactly one of these little gems.

Our first impression on arrival was of a hidden private place, set right on the beach. The sandstone outcrops in the water in front of and around the lodge provide for beautiful scenery, and the buildings blend in with the vegetation of the island.

We were welcomed into the main building, where we encountered a relaxed atmosphere and simple, yet comfortable furnishings. The floor is beach sand, so you take off your sandals and don’t use them again until you leave. The ultimate in barefoot luxury.

The bar is a ‘help yourself’ honesty version, where you pour your own drinks and write down what you’ve taken in a book. There is an iced water machine in the lounge, where you are able to help yourself to as much chilled water as you like, something that’s unusual in the tropics! There is a small staff compliment and the whole place has an intimate feel, very different to most commercial lodges.

Situ is run by Craig and Tessa Macdonald, a South African couple from East London, who are passionate about Situ Island and its surrounds. Craig skippered us on our fishing excursions, and kept us entertained with his quirky sense of humour, then got straight into the kitchen whenever we arrived back at the lodge and started putting together delicious meals. He is a chef of note and as passionate about good food as he is about the island. Tessa runs the diving, snorkeling, kayak paddling and other activities and is very involved with, and knowledgeable about the environment and creatures of Situ. One of the more remarkable things she does is hand feed the Moray Eels on the reef in front of the lodge on the low tide, where they come swarming out and surround her as she hands out tasty tit bits.

Everything about Situ is relaxing. The staff keep a low profile, but are never far away if you need them. Craig and Tessa were helpful and nothing was too much trouble for them, they were very happy for us to set the pace and customize our own schedule each day, their flexibility made it easy for us to relax and appreciate this piece of paradise.

Meals at Situ were nothing short of outstanding. They buy seafood fresh from the locals and we were served delicious fresh seafood daily, complimented by loads of fresh salads, homemade sauces, pickled fish and of course the most finger licking good Mozambican chicken. In fact the food alone is enough of a reason to visit Situ!

There are plenty of reefs in the area and one doesn’t need to travel very far to get to fishing spots. Species that we came across included Gt’s, Bluefin Kingfish, Bigeye Kingfish, Amberjack, Dogtooth Tuna, King Mackerel, Green Jobfish and Pickhandle Barracuda. There were also plenty of Yellowfin Tuna about and we saw Sailfish jumping, though we didn’t target those species. Broadbill Swordfish are also targeted at night near Situ, so the fishing potential is excellent.

What really excited me was the form of the reefs. There is incredible structure, with some huge steps, ledges and walls under the water. The potential for fishing amongst such structure is exceptional.

I have tucked Situ Island Resort into my personal portfolio of places I would love to get back to again soon.

Just hope it isn’t too long before I do.

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