St Brandon’s Blog: 2-12 April 2016

Gregson_STBRANDONS-24We were hugely excited to welcome our first group of guests for 2016 onto St Brandon’s. Whilst it goes without saying we were eager to show the group the world class fishing on offer, we were equally excited to show them home base for the week and the future of the project, a recently refurbished guesthouse situated on Raphael Island. An added bonus was the fact that the sport fisher transport vessel had made good time and as such we were able to take the group out for a very enjoyable bonus afternoon session of fishing, with some really nice Bones amongst the group and a good sized Golden Trevally courtesy of William Bland kicking us off!

9B3A5615After a good nights sleep and a great breakfast, the guests rigged up in the new ‘mudroom’ following which the first day on the flats was soon underway. There were some good opportunities to get GT’s as well as solid shots at Permit but unfortunately the fish came out on top, the stiff St Brandon’s breeze still being adjusted to. Everyone did however have a good day chasing Bones and despite shaking off some “rust” there was a serious element of excitement in the group as the sunk below the horizon and a few cold drinks were enjoyed back at the guesthouse.

9B3A5561Day two was spent mainly targeting Bonefish and all the anglers enjoyed a great day out on the flats. Stories were shared around the dinner table of fish caught and lost, the common topic being how privileged we are to watch large Bonefish tail on a fly in a few inches of water. Everyone agreed that St Brandon’s is certainly a special place!

Gregson_STBRANDONS-7Day three brought with it some excellent Bonefishing, the majority of the fish coming weighing between 6-8lbs. The fish of the day was however a beautiful Bluefin Trevally of 73cm caught by William Bland while fishing to a pack of hungry fish cruising on the back of a large Nurse Shark. The fish demolished the Brush fly a few feet from him, instantly charging away as it made a burst for freedom. The immensely talented Bryan Gregson on assignment for FlyCastaway and Yellow Dog Fly Fishing  http://www.yellowdogflyfishing.com was thankfully on hand and proceeded to shoot some amazing stills to capture the moment. The fish was released and there were high fives all round!

9B3A5219Day four started off with an early morning tailing Bonefish session, many of the fish sight cast to in ankle deep water. It was the classic story, singles and doubles snaking their way slowly across the shallow flat in search of any crustacean brave or stupid enough to remain unhidden. Some spectacularly marked Bluefin Trevally were also landed, so too some large Spangled Emperors and the diminutive but aptly named Picasso Triggerfish. The guests were astonished at the remarkable colors and shapes of these fish, as for many of them it was their first encounter with these species. William Bland once again stepped up and landed a 76cm Bluefin Trevally, outdoing his fish from the previous day. This brought a fitting day to an outstanding day on the atoll.

The tides on the fifth day promised much and subsequently delivered. Many Bonefish DSC08556were landed in the morning session alone, with Murray Low landing a beautiful 28-inch fish. There was also a quadruple hook up with John and Selena Mitchell, Shamal Malik and Jeremy Stewart all landing good sized Bonefish within minutes of each other, the four of them sharing a great moment together before releasing their fish. During the same session some Golden Trevally, Needlescale Queenfish and Bluefin Trevally were landed, showcasing the variety of species and quality of fishing St Brandon’s has to offer. Good numbers of GT’s were also seen, but despite a few chasing down the flies no solid connection was made. Nonetheless the fish had grabbed hold of our guests attention for sure, the mere sight of a 100cm plus GT chasing down a fly is more than enough to leave a last impression.

9B3A5201Day six was a cracker for large Bonefish. All the anglers caught a number of fish ranging between 6lbs and 8lbs, the best fish of the day going to Jeremy who got 2 fish just over 9lbs, John too featuring with a 9lb slab of muscle of his own. There were a number of good shots at Permit and Bluefin Trevally but these were unfortunately not converted. Shamal landed a good-sized Golden Trevally amongst others and there were many Blue Spangled Emperors eager to eat a fly.

_DSC8575The final day brought some of the best fishing of the week. Many large Golden Trevally were seen tailing on the flats and although two of these brutes were hooked, the end result was not in our anglers favor. The Permit were out in good numbers but were skittish and sadly we were unable to connect. Large Bonefish were however the order of the day and Murray Low landed the biggest Bonefish of the week with a very fat 9,5lb. brute. The highlight of the day and perhaps the week was however the 108cm GT landed by John. The fish ate the fly almost next to the boat and proceeded to head straight into coral. Craig his guide jumped into the water to free the fly line from the coral and by some miracle the line held and John was rewarded with a prize he will soon not forget. After a measurement to confirm the size and a few photos of this magnificent creature, the fish was released capping off an amazing opening week of the 2016 St. Brandon’s season.

All in all, a tremendously fun and enjoyable week with a great group of people. We hope to see all of them back soon!

Cheers for now

The St Brandon’s Guide Team

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