St Brandon’s- A Fly Fishing gem

by Chris Bladen May 14, 2014

 

A month ago, I found myself frantically packing and re-packing my bags after a short notice opportunity to visit St Brandon’s atoll with well known guiding co Flycastaway. This little atoll, approximately 5 miles long and 2 miles wide is part of Mauritius, an Island in the Indian ocean off the East Coast of Africa.

After a 5 hour flight from South Africa to Mauritius, we boarded the ‘ MY Gryphon’, an American built ship. She is solid, but she can rock & roll and for 27 hours you knew all about it!

Having finally arrived at our destination, you can imagine the anxiety to get onto the numerous flats the atoll has to offer. Stories of shoals of 10lb+ bones, numerous hungry permit, massive GT’s and many more species milling ’round our heads had us hungry as dogs!

Herewith follows a picture sa of our trip + some useless notes..

Bonefish galore!

"Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center"

Astronauts view of a section of St Brandon’s

my grryphon

The ‘MY Gryphon’ – Home for 8 days!

Our guide, Jako Lukas, on the first morning

Our guide, Jako, heading out on the first morning..

Our first morning out we decided to stretch our lines and acclimatize. The answer to this problem would be to find bonefish. Not a hard task on this atoll. Two hours into the morning found my pal and myself drifting away from the large shoals of bones, rather opting for single and double fish cruising the flats.

Average sized bone for St Brandon's

Average sized bone for St Brandon’s

Man, this place has many bonefish. You can fish for them all day long, but having someone who knows the tides is crucial – they can disappear at the blink of an eye.

My pal, Andrew, releasing a fine fish with FCA guide Christian looking on.

My pal, Andrew, releasing a fine fish with FCA guide Christian looking on.

Finally we had our fill for bones and decided to move on.

Our big wish was to fish for permit- of which St Brandon’s has many. But like elsewhere in the world, these fish pose problems!! Firstly, you need to find them. Secondly, cast at them accurately and at the same time keeping your cool. Not so easy! If they were bones you were casting to, you could put a fly on a saucer blindfolded at 30 yards. For some insane reason, permit fishing just doesn’t work like that. A fish could be 15 yards away. You cast to it, and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Firstly your fly line is all over the place. It does things that never happens, like spaghetti it sticks to anything and everything it possibly can! Then there is the issue of getting the fly close enough to the fish for him to see it. Ideally, you want to try and do this with your first cast and not on your 10th cast! By this time mr permit would be long gone. The times that they did follow our flies and seemingly did eat our flies, our flies would become corral magnets! Needles to say, we did see a fair amount of these incredible fish, cast at many, got close to catching them, but zero to show! My recommendation: pretend that you are casting to a bonefish!

Next, lets rather go for GT’s.

Now here is a fish that is honest. They are the dogs of the flats! They wolf down 8lb bonefish quicker than you can knock back a sip of beer. If you can get a reasonable sized fly close enough to the fish so that he can see it, strip it fast enough, he will most likely eat it. These giants of the flats with there brute strength and size are really something to behold. If you intend fishing for them, take extra fly lines!

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Andrew’s GT

Also, bluefin trevally are plentiful in these waters. Pound for pound, I rate them as one of the strongest fish on the flats.

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Golden Trevally

Golden trevally as well as Greenspot and Yellowspot trevally are also abundant in these waters.

Yellowspot..

Yellowspot trevally

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Greenspot trevally

And then back to the bones.

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Not quite 10lb, but good enough for me!

St B's.  St B's..

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Picasso trigger-fish

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Sundowners on Terra firma..

P4160185St B's,.

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This has been a truly remarkable atoll to visit. If you can stomach the crossing from Mauritius to St Brandon’s, you will be fishing on one of the most prolific and productive atolls on planet earth, with many shots at permit, double digit bonefish, massive GT’s and many more.

The good news is, rumors have it that there might be ‘float plane’  as of next year!!

Thanks to Vince and the Skinny Water Culture crowd for the opportunity to post some pic’s and for being so cool!!

GOPR5709

 

 








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