Remote and home to an incredible number of unique and different species, the Seychelles offer unbelievable wading and amazing fly fishing opportunities. With several atolls serviced by some of the finest lodges and guides on the planet, the shallow flats of the Seychelles may be the finest saltwater destination in the world.
What sets the Seychelles in a class all it’s own is the sheer diversity of fish species found throughout the outer Seychellois islands. Combine that with seclusion, epic scenery, and consistent fishing action, and you end up with an overall fishery that is truly unlike any other found on the planet. And, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures has intimate knowledge of every fishery in the island chain.
Bonefish exist in extraordinary numbers, several different types of trevally, milkfish, triggerfish, bumphead parrotfish, permit, and dozens of other reef and flats species. But the crown jewel here is the access to Giant Trevally. With the incredible Giant Trevally action found throughout the islands, we can confidently say that nothing else compares in the entire world of fly fishing to spotting, stalking, casting, and eventually hooking and landing one of these apex predators.
The Seychelles is by no means a quick and easy place to access. If a quick trip is more your style, consider our destinations in Belize, Mexico, the Bahamas, or Cuba. But if you desire a trip beyond near horizons and to a special part of the saltwater flats angling world, these Indian Ocean islands should be on your list.
What you find in the Seychelles are incredibly pristine ecosystems that are basically untouched by any sort of development, traffic, or angling pressure. When fly fishing in the Seychelles, you may feel as if you are the first person to set foot on a particular flat, and in this part of the world, that may very well be the case!
Yellow Dog is proud to work with and represent several operations throughout the region, including Alphonse Island Resort, Farquhar Atoll, Providence, Cosmoledo, Astove Island, and Poivre/St. Joseph’s, as well as a remote island operation that fishes St. Brandon’s Atoll, is based much further to the south out of Mauritius.
Here’s a breakdown of the exciting locations in the Seychelles.
Alphonse is by far the most popular and well-known option in the Seychelles, and every time we visit, we are always 100% blown away by the fishery, the area, and the overall operation. Anglers can expect consistent and diverse fishing on Alphonse and nearby St. Francois throughout the season, with shots at bonefish, GT’s, milkfish, triggerfish, several other types of trevally, and at least a dozen other “incidental” species that are both beautiful and exotic. Aside from the great fishing, the guides on Alphonse are also incredibly impressive. They are some of the finest guides in the business, and all are a pleasure to fish with.
There are also a lot of opportunities to wade fish while on Alphonse and St. Francois (where the main fishing is). Most of the fishing is done away from the boat, wading on hard, white sand flats. Some situations that revolve around GTs, milkfish, etc. occur when fishing from the front of a skiff.
As far as the amenities and lodging on the island, one nice thing about a trip to Alphonse is that each person (or couple) always gets their own private, secluded chalet or beach suite accommodations. The food, scenery, service, and overall offerings of the operations are fantastic, and compared to our other operations in the Indian Ocean, this is the most “full service” lodge that we offer, with nicer accommodations, food, amenities, and more.
This is something that also makes Alphonse the top choice for non-anglers as well as anglers. The island itself is a tropical paradise and offers an amazing setting for a relaxing, private beach vacation. All Alphonse packages are 7 night / 6-day packages based on a Saturday to Saturday stay. (Depart Mahe to Alphonse on Saturday morning and return the following Saturday early afternoon.)
All of our trips to Providence Atoll in the Seychelles are currently aboard the mothership MV Maya Dugong. This is a one-of-a-kind, totally unique, expeditionary adventure that almost always delivers great action for GT’s, bluefin trevally, bumphead parrotfish, big bonefish, Indo-Pacific permit, triggerfish, milkfish, and more. Uninhabited and remote Providence Atoll is one of the southernmost atolls in the archipelago that makes up the Seychelles, and the atoll basically consists of two land masses: Providence North and Cerf Island.
This remarkable atoll has remained largely untouched over the years and is considered by many seasoned Indian Ocean anglers to be the “hidden jewel” of the Seychelles. The sheer size and topography create a truly unique fishery, and the flats and offshore angling potential on and around Providence is almost limitless. It is a true fly fishing wilderness.
The base of operations and the platform for exploring and fishing the atoll is the MV Maya’s Dugong, a 120-foot former research vessel that has been upgraded and modified into a mothership that caters to long-range fly fishing expeditions. The ship can accommodate a total of 12 anglers, plus four guides and a crew of eight. Her ability to store and transport four tenders (skiffs) on the spacious aft deck, her high fuel storage capacity, and the overall ability to cover long distances in comfort makes her an ideal long-range fly fishing vessel. The Dugong’s mid-deck is spacious and boasts a large elevated area with a magnificent view of the surroundings.
