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!