Trip Overview 

If you have been searching for the most remote, off-the-grid, untouched flats fishery on the planet, then St. Brandon’s Atoll may be the destination for you. Hard to reach and far from anything, we are very direct in saying that this is not a trip for just anyone. If you want to fish “the next frontier” in the world of saltwater flats, however, then a journey to St. Brandon’s should be at the top of your list. For many years, foreigners were completely banned from visiting her shores, but thankfully the red tape was finally cleared in 2014 to legally allow the outfitter that we work with to seasonally fish the atoll. While originally anglers based off of the MY Gryphon live-aboard mothership, starting in 2016 the program transitioned to a new land-based, guesthouse located on Raphael Island. The new guesthouse is comfortable, spacious, and strategically located within the layout of the atoll to access the best flats and most productive waters throughout the course of each week. This is by no means a quick or easy place to access, and the transfers to St. Brandon’s can be long and at times challenging. What you will find upon arrival, however, is an incredibly pristine ecosystem that is totally untouched. When fishing the area, you will oftentimes feel as if you are the first person to set foot on a particular flat. In all likelihood, that’s because you are.

Destination Quick Facts 

St. Brandon's Atoll - Yellow Dog Flyfishing AdventuresLOCATION:  Indian Ocean (268 nautical miles northeast of Mauritius)

SEASON:  October through December and April through June

CAPACITY:  8 anglers per week

CLOSEST MAJOR AIR HUB:  Mauritius (MRU)

TARGET SPECIES:  Trophy bonefish, giant trevally, Indo-Pacific permit, bluefin trevally, golden trevally, emperor fish, barracuda, sharks, jacks and more

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:  Valid passport. No visa required for citizens of most countries.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO     888-777-5060     INTL 01-1-406-585-8667       info [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com

ACCOMMODATIONS

Lodging Details
Beginning in 2016, all guests that visit and fish St. Brandon’s Atoll will be accommodated in the new four-bedroom guesthouse situated on Raphael Island in the northern part of the atoll. While the new guesthouse is not overly-luxurious, it is simple, clean, comfortable and much more spacious that the live-aboard ship that was previously utilized for these trips. For the 2017 season, all guest rooms will be double occupancy with a maximum capacity of only eight (8) anglers per week. The guesthouse features two fully functioning bathrooms, each outfitted with showers, toilets and hot running water. In addition to this there are two outside showers. While the new guesthouse and land-based facilities are fairly basic, they are indeed very comfortable, with air conditioning in all of the bedrooms, spacious social and lounge areas, and a newly built and fully-equipped kitchen. There are new staff and guide quarters as well as a “saltwater mud room” area with freshwater facilities located right at the boat ramp. This area provides the ideal location for guests to “boot up” each morning and is the perfect place to rig, store and clean all gear and equipment each day.

Water transfers to and from the atoll each week will be made using two, 50-foot Sportfisher vessels. Each of the Sportfishers that will be used accommodates four guests, one guide and three crew members at a time. The two Sportfishers (which will always make the crossing together) will take +/- 24 hours to get to the atoll. While the Sportfishers are not as large and comfortable as the previously-used Gryphon (the mothership that was used from 2013-2015), these boats are currently the best transfer option to get guests to and from the atoll. Basic information on the Sportfisher boats is as follows:

  • There will be two boats which will do the crossing together (each able to accommodate 4 guests, 1 guide, 1 skipper and 2 crew members). The boats do the crossing side by side.
  • Both boats are registered and licensed in Mauritius for offshore sailing. Mauritius is well known for strict safety and security regulations whereby each boat is fully equipped with the latest technology and safety equipment.
  • Each boat will have a qualified 200T master onboard, and one of the skippers will be the former skipper of the Gryphon. Each boat will have three crewmembers including the skipper.
  • Each boat has three cabins (two cabins for four clients). There is also a bathroom, galley, lounge area and a large back deck area.
  • The crossing usually takes a maximum of 24 hours to reach the South Island of St. Brandon’s (offshore sailing) and another two hours of flat-water sailing from the South Island to Raphael Island (where the guesthouse is located).

