Archive | April, 2017

Memories from St Brandon’s Atoll 2017

Whoa!  That was a long trip home, but we made it and I can’t wait till the next trip to St Brandon’s Atoll in Mauritius.  Thanks everyone for reading the blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

A very special thanks to Gerhard Laubscher and the guides of FlyCastaway for inviting me on to this magnificent place on earth.  Remember, this trip is available to anyone through us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.  Feel free to Contact Me for details and begin setting up your own adventure.

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

And great fish don’t get caught without the best in equipment.  Thankyou!

R.L. Winston Fly RodsBauer Fly ReelsScientific AnglersSimmsCostaYetiKate’s Real Food

All good things must come to an end so you can start the next!

Here are some final memories from St Brandon’s Atoll, Mauritius 2017

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Magnificent adventures don’t get handed to you.  Getting to St Brandon’s Atoll requires 35 hours of flying from Idaho to Mauritius then a 28-hour boat ride across the Indian Ocean.

Don’t spend huge money on the trip and then try to save on flies.  I see it all the time!

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Scott Smith casting for bonefish.

Ben Smith lands a 7lb yellow permit!

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Landing a St Brandon’s bonefish.

Scott Smith with a hefty bluefin trevally.

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Fly fishing the flats of Mauritius.

Double trouble bonefish!

Scott Smith and Ben Smith – brothers from different Smith mothers.

St Brandon’s is a place of many bonefish tales.

Probably the honeycomb grouper.  Juveniles are tough to identify.

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Storm coming on the flats of St Brandon’s Atoll.

Heaps of big bluefin trevally in the Indian Ocean.

White tern looking for his coffee.

The elusive Indo-Pacific yellow permit.

Nick Isabelle posing with a giganticus St Brandon’s Atoll bonefish!

Flyfishing for the gleaming bluefin trevally.

A beast of a brassy trevally – also called the green spot trevally.

More waiting than casting for my yellow permit.  But he will be worth waiting for. . . .

You’re not off the hook yet Mr. Indo-Pacific yellow permit – Currier will return!

Vacation from vacation.  Ben Smith, me and Scott Smith.  Somewhere on mainland Mauritius.

It will be a short visit home before the roosters are in trouble.  Stay tuned!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Last Day of Flyfishing St Brandon’s Atoll 2017

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

The last day came quick.  Scott, Ben and I treasured our final early morning coffee together and watched it get light on Rafael Island here at St Brandon’s Atoll.  After the 7 AM breakfast Scott and I climbed aboard with FlyCastaway guide Brendan with hopes to bang up as many bonefish possible.

 

I was over the yellow permit hunt.  If the chance came I would be on it but St Brandon’s has proved to be the best bonefishing imaginable so bones were our specific target today.  On my last day of any trip the goal is always to relish in it to the max.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Wouldn’t you know, despite all the spectacular bonefishing this week, and naturally because I finally dedicated a day to it, the bonefish were hard to find.  The three of us hit numerous flats.  Scott managed to scrape up three but I got tangled in a school of baby permit and wasted time on them unsuccessfully.

 

There was no disappointment in this group though.  Fish own you at times and we took in some of the other sights through the day that we’ve missed.  There’s a particular island crawling with nesting terns.  We paid a visit and it was amazing.  The terns lay an egg randomly on branches without a nest.  Then they hatch and chicks stand randomly on a branch waiting to be fed.  Nature can be incredible and unusual.

 

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Patience always pays off in fishing.  The bones weren’t cooperating so we ignored them a few hours.   When we got back after them we found a few.  We’d hoped for the elusive 10lber on the last day but for St Brandon’s they were average.

 

Though I’ve chased permit excessively all week, I made a point to land a nice bonefish each day.  You need to at a place like St Brandon’s.  Well, on our last flat and in the last hour, I still hadn’t done that.  And on this flat the bones were scarce.  But we kept after it and thanks to Brendan’s keen eyes I was able to catch my final respectable bonefish of the trip.

 

Gerhard and the guides of FlyCastaway claim we saw the worst week of fishing at St Brandon’s Atoll since they opened in 2011.  No doubt I expected to see more Indo-Pacific permit.  But if this was the worst week of fishing they have seen – I’m coming back.  Scott and I loved today regardless of the fishing being tough.  And this week has been no less than outstanding fishing and hands down the best bonefishing I’ve seen.

 

I ended my fishing day like I have all week with a slow walk completely around our island at sunset.  I found a baby permit tailing.  In the late light he was no less than a miracle of fish spotting.  I thought this fish was meant to be.  I crouched down and dropped my fly in the zone.  When crouched I couldn’t see the fish or his reaction with the poor light.  But we didn’t connect and I never saw the rascal again.  Next time. . . .

 

Tomorrow we begin our grueling trip back to the US.  That starts with our 28-hour boat ride followed by 30 hours of flying and five hours drive from Salt Lake City back to the Yellowstone Country we live in.  This will give me plenty of time to put together a few of my favorite memories of the trip.

 

Stay tuned for one last entertaining blog about St Brandon’s Atoll 2017!

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Bluefins and Bonefish – St Brandon’s Atoll

I love the morning no matter where I’m at.  If I’m home, on the Henry’s Fork, the Nunya or drinking my 5 AM coffee with Scott and Ben here at St Brandon’s Atoll in Mauritius.  For me it’s the best time of day.  After a filling breakfast of eggs and bacon it was off to the flats.

 

I matched up with Ben again and for the first time ever I fished with FlyCastaway guide Milan.  Milan is a 6’ 6” fish spotting machine that’s been chasing fish on St Brandon’s for three years.  He picked Ben and I a couple of his favorite crab flies and off we went.

