A kick-ass guide, a Mr Fix-It sparkie and one of the hardest working team players you’ll meet, when Stu Webb is not guiding the Seychelles flats, you’ll find him in Oman, Gabon or wherever his compass takes him.
5 best things about where you guide?
- Guiding in the Seychelles, the incredible diversity and not knowing what you are going to see when you wake up. Every day you see something new.
- Guiding in the Seychelles, being part of a solid crew of fishy guys to bounce ideas and stories off. We are a team out there but having healthy competition with your peers is good for everyone. It’s definitely helped me improve my game.
- Drinks with the boys. No matter where in the world, how tough or good the day, week or season has been, sitting around telling stories or giving each other shit will always be a highlight for me.
- Gabon, definitely St James Rum and the Poons of course.
- Getting to run a Chittum skiff as my company car
5 fishing-connected items you don’t leave home without before making a mission?
- My Canon R5. Getting a few grip-and-grins is important as well as capturing a few lifestyle and wildlife shots.
- My Donmar Checkpoints. A solid pair of pliers is priceless.
- White Gold (aka TP), for cleaning sunnies and other applications.
- My Costa sunnies. Arc eye (an inflammation of the cornea, caused by ultraviolet radiation from the arc during welding) is a real thing.I took a chef from Alphonse on the flats for a team building day a few years back and he forgot his sunnies. The man’s eyes looked like he had been hotboxing a Nissan 1400 for 12 hours and chopping onions at the same time.
- Garmin Handheld or Sat phone.
5 bands to listen to while on a road trip?
- Future Islands.
- Ten Fe.
- Roadkill Ghost Choir.
5 things you are loving right now
- Greta Van Fleet.
- Island Bar in Hawana Salala Marina.
- I’m running a 68-foot Viking at the moment that we did a major refit on over the summer in Dubai. My boss was super into the idea of having a tieing station so we got Brenton Sharp to design the layout and Jay Smit of J-Vice hooked us up with a sick custom vice and base. It’s the best way to spend the evenings on a trip, tweaking patterns at the vice for the next day.
- Morning stretches. My rig takes a bit more effort to get started these days.
- Surfing. Specifically, the cheeky left off the breakwater where I’m based at the moment. It’s just myself and Bails Musgrave out there and he knows what will happen if he drops in on me.
5 indispensable flies for saltwater?
- Alec Gerbec’s Reaper.
- Cam Musgrave’s Garlic Butter.
- Assorted Flexos. The custom ones that guides Kyle Simpson and Cullan Ashby cut off at the end of the day.
- Golden Knight.
5 favourite fly-fishing destinations globally?
- Costa Rica.
5 of the most difficult guiding/teaching experiences so far?
- Never be complacent. Shit is going to happen, so you had best be ready.
- Ten beers and a bottle of rum is not a wise dietary choice the night before a guiding day on Astove. An average day involves between 10-15kms of walking on one of the gnarliest atolls in the Seychelles.
- Measure twice, cut once. Pre-season prep or running fixes is always a huge part of any guiding operation and getting spares or parts can be a mission. It’s a good idea to plan as thoroughly as possible to avoid making a hard job even harder.
- To quote fellow guide, friend and mentor Wayne Haslau, “Stewie, remember, your strength is your weakness.” Wayno taught me not to talk about results but rather to achieve them.
- The Cosmo Camp build. It was an amazing thing to be a part of but we truly went feral.
5 of the best things you have picked up from guiding?
- Thinking outside the box. It’s easy to go through the motions and catch fish, but when I try and break the pattern and try new things that’s when I learn the most.
- Confidence. There is nothing more satisfying for me than calling it before it happens and sticking to the plan until it does.
- Keeping it simple. The most important thing is just being on the water.
- Retreads for my flip flops. Getting a blowout on your favourite pair of slops is devastating when on location but never mind. Plan your next guiding day around walking the beaches on the windward side of the island and pick up some spares to make a new custom pair of flip flops.
- Stamps in my passport. Guiding takes you to some pretty off the track places.
5 of the worst things you have picked up from guiding?
- The back of a man twice my age. As a guide, general wear and tear on your body is real.
- Being able to light a cigarette in any condition.
- Sun damaged skin. By the end of a Seychelles season all I want to do is hide in the shade. I’m Vitamin Deed out!
- A cookie duster. Growing a tash started out as a joke with the boys on Alphonse when I first started guiding there. There was a rule at the start of every season that you couldn’t cut your moustache until you had caught a moustache trigger yourself. I just kept mine, introduced my alter ego, Juan Pierre, to the world and haven’t eaten a dirty cookie since.
- Coffee and nicotine dependence.
Read the rest of Stu’s High Fives in issue 37. As always, it’s free.