- The Fishing
- Sample Itinerary
- When to Go
Alphonse Island Overview
After a half dozen trips to Alphonse the last seven years, we can confirm that there is simply no better shallow saltwater fly fishing experience to be found. Conjure up an image of the most idyllic fishing venue imaginable, and then set your expectation level a notch higher… Welcome to Seychelles!
Cut from film, 7 Degrees South. An incredible video from Daniel Goz and Richard Morton.
Seychelles & Alphonse IslandGo
A Long Way Away and Totally Worth It
Anglers at the Alphonse Island Resort fish a very well defined fishery known as the St. Francois Lagoon; a 4 X 7 mile conglomerate of flats and channels completely surrounded and protected by barrier reef. St. Francois could most aptly be described as a large self-contained aquarium. Around every corner visitors encounter a new type of shark, dolphin, whale, sea turtle, eel, fish, or ray. The diversity of marine life is astounding.
Bonefish, Giant Trevally, Milkfish, Permit, Triggerfish & Much More!
The bones literally pour off the white sandy flats, and twenty-thirty fish sessions are not uncommon for experienced and inexperienced anglers. However, the bonefishing is only the beginning... A quiver of rods is needed to properly tackle the amazing diversity of species inhabiting these fertile waters. The mainstay targeted species (other than bonefish) are three species of trevally (Giant, Bluefin, Golden), triggerfish, permit, barracuda, parrotfish, and the elusive and powerful milkfish. The diversity of other non-typical gamefish species is staggering as well. Some clients have reported landing over fifty species a week including yellowfin tuna, surgeonfish, lemon shark, sailfish, grouper, dogtooth tuna, and every kind of reef fish imaginable.
Five Star Accommodations
The accommodations and facilities at the Alphonse Island Resort are on par with some of the finest resorts found anywhere. The grounds are perfectly manicured, the staff is attentive and professional, and facilities are immaculately clean. Anglers stay in opulent, single occupancy, chalet buildings. All chalets are luxurious and equipped with air conditioners, satellite TV, ceiling fans, mini-bar, direct dial international telephone, Jacuzzi bathtub, and outdoor shower. Each chalet is beautifully decorated with an outdoor seating area and porch facing the Indian Ocean
The Travel Schedule
Travel to Seychelles is surprisingly easy. There are direct flights to Mahe Island from Western Europe. Most clients these days are visiting Seychelles via Dubai (direct from Houston or New York), an interesting alternative to London or Paris, and only a four hour connection to Mahe Island’s international airport. No matter how arduous the travel involved may seem, trust us; fishing Seychelles is well worth the effort!
The Seychelles is still one of the world's best-kept secrets. Over eighty-five of its one hundred fifteen islands are still uninhabited, and approximately fifty percent of the country is designated as national parks or reserves, preserving its natural beauty for those who visit. Ninety percent of the country's population (80,000) lives on the capital island of Mahe, where the international airport is located.
The Seychelles are located one thousand miles off the east coast of Kenya, a few degrees south of the equator and north of Madagascar in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Formerly a French settlement and a British colony since 1814, the Seychellois achieved independence in 1976 and remain a republic within the British Commonwealth. The island chain has an enormous diversity in geography and culture. The Seychellois are a mix of French, English, African and Asian and speak several different languages with French, English, and Creole as the predominant dialects. Geographically, it seems the islands themselves are a combination of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Some islands in the Archipelago are reminiscent of the white, powdery sand of the Bahamas or Yucatan, while others are constructed of solid granite cliffs and rocky bluffs similar to Hawaii. The flora and fauna are equally as bizarre with an abundance of bird life, exotic land creatures such as the giant land tortoise, and of course a collage of all types of marine life.
The Alphonse Island Resort
Alphonse Island Resort resides on the former coconut plantation island of Alphonse at the tip of the Amirantes Group, which is a one-hour charter flight from the international airport on Mahe Island. This tiny island and five star resort is home to anglers for their week of some of the most spectacular and diverse saltwater fishing on earth. A few miles to the north of Alphonse is the infamous St. Francois Lagoon, the focus of the fishing program on Alphonse. St. Francois could easily most aptly be described as a large self-contained aquarium. Around every corner visitors encounter a new type of shark, dolphin, whale, sea turtle, eel, fish, or ray.
