Fact file – Gear and Equipment
Since the species diversity at Alphonse Island is quite overwhelming, you’ll need a versatile range of tropical fly rod-and-reel setups. You’ll generally need a minimum of four setups: an 8-weight setup for bonefish and triggerfish, a 10-weight setup for permit and milkfish, and two 12-weight setups for giant trevally – all of them pre-spooled with tropical floating lines.
The reason why it’s a good idea to have an extra 12-weight setup on you at all times is that it enables you to switch quickly between poppers and streamers when sight-fishing for giant trevally. Everything happens dizzyingly fast when fishing for giant trevally, and you have to make the most of each opportunity. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a second setup at hand, if you need to try a new fly – or if you’ve been blind casting with poppers, and a sight-casting opportunity suddenly arises.
Furthermore, giant trevallies are known for breaking rods, melting down reel drag systems and emptying backing reserves. In this regard, a backup 12-weight setup is essential.
Article continues below image..
While the gear required for bonefish, triggerfish, milkfish and permit is similar to that used elsewhere in the tropics, the gear needed for giant trevally is in its own league. Here, you’ll need the very best saltwater fly rods – like the Thomas & Thomas Exocett or Orvis Helios II in combination with a fly reel that can stop a span of wild horses: For instance Nautilus NV Silver King, Einarsson or Orvis Mirage.
As a life-insurance during the utter mayhem and chaos of a giant trevally outburst you’ll need a minimum of 300 meters of 80lb backing in combination with a specially designed fly line – such as Airflo’s 50lb core Ridge Tropical GT fly line. The fly line is then linked to the fly via a 2-meter long 90 – 110lbs fluorocarbon tippet. It may sound completely out of proportion, but it is all due to the fact that a giant trevally needs to be treated with extreme strictness and pressure during the fight. Otherwise, they will run off and you’ll risk getting spooled or being cut off on corals and other subaqueous structure.
The flies that are most commonly used at Alphonse Island are specifically designed and developed for the fishing here. Fulling Mill, in England, have launched a series of flies, which have been developed in close cooperation with the guides at Alphonse Island.
Alphonse Island’s bonefish aren’t particularly picky, and they can be caught on traditional bonefish flies like Crazy Charlie, Beck’s SiliLegs, Bonefish Bitter and Gotcha in sizes ranging from 10 – 4.
The permit, however, is a chapter of their own. They’re typically caught on ultra-realistic crab- and shrimp imitations like the Alphonse Crab, Flexo Crab and Sand Prawn in sizes ranging from 2 – 8 fished on long (5m+) and thin (15 – 20lbs) leaders.
The Triggerfish are most effectively fished with smaller crab flies, which should be mounted with weed guards so they don’t snag on corals while retrieving them. And since triggerfish are capable of biting hooks clean over they should be tied on the strongest hooks available.
The milkfish, which predominantly feed on algae and seaweeds, can be caught on pulsating lush-green flies such as Wayne’s Milky Magic – and then there’s the giant trevally!
Giant trevally are fished with either NYAP poppers or gnarly streamers tied on the strongest possible 6/0 – 8/0 saltwater hooks. They should be bulky, pulsating and have big, staring eyes – and it’s an advantage if they’re made out of materials that don’t suck in too much water. Among the local favourites are the Brush Fly, GT Mullet, Bus Ticket and Serge’s Wrasse.
When it comes to wading equipment, clothing and such, you can pack like you normally would for similar tropical trips. Otherwise, Alphonse Fishing Company provides in-depth information about what to bring prior to the visit at Alphonse Island.