Providence Blog: 7-14 Nov 2017

Providence Blog: 7-14 November 2017

IMG_0645We welcomed back the familiar French ‘foreign legion’ headed. Having had a look at the tides for the week we had to think a little outside the box as most of the days resulted in high neap tides with very limited time on the flats. Subsequently, planning sessions revolved around a substantial amount of blue water fishing for Sailfish. What lay ahead was however markedly different to what we initially anticipated and the flats really came to life and produced some really special fishing days.

DSCN7458The first day started with our guests waking up to free jumping sailfish behind the mothership. With pink sailfish flies strewn across every twelve weight on the boat all the skiffs headed out with teasers flaring behind the wake of the skiffs. Between the four boats a total of 18 sails were raised for the morning with only one landed by Christoff. Many sob stories were told that evening about lost sails and missed opportunities. Back to the flats as the water receded, saw Stephan himself getting the ball rolling landing the first fish of the trip. Malik, Alberto, Christian and Louis all followed suit landing a GT a piece. Bertrand was the only flyfisherman to get two fish on this day with one narrowly missing the 1mt mark.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the tide only shifting an hour later, the skiffs once again set out to catch the now elusive sailfish. Malik did not disappoint and swiftly landed the first and only one for the day. As soon as the tide dropped and allowed the fishermen back onto the atoll the guides were spread from the Northernmost point of the atoll to the Southernmost point of the atoll and neither disappointed. The ball got rolling with Alberto quickly landing the first GT for the day. The ball then lost control as the team in the North laid waste on a school of GTs that frequent the white sand banks on the surf. All together they landed 15 GTs of which Malik continued some fine form and landed 7 while team mates Stefano and Jean Louis landed 4 apiece. The team in the south did not quite find the same numbers, however they did find something very very special by any flyfishermans standard. Bertrand and Louis both managed superior quality GTs but the highlight for the day was Stephan with his remarkable Napoleon Wrasse. Having targeted these fish for several seasons, every single one that has been hooked, has been lost due to a myriad of reasons. This time however, the stars aligned, and Stephan managed to tame an absolute monster on the fly in a tricky coral ridden area. Some huge congratulations to him.

DSCN7539The offshore water still boasted some immaculate blue water and we were once again hopeful that the sails would be around. This time round only the one boat ventured out and made the best of what was put in front of them. Alberto who up till this point had lost six Sails finally managed to bring one to hand. Shortly afterwards Christian also went on and managed to land his first ever Sailfish. Two ecstatic clients. Having identified some of the GT hotspots on the previous day, the skiffs ventured out once again with everyone’s focus primarily on GTs. The team of Stephan, Bertrand and Louis had a stellar day on the surf line, landing 13 GTs of which Stephan really excelled once again and caught 8 while Louis and Bertrand both managed 2 GTs each. Joseph, who is completely new to salt water flyfishing, persisted throughout the day and eventually landed his first ever GT. A memory that will remain with him for a long time to come. Stefano added to his tally landing two GTs for the day. Jean-Louis had the stand out day and caught his first ever Trigger that was found tailing along a finger flat separating two large lagoon systems. As the finger dissipated into the lagoon edge, Jean-Louis found himself casting at a larger than average GT on the back of a Lemon. Upon stripping at a rapid pace, the fish broke off from the shark and broke the surface of the water, mouth fully extended to engulf the fly. 101cm of pure power steamed off into the deep lagoon (#hellobacking – 😊). Having the had the Trigger and the GT, a huge emphasis was put into finding a Bone to complete the slam for Jean Louis, however it was not meant to be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the tide approaching a mid-day high, a decision was made to send two boats to the north eastern side of the atoll to explore an area that has probably only been fished by a handful of people. The decision paid off and both boats returned landing 10 and 12 Gts each. Most of these fish were caught out of schools of GTs pilling into the lagoons in the middle of the atoll. Jean-Louis landed 3, Stefano 2, Christian 6, Joseph 5, Alberto 1 and Malik landed 5 of which one of his fish narrowly broke the 1mt mark measuring 101cm. This was GT fishing at its best. The team of Stephan, Bertrand and Louis decided to take a different approach following their 12 GT day the previous day. Their focus shifted primarily onto Triggers. They were rewarded with some epic Trigger fishing seeing more than 50 Triggers for the day. In true Trigger fish fashion, it was easier said than done with some being super spooky, some following all the way to the rod tip and not committing to eating the fly while the others that did eat the fly were lost to coral, smashed up hooks, you name it they experienced it. The team did however manage to land a total of four for the day which was a great feat. In amongst the Trigger pandemonium, Louis got slightly distracted and could not help himself from catching one of the many GTs that swam by them. Louis also found himself in a situation with a group of feeding Milkfish over a white sand flat. A quick change in flies and three casts later he was in the battle of his life. In a fight that lasted almost 45 mins and a good couple of hundred meters later without the aid of a boat, the fish was leadered three times before the hooks pulled, right at the end of the fight.

IMG_1759With the tides reaching prime for Bonefish up in the northern part of the atoll, two boats moved onto flats renowned to hold good numbers of these green slabs. Although their numbers were not as we had hoped, Jean-Louis and Christian both managed to get three and four respectively. After the tide had risen substantially, both Jean-Louis and Christian both switched focus onto GTs and rightfully so as they both managed to get two GTs each. With both on the brink of slams, they switched to targeting Triggers, however as luck would have it, they were both denied slams as the Triggers they did find would not play game. Bertrand also followed suit by catching a Bone and a Trigger, but this time was denied the slam by not being able to land the GT that he did hook. Louis picked up where he left off the previous day on the feeding Milkfish on the flats. He managed to jump a further two only to be denied at the last minute of the fight as the hooks pulled in both instances. Alberto and Stefano kept the GT flag flying high and managed to land 1 and 3 respectively.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving had a taste for the Bones on the previous day Stephan, Bertrand and Louis picked up where they left off and headed to a similar area. This time however, they found the Bones evenly spread out in singles and doubles over an extensive white sand flat. With the fish measuring between 24 and 27 inches, these solid average 7-8lb slabs rearranged the backing on all the fly reels used to target them, they managed 15 bones in very short succession. Bertrand also made a quick switch of rods and tamed a really solid GT that raced in between the Bones and almost caught him off guard. On a completely different flat, Joseph also got in on the action and managed to land a couple of Bones as well as a GT. The team of Christian, Malik and Jean-Louis ended the trip off on a high and managed to land 5 GTs all of which were plucked from a daisy chain of sting rays pilling up onto the flats on the latter part of a pushing tide.

Another really great week of fishing on this incredible atoll called Providence!

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