Food and Beverages
Over the course of the week, the guesthouse chef will prepare a mix of Creole cuisine and international foods that include meat, pastas, fresh vegetables and fresh seafood. Although a selection of wine and spirits can be pre-ordered and pre-stocked prior the trip, clients are more than welcome to bring there own bottles of preferred spirits. All mineral water, soft drinks and local beers are included in the package price.

Typical Length of Stay
All packages are nine (9) nights with seven and a half (7.5) days of guided fishing.

Non-Angling Activities and Options
The reason to make the trip to St. Brandon’s is to fish. There are absolutely no structured non-fishing activities on the Atoll, and – aside from wading the flats, walking the beach or snorkeling – very little for the non-angler to do.

Internet / Communications
The hotels and many restaurants on Mauritius offer Wi-Fi for guests. Some U.S. cell phones may work on Mauritius as well. Once you depart Mauritius for St. Brandon’s, however, cell and internet service are totally non-existent. A satellite phone is recommended if the need to call home or if the ability to communicate is a factor. The guesthouse is equipped with an emergency satellite phone which can be used by guests for an additional cost.

FISHING

General Information
Upon arriving to St. Brandon’s after the ocean crossing from Mauritius, no time is wasted getting you onto the flats. The guides immediately put their vast Indian Ocean experience and planning to work, allowing you to fish and explore the Atoll’s huge expanse of pure white sand flats and broken coral islands, all of which are infested with large, native bonefish. We can testify from personal experience that this is the most spectacular bonefishing you will ever encounter. On most tides, anglers can expect to see huge schools of bonefish as well as enormous singles and doubles. Over the past few seasons, this fishery has delivered bonefish that measure up to nearly three feet (87 centimeters) fork length, weighing in excess of 15 pounds. Aside from the Atoll’s huge bonefish, St. Brandon’s may also be the most productive Indo-Pacific permit fishery in existence. When specifically targeting these notoriously finicky fish (the Indo-Pacific permit are just as difficult as their Caribbean cousins) anglers are usually afforded multiple shots per day.

The giant trevally (GT or “Geet”) fishing can be quite varied as well. Some days you can see a fair number of these bruisers, and at other times none at all. St. Brandon’s isn’t a place where you are going to get shots at GT’s every day, but it is certainly the place to break the 100-centimeter (40-inch) mark with a trophy fish. The fish in this part of the Indian Ocean are typically large, which means that you will usually catch fish that are more likely to be over a meter than under. Geets well over the 150-centimeter (60-inch) mark have been hooked and landed over the past several years. Large Bluefin Trevally are also around, as well as golden, yellow dot and green spot trevally.

The flats of St. Brandon’s are primarily made up of white compacted sand, which makes for easy and endless wading. This is one of the key things that separates this fishery from most other flats destinations in the world. And since almost all of the fishing will be done via wading, heavy-duty, high-quality protective footwear is essential. Although the sand flats are easy on the feet, there are certain areas which are made up of broken coral or littered with coral “bommies,” which means that standard diver’s neoprene booties and thin rubber-soled slip-ons are not appropriate. Guests will not be taken onto the flats without proper footwear. We recommend the Simms Vapor Boot or the Simms Flats Sneaker.

All trips to St. Brandon’s are hosted and guided by a team of world-class, professional fly fishing guides from South Africa. During your stay on the atoll there will typically be four guides working, including one head guide. Each guide is a qualified skipper, has advanced first aid experience, and is extremely experienced with all facets of fly fishing the remote saltwater destinations of the Indian Ocean. Their passion and dedication is infectious, and as a team, these guys will always go the extra mile in search of your fish of a lifetime. All of the guides are great instructors and 100% fluent in English.