 

We drove way south.  Our boat ride was 1 hour and 10 minutes.  We ended up on a flat called Bipolar near a small commercial fishing community.  You guessed it, we went looking for yellow permit.  Lo and behold, after an hour of nothing, just as we returned to the boat two nice permit began tailing.  This may have been my best shot of the week.  I dropped my fly right between the two which ended up lining the closest sending them both running.  Ugh. . . .

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Next was a beautiful island and flat.  There was white sand for miles.  It was stunning.  Milan sent me the direction of permit while he and Ben hunted everything that swims.  I heard them get a few shots at bluefin trevally.  I made a cast to a bonefish and picked up a new species by accident.

 

I know this fish is a member of the wrasse family but dang if I can figure what kind.  One of the guides, Brendan, looked at my photo and thinks it’s an immature Napoleon wrasse.  No doubt it’s that 3rd new species for me this week but until I get information it will go down as the “mystery wrasse”.  If anyone can help this would be greatly appreciated.

 

It turns out this is not a Napoleon wrasse.  It is a rock-mover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus).  Thanks Sean at Nervous Waters Fly Fishers and my South African friend Ed Truter.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

This second flat was tough.  I didn’t see a permit and like yesterday, the bones were both finicky and spooky.  We moved to our third flat and finally our luck changed.  Ben and I both got out of the boat and chased down a couple bonefish.  Ben landed a nice one about 7lbs.

 

I know that I should have been stubbornly waiting out the permit but there are so few around its time to enjoy some other fish.  And believe me, I’m still watching for them, I simply won’t skip other opportunities from here out.  On this flat there were quite a few bluefin trevally cruising.

 

The bluefin challenge today was that they refused our trevally flies on the 12-weight making us fish to them with crabs on lighter tippet.  Most of this week I’ve been chasing the bones and permit with my 8-weight Boron III Winston and 16lb SA Flouro.  That’s pretty light for a bluefin trevally because they are strong and specialize in cutting you off in the coral.  I had three tail on my fly beautifully but the first two won and broke me off.

 

Perhaps I put in the extra effort on my third bluefin but I knew from the get go he wasn’t getting away.  Just like the previous two, he tailed on the fly the way fish do in my dreams.  Once I hooked up I ran backwards.  Normally I don’t like to increase the distance between me and a fish but in order to crank down the drag and keep this fella out of the coral with 16lb tippet I needed some line stretch to absorb some pull.  As you can see it worked out!

 

After this flat we ate lunch and a storm came on us fast.  We barely got rained on but the wind and dark clouds made us wonder if things would get extreme.  It was very difficult to spot fish for the rest of the day.  We began our hour-long boat ride to the lodge at 3.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Bonefish and bluefin made up our list for today.  Oh, and the wrasse.  No doubt fishing has been tough this week.  Everyone is sort of scratching their heads tonight.  This being said however, fishing is still damn good when you look at the size of these bonefish.  This is Nick posing with an 8lber from this morning.

 

As I’ve done each night, I made a trip around Rafael Island on foot before hitting the hors d’ oeurvres and party with the guys.  There wasn’t much going on but the sunset was to die for.  Time for dinner and preparation for out last day on St Brandon’s Atoll.

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Forever Lasting Trevally Memory

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

If it wasn’t for Gerhard’s nice Indo-Pacific permit catch yesterday I’d have been tempted to make today “The hunt for the 10lb bonefish”.  But he got it done which meant I needed to buckle down yet again and give the yellow permit my best shot.  I took a good look at my crab flies then had Gerhard pick me a lucky one to start the day.

 

I fished with Gerhard today as well.  Our guide was Brendan whom I fished with on the first day.  We made short run to a flat I fished two days ago.  It’s exactly where Ben caught his permit.

 

There’s been a change in the weather.  We had a 4 AM rain.  It stopped by the time we got up but there were threats all around us.  Distant storms make for spectacular back drops for flats fishing photography.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

As usual there were bonefish when we started.  I hung loose waiting for my menacing permitGerhard was permit fishing also but wasn’t afraid to tag a bonefish here and there.  The strange thing however was that the bonefish were noticeable edgy.  Most days this week you could drop a heavy crab fly a few feet ahead of one and the bone would crush it.  Not today.  They were crazy spooky so you had to lead them by at least ten feet or they blew up!

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Despite the weariness factor, the bones are always catchable.  Gerhard knocked a few and eventually, I had a 7lber swim by.  At first I remained on point for a permit but then said screw it and snuck down the flat ahead of him and caught him.  One must keep the skills from getting rusty.  We’ll call it, permit practice.

 

Four hours hunting slowly searching for a permit ended with Gerhard and I each getting one mediocre at best opportunity.  The permit simply aren’t cooperating.  At noon we ate some lunch then hit a flat called Hermans.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

I walked the finger shaped flat with Brendan and a huge permit came to the edge but never up on the flat.  Because he was patrolling the deep edge of the flat he was nearly impossible to see.  I got a cast in the vicinity but miracles don’t happen with permit.

 

That was the only permit we saw in two hours on Hermans.  Brendan went for the boat and was going to pick me up to save me the walk.  Gerhard who was on another flat headed for the boat as well.  He saw nothing.  Ten minutes went by and just as I heard Brendan start the motor to come retrieve me I saw something.

 

Far off (300 yds.) to my left a large shape appeared.  Hermans is close to where I cast to the tiger shark on Day 1.  While most sharks are nothing to worry about a 10-foot tiger is.  They are true man-eaters.  Without thinking twice, I headed for higher ground – hoping Brendan would meet me along the way so I could get in the boat.

