OK, so Andre van Wyk should be posting this blog and in essence he is (all the images of his gear and explanations thereof are by him), but the human labradoodle was late on deadline and the last I heard from him was a bunch of drunk voice notes from the Seychelles about how pleased he was to be boozing at the pool bar with Sand Flea (insert Bar Fly jokes here). The next morning, right before leaving on the last part of his journey to Providence, he sent through the makings of the blog so there would be no unfinished business/bad juju while he goes off grid and balls deep into many GTs for the next week.
If you do not know Andre (where have you been, fool?), follow him on Instagram or check out his Feathers & Fluoro posts here. In short, when it comes to saltwater flats fishing – Dre gets around. Prov, St Brandons and multiple other Indian Ocean destinations – he’s done them all. He lives for this shit and by now, along with his china Warwick (aka Warrels who is back for his second Prov trip) Dre has the packing down to a fine art.
So, without further ado, here’s his Prov Pack List.
All this has to pretend it weighs less than 20 kilos.
The non fishing fishing essentials:
– the smallest soap bottle I could find
– finger tape for wrapping stripping fingers and invariably the pinkies which always get cut up the first day tying the first knots because your hands get soft in the salt water and I’ve spent too much time at a desk the last couple months
– sleeping tablets cause Warwick snores like a bear
– Cataflam in case the back or neck fucks out
– and of course, ball chafe cream!
Sunnies sunnies and more sunnies:
– Electric Stackers for Steez (style with ease)
– 3 x pairs of Electric Tech One XL’s for the flats.. I’ve always preferred amber lenses over green/grey/blue.. the colors on the flats just stand out so much better.
AxisGo iPhone housing with wide angle dome port… this has become such a game changer for me and taking pics while fishing (ed. he likes it because it makes his fish look bigger).
Hardy Hardy Hardy:
– 3 x Fortuna X3’s and a spare X3 spool for the 12 weights – they are kitted out with a variety of lines
– 2 Fortuna X2’s.
– 1 XDS 8000 for the 9 and 10-weight set ups.
Rods rods rods:
Wands, weapons, buggy whips… I packed in my two favorite Epic Glass rods, the 10 weight Bandit with the main focus being Triggers, Bumpies and Milkfish for this green 8 footer, and the Baby Blue Boca Grande 12 weight for the big Mama Geets… also packed in is the new Epic 10 weight Carbon which I’m pretty pumped to fish. Also in the mix are Orvis Helios 2’s in 9 and 12 weights.. I’ve fished these for years and are my fall backs, as is the classic Tractor Stump pulling G.Loomis GLX Cross Current 12 weight which just has to go along for “just in case”…
Pretied GT leaders:
We ended up doing this last year and it definitely made life easier.. I tie up a half dozen of each, 130lb Mono, 130lb fluoro, 150lb and 180lb. Triple surgeon loop on the end. James Christmas recommended the Triple Surgeon and he’s a man who I trust implicitly when it comes to GT’s. But they can be a bit of a mare to get properly seated nicely in the heavy leaders, so I like to pre tie them at home with a pair of pliers and a knot puller to get them tight and perfect. Leaders are all 13ft, which gives me plenty of knot tying space . I typically end up fishing between 9 and 12 feet.
One of the best parts about Providence and any mothership trip is the opportunity to fish almost round the clock. After a day on the flats, the back deck in the evenings with a few beers, a light jigging rod and a couple buck tail jigs is where it’s at! Snapper, Grouper, Doggies, GT’s, Emperors.. fish till your arms get tired or you run outta jigs!
Spare leader material, including a spool of 80lb which is what we use on the jigging sticks, plus all the lighter tapered leaders and tippet material for the 9 and 10 weights.
Old faithfuls Simms. These are on their 6 or 7th trip, and they have seen better days, but they should last one more (ed. inshallah).
Naartjie* flavored Game – a sachet per day. We put this in our bladder packs which get chucked in the freezer every night. Having a big sip of ice cold Game when you are out in the middle of a boiling hot flat and running low on energy and electrolytes helps big time! *For the non-South Africans, Naartjie is Afrikaans for ballbag.
Flies flies and more flies!
Providence is mainly a GT focused fishery, but in truth it’s the variety of species it has that makes it so incredible so I’m taking flies to cover it all! On the GT side it’s mainly BEASTS and a couple Ugandans, and then GT standards like Brush flies, Sempers and NYAPS.
The bulk of the rest of your targets are crab eaters so big selection of crabs. I love the good old Merkin, and the FCA guides love them too.. so plenty Merkins in tan, and a bunch in hot orange with chartreuse thread which can be the hot ticket for Triggers and Bumpies. Prov has a lot of Turtle grass so it’s nice to have something that stands out and gets the fishes attention. There is some amazing bone fishing to be had on Prov, but it’s almost secondary, because there so many other targets but packed in plenty shrimps for when we do run across them.
Fishpond pack rigged with C&F fly patch, and Warwick’s genius rod holder system. Milan G, Flycastaway St.Brandon’s guide had one of these patches on my last trip and they make so much sense for keeping a half dozen flies in for quick changes on the flats without having to try dig into your bag for your fly box. Also a good place to store used flies which you can rinse with freshwater at the end of the day and let dry before they go back into the box.
Warwick’s Rod system:
Because you are always carrying two rods on the flats, the biggest hassle has always been how one does this in a way that you can change rods quickly between your 12 and 9 when needed. This genius system Warwick came up with is made up of a large oversized zinger which I think is designed for Scuba divers, so it handles the salt well, strapped to your left shoulder strap. Attached to it is a neoprene strap which Warwick’s wife Angie stiched two small but strong magnets into. Pop the butt of the rod into a webbing loop on the bottom left of the pack, and then the neoprene magnetic loop opens and snaps closed quickly around your rod and with the zinger system you just let it go and it swings up behind you and out the way. When you wanna change rods you just reach behind you and give a quick pull and the rod comes forward and pops out the loop.