Boats and Equipment
Boats used daily by the guides to access the flats are small 20-foot wooden “tenders” that are based on the atoll. These boats are used for transportation only, as almost all fishing on the atoll is done while wading. Anglers should plan on bringing all equipment such as rods, reels, extra fly lines and quality, heavy-duty wading boots. The guides do have flies available for purchase at the guesthouse, and pre-organized fly selections can be pre-ordered for your trip through Yellow Dog. Single-handed 9-foot rods in 9 to 12-weights are recommended. All fly lines should be tropical floating lines. The guesthouse does have a limited selection of 8, 9 and 12-weight G-Loomis Rods and Shilton Reels that can be rented on a weekly basis. A comprehensive tackle and gear list will be provided by Yellow Dog after your booking has been confirmed.

TRAVEL DETAILS

How To Get There
The primary airport and access hub for St. Brandon’s is the international airport on Mauritius (MRU). Guests will need to fly into the main island of Mauritius the day before the trip begins and should overnight at a local hotel the night before. We recommend staying at Le Suffren Hotel & Marina, located in Port Louis, Mauritius.  This is the marina where the transfer boats will be docked, and the central location offers easy access to a host of restaurants, bars, shopping and other activities.

Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Guests are asked to fly into Mauritius the day before departure. It is possible to arrive on to the island the day of departure, but be aware that you must land no later than 12:00 PM, as the Sportfisher transfer boats generally depart Port Louis for St. Brandon’s that same evening. There are more than a dozen daily international flights into Mauritius from several European and African cities. The boat will arrive on Raphael Island approximately 24-28 hours after departing Mauritius. Guests will then receive a briefing from the head guide and set up gear and rods before heading off onto the flats for the remainder of the day (generally a full day of fishing). Guests will then spend the following six (6) full days out on the flats. On the day of departure back to Mauritius (the eighth day), guests will have the opportunity to fish until around 12:00 PM, following which the transfer boat(s) will then head back to Mauritius at around noon, arriving in Port Louis sometime between 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM the following day. Although every effort is made to stick to this schedule, weather and other factors associated with remote locations of this nature can affect timing. We ask all guests to go into this trip with an open mind towards the logistics, appreciating how remote a venue St. Brandon’s really is and what a privilege it is we are allowed to fish these waters! Return international flight can be booked which depart after 6:00 PM on the end date of the trip. 

Documents Required
All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within six (6) months of trips dates. Please be sure that your passport has at least two blank, unstamped pages remaining in back, and that it is not torn, delaminated, or damaged in any way. UK, US, EU and RSA passport holders do not require a visa for entering the country of Mauritius for vacation purposes.

Travel Arrangements
Yellow Dog offers a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or travel [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.

RATES

Package Rates
Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person and quoted in US Dollars.

10 Nights / 7 Days of Guided Fishing = $8,500.00 per person

A single supplement with a private room and private boat/guide is available for a substantial up charge. Please contact Yellow Dog for details.

What's Included

  • Full board and accommodation at the Raphael Island guesthouse based on two people sharing a room
  • Round-trip transfers from Mauritius to Raphael Island aboard the transfer boat(s)
  • 7 days of guided fishing (2 anglers per boat/guide)
  • Three meals per day on the island and during transfers to the atoll
  • All bottled water, coffee, tea, juice and beer
  • Mauritian fishing licenses
  • Laundry services on the island
  • All applicable taxes and GSTs

What's Not Included

  • International flight to Mauritius (MRU)
  • Gratuities for guides and guesthouse staff
  • Liquor and wine (BYO!)
  • Round-trip taxi transfer between the international airport on Mauritius and the hotel in Port Louis
  • Meals and accommodation in Port Louis or any other en route cities
  • Travel insurance and Global Rescue coverage
  • All fishing equipment, tackle and flies
OTHER INFO

Client Testimonials:

"Just want to let you know that I had the best fishing trip of my life on St. Brandon's!  I have fished with quite a few guides in my lifetime, but I have never fished with ones better than the ones from Flycastaway. Craig and his crew were the most professional, knowledgeable, passionate and patient guides I have ever fished with. This was only my second saltwater trip and the guides were very helpful with the instruction they gave me. I feel I walked away from this experience a far better angler than I was before. The bonefishing was phenomenal. Thanks so much for recommending this trip and taking care of all the details for me.  It was one of the most memorable fishing experiences I've ever had!  I'll definitely be using you guys for future trips!"  
- Matt C.