 

Naturally I didn’t take my eye off the shape and soon realized it wasn’t a shark.  I thought it could be a ray (now 200 yds. away) and instead of retreating I went towards it hoping perhaps a permit was hanging with it like they often do.

 

At 100 yds. away I recognized the animal.  This was a gigantic giant trevally!  I almost always carry a GT rod with me on the flats and had been all day.  But the second rod can be annoying so I stupidly gave it to Brendan when he went for the boat.  By now he was close with the boat and I screamed, “GT!”

 

You want to see a FlyCastaway guide go into action – “GT” is the magic word.  Brendan had my 12-weight Winston flying through the air to me so fast that I just dropped my 9-weight for him.  I caught my 12 in midair and went into a sprint across the flat, up on to an island then back to the water in a channel where I expected the GT to be headed.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

I stripped line off my reel so fast I have line cuts in my fingers tonight.  That can happen when you have the drag cranked on your Bauer Reel.  I didn’t feel a damn thing because by now I knew my prediction of the GT’s movement was 100% correct.  I was just in time!

 

Fish the size of barndoors do cause havoc to anglers.  I launched the sloppiest 80ft cast of my life.  It landed far from tight so it required a few strips to straighten the line and leader.  The GT was about 75ft from my fly.  When I stripped to sort my cast my fly jerked straight ever so slightly.  Incredibly, that’s enough to get the attention of one of the oceans most fierce predators.  The giant headed for my fly at mock speed!

 

One thing you learn in over 40 years of fly fishing is what your good at and what you’re not.  I am not good when standing waist deep in the water stripping a huge fly with a 12-weight in hand with a 60lb fish chasing at 40 mph.  Basically, watching such an event unfold causes me about a 99% chance to **** it up.  My trick is DON’T LOOK!

 

Once I knew the GT was after my fly I looked down, crouched down and stripped long and as fast as I humanly could.  On an 80ft cast that’s about 25 strips before hitting the leader and I was praying to go tight long before that.

 

Even without looking I knew the GT was following because I could hear the cheers from my friends watching.  Each strip seemed in slow motion and on every strip with such a fish you have an unexplainable excited-fear rushing through your veins.  It must be experienced to truly understand.

 

When a GT chases something at 40 mph his body raises above the surface of the water.  So much so that his eye can be seen.  He’s not just completely dry by any means.  Actually, his speed and shape of his mean face and forehead create like a shield of water all around his protruding body.  This you must see to believe!

 

Shockingly, I reached that 25 strips mark without going tight.  That caused me to look up.  The flash of GT that I saw from barely a rod length away will stay firmly etched in my memory forever.  In fact, if I ever lose my mind, I won’t forget this.

 

For some sad reason the GT didn’t like my fly but followed it till the end.  He got so close, that he basically ran into me.  I looked up just in time to see the oversized jack put the brakes on.  His head was a foot across.  With his pectoral fins extended used as his brakes he easily appeared 3ft wide.  His predator eyes were completely focused on me.  We both panicked.  I stood up as if to defend myself.  The GT went into a sideways skid tossing his shield of water all around me.  Then once he got his traction to retreat he headed off leaving a race boat like rooster tail.

 

There’s one thing I left out on my list of goals for this trip.  That’s “come home with a forever memory”.  I may not have caught that GT but I certainly got the best of the experience.  Memory made.

 

I hadn’t noticed but a massive storm cell was close.  Brendan wanted to hit Bacardi Flat before the storm.  We got in the boat and I popped a Phoenix for the short ride.

 

We got to Bacardi only minutes before the skies let loose.  Gerhard and I jumped out so we could walk at least some flat before the storm.  I must admit I was still thinking about the GT and hardly noticed the dark clouds over our heads.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

Then it hit.  First were those big random freezing cold rain drops.  Then it picked up.  You could hear the tropical rain as it approached.  It was so drenching it sounded like we were getting close to a waterfall.

 

We hunkered down for a few minutes but it wouldn’t let up.  The worst part of this situation is when your sunglasses get covered with water drops.  It’s hard to sight fish.  We took our glasses off and made a short walk in hopes of spotting a tailing permit but no luck.

 

We left Bacardi at 3 and the heavy rain continued.  I could see the other boats heading for the lodge in the distance.  I dug out my yellow lens Costas and pulled the bill of my hat down tight to keep them dry and looked at Brendan.  He’s a sporty fish hunting 24-year-old and without speaking smiled and we headed to one more flat.  We ended up fishing it hard till 4:30 in the rain but caught nothing more than a few pompano and too many undersized spangled emperors.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

When we got back to the lodge I opted to take a walk around the island.  You never know right?  It was still pouring and I was already soaked.  I didn’t see a dang thing but I enjoyed myself immensely.  You don’t get to fish in a warm rain much back in Idaho.

 

When I showed up at the lodge just at dark, the guys were partying and having a good time.  They welcomed me in with a cold beer and saved me some scrumptious fresh yellowfin tuna sashimi.  I didn’t even take my wet clothes off.  I dove into the party.

 

There was some celebration as well.  First of all,  Andy, one of the other clients, caught a golden trevally.  I’ve only caught one of these and mine came in Dubai with my friend Nick Bowles.  Mine was big and outgrew most of his stripes.  Andy’s golden was one of nature’s finest.

 

Ben and Scott went dredging today – something I love to do at Farquhar.  Overall their luck was fair at best, but it only takes one fish.  Ben caught this insane looking surgeon fish.  The odd-looking fish is being called a unicorn surgeon but I’m not so sure.  No doubt his body shape is correct for this species but where’s the unicorn?  I’ll check on this when I get home.