The arrival into Alphonse is always a bit surreal. The island is shaped like an arrow head with the runway running down the center. When you are on approach you can see the huge surrounding reef systems that protect Alphonse and the neighboring islands of Bijoutier and St. Francois. On the interior of the coral system are the flats that meld with the reef to create the ultimate habitat for the most incredible mix of marine life. You cruise in a golf cart through dense palm and coconut trees, avoiding the occasional coconut or Giant Land Tortoise on your way to the central resort building for orientation. The property has been developed to meet very high standards and is super plush and polished. It is so strange to see such sophisticated infrastructure and accommodation on such a remote tiny little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean… Truly the most impressive fishing operation anywhere.
We have visited Alphonse several times over the last seven seasons and can honestly say that the quality of the fishing actually continues to improve each year. Strict enforcement of the rules governing the fishing program (fly fishing only & barbless hooks) have dramatically enhanced the long term sustainability of this remarkable fishery. It is without question the world’s greatest all around flats fishing destination – and it is totally worth the long journey to get there.
Anglers at the Alphonse Island Resort fish a very well defined fishery known as the Alphonse Group. The Alphonse group is made up of three islands and their respective lagoons; Alphonse, Bijoutier, and St. Francois. While the majority of anglers’ efforts are focused on St. Francois, the while island group is rich with incredible angling opportunities. The entire system is a giant conglomerate of flats and channels completely surrounded by and protected by barrier reef. All of the fishing is ‘fly-fishing only’, barbless, as well as catch and release. As a result, the fishery has held up remarkably well and remains as reliable as it did back in the late nineties. In fact the bonefishing seems to be inexplicably improving with 20-30 fish morning bonefish sessions the norm for most anglers!
The Fishing Day
Here is the daily routine: Wake up at 5:30AM… eat breakfast at 6:00AM, board the mothership, St. Francois, at 7:00AM, and sail 30 minutes to the skiff moorings inside the St. Francois Lagoon. The boat ride out to St. Francois is one of the most memorable parts of the trip. Everyone is strapping on gear, rigging equipment, and game planning while caffeine and beautiful ocean wake you up. Often you will encounter yellowfin tuna or milkfish feeding, whales, manta rays, dolphins, or other sea creatures on the way out past Bijoutier (“Gilligan’s Island”) and into the lagoon. St. Francois Lagoon is a labyrinth of flats, reef, coral heads, channels, etc…. tailor made habitat for bonefish, permit, trevally, milkfish, triggerfish, sharks, rays, turtles, etc.
Boat runs are never more than 10-15 minutes, and your fly line will be in the water by 8:00AM at the latest. Guides always give a brief orientation and chat up the day’s game plan relative to what species you want to target, the expected tide, and fishing conditions. 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. After a full day of fishing you return to the mothership at 4:00PM, arrive at Alphonse at 5:00PM, cocktails at 6:30, dinner at 7:00, and off to bed at 9-10. This regimented routine makes the week fly by.
The majority of the areas fished for bonefish are on hard, white sand with minimal coral and grass growth. It is an idyllic setting for bonefishing with easy visibility and a nearly endless amount of targets in skinny water. Tidal fluctuations in the Seychelles are quite significant, and the day’s itinerary is built around accommodating the ebb and push of water on and off the flat. During a falling or rising tide, anglers typically wade looking for bones feeding their way on or off the flat. One unique aspect to the behavior of the bones in the St. Francois Lagoon is there does not seem to be any huge schools of fish like as often found in the Caribbean. The fish usually feed in individual pods of 2-8 fish and present themselves at predictable and incredibly frequent intervals. The population of bonefish is outstanding, easily rivaling any and all other bonefish destinations in the world. The average fish is a solid four pounds, with seven and eight-pound specimens encountered frequently. Double-digit fish are present; however should definitely be considered a real bonus trophy.