The lower deck’s primary function is to store the tender boats and fishing gear. The stern of the vessel has a staircase leading down to a large swimming platform. This feature also allows for a safe and comfortable transfer from the tender boats to the vessel. A dining salon and lounge offer air-conditioned comfort for meals fly tying and relaxing. There are seven spacious, double-occupancy guest cabins situated either on the middle, main or lower deck. Each has an ensuite shower and a private toilet. All cabins and indoor areas are fully air-conditioned, allowing guests a chance to relax in a comfortable environment after a long day fishing on the flats or offshore. Again, this is a more expeditionary trip, and perhaps the wildest and most remote offering that we have in the entire world of saltwater fishing. There are two seasons for Providence: early October through late November and late March through early May.
Beginning with the 2015 season, we are once again offering a remote, expedition-style trip to Cosmoledo Atoll. After being closed from 2009-2015, the Seychellois government once again re-opened these waters in 2016 and we are now once again allowed to fish these amazing outer atolls and islands. These Cosmo trips are limited to a very specific timeframe, and they are definitely expensive. That said, they do offer what most consider to be the finest GT fishing on the planet.
Cosmoledo is located in the same general area as the world heritage site of Aldabra and in many respects, resembles the famous island that is often referred to as the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” Within the Cosmoledo fishery, Menai and Wizard Islands (named after the two ships that explored the atoll on the Moresby Expedition in 1822) occupy the east and west points of the atoll. The atoll’s south island stands near the main entrance to the inner lagoon, while the second smaller entrance is just south of Menai Island. The northern islands are interspersed with numerous islets and banks, all of which are home to good numbers of large fish.
The sheer numbers and variety of fish species found within the Cosmoledo fishery have amazed the fly fishing world for years, with anglers from across the globe making the trip to sample the ultimate saltwater fly fishing playground. After the closure of six years, the atoll has been rested and the fishing has rejuvenated itself exactly as you would expect an untouched ecosystem full of hungry giant trevally, and other species would. All live-aboard weeks on Cosmoledo are based on the Lone Star – a deluxe, 85-foot sailing catamaran with a 39-foot beam, which makes it one of the largest sailing catamarans in the Seychelles. This luxurious vessel was completely refitted in 2015 and features a host of facilities you wouldn’t normally expect on a remote, outbound trip to Cosmoledo Atoll.
The Lone Star is extremely stable, spacious, and more importantly has a 1.85-meter draft that allows her to anchor inside the calm, shallow waters of the Cosmoledo lagoon. Each week of fishing during the short windows of operation is limited to eight (8) anglers, and these weeks sell out very quickly.
Farquhar features some of the largest and most productive flats in the Indian Ocean, with an incredible diversity of species and low angling pressure – all in a very remote setting. This offering is for sure a bit more basic than Alphonse, but in some ways, is a bit more “hard-core fishing-focused.” Great South African guides, and a location that allows you to jump into the skiffs each morning and head out directly from the guest house. Home to giant trevally, milkfish, and numerous other exotic fish species (including the bumphead parrotfish) this is the perfect destination for anglers who want diverse fishing action in a very private, remote, and fishing-focused setting. You can expect long fishing days and a focused fishing mentality from the entire staff.
Farquhar Atoll is the most southerly atoll in the Seychelles chain of islands, lying just over 450 miles to the southwest of the Seychellois’ main island of Mahe. The main group of islands on the Atoll forms a long curve. The largest of these are Isle du Nord and Ile du Sud, with smaller islands tucked in between them. Further south is Goelette, and to the open west side of the atoll lies the small group of islands known as Trois les. The large, ear-shaped lagoon on Farquhar provides easy access to the huge area of flats, channels, and surf zones that make this such a diverse fishery. Accommodations on Farquhar are in a bit of a “transition mode” after the island was hit hard by a very rare yet powerful cyclone in April of 2016. Beginning in October of 2017, the newly-rebuilt guesthouse will reopen after having been completely reconstructed following the cyclone. The island will accommodate 10 anglers per week based on two guests per bedroom but does have the option for two single rooms at an additional rate.
Guests are accommodated in three simple but comfortable duplex-style chalets (two separate bedrooms per chalet), the island catering to a maximum of ten anglers at one time. Each bedroom is fully air-conditioned and has two single beds and an en-suite bathroom. Rooms are equipped with 24-hour 220-volt electricity, and air-conditioning and have a constant supply of hot water. There is full housekeeping, with laundry done every second day. There is a separate communal air-conditioned dining, lounge, and bar area where guests can enjoy their meals and relax. Meals prepared by the chef are a mix of Creole and international food. An outside undercover dining area on the water’s edge with a magnificent view forms an idyllic backdrop for certain meals when the weather allows. All drinking water (desalinated) and soft drinks are included in the price that has been quoted. Local beer, together with a basic selection of spirits and wine are available for purchase on the atoll. The standard package on Farquhar is a seven-night, six-day week, where guests arrive in Mahe on the Friday before their flight to Farquhar, or early on the Saturday morning of the day of the charter flight to Farquhar. The total cost is $9,000.00 per week per person.