 

It’s been another great day at St Brandon’s Atoll here in Mauritius.  Time for me to join the party.  We have two more days of fishing. . . .

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

 

Focused on One Fish at St Brandon’s Atoll

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

I’ve cycled through fishing friends and today I was back with Scott.  This means at the end of today the trip is more than half over.  Damn these journeys go fast.  You wait and wait and wait and count the days till the trip for months then bang – the adventure is gone!

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

At the halfway point I always remind myself of goals I had beforehand and check up on how I’m doing on them.  For this trip I had three goals and deep inside I hoped to achieve two of them:  1 – Catch a yellow permit.  2 – Catch at least three new fish species.  3 – Catch a bonefish over 10lbs.  At this time #1 and #3 are looking challenging.  And #2, I’m close with the brassy trevally and the island trevally, but I need that third.  What a dream it would be if it were the Indo-Pacific yellow permit!

 

When I shared my goals with Scott and todays guide, Craig Richardson, we came to the conclusion that I was only fishing for permit.  Which means only casting to permit no matter what swims past me.  I hate this situation however I’ve been through it before.  Most recently was last year in Gabon chasing the giant African threadfin.  I succeeded but it’s the true test of an angler’s mental strength.  Few anglers can focus like this when surrounded by so many other great fish.

 

The first flat we went to was a half hour away and is called Big Willies.  Its home to giant bonefish and has a very good area for permitCraig sent me directly to the permit spot and he and Scott walked the rest of the flat.  Craig carried Scotts 12-weight rigged for GT’s and Scott carried his 9-weight and banged off two 7lb bonefish quickly.  I remained on point.  Frozen like a stork and sadly watched several bonefish pass one of which was the biggest I’ve seen all trip.

 

As I waited for a permit to swim to me, I heard Scott catch two more bonefish.  How nice it would be I thought to myself.  Then Scott took it a step further and picked off this electric-colored bluefin trevally.  I stayed stubborn but the permit never showed on Big Willies.

 

Our next stop was at a flat called Ollies.  Ollies is unique in that it’s a long narrow sand spit island with a coral scattered flat on one side and a sand and turtle grass flat on the other.  It’s a gorgeous piece of St Brandon’s real estate and to our delight Craig quickly pointed out a lone permit of significant size.

 

I liked everything about this situation.  The permit was huge.  He moved slowly and the hard to see yellowish fish was feeding and searching for crabs happily.  And the wind was behind me making for an easy cast.

 

Everything began perfect.  I crept to within about 75 feet and cast my white crab pattern exactly a foot in front of the permit.  As it sank he surged forward for a look.  I felt a grab and strip set only to see the permit run for dear life.  My fly was intercepted by a wrasse.  As much as I’d love to add a new species to my list, I believe this is a floral wrasse which I caught in Farquhar.  (Damien Brouste – if you’re out there I’d love your opinion).  Permit 1 – Currier 0

 

Next Craig took us to Shark Fin which is a tiny island of sand shaped like a shark fin.  It too has a resident school of permit and they were there.  The problem is the ten or so of them were with a school of hundreds of bonefish.  The chances of a permit getting my crab fly before a bonefish – slim to none.  I made my attempt and soon the permit were long gone and I was unhooking a beautiful St Brandon’s Atoll bone.  Permit 2 – Currier 0

 

Next we went to Yellow Dog and the same thing happened to me with a mix of bonefish and permit together.  But before we hopped out of the boat, Scott got a shot at a huge giant trevally in some of the most beautiful looking tropical paradise water you’ve ever seen.  This GT is one Craig knows by name and no one has hooked him.  As we drifted in to the island spit Scott stayed ready on the bow with his 12-weight.  Sure enough the monster GT greeted us but the wily beast wouldn’t crack when Scott presented his fly.

 

By midafternoon I’d accidentally caught a couple of bonefish but stuck to my druthers of casting to permit and only permit.  The problem was that we weren’t seeing enough.  In fact, we hit a couple more spots and saw none.  Meanwhile Scott was continuing to have a blast with bonefish and he landed another glowing bluefin trevally.  I was at the point where I wanted to be done with Mr. Yellow permit!

 

To end the day we returned to Shark Fin in hopes I could wait out the permit lingering around the bonefish school.  All they had to do is separate from the bones just a few feet and I might have a chance.  Craig and I stood together shooting the bull and actually the permit did linger away once and I got a cast.  But they weren’t at all interested.  At 4 PM Scott and I both tagged a nice bone for this double photo.

 

It was a good day despite my permit issues.  If you’ve read this blog for years than you may remember my roosterfish blues ten years ago.  That’s been way solved.   And you might know that marlin have been brutalizing me for life.  There’s worse problems.  I’ll get one tomorrow. . . .

 

After an enjoyable Phoenix drinking ride back we were pleasantly surprised to have a sea turtle digging a nest in front of the lodge.  We stayed back but I had to sneak this photo.  We see turtle in the water all the time.  I’ve seen turtle tracks on beaches my whole life but never the turtle.   This was a real treat.  Next on my turtle dream list would to be around when they hatch!

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway

There was big news at the lodge as well.  Though fishing for permit has been tough on me, Gerhard came through.  He landed this fantastic yellow permit today.  I may not be able to catch one myself but I’m good luck for my friends!

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Another Yellow Permit in Mauritius

After my 5:30 coffee with Ben and Scott I wandered around the island hoping to find a Picasso triggerfish or perhaps get a cast to Indo permit to but no such luck.  It was a beautiful morning however.  A great day to catch a sunrise.

