Salt Water Fly Fishing - Bassa da India - Offshore Fishing Charters
Bassa da India's central lagoon is probably one of the last truly great unexplored salt water Fly Fishing destinatons on earth. Fewer than a handfull of people in the whole world have ever fly-fished in the lagoon, and from the opinion of Fred Steynberg, one of Africa's leading fly fishermen, Bassa da India could rival the very best salt water fly fishing destinations in the world.
The following is an extract from a recent fishing trip to Bassa da India.
By Fred Steynberg
The most unexplored area of the atoll is the lagoon in the center that partly drains at low tide but maintains a depth of about 15m at its deepest point. It has a sand and rock bottom and the flats provide food for a great number of fish species that can be targeted on fly. I can just imagine how large predatory fish would enter the lagoon at high tide and in the dark, hunt and ambush smaller fish species.
Unfortunately we did not have time to explore the lagoon option as most of the guys on the trip were still relatively new at the sport and opted to fish conventionally around the atoll. I did however steel an hour to fish for the huge Parrot fish that were feeding in a foot or two of water on the fringes of the rocky outcrops, on fly.
The Parrot fish looked 5 – 15+ lbs and their dorsal fins often protruded above the water as they were feeding. Small # 4 & 6 crab imitations attracted their attention and they would follow a very slow retrieve until the temptation got too much and they would gently inhale the fly. At first the fish would not understand the strain that I put on them but eventually after a second or two delay would speed off at a blistering pace and gut the leader on the rocks. After losing 4 massive fish I increased the diameter of my leader/tippet but had no time to pursue the fish further as my intrepid companions impatiently awaited my return to the mothership so that they could fish. For this alone I will return to Bassas.
Fly fishing tips
9 – 10 weight rods and floating lines for targeting parrot fish and other shallow water feeders. A good quality reel with at least 150 m of 30lb + backing.
Small brown and white Crab patterns, Crazy Charlie, Merkins, Scamphy’s and Clousers are the favorite flies.
12 – 14 weight rods with fast sinking shooting heads or lines to get the fly down deep and fast for fishing the shallower (10-30m) sections of the reef for Rock-cods, Job fish, King fish and Snapper. It is necessary to have a good reel with plenty of 50lb braided backing with a range of hard 50, 80 and 100lb floro carbon tippet as these fish often use the rocks as a escape route and lesser mono filament will not do. A large variety of flies will do the job but to cut it down, large Mega Clousers 4/0 – 6/0, Linecasters Fire Clouser 2/0 – 4/0 and Black Whistlers 4/0 – 6/0 would suffice for most of the mentioned species.
If the Kings are eager to take poppers or flies on the surface then a 12 weight (or if you are able to cast a 14 weight) with a floating or intermediate line will work using Flashy profile flies or Gurglers or the surface.