Providence Atoll Report: 19 – 28 March 2017
Welcome to the opening week report from our first trip on Providence Atoll for 2017. We welcomed a group of 12 extremely excited anglers from Aardvark McLeod on the 19th of March for an extended stay with us, their trip including 9 nights and 8 full days of fishing on one of the most remote and untouched fisheries on the planet. To say spirits were high would be understatement, the camaraderie and excitement amongst the group and guides as we set up tackle, tested knots and tied on flies indicating we had great group onboard. Little did we know just how special a trip we would have even by Providence standards.
We based ourselves in the centre of the atoll on day one, so we could explore various areas and see which sections held clean water and high fish concentrations. By the end of the day we knew were in for a good week GT wise. High numbers had been encountered throughout most of the areas we prospected and to sweeten the day our guests capitalised on many of the chances they had. The Bonefish and Triggerfish were also around in great numbers with some solid specimens of both species being converted. Strangely enough our friends the Bumpies were the only fish species not really encountered in good numbers on Day 1, but we had another 7 sessions to tick these highly sought after critters from our list. All in all it was a very promising start to the trip, the great day of fishing ensuring our guests could enjoy a cold beer at the end of the day knowing that all the waiting and preparation had been worth it.
Day two continued to produce the goods on the GT front, with huge numbers of fish seen throughout the day. As far as I can remember all our guests had landed at least one GT before the day was done! The Bonefishing too continued to impress. Congratulations must go out “Brummie” for landing his personal best Bonefish of 64.5cm. The fish was spotted slowly draining its way down a white sand flat in shin deep water and after seeing the well presented crab pattern tailed hard on the fly. It took loads of string during the tussle before eventually coming to hand. This was just one of many Bonefish landed during the session. The Triggers were also around in good numbers, happy tailing and readily chasing down a well presented crustacean pattern. The Bumpies however were still not around but we had a feeling it was just a matter of time until we saw them happily feeding on the flats again.
The GTs were full up on the turtle grass flats on day three, most of which were ready to attack anything in their path as they came in on stingrays, sharks or free swimming packs. It was text book stuff and we enjoyed sessions one dreams about. The Bonefishing slowed down a bit on day three but there were some Permit around, two of which were narrowly missed as they tailed hard on the fly but no connection could be made. Nail biting stuff and the reason this species is so highly sought after. The Milkfish have also been around in great numbers but we were not able to capitalise just yet. There were also a lot of Bluefin Trevally, Spangled and Yellow Lipped Emperors all of which got the reels singing and showed why Providence is so highly regarded as a species venue. The Triggerfish presented themselves in good numbers in certain sections of the atoll and as such our guests had been fortunate enough to land both Yellow-Margin and Giant during the first three days of fishing. Considering how technical these fish can be they offered a nice variation to the combat style GT fishing. The Bumpies did make a small appearance finally, with small pods spotted on the midway turtle grass sections of the atoll.
Day four brought with it our first GT over a meter. Congratulations to Peter Opperman for getting it done on a slab 103 cm fish! This fish was moving from lagoon to lagoon on the dropping tide in low light conditions. He made the cast ahead of the fish and enticed it with one slow long strip, following which the fish’s behaviour changed immediately extending its pectoral fins out and rushing the fly. After engulfing the fly the fish took a serious first run through the lagoon systems, with Peter having to run after the fish through these sections to stop it from getting him in the coral. After a few intense minutes the fight was done and he held his prize. The Triggers were still around in good numbers on the northern turtle grass sections, so too were the Bumpies which were seen feeding happily in knee deep water. We managed to hook a good number of them during the day and in the end we had netted and photographed four…a stellar effort. Congratulations to Thomas Haskins and Jonathan Murray for landing their first Bumpies, and to Tim Pike for landing his first and second…. what an achievement.
Day Five saw us heading into Spring Tides which meant an increase in water movement. Added to which the flats were really looking good with only a small build up of warm water. Although the Bumpies were still around, opportunities were limited as they fed at speed over the flats, making it tough to target them effectively. The GTs were still around in good numbers with some bigger fish moving across the flats during the day. Congratulations to Peter Opperman again for landing our second meter fish of the trip. His fish of 108cm was spotted dropping out of a depression off a white sand flat in the midway area section. The fish didn’t see his first presentation but he quickly made another cast, this time waiting for the fish to start approaching the fly before he made two small strips. The fish saw the fly and began tracking, eventually rushing in. Peter kept low and stripped hard as the fish ate, instantly peeling line off the reel as it powered away. A good battle was eventually won before the fish was tailed. The Milkfish continued to feed high and happily off the surface during the day and we enjoyed multiple hook ups. Thankfully this time round we managed to get two to hand during a short session targeting them as they sucked heavily off the surface. All in all we had a cracking day with some really special fish coming to hand.
Although the GT numbers slowed a bit on day six, we still managed to get some really good sized fish. Big congratulations to Jonathan Murray landing our third fish over the meter mark with his 101cm prize. This fish was in super skinny water with its dorsal fin and back out of the water when first spotted. It didn’t react to the first couple of casts but fell for the third attempt, pushing a huge bow wave as it charged in to destroy the fly. James Bramwell and Marcus Beale followed suit and soon we had our 5th and 6th fish over the meter, their 103cm and 101cm providing for a truly memorable day of GT angling. The Milkies continue to present themselves in good numbers, we landed more of these incredibly powerful fish before the close of play.
The GTs continued to present themselves to us on the seventh day, the bottom of the dropping tide and initial stages of the pushing tide producing some very exciting fishing in certain sections of the atoll. We started to see some warmer water pushing in with the tide which curbed prolonged action, but the Milkies were still around in huge numbers and we managed to land a couple. This is the beauty of this the atoll, one always has options species wise!
Our final day started off in insane fashion; Marcus Beale getting a grand slam before 10am by landing a Milkfish, Bonefish and a GT during his brief time on the flats. The GTs were full up in one particular spot, with one group enjoying some great surf GT action. Another huge congratulations to Jonathan Murray for banking his second GT over a meter on the trip, his huge 118cm fish the largest for the trip and quite certainly the fish a lifetime. The fishing in other areas of the atoll proved a little tougher, with a fair amount of warm water pushing in on certain areas. There were some good schools of Bumpies around but sadly we didn’t manage to tame any for the day. All in all tough, one could not wish for a better trip as we landed huge numbers of fish. GT’s wise alone we brought over 130 fish to hand, so with good numbers of Triggers, Milkfish, Bones, Bumpies and all the other sideline species our guests got a real taste for why we rate this atoll so highly. A huge thank you to each and every member of the group from Aardvark McLeoud for joining us…we really hope to have you out on the flats sometime soon!
Until next time
The FlyCastaway Providence team