Marina Gibson’s highlights from Fly Fishing Nation’s three-week trip to the Seychelles with Alphonse Fishing Company are divided between those on land and those in the water.
This was the most insane trip I have ever done in my life so the fishing highlights were numerous. I caught my first GT in the surf at Cosmo and some nice 50cm plus triggers too. The weeks in Cosmo and Farquhar were particularly intense fishing weeks. Alphonse was a little more chilled but it was also amazing and that’s where I caught my first sailfish on the fly.
If I have to pick a favourite fishing moment, I’d have to go with the bumphead parrotfish (bumpies) on Farquhar. I had seen these things online before going to the Seychelles and I was super obsessed with them.
The bumpies were targeted on the flats. Depending on what tide it was we would always check out the flats first for the bumpies and then just stay on the edges and start fishing for GTs as well. It was great to have the best of both worlds. Most of the bumpies we caught as a group took the orange Alphlexo. I used a 10-weight rod, just because it was lighter, the line was lighter and they are quite spooky fish so stealth mode was very important. Before my trip I was thinking ‘I am going to catch bumpies’, but then once we started fishing for them, I realised that it might not happen. They are actually extremely difficult fish to catch. The one thing our guides were saying was that once you hook one, you have to try and keep them on the shallow flats because when they get into that deeper water they just break you off on coral pretty much straightaway, which happened a couple of times with our group.
Fortunately, I caught my incredible bumpie on one of the last days. The fight was nuts, but different to something like a GT. It took me straight to my backing so quickly. Then it was just like battling a really heavy weight. It was mega.
I had never drunk with South Africans before, so I definitely learnt a few more drinking games while I was out there, one of which was …BELTING. To give you the broad strokes, this is where people, usually quite a few drinks down, challenge each other to bend and take turns hitting each other with a belt.
It’s all a bit of silly fun really but, when you’ve been together for several weeks on an adventure like this, things tend to get silly. In the beginning, when Devan started doing it, I was asked if I wanted to have a go and my response was, “Absolutely not.” Then, when we were on Farquhar, we were getting pissed on one of our last nights. Everyone was giving me a hard time to, “have a go,” so after ummmhing and aahing about it for a bit I said okay.
I said to Chucky (Brian Chakanyuka, Alphonse Fishing Co’s media producer), “Do you promise that you will not hit me that hard?” He duly promised to be really nice to me. I had my turn to whack Chucky. Poor guide Cullan Ashby was sitting to the left of where Chucky was waiting. My belt strike was one of those standard, ‘Have you seen a girl throw?’ kind of scenarios. It’s like your golf swing or fly casting – if you put a spike of power into the wrong place, you get a tailing loop or you get a golf ball that goes completely in the wrong direction. I put a spike of power in at completely the wrong time. My swing just followed through and landed up hitting Callan perfectly in the face so it was kind of like two birds with one stone – Chucky’s arse and Callan’s face with one belting. Hopefully I cast better than I can belt! Then it was Chucky’s turn, so he whacked me pretty hard and it hurt a lot. And then Stephan decided that he wanted in, so he thrashed me super hard. Obviously, I had some pretty bad bruises the next day, same as everyone else. The guys were walking like John Wayne.”
Get the other stories from Fly Fishing Nation’s three and a half week trip to Cosmo, Alphonse and Farquhar in issue 28 of The Mission below. As always, it’s free.