The Giant Trevally (Caranx Ignobilis) is the true bad ass of all game fish. His round head, monster 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 eye-sight combines with his quickness to make him a lethal hunter. While adults spend much of their life in deeper water, fish well over 100 pounds often feed on the flats in skinny water or cruise in riding the waves on the reef to ambush unsuspecting prey. There is nothing more impressive than watching through the face of a wave as a big GT surfs his way inside the reef. The combination of hurried panic to cast and huge dosage of adrenalin is very addictive. There is also no eat more impressive than the mighty G.T. The deliberate and crushing speed of the monster when he zeroes in on your fly is scary to the point where you almost don’t want him to eat it! Once you witness the spectacle that is the “GEET”, it gets in your blood, and you become obsessed with trying to find one a bit bigger than the last one.
Many anglers are allured half way around the word to the Seychelles in search of the dozens of other species found at St. Francois. Five species of trevally are found in St. Francois with the golden, bluefin and giant trevally most prevalent. The giant trevally is about as crazed and hard fighting as any gamefish on the planet…you had better come prepared! Words cannot describe the power of a large Giant Trevally. The only way to appreciate it is to get your hands on an Abel Super 12 reel and crank down the drag to 100% and try manually to pull of some line. You are lucky to pull off one foot of line without breaking a finger. Now, consider that big GTs have completely spooled anglers with this same reel cranked down to 100% drag! You fish for GTs with super heavy gear… 80-100 pound straight fluorocarbon for your leader, 5/0 – 8/0 gamugatsu hooks, and 50 pound gel spun backing is the norm. GTs over 50 pounds require you to be chasing them in a skiff as landing one of foot is nearly impossible without a 14 weight. They are truly an incredible fish.
“GTs” or “Jeets” (as the South Africans call them) are most often found at low tide cruising the cuts and channels around coral heads and surrounding the flats in search of unsuspecting baitfish and other prey. Half of the time anglers will cruise in the skiff looking for giant trevally, however, a walk out to a reef can also be a fruitful way to get a shot at a trevally. At low tide anglers can stand just inside the reef and scan the incoming breakers for these hunting monsters and sight cast to cruising fish in the surf. On an incoming tide, you can also find trevally on the flat in very skinny water crashing bait at warp speed. Although visually the most impressive form of feeding (huge bow wakes and rooster tails) trevally in shallow water can spook easily. No matter where you encounter the giant trevally, their pure closing speed and aggressive feeding habits will intrigue all anglers… There is simply nothing more jaw-dropping than the eat of a big G.T. – and if you are lucky you won’t get spooled!
Other species encountered daily includes three species of triggerfish found tailing on the tidal push as well. These colorful speedsters slowly and lazily cruise feeding mainly on crabs and other crustaceans on the outside flats. The presentation to triggerfish is quite technical, and reminiscent of trout fishing. A good drift and proper current are required to “feed” triggerfish. Once they eat your fly, hold on! Triggers are aptly named for the trigger like mechanism on their dorsal which literally locks them into holes and crevices in the surrounding coral heads. If you are lucky enough to land one, make sure to have a camera.
One of the most sought after species on the flats is called the Milkfish (Chanos chanos). Although we have learned a lot about how to effectively hook and land these brutes, Milks still have lore about them. There is a common misnomer that they are herbivores or vegetarians exclusively. They feed on tiny invertebrates such as plankton as well as algae. They are not filter feeders, but they do skim along with mouths wide open inhaling their food (kind of like a whale shark). The hardest part about catching a milkfish is simply being in the right place at the right time for a predictable, surface feeding event with a large enough school of targets to increase the odds (which oftentimes won’t happen for weeks on end). Most often during large spring tides, milkfish will set up almost like trout feeding into the strong tidal currents flushing food off of the flats. Lucky anglers encounter them feeding on or near the surface with mouths wide almost mindlessly vacuuming everything in their path. Although they will certainly move to avoid your fly, they will definitely not move to eat your fly. Anglers fish with algae-like deer hair or craft fur patterns tied on a #2 Gamu hook and long slow strips through a school of milkfish. If the planets align, your fly will incidentally get sucked in and off to the races you go.
