Jan 17, 2016

How far would you go?

The dark side
"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark. "
Pink Floyd

Great hypothetical questions of all time: if you won the lottery would you quit work? Would you travel to the ends of earth to catch fish? Is it possible to eat too many tacos?  I've always thought there this is no limits to where I would go to find aggressive bad ass fish, like Giant Trevally. Hell, if they were on the dark side of the moon, I'd go there. Recently, my hypothetical was tested by a dose of reality by traveling to the Seychelles to chase a number of species but specifically GT's,  the psychopath of the jack family.

The Seychelles are a group of over 100 islands with a only a few inhabited that lies about 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The largest island is Mahe which hosts a number of flights from Europe and the Middle East. A few of our group made a detour for a few days in London. And yes, you cannot travel further to find fish since the Seychelles lie 12 hours ahead of our own Pacific time zone. From Mahe, we took a small plane to Farquhar atoll to a small landing strip. The atoll forms a semi circle to an approximately 60 square mile area with only about 5 square miles of land where Fly Castaway, headquartered in South Africa runs one of several operations throughout the Seychelles.

Simple yet clean
Lodging at Farquhar is clean, comfortable, and simple with a/c but certainly not luxurious. A large porch sits facing the beautiful turquoise waters of the atoll. A thatched open air area serves as the dining area with the best view of all towards the water and the sunsets. Food is exemplary and plentiful especially when you realize that everything has to be imported to the atoll.

We were there for a week of fishing with some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable guides from South Africa, France, and the Seychelles who speak excellent english and are highly motivated to make sure the week is a success. Be prepared for extensive wading over large flats with uneven terrain and coral, therefore, boots are a must. Ratio of guides to clients is 2 to 1 being ferried around by very nice open console boats. In the morning one option is to start by trolling teasers for sailfish with bait and switch to fly options. Guides are adept at discussing the fishing options depending on the flat and the tides. The night before everyone gathers in the “rec room” to discuss pairings and strategies for the next day.

The ecosystem in Farquhar is truly amazing given the lack of impact from man and no commercial influence. Across the flats are numerous non game marine life including large numbers of sting rays, Manta rays, turtles, many species of sharks and bird life. In a subsequent article, I explain how the bird life can influence fly choice. Just walking the flats and spying all this wildlife is worth the trip. But since I had traveled to the “Dark Side of the Moon”, I thought I might make a cast or two.

A few friendly faces.
Game fish include GT’s, permit, bonefish, trigger fish, sail fish, barracuda, snapper, grouper, milk fish, Napoleon wrasse and a fish that looks like it’s from the movie “Avatar”, the bumphead parrotfish or bumpy. Through the day you might catch any number of species. And any number of these fish will test your gear to it’s limits, just ask my new reel that decided to hiccup on a bumpy. Thank god for my guide who was willing to wade out and chase down my fish. Fishing is primarily done with 12 weights for GT’s but one always carries a 9-10 weight for other less fearsome species. GT’s are definitely worth their reputation in terms of attack of the fly and their strength.

All in all, a trip of a lifetime where I’ve proven that I’m willing to travel any distance to chase fish. Now if I can just win the lottery to to test one of my other hypothetical scenarios. 

Charlie Chambers
Gorge Fly Shop Contributor 

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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