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COSMOLEDO, SEYCHELLES, MARCH 2014

More than 1,000 kilometres southwest of the main island of Mahé and about 200 kilometres north of Madagascar lay the Cosmoledo atoll. In the middle of the Indian Ocean and far away from any land mass! Amongst the saltwater fishermen Cosmoledo formerly was known as the world's best destination for GT fishing. Five years ago, the atoll was closed, because there were problems with pirates and the safety could no longer be guaranteed.

In 2014 the atoll can be fished for the first time again. The operation with the expedition boat Maya Dugong is militarily protected, one can feel safe. After the test tour in February sensational fishing results are reported. – And so our expectations are high, especially since the trip is costly and expensive.

My friend Helmut Alleze from Munich is with me in the very first week, also the owners of the operation, the Collins family, a few South Americans and Englishmen. I will stay two weeks in Cosmoledo.

THE GROUP

We are a really cool group! Everyone from the first and from the second week are supernice, we have a lot of fun and get on brilliantly. Thanks for this unforgettable, great time with you all!

THE JOURNEY

Etihad takes us from Munich with stopover in Abu Dhabi to Mahé, where we have to stay one night. We pass the time with a stroll to the Marina and good food. There's not much more to do there.

A small, private charter plane takes us from Mahé to Assumption, where the expedition boat awaits us.

The Maya Dugong is surprisingly well equipped, despite her age. Everything you need is there. The cabins have air conditioning, bathroom and plenty of room for luggage. The food tastes nice, and the fishing boats are very good.

Fishing on three pristine atolls is unique.

ASSUMPTION

In Assumption there is a runway, and there are a few workers living on the island, who maintain everything.

For me, Assumption is very interesting in relation to GT fishing. On the arrival day, there are three to four hours left in the afternoon before the Maya Dugong departs for Cosmoledo. Between the first and second week in Assumption I am seven, eight hours fishing completely alone. The result: 9 GTs!

We are barely a minute on the beach on the first day, and all three already drill a GT. There are also very many giant tortoises in Assumption, we have even witnessed them hatch. Beautiful on one hand, on the other hand also cruel: The newborn turtles crawl from the nest in the sand dunes down into the water. They hardly swim a few metres, the GTs come from everywhere and fill their bellies. Hard to imagine how the turtles can survive.

The right time to throw the fly in the water! The GTs are extremely aggressive in this phase and flatten everything down what gets in their way, especially black Brushflies which look like small tortoises.

COSMOLEDO

Cosmoledo is 14,5 km long and about 11,5 km wide. The land area of the atoll is only about 2 km², the surface of the lagoon is about 145 km². It comprises a ring of 9 main islands and an interior lagoon. The ocean around Cosmoledo ist extraordinarily rich in fish, whereas the atoll itself is home to big populations of frigate birds, swallows and gannets. The extremeley beautiful atoll is also used as nesting site by tortoises.

Picture book-flats as far as the eye can see! Two main channels go through the atoll where GTs hunt in incoming and outgoing water. You can sight GTs on the flats at the bottom of the sand sometimes in 100 metres distance, then wait and cast out to the fish when the casting distance is right.

Even if the fly lands 10, 15 metres away in the field of view, with top speed the GT shoots to it and simply wants to eat the thing. Pure aggression in this speed – it's fire for the adrenaline. What's next, is a hard battle that puts man and material to the test.

Except for GTs, there is a good population of bonefish at Cosmoledo. The average size is five to six pounds, but there are also really big bones. And of course there are a number of other reef fish. We focus on GT, only occasionally at low tide, we go after bonefish and Co.

ASTOVE

Lies about 38 km south of Cosmoledo atoll, is about 6 km long and 4 km wide, and has a land area of just 5 km². On Astove the upper fringing reef separates the lagoon with about 9.5 km sq, almost entirely from the sea.

We remain two days on Astove because the weather is so good. Astove is a small atoll, only one channel leads into the inner lagoon. The fishing in this channel and some kilometres on the left and on the right of it – this is for me the highlight of this trip, above all because of the size of the fish. There are extremely big GTs, I could hook two really big ones(120 to 130 cms), unfortunately, after a few minutes the reef cut the line.

You fish in the surf, the reef edge is sometimes just 50 metres away. There it goes right down at 100 metres and more. The large GTs come over the edge and mainly hunt for mullets on the flats. To stop a great GT and prevent it from going over the edge – that's the challenge! And it is not always successful. At Astove I go twice for a couple of hours with poppers just outside in front of the edge. What is happening there is unbelievable! We catch ourselves literally dumb and stupid. Sometimes, we have 100 GTs around our boat. It is very interesting, but actually far too easy for someone so ambitious like me. I catch GTs up to 120 cm in length, many barracudas and a lot more on these trips.A nice change, but it does not come close to the attraction of fly fishing.

FISHING ON THE ATOLLS

I can really say that I have already fished at many of the best places on this earth. However, Cosmoledo excels everything, it is the absolutely best what I have done up to now. I cannot imagine topping that. Jacques Cousteau has made his films here not for nothing. The abundance of fish in this natural jewel is second to none. In these two weeks, I have caught 90 GTs with the fly rod. The poppers are uninteresting, it is far too easy and is no more a challenge.

For me, now the decision is clear: next year I will be here once again to fish.