Back in Mauritius

We have just got back into Port Louis in Mauritius after more than a week on St. Brandon's atoll - what a trip !!!! One of the most special places I have ever been lucky enough to visit for my work, and the photographic opportunities for me were just off the scale. Awesome fishing in a completely remote and unspoilt place, loads of fish, and a very cool bunch of guys onboard for the jaunt. Above is a 10lb bonefish that was taken yesterday morning, literally just before the crew weighed anchor for the 24 hour plus steam back to Mauritius.

We had very good weather on the flats, and I spent most of the seven days' fishing in a perpetual state of complete over-excitement at just how special tropical flats photography can be. When those hard sand flats literally light up with a high, bright sun, you can't help but rip off frame after frame of the guys fishing. Here is one of the fishermen hooked into yet another good bonefish that is taking a lot of line. If you know stuff about bonefishing, then you will know that an average size of around 6lbs is simply incredible.......

The FlyCastaway lads do not advertise St. Brandon's as a flats based GT fishing destination, but if you go looking with the guides then you will get shots at some big fish. Some of the clients on the trip had all done multiple GT based trips to the "other" atolls such as Cosmoledo and Providence (as have I), and some of the "geets" they saw rampaging around at St. Brandon's left them nearly speechless. There are some truly monster giant trevally lurking around out there, and every time I see them charge a fly it freaks me out big time. This is FlyCastaway guide Jako Lucas holding a client's roughly 70lb GT that was taken on the fly, on the flats. I can not tell you how good these South African FlyCastaway guides are, indeed I consider it a serious priviledge to spend time working around them. You would not believe the sheer wealth of knowledge and experience these young guys have built up over the years. There is a book there somewhere.......

This was our home for the trip, the 100' MY Gryphon - what a great boat. Perfectly suited to these mothership type operations that remote atoll trips have to be. Big cabins, loads of room, good food, and just a huge amount of fun to go on a real kind of adventure trip like this. We would typically get up early, grab breakfast, and then spend from about 7.30am to 5pm out on the flats - the light gets really tricky for spotting fish as the sun dips later in the day. Photographic heaven though when that sun gets nice and high. I would then get back to the boat and spend the large part of every evening downloading, editing and keywording the photos I had shot during the day.

St. Brandon's is an insanely good bonefishing destination. I can not tell you how special these magical fish are. Watching them on the flats as they turn on to a fly and then chase it down is just fantastic, and those long, searing runs are the stuff of legend. I even managed to sight fish to a couple myself, up to maybe around 8lbs, and you can't help but literally laugh out loud as the backing appears on the fly reel in no time at all. My fly fishing is not very good at all, but the problem is that I spend my time photographing it - I love it, but one day I am going to get some proper lessons and learn how to cast those tight loops into the wind.

Now although St. Brandon's might well in theory be a bonefish destination, in fact it has lots and lots more on offer. The bonefish on their own would be enough in my opinion, but those monster GTs are always on the cards, and it just so happens that it might well end up being the Indian Ocean's most prolific Indo-Pacific permit destination. Plus sharks on the fly, various other trevally species etc. We saw lots and lots of these Indo-Pacific permit. Seeing them was the easy part, but they are not remotely easy to catch, but I got a few photos.

I am here in Mauritius for one more night, and then late on Tuesday I fly to Dubai and connect on to Heathrow. All being well I should get back home to my family early Wednesday evening. I can not tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing my girls - got to speak to them briefly this morning after about ten days of no contact. I hear the weather has been really, really cold back home, so it could be a bit of a shock to the system !! No more shorts and flats shirts for a while. More to come........