Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fishing in Seychelles

You do not have to venture far from Seychelles’ shores to break fishing records in the archipelago. International sport and recreational fishermen enthusiastically return each year to these waters that already boast world records for striped bonito, bonefish, giant guitarfish, bigeye trevally, bluefin trevally, giant trevally, moustache grouper, humphead maori wrasse and dogtooth tuna.

Seychelles has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. The abundance of wahoo, sailfish, dorado, tuna, rainbow runner and trophies such as marlin, make for an unforgettable big-game fishing experience for both the seasoned and novice fisherman alike.
Traditional bottom-fishing produces a dazzling array of grouper, job fish, snappers and emperors, rewarding you with some of the finest tasting fish on offer anywhere in the world.

Seychelles has become the epicenter of salt-water fly-fishing and casting your fly lines on the magnificent shallow flats of the Outer Islands will afford you the chance of landing several energetic silver bonefish to challenge the record books. Blue-water fly-fishing is also becoming increasingly popular, providing the ultimate challenge of landing large pelagic fish on relatively light tackle.

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Types of fishing

Whether you are an experienced sports fisherman or an enthusiastic beginner, you will be thrilled by the opportunities that Seychelles’ fish-rich waters offer. Try your hand at big-game fishing and the unforgettable experience of trolling in pristine, azure waters from a range of modern fishing boats. Experienced crew will help you exceed your fishing expectations beyond your imagination.

Alternatively, you can try fly-fishing in the shallow waters surrounding the Inner Islands or even practice the art of blue-water fly-fishing. The traditional technique of bottom-fishing will land you a catch of spirited coral-reef fish and grace your table with some of the tastiest fish in the world.

Meanwhile, Seychelles’ Outer Islands offer the experienced fisherman the opportunity to enter the record books in remoter waters, far from the more commonly visited fishing grounds. Big-game fishing in these virgin waters provides the ultimate challenge as does fly-fishing from the fish-rich flats of the St. François, Poivre and d’Arros atolls.

Blue-water fly-fishing in the waters surrounding these lost island worlds can yield extraordinary results as can bottom-fishing expeditions in the deeper waters where the monster coral fish dwell.

Not to be missed is the excitement of night-fishing for pickhandle barracuda or shark off a variety of island locations.

The Catch

The fishing grounds around the Inner Islands offer both the big-game and fly-fisherman a varied catch that includes the spectacular sailfish, wahoo, greater barracuda, rainbow runner, milkfish, bonefish, trevally, barracuda and jobfish as well as varieties of bonito and tuna.

The bottom-fisherman, meanwhile, can pit his skills against snappers, coral-trouts, seabass and groupers - just a few of the spectacular species to be found around the Inner Islands.

The Outer Islands offers a chance to test one’s game-fishing skills against the mighty marlin, sailfish, giant dogtooth tuna and yellow fin tuna, the larger ocean-going sharks and many other species.

Several of the outlying atolls such as those in the Amirantes and Alphonse groups are considered to offer the best fly-fishing in the world and the chance to enter the record books with catches of 5kg bonefish, 25kg trevally and also barracuda. Given the abundance of fish, blue-water fly-fishing can be especially challenging and rewarding.

Bottom-fishing in these little-fished waters can yield groupers that weigh in excess of 30kg as well as massive trevally, kingfish, greater baraccuda, snapper, emperor and bream.

Fishing Seasons

In Seychelles, fishing can be enjoyed on very much a year-round basis that is divided into specific seasons, each one suited to a specific type of fishing and each one full of promise for the expert fisherman and novice alike.

For instance, big-game fishing is an all year-round activity, whereas the months of November to May are more appropriate for bottom-fishing and fly-fishing.

Throughout Seychelles the ocean is subject to currents with speeds of 0.5 up to 1.5 knots that develop with the trade winds. There are two opposing wind patterns in Seychelles, blowing seasonally either north-westerly (December to March) or south-easterly (May to September).

The north-westerly trades often have intermittent rain squalls and stronger winds during the period December to March. These are sometimes associated with the presence of tropical cyclones over the south-west Indian Ocean. Luckily, however, all of Seychelles’ islands lie well outside the cyclone belt, with the exception of the most southerly outer islands.

The south-easterly trades are drier and tend to blow more consistently throughout the day and into the night, reaching its peak in July/August.

In the months of April and November there are calm and sometimes windless periods when the trade winds change direction. These light and variable wind periods are accompanied by calm seas and clear waters.

The effects of the tides are more noticeable within the Inner Islands than the ocean currents and are generally less than a knot, increasing to up to 2 knots in channels between islands or close to underwater ridges.

Tides are semi-diurnal and asymmetrical with about 6 hours between high tide and low tide. The tidal range around the Inner Islands can get as high as 2 metres at spring tides and as low as 0.9 metres at neaps. Tides give rise to currents that can be strong in the channels leading to lagoons, which may empty completely at low tide.

Swells are generally moderate with waves of up to 1 to 2 metres becoming higher only in strong winds on open water.

Currents and upwelling around the Amirantes Bank often cause choppy conditions in a small area.

Weather forecasts are available by calling Seychelles Radio (Coast Station) on VHF channel 16 and normally switching up to channel 26. Boats may also place a radio link call via Seychelles Radio.


Seychelles is proud of its long-standing enlightened conservation policies, adopted to ensure protection of fish stocks through best practice in the fishing arena.

One example of this is a total ban on the use of spear guns throughout Seychelles’ waters. Local customs officials will confiscate such items from anyone who carry them when entering Seychelles.

Fishing is prohibited within the boundaries of the Curieuse, Ile Cocos, Port Launay/Baie Ternay and Ste. Anne Marine National Parks. These areas are patrolled by park rangers. In addition, no fishing is permitted within 200 metres around Aride Island Nature Reserve.

The practice of ‘tag and release’ has been widely adopted in order to safeguard fish stocks for future generations of fishermen. Tag and release is when a fish is caught and then released alive back into the water.

In addition, the gentle whale shark, common in Seychelles’ waters during the month of August and from October to January, is a species protected both by Seychelles law and by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The responsibility of promoting Seychelles’ fishing industry, preserving its resources, formulating and implementing national policies on fishing matters falls under the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA). The SFA is a parastatal organization and the executive, regulatory arm of government in the field of fisheries.

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