Alphonse - The story of the 2019-2020 Season Part III

Week 15 which spanning over New Year is just as magical on Alphonse Island as Christmas week, and the competition just as tough! Most of the Christmas 'locals' stay on for a second week and really get the rods bending in order to beat the previous weeks' stats. Tom, Mark, Murray, Ian, El’Davo, Christian, and Oleksanser all jumped straight on the GT train and thought they were in the running for either ‘angler of the week’ or the ‘fish of the week’ award, but that was short-lived when Marcus stepped off the plane to join the running competition and seamlessly took both awards of ‘angler of the week’ and ‘fish of the week’ with his excellent permit, triggerfish and GT landed; his GT smashing the seasons' record of 104 cm by a further 10 cm – a whopping 114 cm of pure GT force! Bluewater history was made on Alphonse with John landing a Golden Bluewater Slam on conventional tackle – being a 300 lbs black marlin, a sailfish, a wahoo, and a tuna!

Coming off the festive season-high, Week 16 did not seem to disappoint us! The weather was excellent, the moon in its third quarter and this made for the perfect setting for the second Grand Slam of the season, consisting of a trigger, a milky, a GT and our trusty bonefish, landed by Christian, who had to top his previous weeks' efforts. Mark, Mike both landed GT’s, Adam landed the biggest bone of the week at 63cm. Travis and Alexey went on to share the title of GT Champ of the week with three GT’s each and Gabe landed a massive milky of 103 cm.

It was a rather wet but successful week on Alphonse Island over the 17th Week of the season and what a week of firsts! Our group of anglers for the week were heavily focused on landing a 'GT for the first time'! With our team on a mission, this dream became reality for five of our newcomers as well as the group landing 334 bonefish on the first day – definitely the ‘most bonefish in a day’ for this season so far, and a tough record to beat.

Ten Eager anglers descended onto the shores of St Francois for Week 18. This week came in just under the ‘most bonefish in a week’ racking up 529 fish with a fantastic specimen of 63 cm caught by Wendel, guided by notorious guide Wayne on his 20th season! Chris was GT champ of the week with his three fine fish and Jefferson and Cecily landed their first-ever GT’s!

Week 19 started with a spring tide and 10 anglers keen to wet their lines and bend their rods. The fishery really showed off this week with great variety. Not only were rivers of bonefish flooding the flats so each angler could claim their bag full, but Tarquin Millington-Drake landed a Flats Slam, Toby Burrell, and Seth both landed GT’s, with Seth’s just falling short of the one-metre mark at 95 cm. Seth then managed a second GT, but the fish of the week and one which will be very hard to beat, is Tarquin’s 130 cm mad-milkfish – guided by the milkman himself – Wayne Haselau – one of the first Alphonse Fishing Co guides to ever land a milkfish on the fly, and who invented the ‘milky dream’ fly we all use today.

The full moon was approaching for the 20th Week and we were fortunate enough to have Edgar from Sight Line Provisions and the Ocean Active crew join us. Five GT’s were landed on day one alone, and Jay – The real Alphonse ‘Jake’ – landed a beautiful 40 cm moustache triggerfish. GT Friday is not just a myth on Alphonse and this was proven when a further six GT’s were landed on the notorious GT Friday, keeping up with our tradition!

Week 21 started with a spring tide and excellent weather which carried on right the way through, allowing for fantastic shots at multiple species. A whopping 403 bonefish were landed which truly reflects the health of the fishery this far into the season and 33 GT’s were landed in total, the biggest being 93 cm – a definite ‘most GT’s in a week’ reward for the season which will be quite a cap to beat in the coming weeks!

The 22nd week of the season hosted some long-time friends of AFC as well as a bunch of newcomers. Tides transitioned from neaps to springs and the group took advantage of this, with Ron, an AFC veteran, landing four GT’s of which two were 101 and 103 cm. Virginia went on to land herself two GT's and Alistair landed a Flats Slam consisting of trigger, a GT and a gorgeous golden permit. 

Anglers experienced a brilliant week at Alphonse during week 23 of the season. The weather was up and down over the week however this didn’t stop anglers from landing some really great catches. The tides transitioned into spring tides during the new moon phase which allowed anglers to fish the surf as well as the lagoon of St Francois. This week again produced GT madness with Milkfish-Mike landing three GT’s, Christopher and Peter each landing two and one was landed by John, Eric and Karin, as well as Greg and Jay! The ‘biggest GT of the week’ was awarded to Milkfish-Mike with a giant of 91 cm… seems we might be needing to change his nickname soon!

Week 24 of the season was exceptional, to say the least. Although the weather was not the greatest and the wind was blowing – the neap tides created the perfect setting for exceptional catches. Mark got the week going with his Flats Slam, consisting of three GT’s, a moustache trigger and a bonefish. Paul, another veteran to the AFC waters, kicked off the permit catches for the week with a 70 cm trophy – to which he can now proudly wear the crown of ‘biggest permit of the season’. Paul then went on to catch two more GT's, along with El’Davo clocking in his GT, as well as legendry popper-king Ron. 

We have had a great week on Alphonse and St Francois Atoll in Week 25 with full spring tides and a full moon over the week. The bonefishing was brilliant as usual with a lot of six to seven-pound fish being landed amongst the group. Popper-king Ron caught two GT measuring in at 90 and 92 cm, El’Davo landed two GT followed by two triggers and two bonefish claiming his two Flats Slams and Paul, a close friend to all of us at AFC, landed the ‘biggest GT of the season’ stretching the tape all the way to 125 cm – while popping a NYAP in-between Bijoutier and St Francois. What a memorable fish which I am sure Paul will be thrilled about for seasons to come!

Week 26 brought postcard-perfect weather with a slight north easterly breeze just cooling the air and with perfect neaps to fish the inner lagoons we were in for some spectacular catches. Without us knowing, this would essentially be the last week of the season at Alphonse before the current travel bans that have been put in place, and WOW everything came together! The biggest bonefish was a beautiful specimen of 68 cm, Chantal, one of our part-of-the-family lady anglers, landed a trigger, along with Peter and Mark who landed his first-ever trigger! After Paul had just broken the record on the previous week with his 125 cm GT, there was a competition on to find a bigger fish.. and that’s exactly what Peter did.. landing a monstrous beast of 127 cm, making this the biggest of the 2019/2020 season for Alphonse Island!

We are extremely sad that the Alphonse Island fishing season has come to such an abrupt end, but as the lockdowns have been put in place and travel bans issued, this meant some of our guides were able to get together on Alphonse for the first time in, let’s say, forever! It is a very rare occurrence that the Head Guides of all our destinations, along with Devan (unfortunately missing his side-kick Kyle) are able to share time together in such a special place. They are reflecting, brainstorming, planning, and conjuring up special features that will be shared with you in the weeks to come. 

But for the meantime, our stunning fishery is being rested, our boats are being maintained and our guides are getting their guide bags and fly boxes ready… until we are able to welcome you all back again for those back-breaking, arm-throbbing, mind-blowing fishing experiences that hurt and give pleasure all at the same time! Until then, from all of us at Alphonse Fishing Co. stay home, stay safe, don’t stop dreaming... and we will see you all soon!

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UK Managing Director