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SEYCHELLES, DESROCHES, MARCH 2013

Our daughter Anna is seven years old and since last autumn in school. So we need to arrange our family vacation in coordination with Anna's holiday periods. For the Easter holiday from 22 March to 2 April 2013, we have chosen Desroches Island in the Seychelles. The island is located about 250 km from the main island of Mahé situated in the Indian Ocean and is reachable only by plane.

Desroches Island is quite newly developed; the management is in the hands of a South African group and the leading personal are mainly from South Africa. The deep-sea fishing is running professionally under the leadership of “Cast Away”.

The island is a paradise for holidaymakers who are looking for luxury and relaxation, but also a top fishing destination. Desroches is located in the middle of an atoll; the fishing is second to none. Due to the isolated location and the shallows, there is virtually no commercial fishing.

A family vacation in which the fly fishing does not suffer as a result – the perfect combination! For me it is the first time that I fish in saltwater with a fly, and I am excited. I know from my colleagues: saltwater fishing is the superlatives what concerns fighting power and aggressiveness of the fish.

The journey is exhausting: we fly from Munich to Dubai, where we stay nearly four hours in the middle of the night. Then we fly in four-and-a-half hours to Mahè, the main island of the Seychelles. From there we wait another two hours in the hotel’s lounge and then fly 50 minutes in a smaller plane to Desroches.

We are welcomed by the management and taken to our accommodation. Our beach villa is a dream: we have a private beach with lagoon! The Bonefish are standing 20 metres or so away from the Villa. Food, service and atmosphere are top-class; we can highly recommend the island for holiday makers. // In the evening we go to sleep right after eating, we are exhausted after the long journey and sleep wonderfully in the four-poster bed with mosquito net.

Just after sunrise, I get up and fix up an eighth rod. First I try a few blind casts; after the fifth, sixth throw I have a bite. The fish immediately pulls the complete line from the reel and ten metres in the backing. Soon, I see that I have a Bonefish on the hook. How can a fish with about 2 pounds have so much power? And the speed with which these Bonefish go off – amazing! Before breakfast I've landed five Bonefish and am totally excited.

On this trip, I want to spend time especially with my family. My wife knows and tolerates my passion, and I book in consultation with her a big boat for two full and two half days.

FISHING DAY 1

We go with the boat to St. Joseph Island approximately 27 miles away. One way takes only 50 minutes with the fast boats (2 × 300 hp outboard engines). David, a South African is on the boat and we share the cost.

Around St. Joseph and the neighbouring islands with picture-book-flats there are normally many bones, and a healthy population of Indo-Pacific permits. Head guide Cameron tells me that many fishermen have come for years only because of the permits, which are difficult to get, because they usually quickly pull through the flats and you rarely get a good cast off opportunity. They are extremely shy and look very good.

We are in the warmest season here, and unfortunately we soon notice that no bones are on the flats, instead blacktip reef shark, lemon shark, many rays and sea turtles. Actually, we planned to catch really many bones. We see permits over and over again, but they never let us get close enough to them. This adds excitement.

I film tailing permits feeding in the turtle grass, a beautiful experience. But somehow, it seems that they feel our presence, because they keep always at a sufficient distance. When I was nearly at casting distance, they move off again. A damned thing really. The Guide explains the high temperature is the cause of the missing bones. We fish outgoing tide and later also incoming tide. But the bones stay away.

We decide to give up and go back to our boat. Shortly before the boat I see a permit at about 30 metres distance. Then he disappears again. // Shortly afterwards, Cameron sees two permits 20 metres away. The wind is good; therefore I can cast optimally to the larger of the two on the first cast. I let the Crabfly fall first and start slowly to feed more line out. The permit comes and follows my fly. My heart almost stops, by coming closer; I see how big the fish is. He doesn’t take it and turns away slowly. But he did not notice us, and both fish eat undisturbed. We can still see them well, and they come back into cast distance. The wind is not strong but comes now from the side. I cast my fly, and it ends up not optimally stretched and too far to the right of the permits. As soon as the fly immerses, I notice my luck. The flow of the incoming tide is exactly in the direction of the permits, and I let the Crabfly swing in the direction towards the fish. I then assume that I am in front of the nose of the larger fish and start to strip the line. Immediately he swims after it and takes it. Now it goes off.

It seems to me that my reel will flip over. What a powerful machine and what speed! After three, four minutes the power is gone, and the permit swims around only in a circle around us. Cameron is even more nervous, and wants that I land the permit. He explains to me that I should not use too much pressure. Permits have a soft mouth, and we don’t want to slice the fish.

Another danger: A lemon shark floats behind our fish and wants to attack. Cameron interrupts filming. David comes with his guide, and they help us scare away the shark. // The day seems to run, and it looks as if I am really lucky. On the first day from the second serious cast I land a magnificent permit with about 6-7 kilos! I am totally pleased, he is fascinatingly beautiful.

