St Brandon’s Atoll – Indian Ocean

Overview

Cost 2017/2018 season: USD $8000pp ex Port Louis
Group Size: 8 Anglers
Trip Duration: 10 Nights & 7 Fishing Days
Peak Season: Sept-Dec | Apr-Jun

If wading and sight casting to double digit Bonefish, tailing Indo-Pacific Permit and a host of Trevally species on powder white sand flats on an extremely remote Indian Ocean atoll appeals to you then look no further, St Brandon’s Atoll is the destination for you. St Brandon’s (Cargados Carajos Shoals) is a group of over 50 small islands, coral ridges and vast sand flats which is cut by three major passes and extends 50 km from north to south. Situated 268 nautical miles northeast of Mauritius’s main island this area is rich in fish stocks, flora and fauna. This magical atoll has quickly risen to iconic status in the world of saltwater fly-fishing and for good reason; the flats fishing for Bonefish, Indo-Pacific Permit and a host of Trevally species is simply world class!

Previous seasons on St Brandon’s have been run using a live-aboard mother ship MY Gryphon, as foreigners were not permitted by the Mauritian authorities to stay on land. The last 5 years of hard work have however finally paid off and we are excited to announce the beginning of a new era in this project, the St Brandon’s land-based experience! Guests will be accommodated in a simple but comfortable guesthouse on Raphael Island situated in the fish rich northern part of the atoll. Although the guesthouse is by no means luxurious, it is clean, comfortable and considering it’s remote location, is all a travelling angler needs to enjoy the finest trophy Bonefish, Indo –Pacific Permit and trophy GT fishing available in the Indian Ocean. To top it off, there is a highly productive and easy wading flat just meters away from the front porch of the guesthouse. Currently there are 4 bedrooms in the house, each containing two comfortable single beds and some basic amenities. The guesthouse currently has two fully renovated bathrooms for the guests, each containing a shower, basin and toilet.

Two 50ft sport fishers will transfer guests to and from the atoll (4 guest, 1 guide and 3 crew per sport fisher), the crossing time from Mauritius to the atoll being +/-26 hours. The two boats will do the crossing along side each other. Both boats are registered and licensed in Mauritius for offshore sailing, each boat fully equipped with latest marine navigation equipment. Each boat will be skippered by a 200T master. Each boat has three cabins, two of which are for the 4 guests (2 guest per cabin) the other for the guide and crew. Each boat has a bathroom, a kitchen, lounge area as well as a comfortable back deck. The sport fishers will depart Port Louis at approximately 10:00am on the start day of the trip and will arrive at Ilse De Sud (South Island) at +-10:00am the following morning. A further two hours flat water cruising in the lee of atoll will see the boats arrive at Raphael Island. Guests and their luggage will then be transported by tender boat onto the island, following which they will have lunch, settle into their rooms, receive a briefing from the head guide and set up tackle. Should there be enough light left guests are welcome to fish unguided on foot around Raphael Island. Guests will then spend the following 7 full days out on the flats fully guided.

The sport fishers will depart Raphael Island mid morning after guests have had breakfast, packed up and settled any bills etc. The sports fishers should arrive back in Port Louis around midday on the final day of the trip. Although every effort is made to stick to this schedule, weather and other factors associated with remote locations of this nature can affect timing. We ask all guests to go into this trip with an open mind towards the logistics, appreciating how remote a venue St Brandon’s really is and what a privilege it is we are allowed to fish it! Based on this schedule guests are asked to fly into Mauritius the day before the start date of the trip (to ensure there is a time buffer built in for missed flight connections, flight delays/lost luggage etc. Return international flight can be booked which depart after 20:00pm on the end date of the trip. Should you however wish to book a flight that departs Mauritius earlier, guests are kindly requested to contact us before doing thus so that we can advise.

The fishing

On arriving at St Brandons no time is wasted as the guides put their vast Indian Ocean experience and planning into practice as you venture out to spend your days exploring the multitude of pure white sand flats and broken coral islands, all of which are infested with large naive Bonefish.This most certainly is be the most spectacular bonefishing you will ever encounter as on most tides anglers can expect to see shoals of these shallow water speedsters as well as enormous singles and doubles. Over the past few seasons we have landed Bonefish of up to 87cm fork length and weighing 15lbs.

St Brandons is also the most productive Indo-Pacific Permit fishery any of us have witnessed. When specifically targeting these gloriously finicky fish, guests are afforded multiple shots per day. Over the past seasons our guides have refined their tactics for the Permit of St Brandons and enjoy nothing more than watching their clients lean into sizeable specimens.

