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Superb fishing in stunning Seychelles

Situated 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa, the legendary beauty of Seychelles’ 115 sparkling islands hold the promise of silver beaches, swaying palms and clear, warm turquoise water.

Virtually untouched, this island paradise proposes not only stunning natural beauty but also an enviable island-style existence in which friendliness and harmony come naturally, inviting the visitor to feel completely safe, totally at ease – and wonderfully at home.

But, even if it does boast beaches that are widely considered to be the most beautiful on earth, Seychelles is far more than just sea, sun and sand. Its diversity ranges from towering granite peaks, mist- covered forests and some of the most remarkable flora and fauna to be found anywhere on earth. Known as the isles of love, Seychelles is a favourite destination for lovers looking for an escape to a choice of solitary island hideaways where to enjoy complete tranquillity with the bonus of exceptional diving, trekking and swimming in places where few have gone before.

Now, Seychelles is preparing itself to make an entry onto the international fishing scene with its first international competition scheduled for March 2006. The organizers, The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and IGFA representative for Sardinia and San Remo Cap. Paulo Sala, plan to kick off with a small competition that will give them an opportunity to acquire the expertise necessary to launch larger events in the future.

The initial 2006 competition will be an event of 2 or 3 days duration during which participants will focus on fishing the waters around the island of Mahé, principal island of the Seychelles archipelago, competing at both trolling and palangrotte or bottom-fishing. The triangular competition will be fought over three stages: Seychelles, Cuba and Sardinia with points being awarded after each stage to decide the eventual winner.

If you are a professional fisherman, or just a keen novice, there can be few places like Seychelles where to practice, or learn, the art of fishing in surroundings of breathtaking natural beauty.

Whether watching your marlin explode from the surf somewhere on the Amirantes bank, or locked in battle with a sailfish within the shadow of Silhouette Island, jigging for dogtooth tuna in deep azure water or catching record bonefish on the flats of Alphonse – fishing anywhere amid the heart-stopping beauty of Seychelles’ 115 islands and the fish-rich waters that surround them is an experience not soon forgotten.

Quite simply, for novice and professional alike, Seychelles is the fisherman’s Shangri-là where, day after day, cloudless skies merge opulently with a sapphire ocean and where the closest fishing boat is probably hours away.

And then there’s the fish – a mixed bag like nowhere else and one that includes black and blue marlin, sailfish, yellowfin, dogtooth and skipjack tuna, bonito, greater barracuda, rainbow runner, giant trevally, green jobfish, dorado (mahi mahi) and wahoo. Sport Fishing Magazine mentions the possibility of catching one of each on a day’s fishing expedition – truly phenomenal fishing that you’ll find in precious few places on earth.

Further good news is that Seychelles is a year-round fishing destination where the peak season falls during the northwest trades between October and April. Great fishing conditions during this period mean that a daily catch of thirty fish comprising four different species is not unusual. During the offshore La Digue fishing tournament, organised by Rotary Club of Seychelles that took place on 22nd October 2005, 12 boats set out that had, between them, *6 black marlin on line. The total catch was 5 tons! During only the past 6 months, over 20 black and blue marlins have been caught on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Denis Island, with the majority weighing between 300 and 500 pounds.

The south east trades that blow between the months of May and September bring with them the rougher seas favoured by yellowfin tuna, sailfish and the mighty marlin.

In recent years Seychelles’ Outer islands have become something of a Mecca for fly-fishing aficionados the world over, keen to pit their wits against record-breaking bonefish and trevally to be found on the flats of some of the remoter atolls as well as the sport fish in the blue water just beyond.

With a vast selection of fishing spots to choose from, (still unexploited due to a jealously-guarded 200 mile fishing zone), the chance of breaking further IGFA records beckons still across the turquoise banks and uncharted, ink-blue depths of Seychelles 1,400,000 km² economic zone.

And that’s not all!

Seychelles’ charter rates are very reasonable when compared to much of the international competition, and a number of well-equipped vessels with state-of-the art equipment and experienced crew are on hand to ensure you comfortable and memorable fishing expeditions.

There’s also a choice of local fishing methods worth trying your hand at such as night fishing for pick-handle barracuda and palangrotte or bottom-fishing that will catch you bass, bream, grouper, shark, barracuda and a colourful stream of tasty demersals and other denizens of the coral reefs.

Whatever your fishing dreams…. you’ll find that among the friendly islands of Seychelles and amid her myriad, pristine fishing grounds…there’s a very good chance indeed of bringing them to life.

by Glynn Burridge

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