St Brandon’s Blog: 4 – 13 May 2011
It seems that every time we go back to St Brandon’s, it character has changed. The air feels different somehow, certain sand spits have grown, and some have disappeared. Flats move and lagoons swell or narrow – like a giant-living-breathing thing. It’s this constant change that gives St Brandon’s its own unique personality, perhaps a multiple one at that.
This week the neap tides permitted us to fish some newly formed flats for hours. The first couple days saw us on the flats from 8.00am to just after lunch, after which we were forced to fish the higher ground. That left us approximately five hours of optimal skinny water flats fishing. The bones held up their part of the deal and remained mostly hungry throughout. This terrific bonefishing coupled with weather that was almost too perfect, left both guides and clients with an incredibly euphoric feeling as we quickly realised we were witnessing something special. In this day and age This day and age, people wonder what a particular fishery would’ve been like before over population and heavy fishing pressure. At St Brandon’s you get that rare feeling that you’re in that moment. It’s a special feeling, like being let in on a special secret, one that no one would understand unless they were a part of it.
To get on with it, while we weren’t waxing lyrical about “how bloody perfect” everything was- as our Australian friends liked to put it- we also spent a helleva lot of our time opening a can of whip-ass on every broad shouldered bone that came within easy casting distance of us.
Early morning on the second day we woke up to a completely flat calm sea. The lagoon was a liquid mirror and without ripples to break the glare on the water’s surface, visibility was difficult to say the least. Dispite that challenge, it turned out to be an astounding day. Right off the bat we were into massive schools of bones, only visible by their tails (hundreds of them) braking the waters surface. In between the bones, the occasional Golden trevally tail would pop up, tailing aggressively. Allen seized the opportunity and speedily stripped an Avalon fly from what we would realize to be a trophy fish. The Golden, with the speed and agresstion associated with its species, chased the fly down and violently snatched the fly from Allen’s rod tip. After a tough and lenthy fight Allen held up a 20lb plus Golden Trevally, sporting a trophy smile worthy of the specimen.
Further North, Jaco and his clients had stumbled upon a remarkable phenomenon we’d never whitnessed previously. A school of at least 500 permit were schooling around their boat in deep water. After many attempts to catch the fish, and having gone through an entire box of flies in the attempt, they gave up hope of trying to catch the fish, and focued on getting remarkable footage. Later that evening we’d crowd around Jaco’s laptop, slack jawed at the sheer quantity of one of the most highly respected fish in our oceans. Throughout the week we’d see smaller schools of permit, ranging from 2 or 3 fish, up to fourty fish, all on the flats. Obsurdly, however, not one of these beautiful fish showed interest in our offerings.
It was also a week of missed opportunities, and consequent heartbreak. Tom lost a massive GT that was feeding on the flats amoungs two rays. Roger and Keith too had a brush with the beasts that will be hard to forget. Two GT’s, both estimated at over 1.10m milled around a pod of stationary sharks. One of the GT’s peeled off the sharks and came to investigate the approaching anglers. Simultaniously two lines shot towards the fish, which responded rapidly by inhaling Roger’s fly, dropping it it the screamed over to Keiths fly. Keith held on to the fish for a short while, but again luck ran out and the hook pulled. There was a long silence as the free fish headed for the surf.
All in all it was a week for the books, hard to forget after so many special moments.