The GT fishing can be quite varied. Some days you can see a fair number and at other times none at all. St Brandons isnt a place where you are going to get shots at GTs everyday but it is certainly the place to break the 100 cm mark. The fish are all large and you catch more over a meter than under. We have in fact seen and hooked fish well over the 150cm. Large Bluefin Trevally are also around and we have caught some truly world class specimens. Other notable fish species one can encounter on the flats include Golden, Yellow Dot and Green Spot Trevally.

St Brandons flats are primarily made up of white compacted sand which makes for easy wading, thus separating it from other destinations in the world. As most of the fishing will be done via wading, good protective footwear is essential. Although the sand flats are easy on the feet, there are certain areas we fish which are made up of broken coral or littered with coral bommies, so having standard divers neoprene booties with a reinforced rubber sole are not appropriate. We recommend wearing proper flats wading boots. There are a number of purpose made boots on the market which are excellent. See suggested brands in tackle and gear list. Guests will not be taken onto the flats without proper footwear!

All FlyCastaway trips to St Brandons are led by a team of world class professional fly fishing guides. During your stay on the vessel there will be four guides including one head guide onboard. Each guide is a qualified skipper, has first aid experience and is extremely experienced with regards all facets of fly fishing the remote saltwater destinations of the Indian Ocean. Their passion and dedication is infectious and rest assured they will definitely go the extra mile in search of your fish of a lifetime. All FlyCastaway guides are fluent in English.

Details

Cost:
USD$8000 per person sharing ex Port Louis, Mauritius (10 night, 7 day fishing package)

Single supplement:
Not available currently

Max Pax:
8 anglers (2 anglers to 1 guide)

Inclusions:

  • Return transport to and from St Brandon’s from Mauritius
  • Full board and accommodation at Raphael Island guesthouse based on two people sharing
  • Seven days fully guided fishing (2 anglers to a boat and guide)
  • Fishing licenses
  • Tender boats & fuel
  • Soft drinks, water & local beers

Exclusions:

  • International flights from your home to Port Louis, Mauritius
  • Ground transfers on Mauritius
  • Meals and accommodation in Port Louis or any other en route cities
  • Spirits, wine, items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides and boat staff
  • Travel & medical insurance.
  • Tackle & flies

Location:
268 nautical miles north-east of Mauritiuss main island

Getting there:
Guests need to fly into the main island of Mauritius the day before the start of the tour and overnight before the transport vessels depart Port Louis for a +/-26 hour motor to Raphael Island, St Brandon’s.

Target Species:
Bonefish, Indo-Pacific Permit, Giant Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Golden Trevally & Greenspot Trevally.

Fishing Season:
September to December and again from April through to June.

Weather:
Temperatures range between 25C – 30C. Wind averages 15knots.

Tender Boats:
4 x 17ft locally built mono-hulls which carry 2 x 15 HP 2-Stroke Yamaha engines

Time Difference:
GMT + 4

Flight time from UK: 12 – 14 hours

Tackle & Gear:
Single-handed 9ft #9wt & #12wt saltwater outfits with matching tropical floating lines. The lodge has 4 x 12 weight G-Loomis Crosscurrent Fly Rods and Wade Caranx Reels and 4 x 9 weight G-Loomis Crosscurrent Fly Rods and Wade Albula Reels which can be rented on a weekly basis.A comprehensive tackle and gear list along with an order form (should you wish to purchase your tackle through us) is issued after your booking has been confirmed. The guides will also carry limited stock of suitable flies and other terminal tackle, should you run out.

Dangers to watch out for whilst wading

  • Stingrays some areas on the atoll host large numbers of stingrays on the flats. Most species have a poisonous, barbed spine near the base of their tails that they can use for defence. These spines can inflict a nasty wound, should an unwary angler inadvertently stand on a stingray. These often sedentary or slow moving fish are easy to see and avoid, and to date no anglers have had any problems with these docile creatures.
  • Stonefish found mainly in the shallows on the coral edges of reef flats, this fish is not only lethally toxic, but is also very well camouflaged and will not move unless touched. A stonefish has 13 strong hollow spines through which it injects its poison and these will pass through a thin rubber sole with ease. For this reason all wading should be done wearing appropriate wading boots.
  • Cone shells cone shells live in crevices among the coral or half covered by sand awaiting their prey which they attack by shooting out a dart that injects a paralyzing poison. The poison from certain species can be fatal, however proper footwear will ensure your safety.
  • Sharks although small sharks are frequently encountered whilst wading, they present the least danger of all. Sometimes inquisitive, they may pause for an instant and give you the once over but if you remain calm and quietly stand your ground, none of these magnificent creatures will bother you. To date there are no reports of any anglers or guides having been bitten by sharks in these waters

Pre trip

Recommended Reading

  • Bonefish Fly Patterns by Dick Brown (ISBN: 1-558 21-392-9)
  • Practical Fishing Knots by Mark Sosin and Lefty Kreh (ISBN: 1-558-21-102-0)
  • Fly Fishing in Saltwater by Lefty Kreh (ISBN: 1-558-21-590-5)
  • Bonefishing by Dick Brown (ISBN:1-55821-203-5)
  • Bonefishing by Randall Kaufmann (ISBN: 1-885212-13-15)
  • www.flycastaway.com

Passports
Everyone travelling to Mauritius must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of travel.

