FARQUHAR ATOLL FISHING NEWS | 27 SEPT – 4 OCT 2023
Once again, we celebrate the highly anticipated opening of the Farquhar Atoll. After a four month hiatus, the season usually commences by the end of September, and anglers have the honours of throwing their lines at rested GT’s, bumphead parrotfish, permit, triggerfish, bonefish, sailfish and many more. Farquhar truly is one of the most diverse atolls with a mind dazzling array of target species.
This fishing report is written by the hosts of the opening week on Farquhar, Fly Fishing Nation. Enjoy!
Obliterated by the sheer amount of potential targets, it’s easy to loose track. But the group settled for the two fish Farquhar is famous for, amongst all other fish endeavours: Big GT’s and bumphead parrotfish on the turtle-grass flats! Both around in good numbers and both very visual to pursuit!
Historically, the first couple of weeks of the season seem to be getting more wind from the southeast. Nothing to fret, just something to prepare for. The trade winds are the reason why the sooty turn fledglings make it to the top of the menu for every GT around Goulette Island, widely known for the insane footage from BBCs Blue Planet II and the bird-eating GT action. The wind encourages the young birds to spread their wings and attempt their first flights. Some less-fortunate attempts often end up in the water and with that, often in the guts of a bird-eating GT.
The group of anglers were blessed with beautiful tides starting the week with a 10:40 low – as the week progressed and the springs mellowed out, the bumpie fishing got better and better – allowing for a longer time frame of flats fishing on each tidal drop and push. A lot of water on the move is always a good preset for big GTs. Everything seemed according to plan.
Exposing saltwater beginners to some of the most sought-after, as well as brutal, saltwater fish a fly angler could dream of? What could possibly go wrong? And the answer is: A lot, and it did – because it had to! The group of Fly Fishing Nation anglers experienced the full galore of missed bites, fish sticking up and popping fly lines, and shortcomings on the technical as well as casting side. To understand what one is up against, requires a harsh approach, and this group of predominantly freshwater anglers had to learn to swim in the sea quickly. And we all know, that there is no better place than the Seychelles Outer Islands and no better staff on the planet to take care of that than Alphonse Fishing Co.
Guided by an amazing and dedicated team, the anglers shifted the odds in their favour towards the end of the week and every single one of them left with a GT on the fly.
It hailed first bonefish batches the first night! Before the week had officially started, host Stephan set the bar high with a 104 cm GT at 6:30 AM before breakfast on the lagoon side during a morning walk. Before the day was over, Pietari from Finland added the second one metre plus fish to the first day of the season with a stunning 101 cm fish from the flats around Deposé! What an intro to the GT season and what a fish for Pietari to start his journey.
While in transit to Farquhar, Anna from Iceland proclaimed that she would chase all the colours of the rainbow with a wishlist of gamefish to be ticket of her list, that would require some serious time management. Not only did she tick most of them off, she also started her GT career with a waded 93 cm specimen on day two. Jason followed suit with his first GT, directly followed by a bumphead parrotfish and a bonefish, completing the first slam of the season. Stephan and Simon were sizing up on bumpies with one 93 cm fish in the net first thing in the morning and another one lost!
Yuri from Georgia ushered in the big fish game, with another absolutely outstanding GT of 109 cm on a 12 weight glass rod. Yuri’s son, Gleb, did well on the pelagic species with the first sailfish landed after some fruitless attempts the day before. A deep-into-the-backing- family day! Slava from Russia completed his bumpie mission with a strong 88 cm fish on an Alphlexo crab!
The pelagic action prompted many boats to try their luck with numerous sailfish raised and hooked, but sadly no cigar. However, a decent size yellowfin was good news for the kitchen and for Pietari, earning another badge. Slava and Simon got to celebrate their first GTs on the fly with a stunning 91 cm fish for Simon from the backside of Goulette island.
With two days remaining, the team got serious about their big GT ambitions. Pietari and Stephan followed guide Evan into the shallows chasing permit before working some deep water section for big GTs. Blind casting an Andre Van Wyk beast-fly over milky water rose a bunch of clumsy fish before the first 80 cm fish connected. The same large fly was refused by a handful of fish on the flats before a bling-cast in a blue hole materialised a 114 cm morbidly obese bird eater around Goulette on the end of Stephan’s line. A hard hazardous fight and a well deserved Farquhar PB for Steph. In the meantime, Anna collected more colours for her potpourri of gamefish with a bumpie. What a day!
Farquhar bid the anglers farewell in the best manner possible: An amazing day with great visibility throughout. Slava and Anna completed their to-do-list with one sailfish each. Gleb completed the group by catching his first GT in a team effort with guide Dean who had to dive ensure the fish was landed! Pietari added another GT to his list. Yuri supplied a large Wahoo for the BBQ whilst Stephan and Simon went out chasing dragons again. Simon claimed his new PB with an angry 97 cm geet and another 75 cm fish from the deep flats with Evan, while Stephan claimed a 99 cm fish first shot after a tremendous 100 cm bumpie on his bonefish rod and followed by a mixed bag of reef fish including African marble grouper (AMG). This one metre bump brought the tally to an impressive six and by the weeks end the anglers had also caught a total of 17 geets, four of them over a metre.
Overall, a fantastic week at Farquhar Atoll. The weather was good, the tides were favourable, and the fishing was excellent. The group caught a variety of species, including some big fish. And they all had the opportunity to experience the unique and challenging fishery that Farquhar Atoll has to offer.
Stay tuned for next week’s report.
Alphonse Fishing Co. on Farquhar Atoll
TOTAL CATCH STATS WITH 5 ANGLERS THIS WEEK:
GT 17 (4 over 1 metre)
Bumphead parrotfish 6 (largest 1 metre)
Yellowfin tuna 1
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