FEBRUARY 2016 NEWSLETTER
I have had the pleasure and privilege of spending most of this month in this beautiful tropical island country of the Maldives where I hosted two trips to the northern atolls. Between trips I stayed in a comfortable hotel near a beach not too far from the airport. Life could be tougher!!
Recent trips: report back
Rocktail Bay Fly Fishing Workshop.24 – 27 January 2016
Attended by 7 guests the highlight was 65cm GT caught by Brendon Lubbe on his 9 weight outfit. Being Brendon’s first GT and that from the surf zone you can imagine how happy he was. Several very good size brassy kingfish, big wave garrick and a variety of other species were also caught during the four days.
As is the case at all these workshops the overwhelming positive feed -back was that of how much the participants had learnt and benefitted from the experience.
Maldives – Northern atolls 6 – 12 February
In my book there is nothing to beat the excitement and challenge of sight casting to really big GTs in the surf zone. I have discovered several islands in the Maldives where we can do just that. When I say big GTs I mean BIG GTs as we have seen fish in excess of 1.4m.
On the first day on this trip we saw more than 30 fish in the crystal clear water of the surf zone and just four of those were estimated be under a meter in length. We had four hook ups with one fish on 103 cm landed.
On all subsequent days, bar one, a similar number of GTs was seen at various islands that we visited.
All in all we had 14 GT hook ups with six fish landed. Russell Hansen improved of his 2015 GT of 78 cm with fish of 98cm and 65cm and a bluefin of 70cm this year. Good fishing Russell!
An incident that I will remember for the rest of my life occurred when I was about to tail a 40 cm GT that Mark Hansen was bringing in. I was standing next to Mark in two foot of water with the fish a mere 1.5 metres from us when a monster GT came crashing in between us and engulfed that hapless fish, turned and sped off heading for the horizon.
Still in a state of shock and drenched by the water that had erupted from the attack Mark was now faced with a situation of dealing with a very big GT attached to the end of his hopelessly under-gunned 9wt. rig. Needless to say, this encounter did not last too long.
The size, power and attitude of these fish are what make them such a challenging species to target, especially in their favoured stomping ground, the surf zone.
Ray Mitchell, as always, caught a lot of fish including a 60 cm GT on his 8 wt. Ian Campbell, a freshwater angler from the UK and who lost a GT after a long fight, now understands the difference in power between trout and GTs. Richard Lamble and Marco Dagnolo both caught a variety of smaller fish.
Sadly we did not see bones on this trip but we know they do occur here.
All in all, a very happy group of anglers
Maldives- Northern atolls 20 – 26 February 2016
Bad weather and very strong winds set in during the week before and at the start of this trip. Cloud cover at times limited our visibility and the number of GT sighted during the trip was considerably less than on the previous trip. That said some great moments were experienced by all the guests.
The sight of 1.5 meter GTs surfing down waves, seeing a 1.2metre fish engulfing a fly and the disappointment of being reefed within seconds, being cleaned up by a huge barracuda, the excitement of seeing and casting to GTs in the surf and the joy of landing these powerful predatory fish were just some of the highlights of yet another great trip.
Mark Meyer landed two of his biggest buefin kingfish and was very unlucky not to connect with a GT on two occasions. Jay smit also landed his biggest Bluefin, a 75cm GT and after a 10minute fight lost a 100cm GT when it cut him off in the shallows.
Guests who preferred the flats were rewarded with a variety of species and had several opportunities of casting to triggers and bonefish.
I will be back there for another trip commencing on 21 March this year and will report back on it when I am back is SA
Dates for our 2017 trips to these northern atolls have just been confirmed- please see below. If you are keen to join me to experience the excitement and challenge of sight casting a fly to some very big GTs in the surf s, please contact me for more information.
TRIP DATES: MALDIVES NORTHERN ATOLLS 2017
8- 14 February 3 rods available
24 February – 2 March 6 rods available
9 – 15 March 6 rods available
25 – 31 March 1 rod available
Cost: $3400pp sharing (excludes international flight)
Rocktail Bay Saltwater fly fishing workshop: 7 – 11 March 2016
I have a full complement of guests for this workshop which coincides with very good tides, moon phase and season.
As always the main focus of the workshop is to prepare participants for the rigors of fly fishing in our harsh and varied surf conditions.
The workshop covers topics such as safety, tackle set-up, knots and leaders, reading the water, being at the right place at the right time, the timing of the cast, fly choice, stripping techniques and many other disciplines.
For more information about future workshop dates please contact me.
Orange River: Large and Smallmouth Yellow fishing:
We have had a very good response to our new and very special yellowfish destination on the Orange River where anglers have exclusive access to nine kilometres of pristine water teeming with fish. During our four day exploratory trip there in 2015, eight anglers landed more than 300 small mouth and 16 largemouth yellowfish.
The dedicated fly fishing season is limited to just 30 days during the prime time of October/November. For more information regarding this destination and availability for our 2016 season, please contact me.
Expectations without preparation!! The more effort you put into developing your skills prior to a fishing outing, the greater your success.