We awoke to the revving of the engines of our mother ship. It was time to move. The flats we’ve been on were fantastic but this is an exploratory so we must explore. The place we headed for were flats we saw on a map about a six hour boat ride straight out into the Red Sea. This is a place Rob and Ed wanted to visit last November but the weather wouldn’t permit.
I can only imagine how rough it must have been for them to have not gone because today as we ate breakfast in the cabin plates of food slid and drinks were impossible as our mother ship heaved over enormous waves. The ride probably took more than six hours due to the headwind and the waves. Two of the guys got sick.
When we arrived the sight of the new flats made the tiresome boat ride all worth it. We anchored on the back side of an island that had a deep blue channel cutting through it. We were sheltered but could see that a short walk would take us to a huge flat that went from the island to the wave busting reef. Our tracks were about to be the first ever by fly fishers.
I fished with Rob. He packed his 8-weight and the teaser rod while I stuck with what’s been working, my 8- and 12-weight Winston Boron III SX rods. We didn’t get far before we found a huge titan triggerfish wallowing the edge of a flat. I put the sneak on him and got three excellent casts with a crab fly.
The strike zone for triggers is small. I had to get my fly almost exactly in front of him. Once he saw it I let my crab sink. The colorful strange fish tilted and I strip set. I felt him but he came off. Triggers are hard to hook because of their small human-like tooth filled mouths. He chased again and ate again. But for a second time he wasn’t hooked. I got three eats but no hook up before he finally bolted.
For the next few hours Rob and I cast at triggers. I had two solid hook ups. One was a small titan triggerfish that I brought close to hand and the hook pulled. The other was a huge yellowmargin that I should have gotten. He was on the reef and I hooked him solid. But I stupidly let him run too far and he made it over the edge of the reef and freed himself. There were other opportunities but they were wrecked by other more aggressive crab heisting species such as this very attractive thornfish (Terapon jarbua).
I picked up two new species today, the thorn fish a bigeye jack (very similar to the horse-eye). I also got this respectable bohar behind Rob’s teaser on the reef. Overall, our fishing results could have been better. Mark, Chris and Eric got into the triggers thick and landed five! But we did experience something unique and incredible. We saw a dugong. The dugong is very similar to the manatee but is indeed different and unfortunately as close to extinction as a species can be. There may be less than 100 on the entire east coast of Africa.