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Heaven On Earth

Mark de la Hey has travelled and fished extensively all over the globe. He has come to one conclusion – the Seychelles is undisputedly heaven on earth.

Most people talk about heaven as the ultimate utopia of the after life (obviously, depending on one’s beliefs), but there are a few places so serene, so untouched and, speaking as a fisherman, so well preserved. The Seychelles island is part of an archipelago of 155 tropical islands, some granite and some coral, the majority of which are small and uninhabited – truly the crowned jewels of the Indian Ocean.

Alphonse Island

The people of the Seychelles and their partners within the archipelago all share in the goal of sustainability and conservation. Alphonse Island is one of the ultimate examples of how a fishing operation can exist in a conservation area, benefiting both the environment and the tourist market.

The resort on the island offers understated luxury: they cater for everything you could wish for and yet it still feels like a step back in time – especially when you step out of the plane for the first time. The island was originally a coconut farm and utilised by the sailors to store their Aldabra giant tortoises back in the  days before there were refrigerators and deepfreezes. Today some of the tortoises on the island are more than 100 years old and they have a conservation project in place to ensure the survival and wellbeing of this population.

St Francois and Bijoutier

Surrounding Alphonse Island are two islands: Bijoutier is a tiny island with a small flat area and St Francois are also small, but is surrounded by a massive flat area. These three pristine islands offer an abundance of sea life in close proximity, making angling here the envy of fishermen all over the world. With the support and guidance of the Alphonse Fishing Company, you are set to live “the dream”.

Keith Roseinnes and his team took great care of all the detail when they set up what is arguably the best and most sustainable saltwater (predominantly fly- but also blue water) fishery in the world. They have everything that you can dream of in a location that you can only imagine. They have the best Liveaboard™ boats and skiffs for the flats as well as blue water boats, sports fishers and tackle that you would only hope to find in any of the top tackle shops worldwide. Here, you can even get the branded clothing and all the flies you could possibly think of.

What’s ironic is that you can have the fishery, you can have all the equipment and the destination – but it is not enough. You need the guides, people to interact with and who understand the outfitter’s goals and values.

The good news is that the Alphonse Fishing Company includes this in their offering; they have some of the best guides in the world – professional, passionate and they will go out of their way to make sure that every minute spent on Alphonse Island is a minute you will never forget .

Fishing around the Seychelles

The flats (fly fishing only)

This is what excites us as fishermen the most. The abundance and accessibility of the fishing is really mind-blowing. The species and the numbers of fish are second to none and in many other places around the world it is a feat to catch a bonefish! I’m not the greatest fly fisherman and yet, I managed 20 in my first morning! There are giant trevally (GTs), trigger fish, permit, milk fish, barracuda, snappers and emperors just to name a few of the sort-after species that can be found in abundance in this world-class fishery. When you walk on the flats you can see how well it has been protected and preserved. Turtles and sharks swim past your feet and rays pass close by, totally unaware of the threat you could pose.

Just the sheer numbers of bonefish literally pouring off the flats on a dropping tide is spectacular in itself. People who love the outdoors could quite happily walk the flats for days without fishing, and just be completely amazed by the surroundings and complete beauty of the area.

Blue water fly

Having both the flats and blue water fly fishing available is a perfect mix! The blue water fly fishing is in a league of its own, one can find sailfish, wahoo, dogtooth  tuna and yellow fin tuna to name but a few of the species that are prolific in the area. What makes it even more special is that the drop offs are so close to the flats, that you can literally be fighting a sailfish and look up and see someone fighting a bonefish. Personally, I have never caught a sailfish or a wahoo on fly. Just two days of blue water fly fishing off Alphonse, and I caught four wahoo and three sailfish. Let’s just say there were some sore fingers, big smiles and memories made.

Blue water

They say fly fishing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I do agree to a certain extent, however, I challenge anyone to agree with this after an Alphonse Fishing Company experience.

Want to do conventional fishing? It is all good news! The fishery is ready and waiting, but keep in mind that there is a very strict policy on popping on any of the shallow reefs (this is to ensure the GTs on the flats won’t be affected by the conventional anglers and become impossible to catch on fly). However there is an abundance of yellow fin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, marlin, barracuda and other species that will keep you busy for days. The first two hours I fished conventionally off Alphonse, we put some Halco max 190 out to target wahoo and tuna – after the two hours we took them out so we could actually give the sailfish a chance to get to the teasers.

For those looking to catch GTs on conventional tackle the Alphonse Fishing Company offers Liveaboard™ trips to some of the most remote places – it will keep your arms stretched and the reels screaming from dawn to dusk.

I think that’s enough said. To sum it up, the Alphonse Fishing Company offers the best locations in the world, the best fisheries, a first-rate operation and world-class guides. Package this together with their focus on conservation and sustainability, and it is a destination to die for – surely heaven on earth.

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