Sunday, October 10, 2010
I have never seen a bonefish in the Maldives. In total I have spent over 5 weeks in this paradise, a large amount of that time spent in the water diving and snorkelling and yet to see a bonefish. One reason for this could be the lack of lagoons, bonefish being Amphidromous, needing lagoons to spawn. Who knows.
There have been stories of "bonefish runs" see
Double up on bones (VIDEO): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVrU9X25B6o
More on Fly Fishing Maldives here:
I first went to the Maldives 10 years ago (Kuredu) and have only ever visited the Lhaviyani Atoll. The country ruined diving for me. From the Red Sea to the Seychelles to the Carribean, the Maldvies became my unrealistic yardstick of what a good dive was and to be perfectly honest nothing has come close. That said I havent dived Aldabra/Bassas Da India/Galapagos - not many have.
Giant Trevally would be the target.
On arrival we were escorted to our water villas at Komandoo and immediately I could see GT's everywhere. That night would be torturous. The legislation is vague but my understanding is that by law you arent allowed to fish on resort islands. So watching 5 or 6 GT's hunting in the light and feeling them hitting the posts of the villas chasing crabs almost made me go insane.
I called Fuaz at reception and explained exactly the type of fishing I wanted to pursue. He recommended first fishing from the vacant Kudadu and then later going on the small skiff with Ebrahim as a guide. The currents made the former extremely difficult and I immediately regretted not bringing a stripping basket. Off we went on the skiff. For 3 separate mornings we did drift after drift my pulling clousers and deceivers up through the depths attached to the end of my Rio 500g. This produced little more that a few small grouper. I couldnt understand the problem. The water looked absolutely pristine and cast after perfect cast I got nothing. Even en route to spots the guides little Bonito rig being trawled didn't pick up a single fish.
After three days of this and a massage or two to help the casting aches I retired and that night decided to do the unmentionable and risk the $500 fine and deportation. I was going to try and catch the fish under my room - illegally.
It would be an impossible task. Massive GT's and structure EVERYWHERE to break me off on. I tied a chartreuse artificial fibre minnow on and cast perfectly on top of the fish. It swam up, took a sniff and nothing. I did the same with a white clouser, and a blue and white fibre minnow and still nothing. By now I had an audience of 3 GT's and even my last presentation of a White and Red popper did nothing but attract attention from a small reef shark. Frustrated I tied on my old faithful, a red and white whistler like tarpon fly with no eyes (the red being Marabou) and got ready. The fly landed and all hell broke loose. Two GT's broke the surface and out the dark coming from the other direction a pesky Bluefin stole the fly and took off straight under the neighbours villa. It ran for about 80m and then remarkably came back through the same openings and in an exact reverse pattern as is entry. It now had 3 Bluefins and a GT tailing it and laughing and shaking I picked it up and brought it up to the balcony.
By now I had noticed a strange pattern in and around the lodges. The GT's would be highly active from 18:30 to about 21:00 and then would vanish, irrespective of tide/moon phase/etc.
The next night I noticed a similar pattern with the fish being just as fussy. Nothing worked except for the Woolhead mullet tied by genius Mark Krige and my personally tied Leftys Deceivers. I lost two fish the second night. 10wt rd, Rio 12wt Floater and Tibor Riptide with 50lb leader. Each took about 100m of backing and then finally took my debarbed fly with it. The second fish took a turn to the flats and thinking I had found my chance I palmed the spool. All hell broke loose and on the shallow 60cm depth flats all you could see was white water everywhere. The 50lb backing and 50lb leader proved too strong for my Rio floater, snapping it clear in two and then whipping me in my face. Ive never witnessed strength like that.
More frustration the next night and I gave up on the GT's and just became a spectator. On the final afternoon I could no longer take it. I set up my rod, hid it on the balcony and sat waiting. It was about 30min until I noticed a decent (about 8kg) GT chasing a little baitfish around and around a coral head 15m in front of the Villa. My girlfriend found all of this very entertaining and by now was mocking my attempts at landing the fish. I cast between the two lodges and then on my back cast released the fly line with a large Leery Deceiver and the fly dropped perfectly on top of the coral head. 3 strips and the GT broke straight at the fly. With a giant bow wake preceding it, it took the fly and headed for the drop off. Tibor Riptide on full drag (so hard I couldnt peel the line off) the fish took off like some sort of fish superhero for the horizon.
Having never had this elevation to see a GT taking line, you cant believe how quickly they cover ground. About 150m into my backing it turned and started heading right. My heart dropped and I knew that the fish would head for the shelter of the neighbouring villas, which it did. Breaking my leader and my heart.
Not a single GT in my hands, Two fly lines gone, about 20 flies and lots of backing wrapped around coral somewhere.