St. Brandon’s Atoll – “The Best Bonefishing in the World”
Trip Report 2015 – Mike Dawes
Ever since I first read about St. Brandon’s Atoll in 2010 I knew I had to see it for myself. Working with Fly CastAway and after watching Tim Brune of WorldCast Anglers land a 9lbs Bonefish on his first cast of the trip and taking in the epic surroundings of the atoll, I knew I had made the right decision. St. Brandon’s Atoll is not easy to get to and just arriving there is an adventure in itself, but the remoteness of the atoll and the disconnect it provides nurtures the soul and makes the travel worth it.
St. Brandons (Cargados Carajos Shoals) is a group of over 50 small islands, coral ridges and vast sand flats cut by three major passes that extends 32 miles from south to north. Situated 268 nautical miles north-east of Mauritius, with no air access the atoll is in pristine condition. The reef and fish populations have had very little human interaction and it was comforting to know that these places still exist.
While we had great tides during our 6.5 days of fishing, the weather did not cooperate and we had extreme winds combined with very little sunshine, until the day we left. We had some windows of sun here and there and took advantage of them. What really amazed me was the ability to wade fish in the rain to large tailing bonefish, while often stumbling over double digit fish, a true testament to the fishery. Even given the weather we experienced, there were 8 double digit bonefish landed and countless 8,9 lbers in the skinniest of water. While all of the notorious Indian Ocean fisheries offer remarkable bonefishing, the size of the bonefish at St. Brandons is mindboggling.
The weather proved a little more difficult in spotting the elusive yellow finned Indo Pacific Permit, but we still managed four as a group. There were also several Giant Trevally, Blue Fin Trevally, Green spotted Trevally and other species landed despite the weather.
We experienced what very well could have been the last live aboard mothership trip to St. Brandons, as they will be transitioning to a land based operation in the fall of 2015. While it will not be luxurious, the land based operation will ease the length of travel to reach the atoll and provide a home flat to fish right in front of the lodge.