I took the plunge and scheduled a two week trip with Fly Castaway to fish one week at Providence Atoll and another week at Farquhar in the Seychelles.  This could be the trip of a lifetime.

The cost of the trip was $16,000.00 plus airfare, extra hotel nights, tips, flies and equipment and any beverages you wanted.  For me, going for two weeks helps spread out the cost of getting there.

The trip was for the end of October going into November 2015.   It is fairly easy to book a flight to the Seychelles.  Emirates Airlines is a great airline and has flights to everywhere.  Of course, it is a LONG DAY or two days getting there.  I live in Utah so I had to get to Seattle, wait a few hours, fly all night, over the North Pole then down to Dubai.  After another few hours, I took the 4.5-hour flight from Dubai to Mahi in the Seychelles.

I had to spend a night and then the flight out to Farquhar was scheduled for the following morning.  The weather was tough and we could not get out costing us one day of fishing.  Another day in Mahi and then we got out to Farquhar.

One of the passengers did not receive his bag with his heart medicine in it so we fished Farquhar the first half-day.   That afternoon we headed out to the southern end of Providence Atoll.

The rooms and accommodations on the Maya’s Dugong were very tight but adequate.  The crew and food were good as well.  Lots of smiles and what can we do for you.

Fly Castaway has an extensive list of suggested equipment so I tried to bring all that I could and yet meet the weight requirement of 40 pounds of luggage per person.  That is hard.  The truth is we only used nine and 12 weight rods the entire time.  Also, we either used the 150-pound leader and the 17-pound fluorocarbon leader they suggested.  That was really it.  I think next time I would bring two nines and two twelves with maybe an eight or ten to fill in.

They also have the flies that they suggest and they did work.  The ????? was very hard to cast but did work.  One angler just fished with us on large Lake Trout fly and he caught more GT’s than anyone else.

The skiffs were fine.  Most of the fishing was either wading on the flats or outside trolling for pelagics.  There were ample sailfish, tuna, some wahoo and they said there was the occasional marlin as well.

Fishing

The first morning in Farquhar we fished a half-day wading along the beach.  My two partners each caught one bonefish and I was lucky with two.  I found a pod of bonefish that were tailing and just stayed up for about 30 minutes—Amazing.  I was able to cast into them numerous times.

First Full day.

WOW, what a day.  John and I caught over 50 fish including about 10 different species.  John caught two GT’s and I got 1.  I got one sailfish.  We had 12 doubles during the day.

We fished at the far south end of Providence and basically drifted large GT flies with 12 weight lines.

We were only able to wade a little bit due to the high tides.

Second Day at Providence

I was with Bill and Tom.  We fished for sailfish and I got one trolling a feather.  Then we fished a flat going in to the flat as the water receded and then at the turn of the tide we fished as the water came in. 

For the day I caught one Bluefin Trevally.  Bill caught a nice grouper.  That was it for the day.  The weather was windy again.

Three people to one guide just do not work.  I am sure two people, or one, would catch as many fish as three together.  The third person just fills in.

Third day on Providence.

I fished with Bill again with Brendan as Guide. 

We started out fishing sailfish and I hooked one trolling.  Brendan really tightened the drag hard and the backing broke.  Brendan said it was cut sharp probably by another fish.

We tried to get a sailfish for Bill who had never caught one.

Brendan got one Sailfish up but it just wouldn’t come close enough for Bill to hook him.

We did some teasing for GTs but didn’t find any.

We then went to the flats.  We found some Blue Striped Emperors’ and each caught several.  They were fun but very easy.  That was fun.

As the tide turned from the low we went looking for GTs on the Flats.  We found three and had two good shots but not takers.

Long day.  Others had better days both on sailfish and GTs.

Fourth Day at Providence Atoll

I fished with Tom again today with Paul as our guide.  We struggled.   We walked some flats near the North Island.  Late in the afternoon, we were wading in some shallow water as the tide was coming in. 

We found some tailing bonefish and a few triggers.  Tom really wanted to get a Triggerfish and focused on that.  I chased tailing bonefish.  I ended up catching three very nice bonefish in the seven-plus pounds.  Great fun.  It rained hard for part of this time which only made the sight fishing more interesting.

This day was saved by the last hour and a half.

Fifth Day at Providence Atoll

I fish with Bill and Paul was the guide again.  The tide was still high in the morning so we fished for Sailfish.  Bill had never gotten one.  On my turn to be up a Sailfish came up and Bill successfully teased it in giving me one shot.  The fish grabbed the fly just as hoped and we were off. 

The Sailfish put on quite a show with several jumps and long runs to start.  We got him to the boat and released him.  Now it was time to look for GTs again.

We got to a flat in the middle of the Providence Atoll and got out of the boat in knee-deep water.  I almost immediately saw a GT hanging in the shallows and I cast at him.  He ate the fly and came right be my side.  I caught, measured and released him.  He was about 75 centimeters.   

Bill hooked a larger one and his hook broke showing you the strength of these fish.  Everyone that ties flies for GTs uses either Gamakatsu or Owner Saltwater stainless steel hooks.

