Providence: 8-15 Nov 2016
The sixth and final week of our season welcomed a multinational group including guests from Australia, South Africa, England, Scotland, France, New Zealand and the US. Most of the group has fished with us previously; however the experience on Providence that lay ahead would be a novel one for each one of them. Needless to say that everyone was itching to get out onto the flats after some really pleasant weather had arrived, the morning offering flat calm and warm conditions.
The tides we had for the first day indicated Bonefish, Bumpies and Triggers would be our major targets to begin with. Ben got the show on the road and landed a nice Moustache Trigger within minutes of being on the flats. Mike and Ty capitalized on tailing Bones in super skinny water, all of which averaged between 6 and 8 pounds. Both Mike and Ty later went on to land a Bumpy apiece shortly after their great Bonefish session. Gerry took full advantage of two decent Yellow-Margin Triggers that were targeted on narrow finger flats that separated the large lagoon systems in the eastern side. Team France had a solid Bonefish session in the morning, with Chantel our lady angler for the trip later getting our first GT for the week. She narrowly missed her Slam after losing three Triggers in succession.
The second day produced flat calm seas as a result of the lack of wind. As such, the word “Milkfish” screamed out loud as shoals of the open mouthed feeders could be seen from the mothership whilst we enjoyed a coffee from the top deck of the Dugong. Once again Mike and Ty were on top form and started their day off with a double up on Milkfish…..a truly special achievement! Their team mate Ian lost his Milkfish early on in the morning, however made up for it by completing our first “Slam” for the week when he landed a good size Yellow Margin Trigger, a GT and two Bumpies all on the pushing tide. Ben continued his good form on the Triggers and landed a Yellow Margin Trigger this time round. His teammate Andrew followed suit also landing a Yellow Margin Trigger shortly thereafter. The same team including Barry found the Bonefish honey hole, subsequently enjoying some spectacular fishing for the Grey Ghost. Roddy kicked off his week by wracking up a Milkfish right off the bat and soon after a huge Bumpy that went over the meter mark. His companions Dan and Gerry both landed a Bumpy shortly after in a classic double up. With the ever-increasing presence of blue tails flagging across the flats, the French team of Chantel and Laurent managed to land three in the last session of the day with Laurent landing really good-sized specimens. This was an incredible day of fishing to be a part of!
With good weather welcoming the dawn of day three, morale around the breakfast table was high and the talk about GT’s started to loom. With a small change in the daily plans the guides and their teams set out with some strategic plans in mind. Picking up where they left off, Laurent and Chantel started their day off with the ever present Milkfish and Chantel continuing her good form by landing yet another Bumpy. Bern got onto the scorecard landing his first ever GT on fly, a great achievement. Dan also got into some action and landed a good-sized Trigger and soon after his first GT of the trip. Gerry did not miss out on the Trigger action and landed a good size Moustache Trigger. The team of Ian, Mike and Ty went all out and all managed to land a GT a piece. Mike, after numerous misfortunes with Triggers eventually got his revenge and landed a good Yellow Margin. The team with the top honors’ for the day however went to that of Ben, Barry and Andrew. Each landed a Milkfish during the day that is an incredible achievement. Ben and Barry then when onto the flats and enticed some Yellow Margin Triggers to commit to their flies. Andrew then ended off his day by landing two Bumpies in very short succession.
The fourth day saw the tides progressing into a stronger push and drop as we neared the spring part of the tidal cycle. As a result the focus once again was turned to the GTs. Despite this it was very difficult to drive by feeding Milks and a quick stop en route saw Dan land his first ever Milky. Congrats Dan! With a slight increase in the number of GT’s frequenting the flats, our anglers took full advantage and Gerry, Chantel, Ty and Bern all managed a GT apiece. It was Andrew and Laurent that went one up though by landing two good fish each. Andrew did not stop there and tricked a really good Moustache Trigger into eating the fly and after a short run managed to land another high quality fish. Gerry also continued his good form on the Triggers and landed his fourth Trigger for the week. Ben although having tough luck in the initial stages of the week with Bumpies, finally managed to take it home, and in his afternoon session landed two quality fish…..yet another species ticked off the list. With the higher water in the late afternoon, Barry decided to indulge in some blue water fishing. It was not long before they teased up a proper Sailfish and with an efficient bait and switch, the electric blue fish rushed the fly, slashed at it with his bill and quickly sipped the fly off the surface of the water. The shouts of set set set came from the guide and within seconds the prince of billfish was seen tail walking off into the setting sun. It was Barry’s first Sailfish on fly and as such massive smiles ensued!
On the fifth day we once again woke up to large schools of feeding Milkfish alongside the boat. The skiffs were quickly loaded and we were off. Ian took the initiative and with the first pin point cast was on to his first Milky of the trip. After a series of jumps and some hard pulling, the fish was landed. Ben followed suit and also managed to entice the eat from his second Milky of the trip. Later Dan landed another very good quality Yellow Margin Trigger. This particular fish followed the fly from a full cast length all the way to the rod tip before deciding to consume the crab pattern presented to it. Gerry who on previous trips went eleven to one on Bumpies, looked like he had developed a knack for them and went on to land his third for the trip. The fifth day however belonged to the team of Barry, Andrew and Bern. Although the result does not do their day justice, they still managed to land four GT’s for the day. Andrew had two reasonably big fish and Bern and Barry had one a piece. It was however their tales of big fish lost, snapped fly lines and popped leaders that lingered around the dinner table that night. One particular event was after a rather large GT was hooked and lost; a particularly large Napoleon Wrasse took the fly upon retrieval. After a wrestling match that seemed to last an eternity the fly line popped and the Napoleon also got away.
The last day saw the return of the wind and overcast conditions that we have become accustomed to this season. Ben however had gone the whole week ticking every single iconic species off the list except for his GT. This was the last species to tick off and he did so in great fashion. Having to wade almost neck deep to get to the fish, a quick presentation of the fly quickly saw the wide gaping bucket mouth of the GT break the surface of the water. A job well done! Ian ended off with a bang landing a respectable GT in the dying moments of the day. Once again however it was the team of Andrew, Barry and Bern that ended off strong all landing respectable GT’s. It was Bern, who before this trip had never experienced any saltwater flyfishing, that ended off with a GT just over the one meter mark and a Bumpy. A great way to end the trip!
All in all a fantastic week….especially from a species point of view. Incredibly eleven out of the twelve anglers caught Bumpies, ten of the twelve caught Milkfish, ten of the twelve caught Triggers, eleven of the twelve caught Bonefish and landed GT’s. An incredible week of fishing and a fitting way to close out our season on Providence!
Until next season
The Providence Guide Team
Tags: Bonefish, Bumphead Parrotfish, Fly Fishing, FlyCastaway, Giant Trevally, Milkfish, Permit, Seychelles, Triggerfish