A hardcore experience
A NEW FISHERY
Though fly fishermen have tried their luck in the Maldives over the years, it’s less than a decade ago that fly fishing really started to catch on here. It’s a challenging and demanding fishery, quite different from wading ankle-deep flats in the Caribbean for bonefish.
If you want to try for GTs (and there isn’t a better reason to fly fish the Maldives), you must be prepared to wade deep, fish the surf and walk on rocks and reefs. Not necessarily all the time, as we also fish sand flats and islands but at least some of the time.
GT ON THE FLY
While we all dream about catching a Giant Trevally on the fly, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an easy task. Every hooked GT on a fly rod is an achievement – and every landed fish is a victory!
Managing your expectations might help you enjoy the trip a lot more. If you think that you will catch GTs on the fly every day, this isn’t your trip. More realistic expectations would be to get a couple of good shots per day. More than that on great days, and nothing on the slowest days.
It’s hard to succeed, wading the flats and reefs with a fly rod for these fast-swimming predators – but once you do, the taste of victory is super sweet!
“For GTs and other big fish, we fish 12 weight rods but 11 weights would be fine, too. You fight a GT with the butt section of the rod…”
BIG FISH ALERT!
We can’t claim that the Maldives offers the World’s best fishing for GTs on the fly. Some of the outer islands of Seychelles do. But since the cost for a week of fishing there is three to four times higher than in The Maldives, we feel that we offer a great alternative at a reasonable cost.
And quite often, we beat some of the famous Seychelles destinations on more than price: A good deal of the GTs we encounter in the Maldives are considerably bigger than what you will find elsewhere. We have landed many 100 cm+ GTs and lost even more.
For that reason, strict attention to your tackle is paramount. Extra strong leader-to-fly line-connections, reels with heavy drags, and super strong hooks … if you hook a big GT here, it can easily be 20 KG+ – and a fish of that size hooked in three feet of water doesn’t stop just because you ask it to.
If you fish the Maldives consistently, learn the ropes and work hard there’s a very real chance of landing a genuine trophy GT on the fly. Wading the reef. In gin clear water. Does it get any better?
“Darker flies are often great for fishing the surf and where waves roll onto the reef and create foam and white water…”
REEFS AND FLATS
Generally, we fish two kinds of spots: Reefs and flats. Wading a long reef is where we most often get a shot at GTs, bigger bluefin trevallies and bohar snappers.
Sometimes, we wade more or less on top of the reef (the shallowest parts of the reefs are typically rocky – not coral – so we are not damaging anything by doing so). At other times, we might be wading waist-deep and get shots at cruising fish in the surf.
It doesn’t get any better than when we find GTs on the flats: Often, they can be spotted over long distances, and if we are lucky enough to hook one, we are less likely to break them off.
WADING AND CASTING
We use our dinghy to reach the best fishing spots and all our fly fishing is done on foot. Most of the time we are on the reefs, looking for GTs and bigger bluefins. Most GTs will be encountered when you are wading in water that is knee- to waist-deep. If the surf is up, it can feel a bit crazy to jump around between waves but after a while, most of us will get used to it. And we do try to pick spots where it is relatively calm.
Casting a heavy 12 weight rod in waist-deep water is very different from casting the same outfit from a boat. Sometimes, you can find a rock or coral to stand on, hopefully near an opening in a small reef or covering a channel leading onto the flat.
SHORTER SEASON & LONGER TRIPS
We do these trips to help you achieve the dream of a GT on the fly – not just to fill our calendar. We want to succeed as much as you do, so first of all we limit our fly fishing season to a few months per year. We only fly fish during the period we believe offers the best conditions for fly fishing.
Also, GTs are fast to learn and change their behaviour if there is too much fishing pressure. Fly fishing puts much less pressure on a fishery than spinning or popping but it is still a factor we take into consideration.
Most of our fly fishing trips are eight full days of fishing – two full days longer than most other fly fishing trips. That’s 33% more fishing time, and thereby a 33% bigger chance of catching your GT trophy on a fly.
The extra cost for two more days is great value-for-money because we have already moved the boat to our preferred location, and the cost of the international and domestic flights is already covered.
The longer trips also enable us to relocate during the trip and fish two different atolls, should we find the need to do so.
When teasing, your guide will be throwing a hookless popper on a spinning rod. With this method, you can cover lots of water and sometimes pull the fish within range of a fly cast.
It’s not our preferred way of fishing and the nature of the spots we fish just aren’t great teasing spots. You need steep reef edges to succeed with teasing.
We don’t find that in the Maldives so the fish will most often lose interest in the teaser before being within casting range of a fly rod.