After many years of dreaming, Charlotte was due to go to Farquhar in March this year and was over excited about finally getting to fish the atoll. Sadly it wasn’t to be as a family illness brought her home early and not long after that, tropical cyclone Fantala diverted her course and brought chaos to this southernmost part of Seychellois waters.
Storms and cyclones are one of Nature’s many parts and it is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that one has swung through that part of the world. Whilst damage to the infrastructure and vegetation on the North Island was severe initial reports regarding the breeding bird and turtle population have been positive although it will take time to ascertain the long term impact.
With regards the fishery, two days after the cyclone, the two guides who remained on the atoll, reported back crystal clear blue water inside the lagoon and large numbers of fish just doing what fish normally do. In their initial assessment period, they saw bonefish, GTs, triggerfish and bumphead parrotfish, all the species that they would expect to see, in significant numbers.
Satellite images are, interestingly, showing very few changes to the structure of the atoll and it is worth remembering that every season the guides return to these Indian Ocean atolls knowing that big seas and storms will have changed the structures and habitats that they got to know in the previous season. This year, the changes may well be bigger, and dare we say that the rewards could be equally as big and no doubt the guide team are itching to get back out there.
While there was never any doubt that the infrastructure would be rebuilt, and that the conservation commitment to the island’s ecology would emerge stronger than ever, we have been waiting for a firm resolution on how the logistics for the forthcoming Farquhar season would work. The clearing and rebuilding work on the island is underway and the IDC (Island Development Corporation), who are responsible for the maintenance and development of the island, have now confirmed that the North Island and guesthouse will be ready to receive guests by October 2017.
As the work will take time, as do replenishment logistics for remote atolls, the Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017 seasons will go ahead as planned, using the Mayas Dugong as a floating base, leaving the development crew free and unhindered to continue in their work.
Moored off Farquhar, the static Mayas Dugong will be home for the week with anglers going out from her every morning, returning in the evening while work on the island continues. As the Mayas Dugong will be running both the Providence live aboard weeks and the Farquhar fixed location weeks, a fair amount of schedule juggling has had to be done. As a result, the length of the Farquhar season will be reduced quite significantly. Between April 2016 and October 2017 we would normally see 25 weeks fishing on Farquhar with a 4 month gap between the Autumn and Spring seasons. This time around, to make the boat schedule work, we will only see Farquhar fished for a total of 8 weeks across the season. That’s it. 8 weeks across the WHOLE season.
So why fish Farquhar?
The environment is massively varied with channels, ocean side flats, coral bommies, sandy flats and drop offs. It is the perfect habitat for a plethora of Indian Ocean species including bonefish, permit, triggerfish and giant trevally to name a few. All of the Indian Ocean atolls have their speciality species and Farquhar is no exception to that – bumphead parrotfish are Farquhar’s big draw and nowhere else in the Indian Ocean will you have the same opportunities to target these enormous, challenging coral crunchers.
As a direct result of the enforced absence of anglers on the flats, the fishing should be phenomenal and with that in mind Charlotte is hosting a group to Farquhar in the week 21-28 April 2017.
Farquhar has fished consistently for many seasons so a Farquhar with only 8 weeks in total, split by 4 months off? Why wouldn’t you want to go? Charlotte is already packed and if you would like to join her, please get in touch.
We had an amazing time recently sharing our Hampshire Chalkstreams with Gerhard Laubscher from Flycastaway on his way home from the US. What was particularly interesting was watching him trying to balance his position as an operator who has a shorter season than normal against his instinct as a fisherman and the potential of an atoll he knows intimately. It wasn’t a long debate in fairness and the fisherman in him won in very short order!
The cost is $8,500 and you will need to be on Mahé the night before (20th April), flying out from the UK on Wednesday 19th April. Coming back, you can leave Seychelles on Friday 28th (night flight), arriving home on Saturday 29th April. At this stage, the IDC flight schedule hasn’t been fixed but assume an early morning out, mid-day back as it’s a 2 hour flight to Farquhar.
For more information please contact Charlotte Chilcott or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.