Providence & Farquhar Atoll update from Peter McLeod
I returned last month from my annual trip to the Seychelles in my quest for GTs. Last year I was on Providence with a group when Tropical Storm Fantala rolled across the Indian Ocean and threw the rest of our weeks fishing out the window. I had been itching to get back to Providence as our last evening had me surrounded by some 150 tailing permit and left somewhat of a lasting impression. Fly Fishing Providence Seychelles
Finally the year rolled around and once again we were boarding the IDC flight down to Farquhar Atoll, the staging area for Providence. Despite the sadness that hit me like a wave as I observed the damage left in the wake of the storm, I was also filled with renewed hope. The damage was not as complete as I had thought and there were still trees standing across the island. Already huge numbers of palms are sprouting to fill the void and it won’t be long before the island is returned to her former glory. As the tractor slowly chugged us up to the boat ramp we were greeted by the lovely sight of the Farquhar pets, still in residence and unperturbed by what had transpired above their world. Fly Fishing Providence Seychelles
Our trip to Providence, in a nutshell, was phenomenal. Although GT’s are always the primary goal on these outer atolls, Providence has a huge amount to offer in terms of species variety. As Cerf Island hove into view I think we all felt that deep-seated excitement that comes from looking forward to something for so long and finally coming to fruition. Lining the railing we pointing out features, straining to see across the surf and onto the flats bathed in the orangey light of evening. Size. It’s the one thing that Providence Atoll really has over all the other atolls I have fished in the Seychelles. At 44 km in length and 12 km in length in covers 345 km². Moored at Midway aboard MV Mayas Dugong, it is just possible to make out Providence Island in the North and Cerf Island in the south with clear skies. A huge playground for flats fishermen. Fly Fishing Providence Seychelles
There are several observations that struck me over the course of the trip that I would like to share. The first is that the fishing on Providence is very different to the other outer atolls such as Cosmoledo or Astove that I have fished. The wide-open flats are easy wading, mostly covered in turtle grass or sand where the GTs very quickly pick up the stingrays and hover over them. Most of the fish we caught over the course of the week were caught by spotting rays on the flats and fish would readily attack flies presented to them. We also cast to a lot of waking fish that were clearly visible from distance. Yes, there is of course surf fishing and wading along the edges, but less of it than the Aldabra group and less requirement for walking over really gnarly coral.
Wayne’s Milky Magic is a proven Milk Fish Catcher!
There were huge numbers of milkfish present around the edge of the atoll the entire time we were there and we hooked many. Providence has some fantastic bonefish and trigger fishing which should not be overlooked. We all know how easy it is to become fixated on a particular species and is vital to fish for what comes round the corner. The bones were big and often feeding in very skinny water and the bumphead parrotfish are massively prolific. As we experienced a full tidal cycle while there it is interesting to note that in this instance the neap tides produced larger numbers of GTs, but the spring tides produced the really big fish coming off the Ocean.
Farquhar Atoll also has me very excited for the coming season. The new lodge was well underway while I was there and will be a radical improvement from the old guest house from which bungalows have sprung. The new facility will accommodate ten guests in three separate duplex style chalets (two separate bedrooms per chalet). Each room will have two beds, air conditioning, and an ensuite bathroom. The previous guesthouse has been converted into a communal social area containing a dining room, lounge and a bar where guests can enjoy their meals and relax. The hugely popular open-air dining area on the water’s edge is also being rebuilt so guests will still be able to enjoy meals and drinks there when the weather allows. From a fishing perspective the storm has shaken up some of the flats and the rest it has received will be hugely beneficial for the coming season.
We all know that the established fisheries of Alphonse, Cosmoledo, and Astove are excellent and dependable and well documented. For those looking for the next adventure, I would strongly advise looking at Farquhar and especially Providence. There are huge areas that remain unexplored and just the thought of it fills my excitement. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.aardvarkmcleod.com Fly Fishing Providence Seychelles
Check out Peter’s previous blog post on the Atoll’s here