Deep Sea Trolling – Anse Volbert – Praslin, Seychelles
Boat tours have become one of our favorite activities on this trip. Snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, remote islands, hidden lagoons, cliff jumping, beach BBQs – all of these awesome things have happened on boat tours. When we came to the Seychelles, we knew that we had to get out on the water. We signed up for an island hopping snorkeling boat tour, but then we realized we’ve “been there, done that” quite a few times now. Jaded? Maybe a little. So we switched it up and decided to go out for a morning of deep sea fishing!
We met with the captain the day before and were given two boat options – a small boat or a big boat. The big boat was double the cost of the small boat, which was already expensive. The captain explained that the small boat moves a lot, but he prefers it, and it’s actually not small, it’s 20 feet. There was no guarantee, but we had the potential to catch some dorado, bonito, tuna, or if we were really lucky, sailfish. Sold! We would be picked up from the beach that we’re staying on at 7am.
As we waited on the beach, a tiny boat meandered over to us from afar. A 20 foot boat sounds a lot bigger than it is. Remembering what the waves were like on the ferry ride out here, we began to get a little nervous. Ronnie, our captain for the morning, explained to us how trolling worked. Lines would be set off the back of the boat, we would be constantly moving, and it would be choppy. His last two trips out, one with a French couple and one with a Chinese couple, both ended quickly – they all got sick from the waves. We promised we’d do better. We headed out into the ocean, crashing over the waves. We’re pretty sure our butts were off the seats at a few points. Christine held on for dear life, while Kevin fought off seasickness. When we slowed down to put the lines in the water, Christine asked if anyone had ever fallen off the boat. “All the time,” Ronnie replied. Then she asked if there were sharks out here. “Why yes…” – and then Ronnie started to list all of them out.
We set up three fishing rods with lines in the water. Then we tied two ropes to the boat, added lures and threw them in. Once the lines were down, we took off again. Christine kept an eye on some islands in the distance, trying to figure out which one would be easier to swim to when she fell out. Our strategy for fishing was to follow the birds. The birds eat the little fish, the big fish eat the little fish, and we eat the big fish – the circle of life. It didn’t take long for us to snag our first catch! Ronnie showed us how to bring a fish in. He pulled the rope out of the water with ease. As the fish neared the surface, we realized it was pretty big and got excited! These weren’t the little trout we see back home! Ronnie pulled the fish into the boat, then…WACK!
Ronnie clubbed the fish in the head with a big old wooden club. Twice! Then he laid the dead fish in the boat and splashed it with a bucket of water to wash the blood splatter away. Christine was slightly horrified. Kevin was laughing. This was barbaric, but it’s not like we had a nice, big fish tank for it to swim around in while we hunted it’s friends. When Ronnie pulled the next one up, Christine knew what to expect, so she turned around. And that was how our fishing trip officially got under way.
We traveled about five miles out into the ocean, continuing to chase the birds in order to find the fish. The excitement started when we’d hear the line go out as a fish took the lure. We’d slow the boat and rush to the back, tripping over each other, trying to balance and not fall off while ducking under rods, as the boat continued to move over waves. It was a bit chaotic when the fish were coming in two at a time. Kevin would get the rod while Christine would pull up the ropes. Christine would get her fish in, then have to get out of the way quickly so Kevin could bring his in. Then there was Ronnie, ready to pull a fish out of the water and introduce it to the club. As the morning went on, a pile of fish accumulated in the boat.
After a few hours of this, we were accustomed to the waves and the nerves were replaced by excitement. We were soaked by some waves that the boat didn’t take too well, but we didn’t care, we were having fun. The highlight of the day was catching a yellowfin tuna. When Kevin was reeling it in, he said it felt like trying to pull in a whale. In the end, we caught two yellowfin tuna weighing about 15 pounds each, and nine bonitos weighing about 6 pounds each. Every catch was just as exciting as the first one.
We eventually had to call it a morning and head back in. We hauled our catch onto the beach to take some pictures. Then Ronnie asked us what we wanted to take home. Yellowfin tuna? Of course! He whipped a giant knife out right there, cut a massive fillet down the side of the fish, and handed it to Kevin. Bonito? Of course! He grabbed a whole one by the tail and handed it over.
We finished cleaning the tuna and had it for dinner last night, with leftovers to spare. It was as fresh as could be, and was amazing. We weren’t sure what to do with the bonito, so we thought we’d ask Periscope to help us clean it. For anyone that tuned in, well, you know how that went. Not wanting the fish to die in vain, we ended up cooking it and feeding it to a cat that randomly showed up meowing on our back porch during the middle of the cleaning session.
After we leave each country, Kevin’s dad always asks, “How was the fishing?” We could never answer, until now. In the Seychelles, it’s fantastic!