Sometimes the greatest gifts in the world can come in small packages. The smallest packages have the capacity to amaze with the quality hidden inside. Bonefishing is one of the most popular forms of angling in the world; and despite its size the tiny island nation of Seychelles offers some of the greatest bonefishing habitat in the world.
Barely a speck on most maps, the islands that constitute the nation of Seychelles are located nearly 1,000 miles off the eastern coast of Africa. Surrounded on all sides by the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Alphonse Island has emerged as one of the top global destinations for bonefishermen. The island itself is but a speck on the globe, with just 300 residents and one hotel built primarily for anglers visiting the clear waters for bonefishing.
As the name suggests, bonefishing is the particular sport of fishing for the bonefish. Bonefishing is popular among sporting anglers because the degree of difficulty is rather high. Finding, hooking, and landing a bonefish is considered one of the most difficult tasks any angler will ever face.
Most anglers will not head out bonefishing without the assistance of a professional guide fisherman, especially when first attempting to bonefish. There are two popular approaches to bonefishing. The first approach includes chumming an area that offers the typical habitat of bonefish in an attempt to lure them out, and then casting lines in hopes of getting one to bite.
However, the use of chum to lure them in takes away from the sporting aspect in the mind of many fishermen. A more popular method among anglers looking to keep it sporting is to head out with a professional guide on a pole boat. Trolling motors are not recommended when bonefishing because the fish scare easily. Instead, a guide will stand on an elevated platform and guide the boat through shallow waters with the pole.
From his elevated platform a guide can help spot bonefish in the water and provide guidance to anglers in casting. Finding the fish is just half the battle. Bonefish are notoriously big fighters and once they are hooked tend to use their long, lean bodies to run hard and fast. It is not uncommon for anglers to lose their target during the fight as bonefish will run away through mangrove roots or sharp coral, snapping the line.
Bonefishing is often a catch and release sport. While the fish are consumed in some of the regions where bonefishing is popular, such as Hawaii, the taste of the bonefish is not generally preferred in many regions of the world.
The islands of the Seychelles have become popular over the past decade as a bonefishing destination due in large part to the climate and the bonefish themselves. Alphonse Island, located some 292 miles away from the capital island of Mahe to the southwest. The island, or more accurately atoll, offers a great amount of shallow water and coral reef that serve as prime habitat for the bonefish.
In addition to such a large amount of habitat in such a small region, Alphonse and the greater Seychelles have become popular among bonefishing enthusiasts because of the bonefish found in the region. The average bonefish caught off the shores of the Seychelles ranges from six to eight pounds in weight with 10-14lb bonefish also a very common occurrence.
If the perfect environment for bonefish, along with some of the best bonefish to catch, weren’t enough to entice anglers to head for this Indian Ocean getaway, the accommodations surely will be. Although there are only an estimated 300 residents on Alphonse Island, the atoll does boast a hotel with all the accommodations of the biggest cities.
The Alphonse Island Resort has some of the greatest five star accommodations available, despite its location in the literal middle of nowhere in the Indian Ocean. Anglers who stay at the hotel are welcomed with waterfront chalets featuring open air showers, air conditioning, private bathrooms, television, and mini-bars included.
Given the less than tasty nature of the bonefish, the Alphonse Island Resort provides guests with the best in international cuisine, ensuring a hearty and delicious meal for all guests. For those gentlemen who find it difficult to get away from their spouses for a weekend of fishing, Alphonse Island offers something to the non-anglers in the family as well.
The hotel and island offer visitors more than just a great fishing destination. While the anglers are out searching for bonefish, other guests can enjoy canoeing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and tennis to name a few. The hotel has a great pool for swimming and the beach is right there for those that prefer the natural waters.
Join in the Excitement
While several coastal areas of the United States and the Bahamas have long been known for excellent bonefishing excursions, the Seychelles is a relatively new find. The excellent bonefishing conditions only became known to the outside world in the 1990s, making it an exciting must do for anglers from around the globe.
A handful of companies organize fishing expeditions to Alphonse Island, where the typical fishing season runs from the middle of October to the end of April. Now is the time to explore yet another of the treasures waiting for visitors in the Seychelles.