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Seychelles Trip Report with Program Director Alec Gerbec

May 09, 23

Trip Overview:

When departing from the States you need to leave three days before your trip start date in order to make the long haul to the Seychelles. I left on February 27th from Bozeman early in the morning, connected through Seattle, and then pushed on to Dubai before connecting to Mahe, Seychelles through Emirates Airlines. Traditionally this is the most common Airline our customers use to travel to the Seychelles due to its consistency in their itineraries staying intact, as well as their hubs here in the States being conveniently located around the country. When traveling from the US in the fall/winter/spring months to get the Seychelles, it is important to consider what the weather patterns are for the time of year your trip is. If my trip was any earlier in the season, for example, I would rather fly out of San Francisco or another warmer climate, as Seattle has seen some pretty dramatic winter storms in the last couple of years. Why I say this is that it is very important to get to the Seychelles on time as there are a very limited number of flights to the fishery that you have chosen. We have seen an increase of travelers arriving two days early into Mahe, just to ensure that there are no delays in their travel or luggage as that seems be more common than it used to be with all the different airlines.

The trip from Seattle to Dubai via Emirates is a very comfortable 16 hour trip, as the amenities and staff on the plane are very nice. They will keep you well fed, and you have a pretty serious entertainment system that comes with each seat that will also have Wi-Fi capabilities. Upon my arrival in Dubai, I was met with a wide range of duty-free shops offering up everything from a wide range of electronics like plug adaptors, cameras, ipads, and drones, to the finest whiskeys one could want to drink. This was not my first trip through this airport, so I kept busy doing laps around the terminal to stretch out my legs and prepare for the next leg. They also have a large variety of food offerings on either end of the terminal, and it is my understanding that they have some pretty incredible lounges that you can buy a pass for that have showers and such.

My next leg was From Dubai to Mahe, and this was about a 6-hour flight. Upon my arrival, I walked off the plane into the humid air of the Seychelles and made my way into the customs line. This used to be quite a miserable experience in that it was previously an open-air large room with no air conditioning. I was pleased to see that this has changed now, and they are now running AC in this area to make it a more enjoyable experience. I made my way through customs and was met by our shuttle driver, Mr. Patrick Vidot, who is an all-star for our customers and a great resource for solving problems along the way with any issues that could arrive with luggage or wanting to set up a tour. I checked into the Eden Bleu for the night, which is located in the boardwalk area of Mahe. This is a great place to base yourself as there are lots of restaurants and shops in close proximity for you to take advantage of. The boardwalk area is also only about 10 minutes away from the international airport. The next morning, I headed to the airport then I was off to Cosmoledo to start my fishing adventure.

My week on Cosmoledo was met with ideal weather conditions, great tides, and happy fish. Overall, we had a fantastic experience and lots of great fish were brought to hand. Cosmoledo is very interesting in that you really just go there to target the GT’s. While there are also opportunities to target bones, triggers, and permit, this is only to burn some time until the conditions are ideal enough to get back to chasing the Geets. There was an even mix of surf walking when the tides were right and fishing from the bow of the skiff while the guide poled you along the flats. Overall I would say that this wasn’t too physically demanding in that the surf zone was fairly tame as far as distance walked and type of ground you walk on.

After Cosmoledo, I then headed back to my home away from home, Alphonse. While most of the other atolls in the Seychelles are in the limelight as of late, this is truly a shining star as it is so consistent regardless of the time of year or tide cycle. It was great to get back here as I hadn’t been since 2018, when I stopped working over there. There have been lots of improvements on the land, but really I was impressed to see how the fishing has not only held up since I was guiding there but also seemed to be going through a cycle of some sort, where there are more GTs on the flats than before. By no means am I comparing this to Cosmoledo, but every day if we found ourselves in the right place, we had shots at some really nice Geets. I ended the week with a couple of Mustache triggerfish, some really nice GT’s, a permit, and of course, plenty of bonefish.

Lodges Visited:

These are both run by Alphonse Fishing Company and are perhaps the finest saltwater destinations in the world. A combination of accommodations, food, quality of guides, and fishing are all what makes these two places fall into this category.

Cosmoledo is now a land-based operation and is considered an eco-lodge as it has a removable footprint if they ever decide to move on from operating here. Rooms are shipping containers that have been converted into very comfortable accommodations, and the main dining area is under an open-walled canvas tent. Words don’t do this justice, please take some time to look at the photos of the lodge. Cosmoledo really caters to the angler that is looking for a very fishing-forward experience with a focus on Giant Trevally. There are a number of other Indian Ocean species available to target on Cosmoledo, but typically you spend less time chasing them. If the conditions are right, you will have ample opportunities throughout the week to target GTs on the back of stingrays, cruising the flats, and in the surf zone. The average size of these fish is between 60-80 cm, and no doubt you will have some chances at much bigger ones as well. Expect to be casting an 11 or 12 weight for most of the week, the guides will keep you busy, so make sure you practice up before making the trip. You truly have an edge-of-the-earth feeling while staying on Cosmoledo; this is one of the most remote atolls in the Seychelles, with only this fishing operation inhabiting it.

Favorite Parts of the Trip?

By far my favorite part of this trip is the raw beauty of this place. Insanely clear water and lots of diversity in species overall. The guides work together to ensure that everyone on the trip is getting looked after and getting ample shots at fish. Triggerfish in the Indian Ocean are one of my favorite species to target, and I had lots a great interactions and conversions on this trip.

Why Should You Go?

By now, you have heard of the Seychelles if you are a fly angler. While it is expensive and would perhaps be a trip of a lifetime, why not? Often after someone makes the trip for the first time, they come back ready to look at some more dates for the future. Each atoll also offers a unique experience so you will never feel like you have been there, done that. I challenge anyone to find a place in the world where there are more desirable species to target in the same numbers. Whether you are a single angler, travel with your family that may not fish, or you have a group of buddies you like to travel with, this place will very accommodating for any of these scenarios.

How Far in Advance Should You Book?

The further out the better if you are looking for something very specific. There is ample availability going into next year, but we are also chasing down dates as far out as 2026 at this point. If there has been an increase in marketing of a particular destination in the Seychelles, be it a film or social media blast, you can bet that this destination will be much higher in demand.

Key Pieces of Gear/Flies:

Thankfully, these destinations have all the gear available to you whether it’s a rental rod and reel, flies, or fishing clothing if you weren’t able to find it ahead of time or lost your luggage. Key pieces of gear for me were my 9 and 11 Thomas and Thomas rods matched with Seigler reels. A quality waterproof backpack that also serves as a valuable travel bag is also vital for this trip. Solid wading boots with a hard sole for the time spent out of the boat and quality sun protection from head to toe. Can you ever have enough flies?

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice casting your 12 weight with a big fly so you are used to how it will feel. Very easy to think you are ready because you have used one before for tarpon, but GT fishing often calls for quicker presentations in dynamic situations.
  • These trips indeed revolve around the fishing, but its also important to reflect on how fortunate you are to fish a place like this. Take it all in!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask all the questions you need to during your trip, nobody assumes you know everything there is to know about fishing techniques in the Seychelles. Long-distance travel takes patience but also proper planning in order to avoid any disruptions that could affect your trip. If you have extra time around your trip, plan on spending an extra day closer to the Seychelles in order to build a buffer into your itinerary.
  • Catch everything that swims- yes you may want to catch a gt, but there are also a lot of other cool species worth targeting that you wont find anywhere else in the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about venturing out to one of the most productive and remote saltwater fisheries in the world, give us a call at Yellow Dog to speak with Alec. In addition, keep an eye on our hosted trips to join members of our team in their travels to this fishery.

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