St Brandon’s: 9 – 19 May 2017
Our third group of guests for the season arrived on St. Brandon’s full of excitement and with high hopes for some world class sight fishing! Conditions on the atoll were looking really good leading up to their arrival so we knew they were in for a treat.
The action kicked off hard and fast on day one with some excellent Bonefishing in the morning to settle everyone down. With the cooler water temperatures we were experiencing, the average fish caught during the day weighed between 6 -7lb and in total we landed +/– 45 fish. There were many Permit around as well with most of the guys having good shots at fish. Terry and Andrew both capitalised on an opportunity, landing fish of 5lb and 3lb respectively. The day also saw many of the atoll’s GTs and Bluefin Trevally hunting on the flats. Andrew had a tussle with a GT but sadly the hook pulled during the fight…heartbreak!!!! He did however get his own back landing a thumping 75cm Bluefin later in the day. All in all we enjoyed a cracking first day and it really set the scene for what would come later in the week.
Day 2 brought with it more cold water and more exceptional Bonefishing, all of our guests getting well and truly stuck into good numbers of fish in the 6-7lb range. There were some large Bluefin Trevally around as well, but sadly we were unable to convert some of the opportunities which presented themselves. Rich and Andrew both hooked into good sized GTs but for both of them it ended in heartbreak with their flies coming unstuck….we were not enjoying much luck on the Trevally front!!!! The Permit were around in good numbers again and Justin who was now into his second day of what by the end of it will be a three week trip, landed a beautiful 7lb fish. Congrats Justin! The fish was spotted cruising a few feet from the shore around a sandy island and the rest is history. Awesome! Continuing where he left off on the first day, Terry hooked and landed his second Permit. He spotted his fish tailing on some marl around an island, presented the fly exactly where it needed to be and the fish ate. After an intense battle trying to keep the fish out of the coral, the fish was landed and stretched the scale to a very impressive 12lb. Well done Terry!
Day 3 provided some really tough weather conditions with high winds, rain and cloud cover hanging around for most of the day. This however had little impact on the fishing with Andy landing a tank Bonefish of 9lbs after some seriously strong runs. Justin, who had come to St Brandon’s primarily to target Permit landed his second fish of the week. The fish was spotted tailing at the edge of a flat close to a coral garden before Justin put in a great cast given the windy conditions. The fish saw the fly, raced over and 3 strips later his line went tight. After a nervy fight to keep the fish from swimming into the coral it was netted and Justin was holding a fin perfect 7lb Indo Pacific Permit. Congrats!
Clearer skies and a somewhat calmer wind greeted us on Day 4, the brighter conditions a sign of things to come. We enjoyed some sublime skinny water Bonefishing around the low tide with +/- 40 fish in the 7lb range being landed. The Bonefish of the day went to Kobus Fourie who caught his largest Bonefish to date, a very strong 9lb slab of silver. Great job Kobus. The Permit were out in large numbers once again and Rich got in on the action landing his first. Well done! Justin was on a hot streak and landed his third Permit in as many days with a beautiful pearly white 12lb fish on one of our more famous Permit flats. Fish of this size really are special! We also managed to get our own back on the GT front as Gene hooked and landed a beast 95cm GT. A pod of fish were spotted just off a sand spit after which Gene made the cast. The fly hit the water and immediately got the attention of the fish. A few strips later and a fish broke from the pack and ate his fly, tearing off into the coral garden and wrapping his fly line up. After his guide had gone for a few swims to free the line from the coral Gene broke the fish’s spirit and his guide tailed his first ever GT on the flats. Well done Eugene…it’s no mean feat landing a St Brandon’s GT! All in all a stellar day out on the water.
Day 5 would prove to be one to remember for a few people on St Brandon’s. The morning session saw good numbers of Bonefish in skinny water come to hand with a solid 6lb average. Andrew J later landed a fin perfect 5lb Permit to take his tally to two for the trip, but the highlight of the day and a moment that will not soon be forgotten by all involved occurred when, for the first time in St. Brandons history, a Permit double up was landed by best friends Justin and Andrew. These fish can be truly fickle even if just one person is fishing at them, so to get two fish at the same time on the same flat is just out of this world! Justin’s fish was cruising along the left hand side of a turtlegrass edge; he put in a pinpoint cast and was soon tight into a 7lb fish. As soon as Justin had his fish on the reel Andrew spotted a pod of fish moving up the right hand edge of the same flat. He sent out a deadly accurate cast and he too went tight on a 7lb Permit. After one of the most nervous moments in a guide’s life both fish were netted and the celebrations began. With a total of 14lb of Permit in the net and smiles all around some great photos were taken and both fish swam off oblivious to what they had just been a part of. A Permit double is something that we all dream of but few get to experience. It’s a once in a lifetime experience enjoyed by two best mates in an amazing and special place. Well done and enjoy guys!
The solid Bonefishing enjoyed during the week continued into day six with +/- 50 fish of 5-6lb fish landed, despite some really big fish being spotted. The guests were however on a hot Permit streak and it was becoming infectious. Gene got in on the action when he caught his first Indo Pacific Permit on foot. The fish was spotted in a pod moving up a turtle grass finger, following which Gene put in a cast just ahead of them. He stripped the fly away from the lead fish and the largest fish in the pod broke off and inhaled his fly. As Gene went tight not a sound was made by angler or guide. To his credit he fought the fish like a pro and only when the fish slid into the net did he celebrate. He had come to the atoll in the hopes of landing a Bonefish, Permit and GT and he had been rewarded!
There were many very large Bones around on the final day of the trip, most of them seen in super skinny water. Unfortunately the fish did not give the anglers the easiest shots, nevertheless +/- 30 Bonefish averaging 6lb came to hand. We also had shots at some of the atolls very big GTs but no biters today! Andrew however made up for this brief disappointment when he capped off a superb week on St Brandon’s by landing a 15lb Permit, a true trophy and the biggest of the week! Justin spotted a single fish moving up a turtle grass finger. It would have been his shot had he not lost his fly on a Bonefish a few moments earlier, so the shot went to his buddy Andrew. Andy stepped up and calmly sealed the deal with a pinpoint accurate cast, three long strips and he came tight. After a long dogged fight including some very anxious moments trying to land the fish, it was netted and the guys went crazy. What a fish!
This brought a very fitting end to and incredible week on the atoll. We had broken our Permit record, landing 12 fish in 7 days including a very rare double up on Day 5. St Brandon’s surely had met all our guests expectations and more, once again showing what a world class Bonefish and Permit fishery it is. With lots of cool water around and the SE wind blowing, there is surely more to come.
Until next week
The St Brandon’s guide team