The second week of our Providence season welcomed a new group of friends hosted by Travis and Rance from Patagonia River Guides. Also joining the group from PRG were Alex and Ernst who have fished St Brandon’s with us previously. Considering many of the group had done very little saltwater flats fishing before, especially in the Indian Ocean we could not wait to get them out onto the vast array of flats, channels, lagoons and offshore options Providence has to offer.
Carrying on from the neap tides at the end of the previous week, the flats were accessible for most of the day. These tides typically make for excellent Bonefish, Triggerfish and Bumphead Parrotfish fishing. As it turned out this is exactly what we experienced. Most groups were met with tailing Bonefish in super skinny water on the first morning; the team of Rance, Yatin and Carl taking no prisoners as they plucked fish after fish out of schools of good sized Seychelles Bones that kept moving through their allocated flat. Double ups and triple ups were not a rarity, with most of these fish coming in between the 6lb-8lb pound range. Sadly the GT’s were unusually scarce during these first three days so a move with the mother ship was made to see if they weren’t on another area of the atoll.
The Triggerfish had all the anglers fascinated with the level of skill and finesse that is required to catch them. Follow after follow eventually led to a number of fish being hooked and landed. Rance managed a two in one, one of which was an exceptional Yellow Margin. After a pinpoint cast, the fish followed with intent and just a couple of feet away from the rod tip, finally chomped down on the fly and the fish was on. Fortunately for Rance there was no coral head in sight and the beautiful fish was subdued without any complications. Yatin on the other hand hooked a Moustache Trigger that headed directly back to his home in a big coral garden. The worry in the guide’s eyes said it all, as angler and guide both feared the leader would give way at any moment. After relentlessly chasing the Trigger through the coral, Warren (the guide) managed to wrestle the fish from within its hole to bring the fish to hand. It’s moments like these that make fishing for Triggers such a valued experience!
The weather, apart from a day or two of tough light, was pretty lenient on us. With flat seas, our friends the Milkfish were seen all over the western edge with gaping mouths breaking the water surface. On the high tides when the flats were no longer wadeable, the flats skiffs were seen scattered along the drop off of the atoll in search of the mighty Milkies. Alex, Travis, Baker and Ernst all managed to fool, tussle and land big Milkfish, each with all these fights taking in the region of an hour. Furthermore, two of the fights yielded broken rods that complicated the fights to a large degree. Ernst’s fish was at the end of its fight, holding up on the surface, when a large Hammerhead Shark came in looking for an easy meal. After a few intense moments however and a little bit of excessive pressure, the fish was brought to hand before being safely released.
As mentioned, we were struggling on the GT front, the fishing very much below average for Providence standards due we think, to a high number of swimming crabs sitting offshore. That said we still managed to sneak a couple. Alex had a stand out day under the circumstances and managed to land three fish on a single day, one of which was a fish just over the 1m mark. The team of Yatin and Carl got off to a slow start but finished really strong. Yatin managed two GTs while Carl managed four. The stand out fish for the trip was Carl’s 113cm fish. This particular fish was holding out in a large pot just on the edge of a storm ridge. A short cast and a few quick strips enticed the fish into a very calculated eat. The fish screamed off into the backing and the fight that ensued was nerve racking as the endless amount of coral bommies had to be dodged before the fish could be landed. Well done Carl!
The Bommie Bashing fired this week, with the vast array of species keeping our guests royally entertained. In total, 23 species of fish were caught (or rather manhandled!) out of the “Coral Gardens”. This hand-to-hand combat entails a hit and hold technique as anglers try to stop these fish instantly before they reach the coral heads. The Boha Snapper were the most obliging of the species and never put down an opportunity to charge and engulf the fly. The myriad of Grouper species made up a large number of the catches as well and always made for a good tussle.
So despite a slow GT week, we enjoyed the diversity the atoll has to offer and ended up with some incredible species; Bonefish, Triggers, Bumpies Milkfish, GT’s and many more all playing their part in a highly enjoyable week with a new bunch of friends, a group we would love to fish with again!
Until next week
The Providence Guide Team
If you would like discuss Providence or receive further information, please contact Peter McLeod. Alternatively, please contact the office on +44(0)1980 847389.