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Astove, Seychelles; February 2015

For days I have been packing for the trip to Seychelles/Astove. Actually, I know Astove and know exactly what I need there, but I always think twice and I don’t want to forget anything. Actually I always take far too much. But it still better, then to miss something at the location.

For the GT fishing I have tied my black/purple and tan/white Hollow flies. For this, I have used my extra large Iceland Fox hair. Andrew Warshawer ties the awesome Hollow Bucktail streamer. I let him tie me some colours. They are also, of course, with me. I take my filled C & F boxes for bones and permit, etc.

So, top prepared and everything packed we go to Munich to the airport on February 14th. From there, with Etihad to Abu Dhabi and then on to Mahé/Seychelles. In Mahé I arrive at 2p.m. and afterwards I go by taxi to the Crown Beach hotel that Aardvark McLeod has booked for me. I meet my colleagues Sam from the United States and Ronnie and Butler, two Englishmen. We have a nice evening together. Then we go to bed quite early but I could hardly sleep.

The overnight stay in Mahe is really bothering me and stretches the whole foreplay into length. Unfortunately, the Charter plane from IDC always flies very early in the morning from Mahé to Assumtion and Astove and there is no flight connection that allows a journey on the same day. The Charter flight leaves on time. A stopover is planned at Alphonse. The flight is quite turbulent. Then a storm comes up as we get close Alphonse and we can’t land. The captain tells us that we fly back to Mahé and possibly fly again in the evening or the next morning, as soon as the weather has moved on again. This is, of course, the last thing we want to hear and all are disappointed. So it comes that we spent one more night in the newly built Eden Paradise and it’s not until the 17.2 that we then fly over Alphonse to Astove. We arrive late morning on the island.

Around 12:20p.m. we go fishing. Actually too late as the tide is already quite strong and in the surf it is difficult because the waves are too high and already too much water is lashing on the shore. I am also tired out. Initially, I hook a bluefin and then a small GT, but lose both fish. Then I am almost sick from heat and effort. Therefore I decide to finish the day early.

A lodge for 12 guests has been built at Astove. It is just finished and we are the second guests there. In the future, six fly fishermen can fish there for 10 weeks in spring and 10 weeks in fall and the remaining time will be filled with divers. At present, the small villas have been completed. Very simply furnished but there is everything that you need. Even a small swimming pool and a restaurant will be built. At the moment everything is quite simple. Anyway, the food is excellent. It is much more pleasant after a strenuous day of fishing to have your feet back on solid ground in the evening. One recovers much better.

The Guides

There are the best Seychelles guides locally. The best known and most experienced are probably Cameron, Serge, Christiaan, Wayne. I know them all well now and I like them all. Each one has their special way.

The Team

We are also a super team of fishermen. I meet again Jörn, this time with his wife Ulla, Ronny and Sam and Sarah.

The Fishing

There are just five full days left after we have lost one day as we were all tired on the day of arrival. We all know though that we had a spring tide and I know that from my first fishing experience on Astove. It usually goes off in the surf

This time the lagoon is filled with bones. I concentrate on the gangster of the flats. I love to fish for GTs. And it is also super to catch a bone to the others. I prefer to concentrate on GTs and keep an eye out for rays and dark shadows. What strikes me this time especially was how many big bonefish are to be seen in front of the surf. Some schools of 100 fish with sizes up to over 10 pounds. In the meantime, I catch the odd bone. The fighting strength of large bones is really extreme.

Seychelles Grand Slam: Together with Serge, I do a Seychelles slam on the third day. Bonefish, triggerfish and GT in a day.

Every day is madness. I never hook less than 7-8 GTs and count 27 GTs in five days.

It is a great day in the surf with Serge where we see the GTs from afar and I can cast just about everyone perfectly at the right time. With Cameron and Christiaan in the surf where the GTs and the rays come into very shallow water.

Then the day with Wayne in the surf at the wreck. Wayne shows me a spot after lunch and tells me I should drop a few “blind casts” in the deeper water. I go to the spot, there’s an edge. I see coral blocks and bommies everywhere and think landing a GT will be a different matter. Then I see a huge GT coming with the wave. I only see the tail fin and back through the white foaming water and know immediately this is a capital fish. I call Wayne, start to cast in the direction and see the GT coming straight away. The fish misses my fly, but doesn’t see me. Another few casts and he comes up with speed and attacks my fly with brute force. Wayne sees the fish immediately and screams at me to take the fish as hard as I can. What I do, of course. I see the coral blocks and think to myself that I have really little chance. I give the fish little line, hold the fly line so tightly that I is just short of breaking. I turn the fish two times in the waves completely and the fish gets only briefly into the backing and never manages to go really deep. I've given it to him to the full. At the first single swivel in the shallow water, Wayne has the fish on the tail fin. The fish is landed in 3-4 minutes and has 120 cm. Wayne and I are totally happy, and we take a look at the spot a few more times and still cannot believe it.

We all have a super week and enjoy the beautiful weather and the amazing fishing.

Everyone catches their dream fish. Jörn catches a capital GT with 117 cm on the last day before leaving; I can hear his screams of joy on the other side of the lagoon.

The Snorkelling

The underwater world around Astove is unique. Of course, I don't want to miss that. Twice I invest an hour to explore the underwater world and to make a couple of shots with my underwater camera.

All images from this trip