Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moving house...

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Friday, July 6, 2012

DIY Farquhar: African Flyfishing Mag

Fun in far flung Farquhar. Do note that page 2 should be page 3 and visa versa. Blame the editors!
DIY Farquhar

Rather go kiteboarding!

Its been damn windy lately - its 11pm now and the live wind report says its dropped to 20knts but the rattling windows makes me think its pushing 30 - and I honestly don't think I've seen the sun in three weeks. If the temperature didn't continue to hang out at 27degrees all day and night I'd honestly think I was stuck in some far flung latitude. But its not: its 4degrees and 20minutes South of the Equator. And you thought paradise was perfect all the time!

Needless to say, the shite weather, an impending lack of transport and my fast arriving departure have got me a little on edge when it comes to fishing time. They say that a man only truly worries about what he is leaving behind when his final days are near. I always figured that was all about death and legacy. I now think it's all about no longer living down the road from a Bonefish flat. I'm running out of fishing time and getting rather edgy!

So, amongst packing up two years of rubbish and fishing gear I've been doing my best to get down to the flats whenever possible. It has not been easy fishing but its been awesome. The fish are scarce but my spotting is great and I haven't ever been this good at casting into the wind!   :)

Liam Surridge, a fishing mate living in the land down under, is out for a few days of fishing before hitting an Inner Island Yacht cruise. (Read bounce in a washing machine rather than cruise!) Well, it was with wild tales of Exmouth Madness that he stepped straight into the howling South Easter. I really don't blame him for going kite boarding instead.

We have managed to get some fishing in at the protected beaches which lie in the lee of the islands. The flats are unfortunately all rather exposed to the devil wind so any 'easier' fishing is done in deeper bays and off the beaches. We've caught a few of the usual suspects but the fishing is most certainly of a "you should have here last month' quality.

I think I should have started kiteboarding!

You think its going to blow this weekend? And clouds? Wait, and throw in some rain for fun!
Flutefish. Funny looking bugger!
At least there has been some bending over of rods!
Windy, no sun; school of hard knocks!
Not a bad choice!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dinky Bonefish

The other day I caught a Bonefish. It was really small. Maybe the smallest ever! And cute. And I really wanted to call him Stan, take him home, build a big tank and put him in.

But I released him instead...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fishing the PigSty

Finding a new spot is always fun.

At this time of year the SE pumps daily, often hitting 18 or so knots. It humps straight across the majority of the flats on Mahe and Praslin. In fact, a strong SE will cause a great deal of frustration and anguish as casts are blown awry and vision is all but destroyed by waves and clouds.

It makes for tough fishing and generally sees one on the flats at day break (when the wind is only marginally lighter) or not at all!

This is why our new find is rather unique (and makes us happy). It’s a kind of man-made backwater. We’ve driven past it countless times when heading north in search of fish and waves! It’s the sort of spot written off without a consideration.

I’m not sure what made us stop. We had been chasing Goldens and Permit all morning and were ready for eggs and bacon. It may have just been the smooth silky water of a protected section of water. The enticing allure of not having to squint through chop glare and the idea of casting without having to make trigonometry calculations in order to land your fly in the zone.
Another day, another place, but somehow wildly appropriate (maybe you had to be there) as JD waits for Fabien , wanting nothing but eggs and 'bekin'!

But we did. And there lay two bonefish on the edge of the channel. And they were big. Surprisingly big.  What was left of the fishable tide was spent watching and casting. Although nothing came to hand, we saw several large fish, including a few Goldens, cruising the deep water of the channel.

The next morning found us chasing Goldens again on a vast grass flat further South. But as the wind knotted up we were back in the Blue Bomber and heading North to the new spot a little later.

JD walked the flat and Fab and I spotted from the man-made wall. It felt like spotting trout or yellows from a dam wall. It gave us an awesome view point but I soon realised we were spooking fish by being so high up. Our sandy and sky coloured shirts, which work such a treat on the wide open spaces of a flat suddenly stood out like a sore thumbs against the bright tropical green background!

Swim boetie, swim!

JD did get a beautiful Bonefish though. It headed first for the sea, then wrapped him round a rock and headed back into the lagoon. It swam right under Fab and I and it looked heavy. Pig heavy. JD had a swim, unravelled his line, thanked the fish for not changing direction again and proceeded to land a Bonefish with shoulders of a prize-fighter. “Heaviest Bonefish I’ve ever caught” were JD’s thoughts.

After discussing the spooking theory in some detail, it was decided that we would all walk the flats – no would stand on the high ground. It seemed to work. I connected with a heavy fish that popped my tippet and the take. A good lesson to self about triple checking tackle and using the previous days leader was learnt.
However I soon vindicated myself and brought to hand a stunning fish. Also fat and piggish in girth. It bent my #7 and gave a superb demonstration of how a Bonefish should fight. Two blistering runs; the first stripping a good 40m of backing off the reel.

