Seychelles are an extraordinary destination that provide anglers some of the most phenomenal fly fishing opportunities in the world. David Leake of Tailwaters Travel has had the pleasure of fly fishing Seychelles and frequently offers his expertise to traveling anglers. For David, there are 10 great reasons to fish the Seychelles:
#10 – NOT THAT HARD TO GET TO:
Getting to Seychelles from North America is actually quite civilized and a similar time commitment to many other saltwater fisheries such as Christmas Island or even Cuba. Most anglers these days route through Dubai from multiple American cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, New York, and Washington, D.C. with the luxurious and reliable Emirates Airlines. Yes, this is a 14+ hour flight to Dubai, but after you kill some time on a reasonable layover (or overnight if you’d prefer), you are only four hours non-stop to Victoria, Mahe Island – the capital of Seychelles. What’s more, you can book round trip economy class tickets for as low as $1300 with Emirates Airlines. At the end of the day, fishing Seychelles is a 10-day commitment inclusive of travel days … no different than most Cuban operations!
#9 – SEYCHELLES CANNOT BE OVER-HYPED:
Having been to Seychelles five times since 2004 and been involved booking dozens of trips there over the last twelve seasons, I can promise you that NOBODY comes home feeling their expectations were too high. It is hard to conjure up an image of a fishery more vibrant or a location more exotic. If you are a person who feels you were oversold on the last trip someplace, you won’t be disappointed with any adventure to Seychelles.
#8 – MILKFISH:
Milkfish are a very unique species that exists in many locations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are sometimes caught in Hawaii, and I recently saw a little guy landed in Baja this summer. Seychelles has the largest-sized fish and the most populated schools of milkfish around. Anglers will see milkfish almost every day, but it is not a given they will come to hand. Milkfish are most susceptible to being caught when feeding on the surface inhaling pieces of vegetation and the small crustaceans and other critters living inside of algae being washed off a flat – most often during a spring tide. When the guides say it’s go time for the milks, it can actually be a fairly easy species to hook up with. Landing one is an entirely different story! They jump like a wahoo, stand on their face like a tarpon in deep water, and they almost never tire. A thirty pound milkfish will give you every bit of an hour on a 10 weight!
#7 – THE GEAR-HEAD’S DREAM COME TRUE:
If playing tackle box is considered a big part of the fun with a destination fishing adventure, Seychelles is the place for you. We recommend anglers come equipped with 8, 9, 10, and 12 weight rods in order to be prepared to wrestle with all species. Gel spun backing is mandatory on the 10 and 12 weights, custom tied flies, quality wading boots, waterproof packs and bags, loads of terminal tackle from 10lb. – 130lb. test, corrosion resistant pliers and good gloves are just the tip of the iceberg. Advil for sore muscles the morning after fighting fish all day is also a must have.
#6 – PRISTINE ECOSYSTEM:
Have you ever been to a part of the world that is truly untouched by humans? Sorry to say, few places that exist that don’t reveal the impact of mankind. Other than very well-managed sport fishing (fly fishing only, barbless only, and catch and release), the out islands of Seychelles are one of those rare places. It is nearly impossible to articulate the tremendous beauty of the islands, water, and flats. Every hue of blue, the whitest white sand, and the constant distant roaring of the surrounding reef system are unlike any other place on earth. In addition to the incredible amount of plentiful gamefish (more on that with #5) around every corner, there are turtles, rays, sharks, eels, and every conceivable kind of tropical fish imaginable. Outside the reef, encounters with all kinds of pelagics as well as many species of dolphins and whales are almost a daily encounter as well.
#5 – GAMEFISH SPECIES DIVERSITY:
No place on the planet offers up so many different species of gamefish to target. The record on Alphonse Island is 52 different species landed in one week! The bonefish fishing is unquestionably the best on the planet with fish in the 3-8 pound range tailing and dragging their bellies on hard white sand. Three primary species of triggerfish and the Indo-Pacific permit will test even the most seasoned anglers on a daily basis. Milkfish can make an appearance feeding on the surface at any time, and legions of bluefin trevally are often easy targets. Giant trevally are the true “gangsters of the flats” in Seychelles, but you cannot ignore reliable opportunities for surgeonfish, parrotfish, huge barracudas, grouper, dogtooth tuna, sharks and more. Offshore fishing in the big boats off Alphonse yields awesome sailfish and yellowfin fishing – and dredging outside the reef from the flats skiff on a calm day can be a total blast. The game plan may consist of a morning bonefishing session followed by a walk to the reef, cruising for trevally, walking the edges harassing triggers, or hitting the channels in search of feeding milkfish. It seems every day is a different ballgame – but with so many different species around there is absolutely never a dull moment.
#4 – MULTIPLE ATOLLS TO CHOOSE FROM:
From the flagship fishery and five-star land-based accommodations at Alphonse Island Resort, to the small and intimate six-guest maximum giant trevally playground at Astove Atoll Lodge, to the new Lone Star catamaran liveaboard at Cosmoledo, there is no better lineup of flats fishing programs in the Indian Ocean. Guests are guaranteed to experience a beautifully choreographed fishing program on one of the three greatest flats venues in the world. All aspects of complex logistics, fantastic service and amenities, gourmet cuisine, and perfectly maintained equipment are flawlessly executed with the highest standards.
#3 – THE GUIDES:
The guide staff consists of Seychellois, South African, and Americans and all have extensive experience in the world of saltwater fly fishing. Their enthusiasm and knowledge of the fishing and the area is very impressive and professional. There are few saltwater fishing destinations in the world with such a salty crew of world-class guides as you will find in Seychelles.
#2 – GIANT TREVALLY:
The giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) is the true bad ass of all game fish – and nowhere on earth are they found with more regularity on shallow flats than Seychelles. His round head, broad shoulders, and elaborate fins are built for speed and power, and he has no predators other than large sharks and humans. He literally eats everything, and his incredible eyesight combines with his quickness to make him a lethal hunter. Once you witness the spectacle that is the “JEET”, it gets in your blood, and you become obsessed. You fish for GTs with super heavy gear: 12 weight rods and top-of-the-line reels, 130 pound straight fluorocarbon for your leader, 5/0 – 8/0 hooks, and 80 pound gel spun backing are the norm – and all anglers should be prepared to wreck some rods and fly lines! Last season guests at Astove and Cosmoledo AVERAGED six big giant trevally per week/angler. Seychelles GTs are not chummed up like they often are in other destinations synonymous with trevally – rather they are caught the old fashioned way, sight fishing with fly rods and barbless hooks; and all fish are released.
#1 – BEST SALTWATER ALL-AROUND FLATS FISHING ADVENTURE IMAGINABLE:
The sum of all the parts listed above truly separate Seychelles from any other fishing experience out there. Set your expectations high and put a trip to Seychelles on your bucket list!
– David Leake