ENCOURAGED BY YESTERDAY’S GREAT FISHING we now spend our second day buoyantly scouting and blind-casting along tidal currents, depth curves and reefs in the hopes of hooking one of the atoll’s terrifying giant trevallies: A powerful and lightning-quick predator species, which – because of its keen eyesight, bloated ego, menacing mannerisms and inflammable temperament – has risen to near-mythical status among saltwater fly fishermen and come to be known as the ‘gangster of the flats’. Unfortunately, on this particular day they are like flickering, ominous ghosts. They disappear just as abruptly as they emerge – and when we finally manage to get a couple of quality casts in, they display an atypical apathetic indifference with our flies. AFTER A WHOLE DAY with nothing but a few side-catches in the shape of garfish, grouper and bluefin trevally we revise our plans for the following day. Here, we fish along the western reaches of the St. Francois Atoll where an elongated moonscape-like coral reef constitutes a staunch but scarred barrier against the agitated sea.
The tide is high, and our plan is to sight-fish for some of the atoll’s numerous triggerfish – a rather goofy looking and incredibly aggressive fish that is equipped with toothy jaws designed for breaking down corals and crushing crustaceans and mussels. The fact that it is capable of chewing flies (and flustered fingers) clean through only serves to further testament its reputation as one of the most exciting game fish in Indo-pacific Ocean. The combat fishing that ensues surpasses all of our expectations. With great assistance from our guide, Brandon, - who jumps headlong on the fish with his landing net as soon as they’re hooked - we manage to land three out of the five uptight triggerfish that gulp down our crab flies. In addition to triggerfish we also catch three yellowlip emperors, a few groupers, several unidentifiable coral fish, and a couple of solid bonefish. With both triggerfish and bonefish on my scorecard today, Brandon suggests that we end off with halfan-hour’s worth of blind-casting with poppers for giant trevally. If all ends well, I could end up with an Indo-Pacific grand slam.