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Still on the subject of Seychelles, subscriber Michael C. Callison is not entirely pleased with his trip this past March to Desroches Island ( where a resort facility provides access to fishing on nearby St. Joseph and Poivre Atolls. Callison has no complaints about the resort itself and the services there, saying it provides a “five-star experience.” His complaints are solely about the fishing and a boat problem he experienced.

“The fishing was good but not great,” he writes, indicating he caught six to eight bonefish a day. He also caught one permit. He says one problem with the fishing was the number of sharks on the flats. They made it difficult to land a bonefish. The presence of some large sharks upwards of seven to eight feet also gave him pause. Another issue was the somewhat limited window of opportunity due to the flats heating up when the sun was overhead. “Morning outgoing and incoming tides were the best times to fish,” he writes. “Once the flats heated up, the fishing got tough,” Callison says. The weather conditions while he was on the island made this pattern worse. “It was hot and humid most of the time and sunny,” he writes. “The first two days there was no wind, a condition that is reportedly quite rare in that area.”

The most serious problem on this trip was not the fishing but the condition of the boats and other equipment. “The boats were in poor shape, and there was no fishing equipment at the resort at all,” he writes, warning fellow subscribers to bring everything they need to this destination. The low point of the trip was the day all of the boats needed to ferry him to the atolls were broken down. “I lost one whole day of fishing,” he complains.

Callison does not give the cost of his trip, but simply characterizes it as “expensive.” He concludes that Desroches Island gets a thumbs up, but only for its resort experience, not the fishing.

Postscript: Interestingly, Callison says he flew Emirates Air on this trip, and he gives the company a 10 rating. He describes the Business Class service as five star. He did not comment on the airline’s handling of his fishing tackle, however, so we reached out to him for a follow-up comment. He writes: “Due to the baggage limitations on the flight to Desroches Island, I packed all my fishing materials (three rods, flies, and flats boots) with my clothes in one checked bag weighing less than 44 lbs. I carried on a very small bag with my reels and spare glasses. This worked well with no lost luggage, and my carry-on was waterproof so it doubled as a boat bag on the flats. The second half of this trip included a game safari in South Africa, so I also needed a light down jacket. The flats boots worked well for hiking boots in Africa. I think the key to my trouble-free travel was keeping my connecting flights down to one stop. That meant my luggage was never routed through multiple airports.”

Rebuttal statement from Keith Rose-Innes on Callison’s report: “Desroches is one of our group-owned destinations and is sold to our agents and guests as a five-star destination hotel where you take your partner for a week or more of activities and relaxation. We sell it as a place where, during your stay, you would normally only do a couple of day trips across to Poivre or St Joseph. It’s not a hardcore fly fishing destination unless you are after the “Holy Grail,” an Indo- Pacific permit. I would say that Mr. Callison’s description of the number of fish on the atolls is pretty accurate, although it can be better or worse depending on the moon phase, level of tide, and time of year. Like any destination, it is seasonal, and parts of the season are better than others. During some times of the year there are no sharks and literally thousands of bonefish.

To be safe, we only offer trips across to Poivre and St Joseph in the period November to early May when the southeasterly winds have subsided. Permit are the fish of a thousand casts, so the fact that Mr. Callison landed one on his trip should elevate the experience to “a trip well worth while.” A key ingredient to fishing these atolls, especially Poivre, is a neap tide with a slow falling tide in the morning. Get the tides right and it’s a guarantee that you will have 10 to 30 good shots at feeding permit in a session. We have had problems with our boats due to various logistical problems. I do however guarantee that it has only been on a few occasions, and we are working really hard prior to next season to remedy any issues that might have affected our guests this past season. We do have G-Loomis 9- and 12-wt. fly rods with Shilton reels on location as rental outfits, and we have a selection of flies for sale.

Furthermore, we would like to extend Mr. Callison a complimentary day of fishing at St. Joseph or Poivre should he feel like returning. Hopefully, he will catch another of those most beautiful permit that call Poivre Atoll their home.”

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