Another Magic Day at St. Brandon’s Atoll

by | May 29, 2018 | flyfishing for Indo Pacific permit | 5 comments

When I was in hot pursuit of my yellow permit both last year here at St. Brandon’s Atoll and earlier this week, I passed up many a bonefish – literally letting even the occasional 7lber swim by in order not to miss a cast at a permit.  It was torturous.  But I gave myself a light at the end of the tunnel.  I promised myself that once I got Mr. Yellow I’d take a day and cast to every bonefish I saw and enjoy some of the best bonefishing in the world.


Strangely however, in the two days since I caught the permit, I have hardly seen a bonefish and I haven’t caught one.  In fact, I’ve caught hardly anything.  Luckily, today the permit hangover left me in tremendous fashion.


This morning I shared one of my most enjoyable bonefishing sessions of my life with my FlyCastaway friends.  It wasn’t numbers.  Catching a 100 bones from a mud doesn’t thrill me.  It was the consistent steady flow of individual cruising tailing bonefish.  They weren’t by any means suicidal eating the fly on every cast – that can be boring too.  But they weren’t ridiculously stubborn either.  Basically, if you made a decent cast with a good presentation the bonefish cooperated but if you were at all sloppy, they were gone.


From the minute we stepped from the boat and spread out across the flat on what was an absolutely gorgeous day, it was game on.  I don’t think there was one minute in four hours when at least one of us wasn’t casting.  In fact, it was rare when one of us wasn’t fighting a bonefish.


There were no monsters caught.  I had one that may have been 7lbs and I’m certain we all did, but it was one after another of 3-6lb bones.  They were beautiful and I took the time to look at every single one of them then watch them swim away after release.  Today was truly the St. Brandon’s bonefishing day I’ve been dreaming of!


We left the flat around 1.  I was so content that at the next spot when the guys told me to grab my rod and be ready for permit, I said I’ll catch up.  I kicked back and watched the fellas walk the flat without me while I drank a beer and enjoyed lunch with my feet up.


photo by Gerhard Laubscher – FlyCastaway

When the beer was gone and my stomach full I still wasn’t ready to hunt a permit.  Instead I put on a white crazy Charlie and blind casted over the coral heads around the boat.  My hopes was to catch a Picasso triggerfish, a fish I’ve been longing for since my first trip to the Indian Ocean.


The Picasso trigger is a tiny fish but from what I’d seen in pictures, one of the more amazingly colored fish on the planet.  I’ve probably had 50 eat my fly over the years but you must be very lucky to perch your hook in their tiny little mouths.


Well let’s just say this has been one hell of an incredible trip.  I’ve been damn lucky and wouldn’t you know it happened.  I was down to my last couple of casts.  The guys were returning to the boat and I was sick of unhooking miniature spangled emperor fish.  I made a long cast and stripped.  I hooked a fish and remarkably it was the long-awaited Picasso trigger.  Another new species!  Possibly the 400th (I will be updating my species list when I get home).


photo by Gerhard Laubscher – FlyCastaway

After the Picasso it was 3pm.  I could’ve reeled it in for the day but we stopped at an island flat right by camp called Big Trashy.  Its known as a prime permit spot but last year when I went it was void of life.  We left the boat and spread out.  I ended up in the middle of the guys in a cove.  My spot didn’t seem good but then I saw three fish moving in from out about 80 feet.


They were permit.  One big one leading two smaller fish.  I only had about 40 feet of line out and I ripped more off as fast as I could.  It ends up I dropped my cast short and they heard my crab fly come down hard and spooked out to the deep.


I had good spot after all.  I stripped out more line and coiled it perfectly on the sand.  I had the classic Merkin Crab on.  I checked the hook and then looked back out.  The sun was getting low and I had a ton of glare to fight.  Dang if that bigger fish wasn’t coming again.  This time by himself.


photo by Gerhard Laubscher – FlyCastaway

This time I hit him dead on dropping my fly a foot in front.  He did the famous spin move permit often do before the eat the fly.  What this is, is the permit hears the fly land.  Then they sort of spook but come back and circle it.  But instead of eating it he left for the deep again.  Something wasn’t right.


While fishing in Belize last December with Wil Flack he gave me some special crab pattern he loves.  By luck I had one in my box and tied it on.  I doubted the permit would be back but sure enough, this time trying to ambush me from the side, he came.  I hit the deck to hide and it was a short cast of about 30 feet.  The crab hit, sank and a streak of yellow pummeled it.  “Permit on!”


photo by Gerhard Laubscher – FlyCastaway

The initial run of this permit was extraordinary.  I was fishing my 9-weight Winston with my Bauer RX5 and the backing disappeared fast.  Gerhard could see and gave me good news – there was no coral the direction my fish ran.


photo by Gerhard Laubscher – FlyCastaway

Once the permit stopped I was able to gain back a ton of line fast much like you do after a bonefish stops.  Ten minutes of battle later, I landed yet my second Indo-Pacific permit.  A stunner of a fish!


It’s a fantastic thing to have any of the FlyCastaway crew around you when you catch a fish because they’re all clever with the camera.  But Gerhard is the best and he got serious.  In less than two minutes of shooting this fish at several different angles he looked at his camera screen and said, “We got it.  Amazing light!”.  Just what I wanted to hear and I released this astonishing fish back to the wild.


All I can say is wow.  Making the long journey back to St. Brandon’s Atoll has been far beyond worth it.  This is unreal!


After six days on the flats everyone is slowing down.  We had a scrumptious fresh grouper dinner and I’m not sure I had a beer.   We all retired before 8 pm.  We have one more day.


If you want to go to St Brandon’s Atoll feel free to contact me or my friends at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Brent Wilson

    I think that is the largest yellow permit I have ever seen. Congrats!!!!

  2. Mark S Cooper

    CONGRATS buddy great permit shots!!

  3. Glenn Ueda

    AWESOME! Glued to my seat! Keep it coming!

  4. Lance Tomar

    I’ve said it before.. You are one Fishy guy!! Super day.. Great Yellow Permit and equally fantastic Picasso!!
    They are as tough as you say to keep on the hook and continue to elude me.

  5. Jeff

    Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!