 

Today I matched up with Ben and we fished with Nick Isabelle.  I met Nick in December while fishing in Farquhar.  He’s a chill soft spoken South African that knows how to find fish.  We headed off only ten minutes from the lodge to begin the day in search of bonefish.

 

I picked up the camera this morning.  I’ve neglected my photography so I followed Ben and Nick the first hour with hopes to get some bonefishing shots.  I got some casting and stripping but wouldn’t you know, the bones were not cooperating.

 

Naturally, once I put my camera away and pulled out my Winston a big school of bonefish appeared.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to double up with Ben.  The bones were easy and we both hooked up quick.

 

 

 

These two bonefish behaved badly and our lines crisscrossed not once but twice.  Both of us had to slack off the fish in order to untangle the mess before the backings cut one another leading to a lost fly line.  Unfortunately Bens bone came loose so I did my hero shot solo.

 

 

 

 

 

It was around 10 AM and Nick felt it was a good time for us to move down the flat to where the Indo-Pacific permit should arrive when the rush of water began with high tide.  The flat is basically a long finger with a deep channel on both sides.  The idea was for me to walk down the side near an old shipwreck and Ben would take the other.  Nick would man the middle keeping an eye if either of us needed help – hoping it would be help landing a permit!

 

Ben and I both worked our edge of the flat more like blue herons than anglers.  The flat wasn’t long so I’d take a few steps then just stare hoping to see a fish coming.  I saw a few bonefish but passed them up.  I was focused on catching a permit rather than scaring him because I was fighting a bonefish.  That’s about when Ben yelled, “I think I have a permit!”

 

Nick and I happened to be chatting when we heard Ben.  We thought it seemed weird that he was unsure of whether he had a permit or not but it turns out he cast to a couple of shapes down deep off the edge of his flat.  When he hooked up the fish turned and he saw the flash of yellow.  He was dead correct on his assumption and I broke out the good camera to catch the action.

 

Once again, permit fight hard.  This was another 7lb yellow permit that looked like a twin to Scott’s fish on the first day.  It took Ben a good ten minutes to yank this one from the deep water up the ledge onto the flat for the net.  Three efforts were made without success.  We were nervous until finally the permit came up tired enough for Nick to fit him into the net.

 

One can’t explain the beauty of these Indo-Pacific permit.  I’ve known of them for many years.  I knew exactly what they look like from pictures.  I’ve seen a few swimming but neither does justice for how spectacularly fine-looking they really are when they are right before your eyes.  We admired Bens yellow permit for a couple minutes before releasing.

 

I was pretty pumped as I headed back across the finger flat to get to my perch again.  I was ready for my permit.  Only I didn’t get there before Ben was hooked up again.  This time it was the pretty island trevally, or as many would say, the yellow dot.

 

The fish were finally around and it was my turn to get busy.  I stared down my flat and off my edge until finally I saw some action.  It was a ray and I started dreaming of an easy permit hanging off its back.  I waded within reach and indeed thought I saw a fish hovering below looking for an easy meal kicked up from the ray.  The best approach is land your fly on the ray and let it roll off the back.  Then strip.  I did just that and for a second I thought I had my permit.

 

I struck this fish so hard he nearly jumped.  When he thrashed on the surface I saw yellow in the tail but the tail shape was too small.  After a hellacious battle on the 9-weight I landed a hefty brassy trevally.  Not exactly what I was dreaming but anytime you catch a fish like this will put a smile on your face.

 

 

 

After I released the green spot we didn’t see much.  Other than a few scrappy oddball fish like spangled emperors and pompano, after our three fish run between noon and 2 the fishing came to a halt.  There were no complaints for us though.  Benny Boy nailed a permit and we had some excellent side catches mixed in.  We had a few celebratory beers tonight and enjoyed the stories around the dinner table.  Stay tuned for tomorrow!

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Two New Species from St Brandon’s Atoll

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

It was November while fishing a yellowfish river in Lesotho that Gerhard Laubscher asked me if I was available this coming April.  With most people you first ask, “Why?”, but with Gerhard, you just say “Yes”.  “Yes”, because with Gerhard chances are something good is brewing other than the coffee.

 

Being available in April was fortunate alright.  Gerhard had plans to head to his own FlyCastaway destination of St Brandon’s Atoll to see the opening week of the season and spend some time with his friends and guides.  I got the invite and here we are. Today Gerhard and I fished with guide Craig Richardson.

 

Lucky for me I’m pretty good friends with many of the FlyCastaway guides and it so happens that Craig Richardson spent last summer in my home town of Victor, Idaho.  I took him for his first trip on the Rizzo River and had the pleasure of watching him catch his first big cutthroat trout.

 

 

 

 

Both mornings so far started out looking like bad weather is coming.  Fortunately as the sun rises the clouds break up.  It was another mostly sunny day with 15 mph wind and hot temperatures between 85° and 90°.  We took a 45 minute boat ride to the first flat.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

This was another massive flat but upon arrival it was lower than Craig anticipated.  Low tide was at around 9 AM but this was so low there weren’t any fish yet.  We had to kick back and wait an hour before bothering to fish.  Once the slack between low and high ended in came the rush of water – exactly what bonefish love.

 

But it wasn’t a bonefish that came first.  We spent at least another hour looking for them before along came a lone fish.  The fish was colored like a bonefish from a distance but moved much differently.  More erratically.  As you know, different when it comes to fish always excites me.  It could be a new species for my list.  The fact that this fish was moving unpredictably meant I needed to move fast before the fish got out of range.