It was then Fab’s turn and he had a fight on his hands with a fish that, although the same length, was a good 2lbs heavier than mine.

Three fish that were approaching trophy size is great going on Inner Islands – especially at a new spot one doesn’t know.

I may just grab the ferry across to Mahe this coming weekend to chase the farm animals swimming around the pig sty!
The #7 and and its tamed pig... 
Self Portraits: You've never quiet sure if you got it right... (Photoshop and buildings... no more!)

Fabien and his fatty!

Please that some of these photos have been edited to hide the location. My apologies but it is for purely selfish reasons. Come and visit and we'll take you there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

South America: The Gear

In anticipation of the upcoming South American odyssey, I've spent a fair amount of time contemplating the choice of fishing gear that will taken on the road.

It has not been an easy task deciding and refining the choices. A few serious limitations made the the basics easier enough to decide; living out of a backpack for almost five months means that space is a rare and valuable commodity which makes taking my favourite two piece rods along on the trip simply out of the question.

So it was decided that two rods and two reels with spare spools would be the limit. Flies shall be carried in Ziplock bags and transferred to the single flybox as needed. A floater and a sinker for each rod and a maximum of five leader material spools. And the rods needed to be four or five piece - obviously!

That was relatively easy. The hard part was deciding on the right rods. Much umming and ahhing has been spend over this topic but I eventually decided that a #3 and #7 would be the best combination to cover the broad spectrum of fishing that is to done. I also have the option of tossing in my #5 too - just to fill the gap!

While the dream of a trophy tarpon is extremely unlikely to be realised on #7, the rod will cover the majority of the salt water situations I may encounter in Colombia (this, in my mind, includes Permit, Bonefish and smaller Tarpon although I may not get a shot at any - I'm not really sure what I'm going to find and information is a little like hen's teeth!)  The #7 will be perfect to deal with almost all the Amazonian freshwater species I may do battle with over the four-and-a-bit months. And this promises to be a fair few which include Peacock Bass, Golden Dorado, Piranha, Payara, Pirarucu (smaller species), Tambaqui, Jacunda, Traira and the tarpon-like Sardinata - but more on these later.

The #3 and #5 will be used for the stream, river and lake fishing in Patagonia when chasing the Rainbows and Browns that have made that region so famous.

As for reels, my choice is pretty simple. The #3 gets an old Okuma Sierra that has survived the test of time in my fishing life - ten years of great service from the Cape Streams to mullet in Knysna and still going strong. The #5, should it go for a ride, will to be matched to my Predator #4/5 and the #7 to my Predator #7/8/9. I've been a firm believer in Anton Pentz's Predator reels since my first Seychelles mission in 2001. They're solid, salt water proof (well as salt water proof as any any reel can be) and sport a very smooth and reliable drag. The choice for me is a no-brainer! All the reels have spare spools and will be sporting floaters and sinkers.

The rods, after much hunting, comparing and budgeting have been chosen. The #3 will be a 9' Sage VT2 and the #7 a 9' Scott x2s. The #5 is a Jim Teeny TFO that has seen some serious action in its years!

Here's to bending them all in the Latin Latitudes!

Three fish stoppers, clean, shiny and proven.
The VT2, ready for adventure...
The ever classy Miss Scott #7... she got tested on a pair of bonefish and handled it easily!

Tried and tested, ready for another round.

Stumbling on my vice

Notus and Eurus have combined their efforts into a humping South Easterly that has blown us daily off the flats. It has littered the otherwise pristinely white beaches with tons of Sargasso weed and loose turtle grass that fouls line and flies.

With seven weeks until the departure for South America, I figured the wind was a good excuse to spend some quality time with my vice. What I hadn't counted on is that I've spent so much time tying saltwater flies that I'm struggling to get back into the rhythm of small flies.

Tying a simple and old favourite pheasant tail yesterday led to a case of severe frustration and thread breaking. I eventually gave up, made some Bovril toast with too much butter, opened a beer and put the Patagonia edition of Trout Bum Diaries into the DVD player.

It proved rather inspirational and got me amped to tie again! Off I went and...


Again! Twice in an evening was too much! I opened another beer and watched Running Down The Man.

So I've decided that I should step it down slowly. Start with a few tarpon flies, then move to a few bigger freshwater streamers and smaller brush flies. Gradually decrease the hook size and thread diameter until I can once again tie up tiny, delicate flies without catching a case of the losers!

From these....

To these with much frustration!!!