The Indian Ocean Chronicles: Day III

Got Flies?... enough patterns to start a (saltwater) fly shop.

Milton Was Right

Barjack the Angler
Purgatory Flat
Indian Ocean
February 27, 2011


…Paradise is lost. So here I am on this Atoll and 3/5th’s of it is off limits to fishing, and we can’t fish Oceanside from shore, and 1/6th of the area we can fish is muddy, so no sight-fishing. I hope to scan this map they gave me so you can see just how restricted we are from the shore. From a boat it’s entirely different. As far as I can tell, in a boat there are no seasons, slot limits, or rules of any kind. Luckily you can’t own a cast-net here, else this place would be be completely decimated. The Filipinos here are so opposed to catch-and-release that when they catch a fishthat they can’t find a way to eat—like a bonefish—they’ll use it for cut bait instead of letting it go!

Today I took the bus to the end of the line and bushwhacked my way to the water only to find more muddy water and an endless journey. Luckily there aren’t snakes here, or else I would be dead. I low-crawled through the thickest jungle I’ve ever seen, and have a blood blister, ripped pants, and sun burn to prove it.

Lesson 1: take water; my camel-back doesn’t hold enough, two hours into the day I knew I had to limit myself. As soon as I started to stop sweating I would take a few small sips and start sweating again.

I must remember to get online to cure that problem with some interactive shopping; then I’ll just have to wait three weeks for delivery. Being on one of the most isolated places on the earth is great for a fisherman who loves untapped fishing, but the reality of your distance from ‘civilization’ comes roaring home whenever you need anything—like a new camel-pack, fresh tippet, or a moderately fast internet connection.

After four hours of walking I just wanted to catch a fish! I did see a few bones and permit, but this place may be the death of me: If you have a crab fly the bones won’t touch it, if you have any other fly on the permit won’t touch it. Of course I saw each species with the wrong fly on, and alternately changed flies and cursed my luck.

Ended up at the sand bar catching small bones. I don’t care what anyone say’s bone are leader shy; the more I changed flies the shorter and thicker my leader got and the fish would follow and turn off. This was opposed to when I had 13-lb test and they would smash it without reservation.

Lesson 2: Bring tippet.

Still Changing Flies,

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  • Vince

    Tell Barjack that Vince can ship him some SWC gear if he needs it. I know it will take a while but if we can help let us know.

  • Reply

    That’s what I love about these stories, the sense that, even in the best of places, things aren’t too easy… what fun would that be?

  • Reply

    Sounds like a real challenge… but challenge is good. It keeps up alive.

  • Reply

    I know that last comment about bones being leader-shy was pointed at me. In my defense, I never said “pacific” bones weren’t, just normal bones. Anyways, empirical evidence is always tempered by the observer, and we each trust our own eyes.

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