 

Off I went crossing the flat as fast as I could yet remaining stealthy at the same time.  Eventually I had to give the stealth part up or not get close enough for a cast.  So I ran and launched a sloppy 80-footer that luckily landed close enough.

 

Close enough is a loose statement.  For bonefish I’d have been too far off.  The fish however turned out to be the aggressive brassy trevally (Caranx papuensis), also known as the green spot trevally.  No doubt this fish heard the splat of my crab fly and ran there and found it.  Despite his size, the brassy gave a great fight running me three times in the backing.  I landed my first new species of the trip!

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

We thought the green spot was the start to good things to come.  I released the pretty fish and stood up for more.  But this flat was sparse of fish.  We walked slowly searching but it was another hour before the next fish came.  Patience always pays off though in fishing.  I landed this beautiful bonefish that St Brandon’s is famous for.

 

I was releasing the bone when Craig shouted here come goldens!  I spun around stripping line off my Bauer.  Sure enough there were twenty flashing tails.  They went down and we could see the school of fish moving quickly to the next grassy area.  Tails up again then gone again.  Just like the green spot and most trevally for that matter, the goldens feed erratically and there was no time to waste.  I jumped out of the gates in full sprint.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

It turns out there’s another trevally here that feeds and moves just like a golden trevally.  He has bluefin trevally-like fins, faint bars similar to the golden and yellow dots.  Craig yelled, “Yellow dots!”

 

I’ve never caught a yellow dot, better known as the island trevally (Carangoides orthogrammus) and I picked up the pace.  This school was fast moving and changed their travel direction completely at least five times sending me twisting and nearly falling several times.  There’s no doubt they were escaping when by pure luck they turned and charged me.  I landed my crab on the grass and first strip a yellow dot was on.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

The yellow dot was no slouch on the 9-weight Winston either.  He hesitated at first as if he didn’t know he was hooked.  It’s believed that they may not have much feeling in their proboscis mouth which helps them when snuffing out crabs but after I pulled for a few seconds it dawned on him that something was wrong.  Another wild trevally battle ensued before I landed my second new species of the day!

 

The full moon was two days ago and the tides are still fluctuating fast.  It wasn’t long after I landed the yellow dot when there was then too much water on the flat.  Gerhard and I picked up a couple more bonefish then watched for Indo-Pacific permit while Craig retrieved the boat.  We had no luck and by the time Craig returned it was time to move to the afternoon flats and search for permit.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

I mentioned yesterday that my permit luck could use a lift.  Gerhard and I chased permit with Craig all afternoon with only two legitimate shots.  The first was barely legit.  We saw a big permit while we were driving in the boat.  He was close and coming straight at us.  Craig cut the motor and I leapt over the side in thigh deep water with my 9-weight and yanked off line as fast as I could.  I made one of my better permit casts dropping my fly a foot in front of him but he sensed the boat and turned at the same time and that was my only shot.

 

Gerhard Laubscher/FlyCastaway photo

Two hours later after Craig and I walked together on one the favorite permit flats I had a second shot.  This one I wish I had over.  We were looking upwind only because of the angle of the light and spotted an aggressively feeding permit.  We could only see him when he tailed but that happened consistently about every 20 seconds or so.  Problem is each time I anticipated his next appearance I was wrong and never got a cast close to him.  I must admit, the wind shortened my cast more than it should have.

 

While my fishing was going on Gerhard was on another popular flat and never saw a single permit.  For some reason they simply aren’t around as much as they normally are here at St Brandon’s.  At 4 we headed back to the lodge.

While Gerhard and I had a less than average fishing day I was stoked with my two new species.  Better yet, the other guys in our group had superb bonefishing.  In fact, Ben landed this magnificent 9lb bonefish that makes his trip.

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

While I’m Out Of Reach

Sorry if you expected a blog for St Brandon’s today but that’s not possible.  Instead I organized this post a few weeks back and wanted it to sit while I was gone.

I am looking for two more anglers to join me for a Yellow Dog Hosted Trip to Farquhar Atoll in the Seychelles November 15-22, 2017.  Two things you need to know.  This week is excellent tides for GT’s and the 23rd is Thanksgiving (you can have a late TG dinner after you get home).

The annual “Currier” yard sale will be Saturday April 29th.  This year the fishing theme will be Saltwater fly fishing stuff and of course Granny will offer tons of clothes, cooking gear and more.  If you’re targeting an item feel free to Contact me for a preview after April 22 when I get home from St Brandon’s.

I’m fishing hard in St Brandon’s and hopefully landing my first yellow permit!

Stay tuned till the first report around April 21st!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing St Brandon’s Atoll

We had a nice evening around the lodge last night here at St Brandon’s Atoll.  There are four other anglers all from South Africa.  We had a yummy dinner and a few Phoenix Beers with them before retiring to bed.

 

This morning Ben, Scott and I got up before sunrise for coffee.  Then before breakfast I grabbed the camera and enjoyed the sights outside the room.  These are some curious white terns (often confused as fairy terns).

 

Hot breakfast comes out at 7 AM and after last bite you can make the short walk down to meet your guide.  I matched with Scott today and we were lacing up our Simms Flats Boots by 7:15.

 

I know most the guides here from fishing in the Seychelles and today I was with old friend Brendan Becker.  Brendan was with me for my first ever bumphead parrot on Farquhar in 2014.  We’ve also chased yellowfish together in Lesotho.