The small and remote Astove Atoll Lodge offers six lucky anglers per week total angling exclusivity on one of the wildest, most unique atolls on the planet. Astove is rugged, secluded, and remarkably remote, making it the perfect small-scale destination for anglers seeking adventure and a totally isolated fishing experience.
The lodge itself is situated only 500 feet from the famous “Wall” of Astove, where the flat sheers off and immediately drops from two feet to well over 3000 feet deep. It’s a fishery and ecosystem that is frozen in time, where the drama of predator and prey plays out in front of your very eyes every day of the season. Astove is known as the destination in the Seychelles where you have a good chance of catching a seriously large giant trevally, and of the many GT’s landed each season, many are over 40 inches. In addition to the GT action, there are great permit opportunities in the inside of the atoll’s lagoon, tailing triggerfish on the edges of the flats, skinny-water bonefishing on the ocean flats, and an array of other species available throughout the season.
The atoll’s shallow lagoon – with one small entrance that is surrounded on all sides by sheer drop-offs – is truly unique. This lagoon is a sanctuary for juvenile fish that are often preyed on by the larger species, and it’s this attraction that makes it one of the wildest saltwater fly fishing destinations on the planet.
Astove is situated 655 miles southwest of Mahe and forms part of the remote Aldabra group of atolls. The small atoll spans three and a half miles from north to south and only two miles east to west at its widest points. The shallow inner lagoon has one small entrance and – due to its elevation – creates a phenomenon where the tide falls like a river for ten hours of the twelve-hour tidal cycle, and then turns to flood the entire lagoon in only two hours.
The fishing terrain on Astove varies from hostile shore breaks on the windward side to flat and calm coral flats on the outside to snow-white sand flats within the lagoon. The ecosystem is home to countless aquatic species and seabirds, including the endemic Caspian Turn, Dimorphic Egret, and Red-Tailed Tropic Bird along with a population of over 150 Giant Aldabra Tortoise. The recently built lodge is comfortable, accommodating its guests in six single-occupancy, air-conditioned rooms that surround a central courtyard.
Each private room has its own bathroom, and while the accommodations are fairly basic, the rooms are comfortable and private. In addition to the six rooms, there is also a main lodge area that serves as the dining room and social area for the lodge.
The Indo-Pacific permit is a highly sought-after gamefish and one that for hardcore permit anglers, is a bucket-list fish. But, thankfully for anglers wanting to add this species to their list, the Seychelles’ Poivre and St. Joseph’s Atolls offer up some of the best permit fishing in the island nation.
These two fisheries (located approximately 13 miles from each other) boast the highest concentrations of permit found anywhere in the Seychelles, creating the ideal backdrop and two-location fishery scenario through the use of a small but comfortable catamaran live-aboard platform. Located in the Amirantes Islands group of out-islands of the Seychelles, Poivre Atoll is located approximately 165 miles south of the main capital island of Mahe. Poivre is made up of two smaller islands – Poivre and Île du Sud – which are separated by a shallow lagoon that extends all the way back to Ile du Sud during high tide. The islands are surrounded by stunning flats as well as the Amirantes Trench.
While the primary flats focus is on Indo-Pacific permit, the shallow waters and flats that surround these two atolls are also home to bonefish as well as the occasional giant trevally, bluefin trevally, gold-dot trevally, numerous sharks, barracuda, and more.
Both Poivre Atoll and St. Joe’s Atoll offer a great combination of wade fishing and fishing from a poled skiff, and each day two clients and one guide head out for a long day on the water.
Hopefully, the above information gives you a bit of background and serves as a starting point for planning a possible Indian Ocean trip in the future. Here at Yellow Dog, we cover more of the Seychelles, have a larger and more complete offering of operations, and have personally visited and fished these operations more than just about anyone else in the game. We would love to work with you on planning a trip to the Indian Ocean, and our entire team is available at any time to assist with logistics or questions. Please feel free to call Yellow Dog at 888-777-5060 or email me for more information.
Want to learn more? Listen to these WAYPOINTS Podcasts:
- DEVAN VAN DER MERWE: Fly Fishing Throughout the Seychelles
- ARNO MATTHEE: South African Angling Legend
- The 8 Best Bonefishing Destinations in the World
- Guide Talk: How to Come Prepared for a Seychelles Fishing Trip
- An In-Depth Guide to Fly Fishing for Giant Trevally
- Seychelles: 5 Outstanding and Remote Saltwater Fly Fishing Atolls
- Coming Prepared with the Right Saltwater Flats Clothing
- Jako Lucas: 6 Full-Proof Tactics for Fly Fishing For Milkfish