Alphonse Island Fly Fishing Season 2019 | 18 – 25 May
Week 35 marked the final time spent on the flats of St. Francois for this season. Old friends of AFC returned “home” to celebrate the amazing season and the finned creatures that frequent the flats.
Long surf walk moves were made at the initial stages of the week but, unfortunately, did not produce too well. The lagoon itself, however, proved to be on fire. All traditional flats species were present which resulted in a remarkable amount of flats slams.
Matt Ferrey produced a slam on Tuesday with a 91 cm GT, a Moustache triggerfish on Top Sticks finger and capped it off with a Bonefish. Matt’s boat partner for the day, Ray Cadiz, landed the largest GT for the week on the same walk on Top Sticks finger, a fish measuring exactly 1 metre.
Ray himself landed a flats slam on Wednesday. A Bonefish, a solid GT of 76 cm, off the back of a guitar shark on the white sand flats of Morning Traffic, and the largest triggerfish of the week, a yellow margin measuring 54 cm.
Justin Kemp was the slam champion of the week. On Tuesday he landed a bonefish, a moustache triggerfish and a black 86 cm GT on Fields of Gold, charging the fly so fast that his eyes were out of the water as he ate. Justin landed another flats slam on Thursday with a 68 cm GT on Pinacolada out of a rat pack, a bonefish and a good sized moustache triggerfish on Fallujah.
During the invitational week, guides have the opportunity to fish as well. Kyle Simpson landed a slam on Monday with a Giant Trevally, a large moustache triggerfish, a bonefish and capping it off with a 30 cm permit behind Judes. Rudi Lubbe also got a flats slam on Tuesday with a bonefish, a permit and a GT (only the second recaptured fish of the season) landed on a 9wt and a bonefish fly.
GT Tagging Programme Update:
This week was the last week of guests fishing on Alphonse and they certainly made it count! Although we completed our acoustic tagging the previous week we continued to PIT tag and scan all GT that were caught.
This week 10 new GT on St. Francois received a unique ID number and these fish ranged in size from 62 to 91 cm. In other exciting news we recaptured a previously tagged fish –which is only the 2nd recapture to occur the entire season out of 198 GT that have been PIT tagged for this project! The 63 cm fish was initially caught and tagged 2 weeks earlier in Pompano channel and was recaptured 2.1km away at Delta. It will be interesting to see next fishing season which individuals are recaptured and where.
We also caught several of the resident GT on Alphonse and strapped “FishBit” acceleration loggers to their tails to look at their activity in the 10 minutes immediately following release.
With the season wrapping up, shortly Caitlin will be heading back to her university in the States for a few months to work up the data and recommend management actions to be taken in the upcoming season.
Year 2 of the GT tracking project starting in Sept 2019 will focus primarily on monitoring movements of the 70 acoustic tagged GT, PIT tagging new GT and recording recapture information, and developing best practice guidelines for C&R by looking at how angling and handling effects fish physiology and behavior.
A Thank You to everyone who has been involved in this project, including all our wonderful guests, AFC guides, and all the project collaborators. This is just the beginning of many exciting things to come.
Tight Lines from the Alphonse Fishing Co. Guides on Alphonse Island, until next season!
TOTAL CATCH STATS FROM 6 ANGLERS THIS WEEK: