On Thursday I am heading off on a photo job down to the remote St. Brandon's atoll in the Indian Ocean - the principal species will be lots of big bonefish on the flats (thirty over 10lbs the other week), plus some Indo Pacific permit and the odd big GT that comes wandering on to the flats. Giant trevally are insane, but bonefish are just sublime, and the FlyCastaway lads down in South Africa have done it once again when it comes to remote and awesome saltwater fisheries. I am not aware of another destination that offers such unspoilt and consistent fly fishing opportunities for big bonefish...........
I start of on Thursday by flying from Heathrow to Dubai (one big shopping mall of an airport, completely soulless, but it seems to work), spend a few hours there, and then catch another flight down to Mauritius. I am due to arrive on the island early Friday morning, then spend the day having a look around, and then on Saturday morning the mothership will leave Mauritius and sail some thirty hours or so to St. Brandon's atoll. Talk about adventure fishing - and yes, I will be looking to shoot a big feature for the next issue of Adventure Fishing magazine. I have not photographed flats fishing for a while now, but if you get those huge blue skies and rushing white clouds then little compares to it. Watching big bonefish chowing flies almost off the end of the rod tip is something so special that I have to pinch myself that I get to call it my job. These photos here were from an incredible day I witnessed on the equally remote Providence atoll many miles away from the Seychelles.
I do think that some fish were almost purpose designed for their environment, to the point where I don't reckon the best designer could ever hope to have come close to bettering nature's awesome work. Look at the bonefish. The perfect species for thriving on shallow saltwater flats. It takes a while to almost "tune" your eyes back into seeing them sneak around the flats, but when you are seeing things properly then it's just incredible to watch them almost shuffle with delight on to a fly, and then race off when hooked. I have seen a few double figure bonefish, and they are one impressive fish to take from such shallow water.
It's always a bit strange (but lovely !!) to leave a UK winter and fly down to what is essentially a tropical paradise. But fishing is surely the best thing in the world exactly because we get to spend time in such special places - look at how I feel about Ireland for example. Each and every time I go there I am literally shaking with adrenaline for a week beforehand. I am still not quite sure how somebody like me gets to go and photograph fishing like the stuff on St. Brandon's for their work, but I will get nowhere if I sit around and don't push what I do. A trip like this is an incredible experience, but the simple fact is that I have to make it pay. I am not going as an angler. There are paying clients on the trip who are going as anglers. I am heading down there as a photographer, but getting to photograph fishing like this is a big a thrill to me as actually catching the fish themselves.