Later we moved to another flat further north in the Providence Atoll that was beautiful.  As soon as we got out of the boat Paul and I saw a huge wake coming right at us only 15 feet away.  I stripped off ten feet of line and cast in front of the wake.  It was huge.  The fish charged in the direction of the fly.  I waited a couple seconds and make one small strip.  The GT engulfed the fly and we were on.

Twenty minutes later we released a 114 centimeter GT—a very large GT on fly.


As the water continued to drop we fished for Bonefish and Triggers.   Bill caught two Triggers and I caught one or two Bones.

That night the Maya’s Dugong traveled back to Farquar.

Travel and Logistics Day

We moved into our rooms and fished for 3 hours in the afternoon on Farquar.

First full day of fishing on Farquhar.

I fished with Jon and our guide was Mat, the head guide.  We stayed in the boat and motored slowly over flats with deep water.  We had four good shots at GTs that were following Rays.  I was the lucky one today catching one 75-centimeter GT.

Finally, we were able to wade some late in the day but that was it on this day.

Second full day of fishing on Farquhar.

When we woke up it was pouring down rain but there was very little wind.  We waited for some relief but one by one the groups left with their guides. 

I fished with Bill again and this time our guide was Peter.  Peter has been in the Seychelle Atolls longer than anyone.  First, he worked on motherships like the Maya’s Dugong and then about 6 years ago he became a guide.  Peter is from Mahe in the Seychelles.

We staked out the boat near one of the smaller islands, Goulette, and looked for GTs.  We saw several that morning either free swimming from deeper water to shallow or reversed and some were on Rays.  We had some good shots but could not connect.

The rain subsided about noon.  We had lunch and then looked for some relief from the wind.  We went to some flats in the lee of the Atoll and looked for Bonefish or GTs.

Bill spotted a school of small Permit and got one.  This was the first Permit on Farquar this season.  Yeah—Bill.

We drifted in very shallow water and caught a couple Bonefish each ending the day.

Third Day of fishing on Farquhar

I fished with Tom with Justin as our guide.  The weather was windy and rough.  We struggled that day.  The wind was a real problem.

I missed some casts at GTs and bonefish.

Neither of us caught anything that day.

Fourth Day of fishing on Farguar

I fished with Mayo and guided by Wesley.  We fished on the outer edge of the main island in the surf.  We both got some bonefish.  We saw one or two Triggers but couldn’t hook them.

We eventually waded back to the lee side of the island and fished for more bones.  Mayo went off on his on and caught several bones including some of the good size to 6 pounds.

Wesley and I found a few GTs in shallow water but I couldn’t make a great cast to get one.

Later we went south and fished along the leeward side for more bones not having any success.


We again ended up on Goulette Island looking for GTs but didn’t get any.

Fifth Day of fishing on Farquhar

Fished with Tom and the guide was Peter.  We fished on the outside in small waves with the low tide at 10:00 AM.  I caught two bonefish and Tom got one.  He also got some emperor’s.  We saw some smaller GTs that were Greenish in color.  I thought one struck my fly once.  They were beautiful.

It was a long tough wade but beautiful.

We went back out to Goulette Island and fished for GTs for two hours.  We saw one b

Sixth Day of fishing on Farquhar

This was our last day.  We were all worried about whether the airplane could make it that day and whether we could get off the island to return home on Wednesday.  The weather was much better on this day.  Less wind and more sun.

I fished with John again and the guide was Nick.  This was our first day with Nick who was great.

We started out fishing from the boat on the deeper floats looking for GTs.  John was up first.  John cast at one GT and then some others behind him.  He made a great back cast and the GT ate.  After a 15 minute fight, John released a 93 cm GT.  Nice fish.

As the tide dropped we started wading looking for bonefish, GTs, and Bumphead Parrott Fish.  We both caught a couple bonefish and cast at other species.  We found some “Bumpies” and Nick thought we each got strikes but didn’t get the hook into them.

At one point a large Black Tip Shark attacked the Bumpies and one or two minutes making quite a show.  The Bumpies spread out and we because very careful of our wading trying to stay in the shallower water.

We never hooked a Bumped Head Parrot Fish.

Later, John actually hiked around two of smaller islands with no luck while I worked the deeper water from the boat.  Nick saw some more GTs but no luck.

John was, by far, the most successful angler for our two weeks with 14 GTs.  The next anglers were about 6, 5 and 4.  The largest on fly was mine at 114 cm.  John got one at 110 cm on his day where he got five.

We headed back to the lodge.

There were to be two flights on Wednesday—mine was to leave at approximately 8:00 AM and head back to Mahe.  The weather was great Wednesday morning and our flight was great.  We were back in Mahe by 10:00 AM.  Our Emirates Flight was at 9:00 PM so we went to the Coral Strand hotel for the afternoon.

Would I go again?  The truth is that I had hoped for more GT, Triggerfish and Bumphead fishing.  Apparently, the normal trade winds had not switched as they normally do in September or October so the weather and wind were a big issue.  I will probably go again hoping for better fishing.  But I would go as soon as you can.  It is clear that the regulations and fishing pressure are having a significant impact on the fishing.

The allure of fishing for the powerful aggressive GT’s may just be too great.

(Planning to fish for baby black marlin Down Under? Then check out my fishing trip in Hervey Bay & Fraser Island.)

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