St Brandon’s: 25 April – 5 May 2017
After a longer than usual crossing due to the strong currents experienced on the crossing our guests enjoyed a great supper and a good night’s rest in the lodge. The excitement towards the following week of fishing was high amongst the group and as a guide team we were eager to get right on it and show our new friends why it’s worth it to travel so far to fish this incredible fishery.
Day 1 – As is usually the case on the first day, everyone was eager to get into some good Bonefishing and the atoll as it more than often does, did not disappoint. We landed around 50 Bones during the morning session, everyone appreciating the solid average size as well as the fish’s incredible power. Bonefish on the Atoll with +/- 50 Bones landed on the first morning! Some big fish too came out during the session, Van got a fat 8lb fish, whilst Rowan saw backing more than couple of times before landing a 9lb bus. The biggest fish of the day however went to Jonathan with a beast Bone of 9.5lb. Sadly it was not quite a double-digit fish, but a real trophy nonetheless. The rest of the day saw the clients experiencing some of the other species found on the atoll. Cansin landed his largest Bluefin Trevally to date, his fish having a fork length of 65cm and weighing 13lb fish. A great looking fish! There were five Golden Trevally landed as well during the day, with Steven getting his hands on his first ever Golden, this specimen weighing 9lb. There were also some shots at some seriously big GTs and the odd Permit so all in all, it was a great start to the week.
Day 2 – We had some warmer water pulling pushing onto atoll, so finding areas and flats that had cooler water was key. Where we did find the right conditions, we enjoyed some fine skinny water Bonefishing, the average size fish weighing a credible 5lbs. As is often the case, the number of Trevally encounters increased with the warmer conditions, with Cansin having a large GT eat his fly only for the hook not to connect. Bummer…. but he would get his own back later in the week. There were also good numbers of Bluefin landed with some notable catches going to Rowan, Stephen and Van getting big ones, Van’s measuring an impressive 74cm. Congrats!
Day 3 – We enjoyed cooler water for most of the day and with it some more consistent Bonefishing, many of the fish landed in 65cm range. Scott caught his biggest Bonefish of the trip so far when he landed a solid 7lb specimen and Van Rollo saw backing multiple times on his 8.5lb fish. The various Trevally species again provided opportunities, with some large GTs in particular moving across the flats. We had one almost eat the fly but at the last minute it turned away. Close again!
Day 4 – Day four provided some great Bonefishing which took up most of the day. In total we landed around 60 fish, the average a solid 6lb. There was some great Bone fishing to be had on day 4 with +/- 60 fish landed throughout the day. Jonathan however managed another cracking fish when he landed our third 9lb fish for the trip so far. The Permit also made more of an appearance on Day Four despite no connections, many fish seen tailing in pretty skinny water which is always great to see.
Day 5 – The excellent Bonefishing continued, the average size coming in at a very credible 6lb. We were however treated to some really nice fish as well, ten of which were heavier than 8lb the biggest 9.5lb beauty landed by Stephen. Steve’s day however went from really good, to “out of this world” when he landed an ENORMOUS GT, the fish’s fork length stretching the tape to 128cm! He spotted the fish moving off a turtle grass pot, the fish changing colour from bronze to blue as it moved onto the sand. The first cast he made was too short, but he kept his wits and the gave him a second chance. As the fish turned towards him he sent out a spot on 15m cast and with one slow strip got the GT’s attention. He made one more slow strip and the fish gently sipped the fly …incredible to
witness! As it turned he set the hook as hard as possible and the fight began. The fish stuck close in the beginning, shaking its head for a few seconds before realizing something was up and then tore into the distance, taking a good 150m of backing with it. He did not see fly line for 20 minutes of the fight! A further ten minutes of close quarters combat and nerve wracking tension went by before his guide dove in with both hands and tailed the monstrous fish. This is truly a special catch. A GT over a meter is no mean feat and to catch a fish over 120cm most often than not the biggest fish of one’s lifetime experience. Great job Stephen…no doubt the moment is still making you smile!
Day 6 – We started off with some more incredible Bonefishing, with around 70 fish coming to hand. One of these another fish a pound shy of the double digit mark. Stephen continued his blue streak and landed our first Permit for the trip. This was his first and another fish undoubtedly never to be forgotten a 7.5lb Permit. The day however belonged to another monstrous GT and fortunate angler. Cansin, who had lost a big fish earlier in the week landed our second 120cm plus fish, his fish coming in with a fork length of 127cm. His guide set up a drift towards a coral ridge and spotted two big fish swimming onto the sand. He made a close range cast and one of the fish broke off. With a solid kick of its tail it came up and ate the fly. As it turned Cansin set the hook and the fish tore off into the coral garden. It was an epic tussle as the fish ran him into coral on three separate occasions, his guide swimming on each occasion to clear the line out of the razor sharp coral. Cansin applied maximum pressure on the fish and after a quick fight the fish was beached and landed! Congrats Cansin…. an amazing fish! So yes, St Brandon’s is certainly not a GT numbers fishery, but when it comes to the big ones …well….here’s more proof!
Day 7 – Our final day had arrived and with it our guests enjoyed some more solid Bonefishing. There were also shots at Bluefin Trevally as well as some Permit (frankly the only species which really did not much feature heavily during the trip). Nevertheless our guests all had a pretty fishy time and a nice way to cap off a very special week on the atoll.
Thank you to Rowan, Cansin, Stephen, Hendrik, Van, Rich, Scott and Jonathan for joining us. We really hope to see you all back in the near future. No doubt it will provide more incredible moments and stories!
Until next time
The St Brandon’s Guide Team