This time of year traveling is a bitch….our original itinerary was to leave Dallas at 3:20 for a one hour flight to Houston and a 6:30 departure for Dubai.  Well, after sitting on the runway in Dallas for two hours and multiple sub-plots in between, we finally left Dallas at 4:50, landed in Houston at 5:50 did the OJ through the airport and made it to the gate with 1 minute to spare.  The flight on Emirates airline was incredible….that is the best airline I’ve ever flown, 15 hours but it seemed like 5.  Overnight in Dubai and early morning departure to Victoria, Seychelles.  1 hour layover and 1 hour flight to Alphonse Island.

Upon arrival, you realize quickly you are in paradise.  Coconut trees, white sand beaches, tropical birds, everything is green and beautiful.  The weather is typical for the tropics, warm and humid but very comfortable.  We are quickly whisk away to our chalets which are very nice and comfortable, after unpacking we head to the fishing center to get geared up.

Day 1:

The days are very regimented, wake-up 5:45, breakfast at 6:00 meet at the fishing center by 7:00 load up on the Tam Tam by 7:15 and off for the 45 minute run to the skiffs.

David and I are fishing together today….when we arrive at the skiffs, the weather is somewhat questionable.  Thunderstorms in the area and very bad light for the flats.  We head out for a morning bone fishing session and quickly hook up with several 4-6 lb fish.  After about 3 hours, the sun comes out and we head out to look for Milkfish.  Milkfishing is an art unto itself.  Milks don’t actively feed, they slurp algae from the surface.  We quickly locate a school of fish on the surface and David takes the first shot.  It takes no more than 5 casts and he’s hooked up.  After an eventful 1 hour and 9 minute fight, we land a beautiful 25 lb fish.

After a short break we search for more Milks.  We find many more schools and have several great shots but no luck….I couldn’t coerce one to take my “algae fly.”  At 4:00 we meet  back at the Tam Tam and head back to Alphonse.  On the back of the Tam Tam we notice several big GTs (Giant Trevally), Trigger Fish, Surgeon Fish and Bat Fish.  They love bread!

By the end of the day, the 24 hours of travel, the long fishing day, and the heat have caught up with everyone.  We are all ready for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Day 2:

David and I again fish together and our goal for the day is a big Geet.  Our guide for the day is the eternal optimist, Deven.  Early on we search the edges for GT”s and about 11:00 we embark on a 3o minute walk to “Big Wreck”.  The wreck is a Japanese tuna boat that ran aground during the 60’s.  Again, the light is poor and spotting fish is difficult.  David fishes the surf and sees several big GTs but no luck.  I fish for triggers and other reef fish while waiting for the tide to push.  Once the push begins, the big GTs come in behind the surf and look for baitfish in the holes.  Deven points out one of his favorite spots for GTs and on the first cast a huge Geet crushes my fly….he comes straight at me and I’m not able to get a good hook set.  I re-cast into the same spot and again a big Geet crushes my fly….I get a good hook set and it’s off to the races.  I have to negotiate coral and pieces of the wreck but land the fish relatively quickly.

At dinner, everyone is beginning to get rested up and acclimated to the new time zone.  The food is incredible: “Catch of the Day,”  Typically tuna or grouper or mahi mahi.

Day 3:

Today my fishing partner is Scott Mathews and our guide is the infamous South African, Wayne.  Our goal this morning is Bonefish with the occasional opportunity for a Permit.  We arrive on “prawn beds” flat at about 8:15 am.  Wayne told me on the way that he routinely sees permit on this flat early in the morning.  We get out of the boat and immediately see two permit heading our way.  I take the fish on the right and Scott takes the fish on the left I have about 15 seconds to get my line out and make two false cast before I lay the perfect 50 foot cast about 10 feet in front of the permit.  I strip it one time and he’s on it.  He tails, and it’s on….I’m using a 7wt Sage Xi2 with and Abel Super 7.  It handles the fish just fine and I land the fish in about 15 minutes.  Check out the cool new hat from Twintail Clothing Company!  Could it be more fitting?

While I was busy landing the permit, Scott caught 12 bones with the biggest being around 7 lbs.  After the permit, I joined Scott on the flat and we wore out the Bonefish.  Scott caught about 25 in two hours and I must have caught 15 including a big barracuda that cut my line after about 15 seconds.

After lunch Scott and I fished a flat known as “Guantanamo Bay”….Wayne says this flat has the largest concentration of Permit in the entire atoll.  He’s right…we’re immediately on Permit.  Scott has a great shot, the permit eats his fly turns to run and breaks the 25 lb leader.  Over the next 3 hours we have at  least 15 shots at picky permit.  Along the way we see a 6 ft Lemon Shark that is a little too curious.  We conclude the day with some more Bonefishing and it’s back to the Tam Tam by 4:00.

Day 4:

My new fishing partner is Dr. Roy Washburn, our guide is Matthiew the Frenchman.  Our goal for the day is Geets and Milkfish.  We spend the first 2 hours looking for milks, we find several feeding pods and Dr. Washburn makes 40 good casts but no luck.  After a while, it’s time to look for Geets.  We head outside of the reef to the west side, along the way we see two huge Green Turtles mating.

