Alphonse - The story of the 2019/20 Season Part I

The Beechcraft landed with 12 very fortunate anglers to open the St François fishery for Week One of the Alphonse Island fishing season. The guides still had antifouling under their nails from prepping the fleet, but the anticipation was felt by each guest as they stepped off the plane, which carried through into day one with some excellent permit action, with Ray landing a golden nugget of 58 cm! The guides were overly excited about scoping out how the atoll had changed – while the fishery was well-rested, new cuts were developing and higher sandy knolls were forming, attracting a magnificent array of species. Our opening week could not have been more successful, with 14 GT brought to hand, along with 11 permit and 12 triggerfish – things were off to an incredible start! The bluewater proved just as epic with 13 sailfish and nine wahoo being raised... but only one successfully smiling for the camera with Vincent. It is evident that resting and rotating our fishing grounds throughout the season and ‘off-season’ truly gives this magnificent atoll all it needs to be a sustainable fishery. 

Week Two welcomed spring tides which transitioned into neaps, so the water movement was amplified; seeing rivers of active bonefish that led to a gorgeous specimen of 74 cm being landed by Ricky. Chris bagged five GTs ranging from 50 to 80 cm’s, crowning him ‘King of the GT’s’ for the week and bringing the total GT number to 11. Three triggers were landed amongst the group, three permit, and two very special parrotfish! 

Calm seas and neap tides brought in Week Three and only five anglers this week who maximised fishing on the white sand flats. Chris got stuck in landing his personal best permit of 60 cm. Shaun was rewarded with a Grand Slam being a GT, bone, a trigger, and a permit – hats off to our new guide Trevor! Shaun hooked up on a milky in the last hour of the last day but, the hook pulled, making this the only species left for him to return to catch!

Great fishing was experienced on Week Four, as the full moon approached and the week started in spring tides. The team lost count and an estimated 40 fish were landed on the bluewater boat in one day between anglers Bill and Dinks. 127 bonefish were landed on day one with the biggest measuring 60 cm by John ‘Thunder’. Day two followed closely behind with 103 bonefish being caught and a gorgeous moustache trigger of 50 cm was brought to the net by Tom. Adrian, one of our AFC veterans, landed a well-deserved 97 cm GT on a popper, just missing the one-metre mark. Day three saw a whopping 130 bonefish being landed, day four 67, day five 43 and day six 60 – bringing the weeks total bonefish landed to 530 which will be a good starting record for this season! Billy just managed to surpass John with the ‘biggest bone of the week’ coming in at 62 cm and Bob landed the only silver bullet of a milk after a 30-minute fight which stretched the tape to 94 cm!

It was a busy Week Five with very productive fishing conditions. The renowned duo, Christiaan and Lindi, joined us for the week. Christiaan is a professional fishing guide, photographer and fly fishing junkie. Christiaan proved his legendary reputation over the week by landing three permit ranging from 40 - 65 cm, two GTs and numerous bonefish and Lindi landed her first Indo-Pacific permit! This week’s anglers were fortunate to experience some of the best bonefishing planet earth has to offer. Schools of bonefish in their thousands were seen and the total count came in just short of week four’s 570 fish for the week, although the ‘most bonefish in a day’ crown for the season so far goes out to Leo, who caught 61 fish in one session! Mark followed in Christiaan’s footsteps and also managed a whopping three permit, and Rob, another veteran for AFC, landed the biggest giant trigger of the season so far! 

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