Guide Talk: How a Fly Fishing Guide Prepares for the Seychelles

Posted by yellowdog on Aug 22, 2017 10:06:29 AM

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Considered by many anglers to be the finest saltwater flats fly fishing in the world, the shallow waters of the Seychelles offer unbelievable wading and amazing fly fishing opportunities for an incredible number of different species. When you take into account the sheer diversity of fish species found all throughout the waters of the Seychelles, the seclusion, the epic scenery and the overall action, these are saltwater fisheries that are truly unlike any other found on the planet.

Yellow Dog is pleased to offer the largest and most complete line-up of Seychelles operations in the business - both land-based lodges and live-aboard mothership operations. All are operated and staffed by experienced and professional guides using the latest skiffs and most up-to-date equipment.

Throughout the waters of the Seychelles, anglers will find bonefish in extraordinary numbers, several different types of trevally, milkfish, triggerfish, bumphead parrotfish, permit and dozens of other reef and flats species. As for the incredible Giant Trevally action that is found throughout the islands, we can confidently say that there are few other experiences that compare in the world of fly fishing.

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Compared to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, this part of the world is by no means a quick and easy place to access. What you will find upon arrival, however, are incredibly pristine ecosystems that are for the most part 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. In this part of the world, that may in fact be the case!

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Recently, we had six guides from Alphonse Fishing Company visit us at Yellow Dog offices in Bozeman. These hardcore anglers spend nine months a year fishing and guiding the waters of the Seychelles, and over that time, have had the chance to fish with hundreds of anglers from all over the world.

Emphasizing the importance of adequate pre-trip preparation, we sat down with Alec Gerbec, the head guide for Alphonse Fishing Company, to get some “guide insight” on how first-time anglers to the Seychelles can best prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

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Casting is Key

“If you want to catch that trophy fish or any species on your fishing list, by far the best thing you can do is to practice your casting prior to arrival,” said Gerbec. “It’s very likely that the first fish you cast to on your first day could be the fish of the trip. Being ready to make a good cast, regardless of the conditions, can make all the difference in your success rate.”

Gerbec recommends practicing with the exact set-up you will be fishing on your trip BEFORE you arrive in the Seychelles. Take this one step further and take a casting lesson from your local shop pro. The better you prepare for the trip, the better your angling experience will be.

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Take Everything with a Grain of Salt

Many anglers come with a list of species they want to catch, and the guides are happy to work towards fulfilling it. But as Gerbec emphasizes, it’s important not to let the little things ruin your trip. “Most of our anglers have traveled far get to the Seychelles,” said Gerbec. “The realities of any destination hold true - there are no guarantees in fishing. Sometimes connecting with a particular species just doesn't happen. Staying open to the fishing possibilities and trying to catch everything that comes your way is the best mindset to have.”

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Having Good Footwear is Essential

“Wading in the Indian Ocean consists of long walks over uneven surfaces and sharp coral. This trek will be a daily endeavor for anglers. Having a tough, well-made boot with good ankle support is mandatory,” said Gerbec. “Prior to your arrival, make sure your boots fit right and are broken in. This will prevent your feet from painfully ruining your day when out on longer walking excursions.” According to Gerbec, using synthetic socks are key to keeping your feet in top wading shape. “These socks don't trap the sand particles like other materials,” said Gerbec. “Bring two pairs of socks, alternate their use and be sure to wash them at the end of the day. Gravel guards are also a must! And, be sure to toss in some mole skin and superglue for blisters as well."

Don't Touch Anything You Don’t Know

When you arrive in the Seychelles, your guides will give everyone a safety briefing and will go over any hazards you might encounter while on the flats. The Seychelles is a very safe place overall, but it does have a few species that could put a damper on your experience if you come into contact with them. When you get curious about all the new things you encounter, just ask your guide before you approach.

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Remember to Hydrate

“Standing on the flats exposed to the elements is going to be taxing on your body, and staying hydrated is always paramount,” said Gerbec. “In the Seychelles, our drinking water is de-salinated, which robs the water of many of the nutrients and essential minerals you would normally consume. Anglers will get so wrapped up in the fishing that often they forget to keep drinking water, and with our situation, you need to drink more than you normally would to begin with.” Using an electrolyte additive to your water is a smart idea. Following the motto of "if your guide drinks water, you should be drinking water too" is also a safe bet.

Protect Yourself from the Elements

Bringing appropriate loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing that will protect you and your skin from the sun and help maintain your energy. Wearing pants causes drag, which can wear you down when you’re wading the flats all day. It is highly recommended to wear shorts instead. Underneath those shorts take the advice and get yourself a pair of spandex shorts. Don't laugh; you will thank us later. These dry faster than anything on the market and help to keep out salt crystals and other small particles that can find their way into sensitive areas that cause serious chafing. The cooler you are, the more energy you will have to maximize your fishing time.

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Invest in Good Sunglasses

Bring a couple pairs of polarized sunglasses. Quality shades are an essential piece of any angler’s gear. “Having good eyewear is just as important as having a good drag on your reel,” said Gerbec. “Wrapped sunglasses provide total eye protection, cut down on glare and help avoid eye fatigue from squinting all day.” Want to see even better? A long-brimmed cap with a dark underside will also help your vision on the flats.

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Topics: Saltwater Fly Fishing

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