 

This is the first week of the two month long season at St Brandon’sFlyCastaway offers another season September-November.  The weather is perfect in mid-April.  The temperature runs about 85° with winds averaging 15 mph.  Skies today were mostly sunny which is essential for sight fishing the flats.  There’s one problem however.  We were warned a few days ago the flats are unusually warm due to lack of wind the last few months and an El Niño situation going on down this way as well.

 

We motored about 40 minutes to the south end of a massive flat named Julies.  It was miles long and I was out of the boat with my 9’ 8-weight Jungle Winston and hunting my first fish before Brendan had the anchor secured.  Scott hasn’t fished the flats in five years so I left him to kick things off with Brendan.  FlyCastaway guides are superb and Brendan went right to work to make sure Scott’s leader and fly were perfect.

 

St Brandon’s is rapidly being recognized as the finest bonefishing location on the planet.  It took me about five minutes to spot my first ghost of the flats.  He was a rascal to see as he was patrolling turtle grass.  I was persistent as usual and I nailed him quick.  Add my 59th country to my fishing list – Mauritius!

 

Brendan soon had Scott in the bonefish game as well.  They were plentiful.  Some travelled in schools and you only needed to get your fly near.  The individuals were more challenging and often bigger.  Over the first couple hours Scott and I nailed about ten each and doubled up several times.

 

We moved around through the morning to several different bonefish flats.  We caught more every spot we stopped.  To me these are quality bonefish – most bigger than the average fish in the Caribbean.  But to Brendan, today’s bonefish were smaller than what they are accustomed to catching here.  Our biggest was 5lbs and St Brandon’s usually produces a fish of 8lbs every session!

 

The incoming tide was kicking around lunch time.  The incoming is what brings in the Indo-Pacific permit which is a cunning fish I hope to catch this week.  We left the bonefish flats to move to prime permit areas around 1 PM.

 

When moving you keep watch.  There’s always a chance to see other fish such as when birds are diving or when you spot a big sting ray or even a large shark.  We saw a huge shark as we were running and stopped to find it was a massive 10-foot long plus tiger shark hunting sea turtles (one of their favorite foods).  Often times these sharks have a giant trevally hiding behind them so I made a cast.

 

Balancing on the bow of a skiff is never a problem for me.  But I must admit, doing it in the presence of a turtle-shell-crushing man-eater does make you wobbly.  The giant fish didn’t have a GT with him so instead, he decided to chase the fly.  I heard Scott and Brendan let out a squeal.

 

The tiger lit up meaning he went from a lazy black shape to a fast moving lighter colored monster fish, visibly flashing the stripes that earned him his name.  He put his huge face an inch behind my fly and followed.  Sadly he lost interest in what would have been a tiny meal for him.  Had he eaten I doubt I had any chance in hell to land him but damn it would have been fun to try!

 

We walked a couple permit flats but saw very little.  I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised.  I’ve caught a few permit, but if you calculate the hours it took me to catch them, the stat is unbelievable.  Basically, when I’m around the permit aren’t.  And when I get my rare opportunity I usually botch my cast.  If I send a good cast the permit spooks or ignores my fly.

 

It was the last flat of the day.  This was a massive sand flat where you could spot a permit coming a mile away.  Sure enough, along came three towards Scott and Brendan.  I ducked out of the way and Scott launched his cast.  His crab imitating fly landed about four feet to the side of the weary permit.  It’s amazing how well these fish blend in with the sand but I could see the yellow of them, a color the Atlantic permit don’t have.

 

The next thing that happened wasn’t permit like at all.  This finicky species usually ignores a cast unless it hits them between the eyes.  But this time, to our delight, one of the permit charged Scotts fly and devoured it!

 

Scott set the hook and in a blur the permit took off.  It should’ve ended right there.  Scott’s line tangled and wrapped around the butt of his rod.  Wisely, he charged forward fast enough that the permit didn’t break him off and he eased the tension enough to undo the near disaster.  The fight was on with no dangers such as coral heads in sight.

 

Permit fight hard.  Bonefish are impressive but they are no match for a permit.  Jacks, shaped just like permit fight hard but I say the permit fight harder.  Scott had his hands full for the next ten minutes.

 

All went well and soon Brendan netted Scotts permit.  This was his first Indo-Pacific and the first I’ve had the pleasure to see get caught.  In all my trips to the Indian Ocean I never caught one nor anyone I was with.

 

Apparently the Indo-Pacific permit doesn’t get as big as our Atlantic permit.  Scott’s fish weighed 7lbs and was as gorgeous as any flats species I’ve ever seen.  The yellow changes when you tilt the permit under the sunlight.  Some angles he gleams yellow but most are different shades of gold.  This handsome yellow permit was no less than stunning!

 

After we released the permit we took a breather on the beach.  We had a lot to celebrate.  Then Brendan and I walked the rest of the flat but there were no more shots to be had.  We packed it in and headed for camp to relax for the rest of the evening.

 

 

It’s been an epic start to this extended trip to St Brandon’s.  I can’t get my mind off the incredible bonefishing we had to start the day and then the permit – WOW!  We celebrated with a few brews tonight over some fresh grouper sashimi.  Seeing Scotts permit crush his fly gives me confidence for my first this week and perhaps more than just that.  Time for some rest!

 

Although this may not seem like an obtainable adventure – actually it is.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Crossing to St Brandon’s Atoll of Mauritius

This saltwater fly fishing adventure began today.  To remind everyone, I’m with friends from back home, Scott Smith and Ben Smith, on a fishing trip to St Brandon’s Atoll in the southern Indian Ocean.  St Brandon’s belongs to the country of Mauritius which is a small island nation east of Madagascar.  St Brandon’s is quickly being recognized as the worlds top bonefish destination and home to one of the largest populations of Indo-Pacific permit (yellow permit) in the world.