Perhaps the most intriguing species encountered in the Seychelles is the mighty milkfish. Although found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the milkfish that inhabit St. Francois are some of the largest in the world, and more importantly the guides have recently discovered how to catch them! The milkfish is similar in shape as a bonefish, only reach up to thirty pounds and possess a large sickle tale and huge eyes. When the milkfish are feeding on the surface, anglers present a grass or algae imitation and hope that one mistakes the green fly for a meal. When the fishing for milkfish is “on” success rates hooking milks are actually quite high despite the rumors of them being extremely difficult to hook. Finding them feeding in the proper fashion on the surface is the hard part, but once discovered on feeding properly they can be hooked with regularity. Over five hundred Milkfish have been caught and landed by Alphonse guests to date, with more than twice as many hooked. Some experienced guides say that at thirty pound milkfish will give a one hundred pound tarpon a run for his money, so landing them is another story!
Permit & Other Species
Other flats species that are worth mentioning found in St. Francois are the Indo-pacific permit, or African Pompano (equally as spooky relative to its Atlantic cousins), enormous barracudas, all types of jacks, groupers, snappers, surgeonfish, and the colorful parrotfish. The record for fly-caught species in one week at St. Francois is a ridiculous 52 species!
Although Seychelles has not historically been recognized as a rich permit fishery, we are encountering and catching more and more permit each year. What was once a super bonus a handful of times each season, targeting permit is now considered part of the usual program. Bring all your fly rods because you will never know what species will present itself.
The guide staff consists of a mixture of Seychellois, South African, and Americans all with extensive experience in the world of saltwater fly-fishing and in the St. Francois Lagoon. Their appearance, 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 and anglers. Anglers rotate guides throughout the week and fish out of comfortable and modern 16-18 foot Mavericks and Dolphin skiffs with dry storage, cushioned seating, and reliable fifty horse Yamaha outboard motors. Safety is obviously very important in such a remote location. The guides are very capable, always wear their kill switches and ensure anglers a safe experience.
The Island of Alphonse was formerly a working coconut plantation. Active production was ceased in the mid nineties, and the hotel was completed in December of 1999. Because the facility is designed primarily for its non-angling guests, fishermen enjoy the amenities of a five star resort. The accommodations and facilities at the Alphonse Island Resort truly are on par with some of the finest resorts found anywhere, and certainly as nice or nicer as any flats fishing destination. The grounds are perfectly manicured, the staff is attentive and professional, and facilities are immaculately clean. Because the resort is not accommodating many non-anglers this season (other than companions of fishing guests), anglers have free reign of their own private fantasy island when not fishing St. Francois.
The resort consists of a central complex containing a restaurant, bar, kitchen, lounge area, conference room, hard tennis courts, beach, and reception desk. There is also a small gift shop located near the reception that has a few local arts and forgotten necessities such as sunscreen and batteries. Located alongside the main complex are twenty-five, double occupancy standard chalets and five executive chalets – all facing the sea. Standard chalets have two twin beds. All chalets are extremely comfortable and luxurious with air conditioners, satellite TV, ceiling fans, mini-bar, direct dial international telephone, Jacuzzi bathtub, and outdoor shower. Each chalet is beautifully decorated and also has an outdoor seating area and porch facing the Indian Ocean. Bathrooms are extremely nice with granite countertops and twin sinks. The five executive chalets are similar to the standard chalets; only offer a king sized bed and a little more square footage in both the bedroom and bathroom. Couples looking for a little more luxurious privacy usually occupy the executive chalets.
Opposite the resort from the main complex is the watersports center where anglers meet guides each morning at the fishing company office and have a cocktail at the bar located at the marina following the fishing day. A modest selection of flies, tippet, leader material, hats, t-shirts, and other fishing accessories is available at the watersports center office. A bicycle is provided for each guest at the resort for traversing the island or getting a little exercise.