Visa Requirements
UK, US, EU, USSR and RSA passport holders do not require a visa for entering into Mauritius for vacation purposes

Medical & Health Requirements:
Mandatory emergency medical evacuation insurance. A Yellow Fever certificate is required is travelling from a Yellow Fever infected area.

Currency:
The currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR). US Dollar or Euro are however widely accepted and are the preferred currency for gratuities and expenditure on the MY Gryphon.

Gratuities:
The recommended gratuity for the guides are US$550 per trip, and for the boat staff US$150pp per week. (Please note that this is only a guideline for guests interested in tipping the guides and the boat staff. All gratuities are up to the discretion of the individual guest.)

Currency Exchange
Local currency is not required unless you are planning an extended stay. Most restaurants, hotels and shops accept Forrex.

Language:
English is the official language of Mauritius, but the most widely used is French. All FlyCastaway guides and crew of the MY Gryphon speak English.

Satellite Phone & Communications
The FlyCastaway guides do carry a satellite phone when on St Brandon’s, which will be available for guests to use should an important matter arise. Please note guests will be billed for their time on the phone, which needs to be paid in USD$ before departing the atoll.

Whilst on the main island of Mauritius the international access code is +230. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States). City/area codes are not required. The entire island is covered by the mobile network, added to which the local mobile phone operators use GSM networks which are compatible with most international operators. Handsets and SIM cards can be purchased at the airport. Internet cafes are widely available

Electricity
Please contact us for details.

Photos

Terms

Booking Procedures

  • All reservation made more than 12 months in advance requires an initial deposit of 20% of the total amount due to be received within 14 days of invoicing.
  • Twelve (12) months prior to departure 50% of the total amount is due.
  • All reservation made less than 12 months in advance requires an initial deposit of 50% of the total amount due to be received within 14 days of invoicing.
  • Three (3) months prior to departure 100% of the total amount is due.
  • If a booking is made less than 90 days prior to departure full payment is due immediately.

Cancellation 

  • If a cancellation is made 12 months or more prior to departure the 50% of the deposit will be forfeited.
  • Cancellations made 12 to 6 months prior to departure, 50% of charter rate shall be forfeited.
  • Cancellations made 6 months or less prior to departure, full individual charter rate shall be forfeited.
  • Reservation for which payment are not received as on time as per the terms are subject to cancellation by FCA 7 days after notification.
  • In case of cancellation by FlyCastaway money received will be paid back in full excluding bank charges.
  • Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Conditions
All Cancellations must be made in writing. Deposit will only be refunded if a replacement can be found. Reservation for which payment are not received as on time as per the terms are subject to cancellation by FCA 7 days after notification. *Once a deposit is received, all revisions are subject to a 100 handling fee. *All prices are subject to availability of bookings, change by service providers, and are quoted at low season fares. *Rates are subject to change. *The ship/lodge reserves the right to cancel a sailing/trip due to bad weather conditions.At time of quote flight charges, island fees and government taxes are correct but are subject to change without prior notice. Increases in any of these facets are out of the control of FlyCastaway and will be transferred to the client. Service providers used such as airlines and charter boat operators are independent business concerns and are in no way affiliated to FlyCastaway (FCA). Although all reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the smooth running of the tour, FCA cannot be held responsible in any way for bad or non-performance of service providers. While all possible efforts will be made to ensure the success of this tour, FCA cannot be held responsible in any way for cancellation in total or in part or non-performance in any way, due to bad weather or any other detrimental natural phenomenon/disaster, political unrest or war.All guests must have a comprehensive medical emergency evacuation insurance policy, as well as travel insurance policy to cover them for the duration of the trip. It is the right of the live-aboard service provider to cancel any booking without refund, if the client is not adequately insured. In this case, adequate insurance means: an insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation from the scene of the illness or accident, to the nearest best hospital and then back to your hometown. Cancellation and curtailment insurance cover is also recommended. Furthermore all guests will be required to sign and return the Reservation and Indemnity Form prior to the trip.