We are fishing about 400 yards outside the reef in about 25 feet of water.  The waters is so clear you can’t image what we see, green turtles, hawksbeek turtles, barracuda, rays, sharks, parrot fish, surgeon fish, milkfish, and I must not forget, the most important: Giant Trevally.  I’m on the deck and Matthieu say’s “Huge GT at 2 o’clock.”  I turn to my right and see a huge GT sitting at about 40 ft.  I make 2 false casts and land the fly 5 feet in front of the fish.  The image is still burned into my mind.  As the fly is falling to the water, the fish sees the fly in the air and meets it as it hits the surface….it is an incredible collision.  I feel the Geet and make 3 big strip strikes and he takes off, burning line off my reel.  As I clear the slack line, I can feel the power in this fish, but all of a sudden…..there’s nothing there –  he’s gone.  What did  I do wrong?  Did I give him too much slack?  I’m completely dejected but what can I do?  By this time its time for us to walk to the surf.  We park the boat in an area called “Ratrays”, eat lunch and then head off to the surf.

We’ve been at the surf for 30 minutes or so and have seen 3 or 4 GT’s but nothing close enough to cast to….Roy casts to several trigger fish then all of a sudden, Matthieu says “Tiger!!!”  There is a huge tiger shark in the surf about 100 feet away.  GT’s are known to follow tigers so we immediately start to follow the tiger looking for GTs.  The tiger is riding the wave so he’s getting closer all the time….luckily the tiger never sees us but there were no GTs on him.  We continue our trek down the reef and all of a sudden I see this GT riding the surf right towards us…he ends up in a small pool write in front of me about 25 ft.  I make a short cast and once again I’m hooked up to a big GT.  He runs and takes all the slack line and then all of a sudden, “Snap!!!”  my fly lines breaks.  Again, I’m completely crushed…I go to my knees in disgust….mistake, I’m standing on coral, I cut both my knees but that’s the least of my worries.  What have I done wrong this time?  Turns out, the line caught on the frame of my reel… mistake!  We fish for another hour and then head back to the Dolphin Skiff for the short trip to the Tam Tam and then back to Alphonse.

Day 5:

Again my fishing partner is Dr. Washburn, our guide is the legendary Scott and our goal is a big GT.  We spend the entire day searching the deep coral edges of the flats.  Roy and I take turns on the front but it turns out to be a long day.  We see several fish and have a couple of good shots but nothing seems to be interested in our flies.  The most exciting part of the day was a HUGE barracuda that I hooked and fought for 4 jumps before he cut the line.  He was at least 6 ft long and weight probably 50 lbs.  I sure wish I would have had a wire leader on!!!  No fish landed but a great day non the less.  Great companions in the most beautiful place in the world.  Who could ask for more than that?

Day 6:

The final fishing day of the trip and again I am fortunate to be fishing with Dr. Roy Washburn and our guide is Wayne.  In the morning we decide to have a bonefishing session and go to a flat known as “The Highway”….true to bonefishing in the Seychelles there is an endless supply of large singles.  We each catch 12-15 fish and we decide it’s time to look for GTs (sense a theme?).

For lunch we go to a spot called “Coral Gardens.” I snorkeled there earlier in the week and Roy had to check it out.  We anchored the boat ate lunch and had a quick 15 minute snorkle.  The place absolutely comes alive when you stick your head under the water.  100’s of species of fish and the most beautiful coral you can imagine.

After a short break we head off in search of GTs.  After and hour or so, we see two huge black spots about 250 feet ahead of the boat.  Waynes speeds up the boat slightly to get ahead of them so I can make a cast.  No pressure but Wayne says “Brent, these are two 100 lb fish, you have to make the cast of your life.”  I’m anxious but very calm, we approach to within 120 feet and I begin to make some small false cast to get some line out….I’m just about to try a 90 foot cast and they make us!  They turn left and it’s all over.  Easily the biggest fish I saw all week.  We’ll it’s time to go home, we head back to the Tam Tam.

Day 7:

Our plane doesn’t leave Alphonse until 5:00 pm so we have time to fish in the morning.  David and I head out early on the North side of the island to look for GTs in the surf.  It’s early and there’s not much light but on the way out, we see some wakes.  We assume it’s bonefish so I make a cast in front of one of the wakes and hook up to a Trigger Fish….it’s a great fight on a 7 wt.

We make our way to the surf and look for GTs for about 3 hours…we see several big GTs and make a few casts but no real good shots.  We finally decide to call it good and go back and get ready to go home.

We rinse off all our gear, lay it out to dry and relax until our plan arrives.

Our long journey home begins once we leave Alphonse at 5:00.

We have a 6 hour layover in Victoria, Seychelles, a 4 hour flight to Dubai, 2.5 hour layover then a 16 hour flight to Houston, 2 hour layover and a 1 hour flight to Dallas.  All in all, I would endure the travel again – for the fishing.  Without doubt, the best fishing on the planet.