The food and atmosphere at the resort combine a unique mixture of European, Seychellois, and African tastes, and meals are one of the highlights of the experience. Guests enjoy choices from two starters, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts with each dinner. The menu is very expansive with seafood being the dominant cuisine. Breakfast is buffet style, and lunches are made to order from several different choices of salads, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and breads. Lunch is taken on the water or in the shade on board the mothership. The wine and cocktail selection at dinner and at the Bijoutier Bar is quite expansive and impressive.
12 Anglers Per Week (based on shared guide / single room accommodations)
Alphonse Island Resort operates on a weekly Saturday – Saturday schedule
Travel from the United States can be accomplished via London, Paris, Frankfurt, or through Dubai, UAE with Emirates Airlines.
Dubai with Emirates Airlines – The Best Way to Go.
Having made the trip to Seychelles several times, by far the best way to make the trip is with Emirates Airlines through Dubai. Emirates Airlines is perhaps the world’s greatest airline with new and comfortable aircraft, hospitable flight attendants, excellent food, spacious seating, incredible in-flight entertainment and very economical fares. The last two seasons we have booked fares with Emirates for less than $2000US, roundtrip from Houston with a FREE hotel stay in Dubai compliments of Emirates Airlines!
After spending the night in Dubai on Friday, anglers depart with Emirates Airlines on board a direct 3 ½ -4 hour flight to Mahe, Seychelles. Once in Victoria, guests have a short layover before catching the 50 minute charter flight to Alphonse Island around 2:30PM. The island operates a beautiful twin engine Beechcraft turboprop for the flight to/from Alphonse.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates Routing
Depart U.S. on overnight flight to Dubai with Emirates Airlines. There are daily direct flights from Houston and New York. Flight time is approximately 15 hours.
Arrival in Dubai mid evening around 6:00PM. Spend the night exploring the city and/or resting in a free hotel room provided by Emirates Airlines at the Millennium Hotel five minutes from the airport.
Depart on mid morning, 3.5 - 4 hour flight to Mahe, Seychelles with Emirates Airlines. Upon arrival in the Seychelles, travelers are met by a representative from the resort, assisted through customs, and checked in for charter flight to Alphonse Island. After checking into the resort and settling into chalets, anglers are given a brief orientation discussing the next six full days of angling. Dinner and overnight at the resort.
Sunday - Friday
Six full days of fishing Alphonse Island and the St. Francois Lagoon.
A mid-morning charter flight returns anglers to Mahe with ample time for connection with Emirates Airlines Flight departing around midnight bound for Dubai.
Early morning arrival back in Dubai in time for easy connection with Emirates Airlines back to Houston or New York.
For anglers traveling through Europe, you must depart on an evening “red-eye” flight (10 hours) with Air Seychelles on Friday night and arrive in Victoria, Mahe Island the following morning (Saturday).
Depart U.S. on overnight flight to London or Paris.
Arrival in London or Paris mid-morning. Spend the day exploring the city and/or resting in a hotel room. Depart on evening "red-eye" flight to Mahe, Seychelles with Air Seychelles on ten-hour direct flight.
Upon morning arrival in the Seychelles, travelers are met by a representative from the resort, assisted through customs, and checked in for charter flight to Alphonse Island. After checking into the resort and settling into chalets, anglers are given a brief orientation discussing the next six full days of angling. Dinner and overnight at the resort.
Sunday - Friday
Six full days of fishing Alphonse Island and the St. Francois Lagoon.
A mid-morning charter flight returns anglers to Mahe with ample time for connection with Air Seychelles flight back to London or Paris usually departing around 10:00PM.
Early morning arrival back in London or Paris. Travelers can connect on to U.S. and arrive home Sunday afternoon or elect to overnight prior to returning home the following day.
When to Go
The Alphonse Island Resort is open the months of October – May
Alphonse Island Resort is closed for the rainy season during the summer months. The rainy season is well defined, starting abruptly in May and concluding abruptly in September. Anglers should not be fearful of poor conditions in early October and late April.