 

St Brandon’s is a FlyCastaway destination and this adventure wouldn’t be possible without my South African friends.  If you follow the blog you met several of my FlyCastaway friends when I was fishing in South Africa back in November.  My main host and friend of that excursion was Gerhard Laubscher and he’s with us this trip as well.

 

 

 

St Brandon’s is a destination available to everyone and we book it at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.  There’s a catch to every trip to St Brandon’s however.  That’s getting from main island Mauritius to this beautiful atoll.  After two days flying to Mauritius from the US, there’s another 28 hours by boat to get from the main island of Mauritius to St. Brandon’s Atoll.

 

28 hours on a boat may not sound like a big deal.  A boat.  Vacation. Ocean blue.  How nice!  But I promise you, crossing a 280-mile chunk of open ocean in a 50-foot sport fishing boat is far from fun.  The crossing went like this.

 

April 10

 

We left the Address Boutique Hotel at 9:30 AM by taxi to the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis to meet Gerhard and other members of our group.  When we arrived two 50-foot Sport Fishers were docking to load our tackle and supplies for a week’s visit to St. Brandon’s Atoll.  We were planning on leaving the dock at 11:30 AM, but, like so often in foreign countries, clocks tick at a different beat.  There was waiting for fuel, paperwork, supplies and customs to deal with.  We left for St. Brandon’s at exactly 1 PM.

 

The ocean was beautiful and flat as we left the shores of mainland Mauritius.  There was actually some light rain to cool us off.  The port city of Port Louis has plenty going on with boats and buildings.  It was nice to say so long.

 

Once at sea, all you see is a stunning landscape of beaches and villages with lush green and mountains for a back drop.  As we broke away from the mainland we passed a few massive rock islands.

 

We were four hours into our long boat ride before the last glimpse of land disappeared.  Then things got lonely.  And hot.  Ben sunburns easily but with temps too hot in the cabin he had to sit outside and be creative with covering up.

 

The Indian Ocean remained pleasant but keep in mind you’re still on a boat in open ocean.  Even gentle rolling waves force you to hang on and the constant rocking can get to you.  If it doesn’t make you seasick you fall asleep.

 

I don’t get seasick thank god.  Gerhard brought one of his employees, Keegan, to do some filming and he came close to barfing over the side.  Fortunately, he was able to regain his seaworthiness and sort himself out before puking.  He too went into a deep sleep.

 

 

In case you get seasick or fear seasickness you should know there are some tricks.  What helps me if I feel queasy is salt.  I love peanuts, chips or crackers.  If this doesn’t do the trick there are drugs for seasickness.  Look into Dramamine, a popular over the counter drug.  Ben, Scott and Keegan all said Dramamine made the difference for them.

 

Once lands gone there’s nothing.  You might catch a glimpse of a flying fish spooking from the boat but soon we were too far from shore for the peculiar baitfish.  The open ocean isn’t much different than that of a desert and no matter who you are boredom takes over.

 

There’s only so much conversation to be had even with the best of friends.  As the afternoon passed we ate sandwiches and sipped a beer each from up on the bridge until early in the evening.  But we were clock watching as the sun was setting.  To me it seemed like we’d been on the boat for days.

 

The sound of the diesel engine and the slapping waves became monotonous.  The seas were just large enough that I couldn’t work on my computer or read a book.  I simply stared at the clouds and daydreamed about our upcoming fishing.

 

At 7 PM it was officially dark.  I thought about going to bed but I was afraid I’d be up by midnight and further bored out of my mind.  I forced myself through another very tedious two hours before climbing down below the deck to a bunk.

 

In the bunk the sound of waves slapping the hull is far louder than anything heard during the day.  You even get tossed around in your bed.  I was lucky and the ocean put me to sleep.

 

Even though I tried to avoid it, I woke up for the first time around midnight.  Rather than suffer being awake I popped half a sleeping pill which pushed me deeper into the night.  The next time I woke up was 5 AM.  It was still dark so I lay there in my bunk.  Would we ever get there I thought to myself.

 

April 11

 

At 7 AM I returned to the bridge for sunrise.  The captain said we were lucky to have such gentle seas overnight.  This being said, I promise you after 18 hours on the boat small waves or big waves, it didn’t matter.  The crossing was getting old.  We muscled through another four hours then finally St. Brandon’s Atoll came into view.

 

Setting eyes on St Brandon’s brought us new life.  We were going to be on the ground soon.  But even after the first view of St Brandon’s came we traveled another four hours to the north end of the St Brandon’s Atoll where we settled on Rafael Island and where the FlyCastaway Lodge is built.  These last four hours nearly killed me!

 

We anchored the Sport fishers then got shuttled to shore by the guides on small boats.  After the traditional welcome drinks and an orientation Scott and I tossed our crap in our room and dove into our tackle.  It was time set up some rods with hopes of an afternoon walk on a nearby flat.

 

The truth of the matter is that we arrived at Rafael Island at 3 PM.  By the time we were settled it was 5 PM and we’d run out of fishing time.  Most of us still made a walk around the island.  I enjoyed the walk for the sunset as much as the fishing.  I actually got a cast to a permit which makes me confident to reaching this week’s goal.

 

That’s it for now.  I’m exhausted and dying to get a good night’s rest before fishing tomorrow.  We’ll have seven straight days to enjoy.  Stay tuned!

 

Although this may seem like an unobtainable adventure – actually its obtainable.  Feel free to Contact Me and you can book this incredible trip to St Brandon’s with us at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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