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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fly Fish with Mel: What You need to Know for a Successful Fly Fishing Trip to the Maldives?

Fly Fishing Season Begins

With the change of winds from the Southwest to the Northeast, the saltwater flyfishing season in the Maldives is about to begin in earnest. Traditionally, the months between January to May have been the best for wading the flats in search for bonefish, trevallies and a whole host of other tropical species.

So if you have booked a trip to the Maldives and are not not sure what to expect, you've come to the right place.

In these upcoming posts, I will try to provide, hopefully, an in-depth guide to Fly Fishing the Maldives.

Guiding Services

Quite unlike the posh and well-oiled guiding services in the Americas and the Caribbean, the Maldivians are not as well-equipped or as adept at guiding the flats but provide excellent guiding services for the fisherman interested in popping the reefs.

What you do get is a decent Safari Dhoni that serves as Motherboat for the duration of your trip. If you opt to pay a little more, it can even be an air-conditioned Dhoni. The crew will see to your every need. 3 regular meals plus snacks of biscuits and coffee or tea in-between will ensure that you maintain your strength for the long treks along the white sands.

Utilizing a fibreglass dinghy with a small outboard, the crew will ferry you and your mates to and from shore. However, once you are on land, you're on your own.

So how do you know where to go to find the fish? For us, we have been going to the Maldives for the past decade. Combining knowledge gathered from reading periodicals and publications on flats fishing and sheer hard work, we've accumulated a wealth of knowledge. Thus we have become our own guides.

Location! Location! Location!

Not all islands are created equal. Just as, not all atolls are created equal. Maldives is blessed with many small islands grouped into atolls. Male, the capital of Maldives, is located in North Male Atoll. The majority of resorts are situated on various islands in North Male Atoll, making it a short journey by fast ferry. Seaplanes provide a faster, albeit, a more expensive mode of transfer to the resorts. It is also the only mode of transport feasible to reach some of the other resorts situated much further away in other atolls.

Our past experiences have been concentrated mainly on two atolls, Lhaviyani and Noonu. Buying a map of Maldives (refer to me previous posts) will show you which islands are suitable for fly fishing. A yellow island with a sizeable band of green will point to a large area of sand flats that should be accessible for most parts of the tide; except, perhaps the highest. Unfortunately, that's where the info trail ends. Of course, by talking to the captain and the crew of the charter, you should be able to gain some local knowledge of where and how to find the elusive Bonefish or locally known as Meemas.

However, I should add that fly fishing in the Maldives is not all that difficult. You should be able to find fish on the flats rather easily. I dare guarantee that any first timer to the Maldives who can throw forty to fifty feet of line in moderate winds, will be able to enjoy a good time with bluefin trevallies and darts. As for the bonefish, they're not called 'Ghosts of the Flats' for nothing.

For more info, here are some contacts for guiding services:

Mario Tagliante (Maldives): mario@thetags-sportfishing.com

William Han (Singapore): willhan@singnet.com.sg


Or just drop me an email if you can any questions.


Next: How to equip yourself for a trip in the Maldives