Because Alphonse Island is only seven degree south of the equator, the quality of the weather and fishing remains consistent throughout the season. The really is no “perfect time” to visit Alphonse Island while the resort is open however we always discuss tide charts for perspective weeks our clients are considering. While fishing on Alphonse and St. Francois is always spectacular, certain tides are more conducive for targeting certain species.
Temperatures remain warm year round in the eighties and nineties, even at night. The heat is never unbearable and a nice tropical breeze usually keeps things pleasant. Like all tropical destinations, rainstorms and breezy conditions can pop up at anytime, however consistent bad conditions are usually most prevalent during the summer months when the fishing operation is closed.
Standard Chalet/ Single Occupancy/Shared Guide - $7,650 / person
Seven Nights single occupancy accommodations at the Alphonse Island Resort; Six Days of guided fishing w/ shared guide; All meals; Reception Service and Customs Assistance in Mahe; Round-trip air charter to/from Mahe/Alphonse Island
What's Not Included
International Airfare to Mahe, Seychelles; All alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; Baggage Overweight Charges; Meals, Transportation & Accommodations in Mahe (when applicable); Guide or staff gratuity; Items purchased at the bar (beer and cocktails) or gift area; Flies and other fishing equipment; $175 Conservation Levy payable at Check-out from Resort (Cash Only); Other expenses might include tips to baggage handlers in airports; Departure Tax; Hotel Room and general travel expenses in London or Dubai (when applicable); Items of a personal nature; Telephone Charges
Note:Travelers with a 12 hour layover in Dubai are given a free hotel stay at the Millennium Hotel only five minutes shuttle from the airport.
Terms & Conditions
Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides, outfitters and lodges which it represents. Alphonse Island Resort’s policy follows: A non-refundable 50% deposit of is required within fourteen days to confirm reservations. Full non-refundable pre-payment is due 90 days prior to departure for Alphonse Island. If a replacement client is found, payment is refundable minus a $750 per person cancellation fee. No refund will be made for unused land arrangements included in cost. Any trip booked within ninety days will require full and non-refundable payment to confirm arrangements. Refunds of deposits/payments made on credit cards will be charged a 3.5% service charge to fully compensate Tailwaters Travel for all bank charges incurred. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses
Consider Travel Insurance!
Given the inherent strict refund policies associated with nearly all fishing packages, we cannot stress the importance of obtaining travel insurance to protect your investment. Travelers can obtain coverage for pre-existing health problems (related to yourself, your family, business partners, or your traveling partners), emergency evacuation, lost baggage, delay, life insurance packages; even “no questions asked” or “for work reasons” coverage.
We will provide you with more detailed information about travel insurance from our sponsored provider, Travel Guard, when you book a trip with Tailwaters Travel. We can conveniently process a very comprehensive insurance policy for you in-house after asking a few simple questions.
Call today to protect your investment: (888) 824-5420
Please review our Policies & Cancellations section.
NO NON-ANGLERS for 2012-2013 SEASON DUE TO CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
The resort is currently undergoing a renovation project and has limited staff on hand for non-anglers. The resort is only open to anglers during this construction phase.
Although fishing is the predominant activity at the Alphonse Island Resort, there are a myriad of slow paced alternate activities for non-angling guests to choose from. Gorgeous beaches perimeter the island and a huge and beautiful freshwater swimming pool sits in the heart of the resort complex.
Alphonse can also arrange for a professional PADI certified dive master to be on hand to explore the lagoons incredible dive sites. A minimum of 4 divers are required for the diving program to operate, and advance notice is required.
We can arrange for a professional beautician to be on island during the week for approximately $2000US. This grants everyone in the party limitless massages as well as facials and other beauty treatments for women.
The resort has a lighted tennis court as well as several saltwater kayaks & paddleboats for those interested in a little exercise. There is an English style billiards table and a very spacious and equipped conference room/facility for business meetings. The island itself is completely uninhabited excluding the resort with several miles of well-manicured trails through the tropical jungle that are great for a jog or bike ride. On the opposite side of the island there are some remote beaches that are great for a private stroll or a little snorkeling.