Time to kick off the second half of the trip with the centerpiece of the entire journey, six days of saltwater fly fishing on the flats of Farquhar, one of the remote outer atolls of the Seychelles. The big draw for me is the diversity of species that can’t be found on my side of the world with the main target being the monstrous Giant Trevally (GT or geet for short). But first some play time on the main island since I arrived a day early just to be safe…
Note, just because a hotel is listed as 7 km from the airport does not mean it’s a quick cab ride away. I learned quickly that you have to ride up into the mountains and back down to get to the other side of the island. After a forty minute ride (and fifty bucks gone) I arrived at my hotel.
And just in time to catch a piece of the sunset.
I quickly learned that this was a popular honeymoon spot and there were only a few couples walking around. Here’s me at dinner with no friends…
Luckily new friends were on the horizon, I just didn’t know it yet. Got picked up for my Reef Safari Tour and of course a hundred Chinese tourists were waiting at the marina. Luckily there was also a group of stylin South African women waving around a red bra as a banner. They quickly adopted me into their crew but initiated me with the red bra…
My girl Jenny up front has one hand on the knee…and you don’t want to know where that other hand is…ayeeee yooooo!
On to some snorkeling and an island tour with native tortoises!
Had an amazing day hanging out with these beautiful ladies! Back to my hotel to pack up and grab some dinner then out to their hotel for drinks and some dancing!
I call this one “Half Asian guy taking picture of creepy Asian guy taking picture of dancing ladies”.
Had to roll out to get some sleep before my early flight and got the best group farewell ever!
Ok on to the fishing!
Met up with the rest of the crew at a private little hangar. Two South Africans, five Norwegians, one Dutch, and one other American. The Norweigans knocked out a few 7am beers and didn’t stop the rest of the week!
On to our private charter flight for a three hour hop to the outer atolls.
Leaving the main island…
Approaching outer atolls…
And we finally arrive at the Farquhar International airport…last week’s crew is rolling out and we’re rolling in.
Tractor ride to the lodge…
Those are resident pet geets…no fishing from the dock ha!
More randoms from around the lodge…the dude in the white shirt is wearing a wig because he had some kind of blooper during the day…I think his was blowing a shot at a GT which would have given him a grand slam for the day. Another guy wore it once because he opened up two empty rod tubes when he arrived on the island.
Guides plotting the next day’s itinerary…
At some point we do actually go fishing. After a quick orientation they send you off on your own to check out the flats near base camp and work out the kinks. I caught a juvenile geet, a small bluefin trevally, and a three spotted pompano. I thought I was the man!
I would learn pretty quickly the next day that catching real fish would be much tougher than expected. Saw a handful of bonefish in the morning that chased the fly but wouldn’t eat. Cast at a couple of geets that wouldn’t eat. Then we made about 20 casts into a school of a hundred bonefish…fiiiiiiinaly hooked up. Luckily the bonefish got more cooperative as the week went on and I caught a bunch which saved some otherwise slow days. Here are a few of many…My biggest was about 8 pounds but the pic is on some stupid usb drive so I’ll have to add it later.
The other thing that saved me when the fish on the flats were either non-existent or just wouldn’t eat (or I never got a shot because I was getting boxed out by my fishing “partner”) was the bomie bashing. A bomie is basically a coral head or a large expanse of coral. You either anchor up or drift making blind casts over the top of the coral. What’s cool is you get a grab bag of different exotic species and you pretty much always see the take. Sometimes a fish would rise and you could actually site cast it subsequently. This ended up being my favorite thing to do since the flats weren’t kind to me.
Red-ish Snapper (I forget the real name)
White Spotted Marbled Grouper
Blue Spotted Marbled Grouper
Bohar Snapper (I actually caught two other huge bohars twice the size of this one…both broken off when the guide manhandled the leader that was shredded against the reef…infuriating).
Spangled Emperor (one of the few fish caught site fishing in the flats besides the bonefish)
And finally my one GT. I really expected to catch several of these but I just didn’t get that many shots. When I did get a look I either missed casting into insane winds or the fish would chase but not eat. I was super lucky to even get this guy as I was casting at a few bluefin trevally and he came out of the depths and inhaled my fly. Took me way into my backing and got caught on some coral. After being in a stalemate for a good minute I got desperate and walked a few meters to the side and locked down the drag and started pulling. I could feel the line sliding against the coral and then boom, I felt the fish and started to make up some ground.
The group that went to an even more remote atoll caught 85 geets during the week. We caught about 15 tops. I also hooked a huge bumphead parrotfish that would have made my trip but he got off after running about 50 meters. Really the only guys that had a solid week were the ones smart enough to bring spinning gear. They caught 15 geets in one day plus some yellowfin tuna and some huge snapper. Oh well, still a great experience and definitely many lessons learned for next time.
Random pics from various areas. I will say it was pretty cool to go from a sandy flat to a grassy flat to some gnarly coral to a choppy surf zone to bomie bashing etc. all in one day. What’s not cool is dealing with typhoon winds while casting to spooky finicky fish.
On the last night a few of us loaded up in the tractor to head into the bush and track down some coconut crabs. I eventually built up the courage to scoop one up!
And finally a quick mention of my Norwegian buddy here…
He may look like your typical fisherman, but I overheard him talking about some film he was in and this big battle on the planet “Hoot”. Didn’t think much of it until I heard “George Lucas” and “Harrison Ford”. I was like wait a minute, are you saying you were in the battle scene on the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back? “Yes it was filmed in Norway…I was a stormtrooper”. A real life mother effin stormtrooper!!! Once I heard that the fishing didn’t matter any more…I was hanging out with a true movie icon!!!
On to the Maldives for a little surfing, diving, and hopefully a little r&r in paradise…