Milky Dreams Finally Come True!

by | Apr 27, 2022 | fly fishing for milkfish | 7 comments

Mayas-DugongToday was our 8th day in a row of fishing the flats here at Providence Atoll.   And these are proper hours of fishing.  There’s no 8-5 stuff going on.  We’re on the water by 7:30 AM and rarely back before 6.  But the wear and tear is showing a little.  Folks are sleeping in an extra half hour and drinking more coffee and making less adjustments to gear.

 

flyfishingAny direction you gazed this morning there was at least one storm on the horizon.  While we never got hit, the threat was there.  But things would settle before mid-morning and it was another spectacular day.  I fished with Jeff Smith and David Boyd for the second time and my third time this week with our guide Tim.

 

Providence-AtollMorning tide level wasn’t the best.  Tim had us walk a couple miles looking for GT’s.  I was hoping for a trigger shot or two but the water level was slightly too high.  Instead I carried my 12-weight and hunted GTs as well.  But not much happened for any of us.

 

flexo-crabAround 10 AM things changed.  The tide dropped enough to find triggers and the sun was out and high.  While Tim and the guys kept the GT search I pulled out my 9-weight Alpha+ with the orange Flexo Crab.

 

Titan-triggerfishI spooked a trigger or two.  As usual they were hard as heck to see.  I spotted a few huge yellowlip emperors and cast to them.  But strangely the normally greedy gangsters of the flats wanted nothing to do with my fly.  Then as I was wondering what was up with the fish, a mustache trigger moved about 50 feet away.  I launched and he was on my fly so fast I couldn’t believe it.  First species of the day and this one on back to back days!

 

GT-fishingWhile I was carefully avoiding the molarlike teeth of my trigger, Dave was casting to a pair of sizzling GT’s.  As I watched it looked like his fly got eaten five times.  He’d go tight then lose the fish.  He was literally backing up with his leader in the rod when he hooked up for real.

 

Giant-trevallyAfter a few screaming runs Dave landed his GT.  Turns out there was a blitz going on.  Check out Jeff and Tim focusing on another fish in the background.  Unfortunately Jeff didn’t connect.

 

flyfishingFun times for an hour or so on the flat but then the wind moved the water and tide in such that the fish disappeared.  The boys remained persistent.  I took a rare break and attempted a 20 minute power nap.  No luck, but it felt good anyhow.  Eventually Tim suggested we dredge on the eastern side of Providence.  Off we went eating lunch along the way.

 

dredging-flyfishingI love the dredge as it’s a rare opportunity to bring up odd fish from the depths.  It takes a 12-weight rod, a strong cored sinking line (I use the SA Sonar Titan Big Water Taper Max Sink), straight 80lb flouro and a heavy fly.  To those that have never done this before, 80lb may sound unfair, but do you want to land a few or not?  Whether a grouper, a snapper or who knows – the fish will surge back to bottom with such power lighter leaders have no chance to hold one of these curious species of the deep.

 

Dave-BoydTim and I watched as the fellas went to work.  Neither Jeff or Dave has much experience with dredging so it was fun to watch when they got their first hook ups.  Seriously, I thought this brute camouflaged grouper was taking Dave overboard!

 

Jeff-SmithThe guys caught a ton of fish.  When a big fish broke the 80lb leader or in Jeff’s case, the fly line twice, is when I jumped in.  I landed several of the camouflaged groupers, bohar snapper and an African marbled grouper.  But the highlight was Jeff’s unique and bizarre looking Napoleon wrasse.

 

milkfishAfter about an hour of tug-o-war, the guys were ready to move on.  In fact we had too because to return to the Mayas Dugong we needed to return from the east side of Providence before the tides dropped again.  That’s about when Capt. Kevin radioed to Tim that there were feeding milkfish in sight of the ship.  The boys gave the nod and said, “Currier, you need to get this done”.

 

milkfish-fliesThey were right.  If you didn’t read the Day 1 blog from this trip go do that now.  My lip still hurts from hooking myself with the Milky Dream.  I needed a little redemption, not only from Day 1, but from years of not having milkfish success.  When we got there the milkies were swimming high and hungry.

 

milkfishWell, today was my milkfish day, finally.  Dave was casting along with me but this time I got the perfect cast.  As I slowly and steadily stripped my algae looking concoction through the school, I came tight.  “Holly crap!  I’m on!”, I hollered expressing a little celebration and enthusiasm.

 

milkfishMilkfish are known for a few things: the entertaining way they feed and their sleek look and huge eyes.  But most of all, milkfish are known for their incredible fighting ability.  With their ginormously forked tail they take off at sound barrier breaking speed then go deep in your backing.  And they are famous for long, down and dirty fights.

 

big-fishBut I was ready and determined.  I’ve had lots of bad luck during years of my milkfish pursuit.  This fish was going down.  The leaders for milkfish that work best are basically 12 feet of 25lb test.  It’s no 80lb, but you can still reef on a fish.  That’s exactly what I did.

 

Jeff-CurrierDave, Jeff and Tim watched as I did battle.  10 minutes in I was ahead of schedule.  I had the sizeable milkfish near the boat.  Tim was about to lunge with the net but instead my fish took a dive.  Straight down about 80 feet.  I was almost to backing again but I stopped him.  It took another 10 minutes to bring him to the net.  But it happened.  I landed my first milkfish!  My species list is now almost 430!

 

milkfish-currierThat was it for my day.  We had a few beers in the cooler and I took a seat and grabbed one.  I go on every expedition with one challenging goal in mind.  For this trip I wanted to once and for all catch a milkfish.  Success!

 

Yellowdog-FlyfishingWhile Dave and Jeff couldn’t connect on a milky, they had a great day also.  In fact, as its been all trip, everyone had a super day.  There’s always some amazing fish to mention but hands down, Dave Moeller’s 110cm GT was sensational!

 

 

flyfishing-humor

We had a funny ending to the day.  I haven’t mentioned it but at dinner we discuss the day’s highlights and the angler that made the most or biggest mistakes must wear the banana hat (I wore it proudly at dinner on Day 1).  Well, the group had a near flawless performance, so I earned it for taking a nap.  It’s a tough crowd I guess.

 

This is and incredible trip.  Its fast surpassing even some of my best saltwater trips ever.  Stay tuned for tomorrow, our last day.

 

To see more photos from this incredible Yellow Dog Trip be sure to visit my Instagram page@jeffcurrier65

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

7 Comments

  1. Lance Tomar

    Congrads on entering the Milkie club!!! Welcome Dave & Jeff to the Currier Dredging Club! No Dogtooth this year??

  2. Brian I

    Congrats!!! It’s about time the milkie got added to your list. Well deserved.

  3. Lane

    More dredging please!

  4. Jeff

    Its coming Lane, not only that, I’m sending a crab fly down on the last day!

  5. Jeff

    Thanks Brian & Lance. And no doggies this trip. Never really dredged the deeper water. Our dredging took place fairly shallow this year. Like 40 feet

  6. Kristen Sorensen

    Congrats on the Milkfish!!

  7. Jeff

    Thanks Kristen!

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!

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