FISHING DAY 2

I have booked half a day, four-and-a-half hours, offshore with the boat “Predator” and I look forward to it. We trawl two Teasers always parallel to the drop-off in 40-60 metres. After five minutes, we see the first attack on one of the teasers, then on the second one.

The skipper and the guide pull back the teaser, and I cast my fly and keep eye contact with her. Kyle, the guide, already knows that it is the bonitos that are attacking the teaser. I have my first offshore fish on the hook, a bonito with 4-5 kilos. And I find out again, how brutal the bite is and what strength saltwater fish have. The bonito is filleted and the fillets are placed on the teaser. In the meantime, I am more confident and understand how thing works.

“Wahoo!” shouts Kyle, and I can see the fish with the teaser in its mouth jumping out of the water. Then an attack follows on the second teaser. I cast my fly again and see a flash shooting through the water directly at my fly. The strip strike was a devout wish. The bite and the first escape are so aggressive that I burn a finger with the fly line. However, I land my first Wahoo. A great experience! This morning, we still have some attacks on the teaser. I catch another bonito, and that was about it.

FISHING DAY 3

I share half a day with David on the boat, and we go offshore. The fever got us! We want to get the biggest. The day before, two Englishmen caught two sails and a yellow fin tuna. // We change over at 30-minute intervals. We don’t have to wait long for the bonitos. We catch at the same time three pieces and keep one for the fillets to equip the teaser.

We have constantly attacks on the teaser, but these are wahoo and they attack the teaser very aggressively and notice that there is foul play. // After one hour, Kyle reports a sail, then a second. Two sails attack the teaser, a great show. My fly is in the water, the teasers are drawn. As my fly is at the level of the teaser, I have the first bite, but cannot hook it.

Then the next bite, the sail comes from the side, and I can feel really well how the hook is in his mouth. Then it goes off! The reel screams, and the sail jumps four times completely out of the water. After two minutes, with the last jump, he gets off. I am totally disappointed, but motivated to get another bite. // We never have to wait long. Every 10 minutes there is activity with the teasers. This morning, we still catch bonitos, and David has the same chance as I: sails are close to the boat. But he cannot hook one.

FISHING DAY 4

I have booked a full day tour with boat and crew for me alone. Today it must work – I want a sail or otherwise something else big. // In the morning, we go back to St. Joseph. There we try our luck and hope that bones are on the flats. But we see only a few fish.

I can hook one, but immediately lose it after the first flight. We realize that it is more sensible to fish offshore, because the flats are almost empty. It goes towards flood tide. // We immediately catch again bonitos and put them on our teaser. After five minutes, I already have the first attack. A wahoo pulls 100 metres from the reel, and then he gets off the hook.

Half an hour later I have my sail fish chance again: two sails behind the boat! I hook one, but it does not sit right on the hook and in seconds the sail has shaken it off. My fly is still in the water, and a sail is still behind the boat. One more chance, but I cannot hook it again properly. I am done with my nerves and am angry.

It is almost four o'clock in the afternoon and since 70 minutes nothing serious happens. Guide Kyle decides to move to a different location. I have another sail chance there, but I won't talk about it…

Shortly afterwards, it goes off! A dog-tooth tuna takes my fly, and my reel almost overturns. Kyle calls to me: “Very big doggy!” And I answer: “He unwinds me! “ The tuna strips me short of 400 metres of backing, on his first run off! Now, however, he has turned away, luckily.

I have my hands full, to keep in contact and coil as quickly as I possibly can. The fight lasts nearly 40 minutes, and in the end it is only pumps and more pumping. When the doggy comes up, however, I only see what a massive thing I caught! The fish weighs between 50 and 60 kilos and is nearly 1.4 metres in length.

Unfortunately, however, we must go back, because we are 90 minutes away from Desroches. What a pity! I am highly motivated and I would have liked to get something on the hook. // During the ride home, about 15 minutes before Desroches, I see sea gulls and fish jump from the water. Kyle turns the boat and goes there. I suspect dolphins and straight away I take the camera. Soon I see that there are tuna, hunting the bait fish. The water is boiling of small fish, which splash from the water. Yellow fin tunas and bonitos! We have an attack, and a fish takes my fly. Unfortunately, it is only a bonito, which gives me a tough fight. He is hooked at the side, we notice just before the boat. Nervousness comes back when a big tuna wants to take my bonito. The tuna sees us and gives up his plan.

Again the fish splash only just out of the water. Kyle thinks these are GTs or kingfish. I cast my fly and it goes off. I catch another yellow spot kingfish with approximately 9-10 kilos.What a way to end! I am grateful to the guides for the successful day.

FISHING ON HOTEL ISLAND

On Desroches I occasionally go fishing on our beach in front of the Restaurant and catch many bone fish. // I am fascinated by the fish in the salt water! I will certainly repeat this after this unbelievable experience with.

ALL IMAGES FROM THIS TRIP