On the 30th of March 2016, three of the four man Providence guide team set off from Johannesburg for the first half of our 2016 Providence season. Flights to Mahe and then Assumption, followed by a 30 hour crossing on board Maya Dugong to Farquhar Atoll flew by. We then welcomed twelve very pleasant and extremely excited guests, together with the fourth member of our guide team Matthew Cousson, all of whom were ready to embark on an adventure second to none! The weather was fantastic and the sea flat calm, the crossing to Providence taking a mere five hours…which I might add included plenty of ice cold beer and excited chatter on the back deck. Little did our guests realise how good we would have it!
Day 1 – Anchored at midway for our first day out, the groups set out to the areas carefully chosen by the guides in terrific conditions. 8 hours later all returned back to the boat safely, with stories of great fish caught as well as a fair few lost, broken rods and fly lines, but most importantly eveyone being in very high spirits.
Day 2 – An overcast sky and a some wind greeted us on our second morning, but for those who know the atoll this is nothing to be feared…far from it in fact. Head guide Tim found some deep drainage channels full of fish life. His avid anglers got stuck into some GT’s and a mixture of reef fish which were targeted by sight casting and swinging flies down to fish holding in the current waiting to attack an easy meal which drifted down.
A memorable session indeed, which included some great double ups on GT’s for his group. Warren went on the long run north and got his guests into some world-class size Bonefish, along with
some great fish before the sun sunk below the horizon. To top the day off Basil Yelverton with his guide Matthew and Dave Pienaar with guide Wesley were fortunate enough to experience some highly anticipated Milkfish action. Dave managed to land a beautiful fish of around 22lb, with Basil’s fish coming in around 16lb. With the dropping tide and the large amount of algae coming off the atoll, hundreds of Milkfish could be seen feeding intensely on the surface which made for some visual fishing hard to comprehend.
Day 3 – Dan Heiser had a run in with a GT so big at first he thought it was a shark. The fish, which was well over a meter sadly, tore his fly line to pieces as it powered off the coral lined edge. Some nice GT’s were however landed, so too a couple of Triggerfish. GT’s hugging the backs of stingrays was the order of the day for Wesley and his clients. The rays and shoals of GT’s pouring into a white sand channel. The guys capitalized and managed to land 8 GT’s in very short succession. One highly memorable moment came when one of the fish charged in eating the fly a mere 30cm from the rod tip. Heart stopping stuff!
Day 4 and 5 – This is where the proverbial “%$#%^%$^ ” hit the fan. Warren found good numbers of GT’s in some surf, his guests casting at them as they rode in on waves. Wesley and his guests soon joined in and fun was had by all even in the deeper water. Plenty of double hook-ups and even a triple hook–up ensued. Guide Matthew and his team hit it big too, fishing on the eastern side with Dave Pienaar and Dan Heiser. Both guests accomplished “Slams” consisting of a GT, a Bumpy and a Triggerfish. Dave Pienaar had a stand out Day 5 landing eight GT’s, the total just for his team on the day reaching seventeen GT’s. Matthew once again headed to a favoured spot on the atoll On Day 5 were they found some very nice GT’s on stingrays during the pushing tide. Basil Yelverton and Robert Tjian landing a double up on GT’s, which was later, followed by another double-up with Basil Yelverton landing another GT and Michael Collins a fantastic Napoleon Wrasse.
Day 6 – Our last day was spent in the South where some fantastic fishing was had. Guide Tim and his team found some big GTs in the coral and deep water, with Dave Goeddel getting a 98cm GT and Basil Yelverton a 95cm amongst the seven fish landed. Matthew and his group ran into one of Providence’s infamous ‘super shoals’, a pack of fifty plus fish marauding their way across the flats. Needless to say they got some really good fish! Wesley and his team took full advantage of the myriad of coral bommies in the area, landing 9 different species including a 20lb Green Job fish.
In the end 107 GT’s, a host of other species and some incredible memories made for a superb opening week. The guide team thus said their goodbyes to a very satisfied group of anglers and welcomed a new set of clients that were frothing at the mouth to get onto the flats and experience the stories that were shared in passing.
It was great way to kick off our season and we can’t wait for the next few days!
Hope to see you on the water soon.
The Providence Guide Team