“The best way for me to describe my experience on St Brandon would be to say that I felt like I was in heaven. The skinny-water fishing for bones and permit I had the pleasure of experiencing ticked all of the boxes. I did not want to leave the atoll. The guide team was fantastic, and when you consider the logistics associated with the trip, I take my hat off to them. Even though I had seen photos of the land-based guesthouse and set-up, the actual facility exceeded my expectations on all levels. My only problem now is working out how quickly I can return!”
- Terry G. (Australia)

"Imagine azure vistas of cobalt blue water lapping against mottled, hard bottom, gin-clear flats that are the home to very large, wily bonefish averaging well over a legitimate 6.5 pounds (with many in the 8-10 pound range—really!).  Vividly barred bonefish fueled by the cool, deep waters of the Indian Ocean that are eager to take you well into the backing of your best bonefish reel.  Throw in shots at Giant, Golden and Blue Trevally along with the elusive yellow-finned Pacific permit, and you never want to wake up from this dream.  But if you are willing to make the adventure to St. Brandon’s Atoll, there is no need to dream or imagine!  Great guides, great fishing and unparalleled beauty - period.  Very comfortable living quarters aboard a mother ship with a small cadre of interesting fisherman and women from around the world. Having fished in most of the world’s top bonefish destinations, I can say with certainty that this is the pinnacle.  With equal confidence,  I also can state that Yellow Dog’s Jim Klug and his talented staff are at the top of the game—they doled out heaps of honest advice based on first-hand experience and put together an incident-free trip with every detail covered—no small feat, given that the trek to St. Brandon’s encompassed 21 hours and 9 times zones by plane (along with an additional 26 hours by boat).  There is a very good reason that many of the fisherman that travel to St. Brandon’s and with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures are repeat clients!"    
- Stephen N.  (Norfolk, VA)

"Thank you for all your initial advice and YDFA's brilliant support and organisation for my trip to St Brandon's.  In one word from a novice's point of view...that trip was magical. My third cast produced my first ever fish whilst flats fishing...a trophy 107 cm GT. Needless to say, the trip was made within the first 20 minutes! First cast ever to a bone...resulted in a magnificent 9-pound beaut! The rest of the trip for me resulted in the 5 reasonable to expect trevally species and enough bonefish to result in hurting arms and lasting memories.I cannot wait to work with you guys again, and already looking forward to my next trip."
- Raimer P. (South Africa)

 

Sample Itinerary

Sample Itinerary for St. brandon's Atoll


A sample trip itinerary for St. Brandon’s is listed below. You will want to arrive into Mauritius (MRU) the day before departure to overnight, but can depart the same day that you arrive back in port.

  • Saturday - Depart from Port Louis, Mauritius aboard the transfer boats at approx. 6:00 PM.
  • Sunday - Arrive on St. Brandon’s Atoll during night or early in the morning.
  • Monday - Full day of guided fishing
.
  • Tuesday - Full day of guided fishing.

  • Wednesday - Full day of guided fishing
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  • Thursday - Full day of guided fishing
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  • Friday - Full day of guided fishing
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  • Saturday - Full day of guided fishing.

  • Sunday - Morning guided fishing, followed by early afternoon departure for Port Louis, Mauritius.

  • Monday - Arrive Port Louis at approximately 12:00 PM. Transfer back to the airport in time for a late afternoon or evening flight.