Fly fishing for Bumphead Parrotfish in the Seychelles

Fly Fishing for Bumphead Parrotfish is a thrilling experience unique to the Farquhar Group of Atoll’s in Seychelles, specifically Farquhar Atoll and Providence Atoll. Our history targeting the species goes back as far as 2007 when the very first Bumphead Parrotfish was successfully landed using fly fishing gear on Farquhar. Since then, our team has refined the necessary fly fishing techniques and has gained in-depth knowledge of when and how to successfully target the powerful “Bumpie”.

The IGFA All-Tackle World Record Bumphead Parrotfish caught by angler Mark Weeks & FlyCastaway guide Brandan Becker.

Fast Facts:

  • The IGFA All-Tackle World Record Bumphead Parrotfish was landed by a FlyCastaway guest on Providence Atoll in November 2019 weighing a whopping 46.35kgs (102 lbs.) and was certainly a highlight of that saltwater fly fishing season. We regularly encounter the species between 80 – 110cm on the flats. 
  • Bumphead Parrotfish are a slow-growing species and are thought to live as long as 40 years.
  • Typically encounters occur while schools of 10 – 30 fish feed in shallow water on soft corals and crustaceans on the hard bottom flats of Farquhar and Providence.
  • Bumphead Parrotfish accept a range of crab patterns tied on good-quality hooks. The most important element for success while fishing to the species lies in the presentation based on the amount of current or lack thereof, and the kind of substrate you happen to be fishing over.

A Bumphead Parrotfish double caught on Providence Atoll.

 Rigging up for Bumphead Parrotfish

  • The best fly rods for Bumphead Parrotfish are 9-foot 10wt fast action saltwater fly rods. – We recommend 9ft 10wt G.Loomis NRX +.
  • The best fly lines for Bumphead Parrotfish are 10wt Tropical/Warm water fly lines to match the recommended rod – Our choice is the Airflo Superflo Ridge 2.0 flats Universal Taper 10wt fly line.
  • The best reels for Bumphead Parrotfish should have the following features: fast line retrieval, a drag system designed to handle wet wading in saltwater, and a minimum backing capacity of 250 yards of 60lb gel spun or casting braid. – Our top pick is the WADE Chanos which was designed to handle fish of this nature effectively.
  • Our leader configuration is unique, although simply put 25 – 30lb 9ft fluorocarbon tapered leaders are acceptable. The leader is joined to the fly line with a loop-to-loop connection, with the Perfection Loop the knot of choice on the leader end. Our knot of choice to the fly is the Improved Homer Rhode Knot which is a non-slip loop knot.
  • The best flies for Bumphead Parrotfish include Merkin and Flexo crab patterns tied on size #2 Gamakatsu SL12S hooks. Fly colours should be orange, white, or tan and should be tied with weed guards and in varying weights. We recommend packing 4 of each of these patterns as they’ll be used to catch just about all of the iconic tailing fish species available while on your fly fishing trip to Farquhar Atoll or Providence Atoll.

The right fly fishing outfit is essential while fly fishing for Bumphead Parrotfish.

How to catch more Bumphead Parrotfish on the flats

The positioning

Image supplied by Dave McCoy – FCA guide and guest move to get in the right position on Farquhar Atoll.

To dramatically improve your catch rate while fly fishing for Bumphead Parrotfish you should take your time to move into the right position before making your first presentation. A head on shot is ideal, this means getting directly in line with the school, so that the Bumphead Parrotfish are feeding directly towards your position on the flats. Take care to do this so that you do not alert the school of your presence.

The presentation

A school of Bumphead Parrotfish feed and move slowly towards a FlyCastaway guest on Providence Atoll.

The school should now be moving slowly toward your position allowing for a head-on shot. Now select a single fish in the school, preferably the closest fish, and aim to present the fly at least 4ft short of it, allowing the fly to settle on the bottom. Should the school’s feeding direction change and your target fish no longer on track to swim past your fly, you should retrieve your fly back quickly, move again, and repeat the presentation.

The retrieve

Image supplied by Dave McCoy – Matching the correct position, presentation, and retrieve will greatly improve your catch rate on the flats.

Bumphead Parrotfish will not actively hunt down a moving fly, therefore you need to present a static fly to the fish. The trick here is to retrieve only the slack out of the fly line so that you are in constant contact with your static fly sitting on the bottom. A feeding Bumpie will pick up your fly and slowly swim off with it in its beak, at this point you will feel a slight pulling sensation through the fly line meaning it’s time to set the hook with a short firm strip strike.

The fight

Image supplied by Dave McCoy – Bumphead Parrotfish are renowned for their explosive first run.

Bumphead Parrotfish are renowned for being one of the hardest fishing shallow water targets in the Indian Ocean. Following a successful hook-up, you will need to survive the initial run which is where your gear will play a critical role. Your drag should be set to roughly 60% of the maximum given the fact that we fish tippets of 25-30lbs. If all goes according to plan and you are still connected to the hooked Bumpie after its initial run, you can now begin applying more pressure on the fish with good rod angles and a slow lift and reel down line retrieval method.

Where is the best Bumphead Parrotfish destination for you?

There are just 2 destinations on the planet that provide consistent and reliable fly fishing opportunities for Bumphead Parrotfish. As the business that pioneered fly fishing in Seychelles, we’ve come to learn which venue is best for your needs and what tides are most likely to provide the experience you are after. If you are looking for the best venues on earth to catch Bumphead Parrotfish then we would strongly suggest the following:

Providence Atoll

Image supplied by Peter McLeod – A school of feeding Bumphead Parrotfish approaches FCA angler and guide.

The best saltwater fly fishing destination on earth – Providence Atoll and its mind-blowing diversity will provide you and your fishing partners multiple opportunities in front of powerful Bumphead Parrotfish. The atoll, which has received fewer than 1000 visitors in written history is possibly the last true saltwater fly fishing wilderness. For a detailed perspective of what to expect on the flats, read our week-by-week catch reports here, visit our website for more information about Providence Atoll, or get in touch with us via email – info@flycastaway.com

We would love to hear from you

Choosing the fly fishing destination that caters to your preferences isn’t easy. These venues are often in the far-flung corners of the world and require a great deal of time and energy to get to. FlyCastaway has run successful fly fishing trips with the best guide teams in the Seychelles & St Brandon since 2003. Our knowledgeable team works day and night to ensure you have the trip of your dreams. If you’re planning to visit Seychelles or have any other fly fishing travel-related questions, get in touch with us via email – info@flycastaway.com or stay up to date with the fishing action on Facebook & Instagram.

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