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Photo by Jim Klug – Yellow Dog Flyfishing. Astove Atoll is an in the Outer Islands group of Seychelles, 1,041 km [647 miles] southwest of the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island.

Seychelles, Jurassic Park on steroids

Capt. Andrew Derr is one of the most important light tackle fishing guides in Eastern Long Island, New York (Greenport and Montauk). Andrew’s contributions to protecting that environment are as well known as his fishery knowledge. He has also written extensively for this publication since 2002, managing us as editor-in-chief for several years. During his guiding years in Key Largo, he co-authored the popular book Fly Fishing the Florida Keys. Derr has traveled extensively, several hosting fellow anglers, one such trip being to Seychelles’ Astove Island—the feature of this story (reposted with permission). Image ‘Fooled by a Fly.’ A North Fork flats striper cooperated – Capt. Andrew Derr image. NOTE: Andrew was well known to Manhattanites as lead guitarist for the band The Goods [2001-2006].

By Capt. Andrew Derr

Looking back on my good fortune during March of 2007, I can’t believe I got to fish in such a fantastic place and even got paid for it! Urban Angler in New York City had arranged dozens of trips to the Seychelles aboard the converted Dutch research vessel, the 116-foot Indian Ocean Explorer. Generally, they’d get 12 anglers, hire two hosts, and then have the ship’s two 18-foot tenders and crew at their disposal. 

In 2007, Amanda Switzer was supposed to host the trip again, but luckily, I got a late call with the news that she and her husband, Steve, were expecting their first child. I giddily accepted and, having never been, had to rely heavily on the advice and experience of both the captain of the Explorer and my fellow host from the US, Captain Bryan Goulart, to help our angling guests fulfill their wildest fishing dreams. 

We were fortunate with the conditions and weather and had some of the most memorable experiences imaginable. We flew into Mahe and then to the tiny Assumption Island, where we boarded the ship amidst moderately windy conditions.

That night, we embarked on rough seas to awake to a stunning wonderland of flats, islands, and atolls at the isle of Astove. It was a virtual amusement park of fishing adventures on the flats and the starkly contrasting deep blue water just a stone’s throw offshore. Flats surround this island, and there is an expansive, shallow lagoon right in the middle of the island that is tidally fed through a channel on the south end. 

With a Jurassic-sized bonefish, Jim Klug [2017] confirmed Andrew’s 2007 claims—photo Jim Klug Yellow Dog Flyfishing.

There are a ton of options on Astove

A short hike through the forest, still chock full of giant tortoises from long ago settlers, leads you to the inner lagoon, teaming with gullible bonefish. We would return to this lagoon several times over the next few days, but this day, we were concentrating on the outside flats.

The simple act of watching and fishing the incoming i on the west side of the island is astounding. I stood on the dry flat as water began to lap onto it from the deep blue water depths just in front of my toes. With the crystalline water came little minnows and then bigger baitfish. Then came brightly colored reef fish, the likes of which I had never seen. Then, a few bonefish started to dart up on the flat when a little swell allowed it. 

We slowly backed up with the incoming tide for two and a half hours until it was teaming with bonefish, giant trevally, bluefin trevally, barracuda, milkfish, and legions of other fish I had never seen on the flats before. 

Photo by Jim Klug, Yellow Dog Flyfishing.

This place is like Jurassic Park for fly fishers

That particular experience is the singular most incredible fishing experience I have ever had. I only fished it for about 30 minutes, spending most of that time helping our clients connect the dots that morning. 

I made eight casts to cruising GTs during the last of the incoming tide and had large fish aggressively competing for my #3/0 Day-Glow Seducer on each cast. Watching them charge on it in shallow water is incredibly adrenaline-inducing and quite a site to behold. 

Fighting these behemoths is a true test of one’s tackle, knots, and fish-fighting skills. During that time, everyone in our party seemed to get lost in their section of this enormous flat, with enough cruising targets to keep 50 anglers occupied. Having never fished or guided this flat before, it was a piece of cake. 

It is incredible how a lack of fishing pressure improves a fish’s appetite  

Everybody had a field day that morning. Afterward, we returned to the boat for lunch, all grinning ear to ear. On our ride back to the Explorer on the inflatable tender, I looked back at the palm trees on shore and the sun, now high over the island of Astove. A fantastic feeling I only get from sublime natural wonders came over me. The long hours of travel and jet lag were gone from my thoughts. We were in IT and had five and a half more days to explore this saltwater fly-fishing mecca.


Capt. Andrew Derr – flats season begins. . . 

Contact: Jim Klug, Director of Operations / CEO – Yellow Dog Flyfishing

Travel Office Main Phone:  (406) 585-8667

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Bozeman, MT  59715


Astove – photo by Jim Klug.


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