Located just over 700 km to the southwest of Mahé, Farquhar Atoll is the most southerly and remote atoll in the Seychelles. A large ear-shaped lagoon surrounded by 10 islands make up Farquhar’s unique formation. The landscape consists of vast white sand flats, coral fingers, and outcrops which make for diverse and generous fishing opportunities.
Farquhar atoll is a legendary location for fly fishermen – a bucket-list destination of almost mystical proportions. If you’ve seen footage on Blue Planet II of Giant Trevally (GT) eating sooty terns – Farquhar is where it happens. It is said that chances of catching the fish of a lifetime are higher on Farquhar than anywhere else in the world.
A 1hr45min flight from Mahé, visitors to Farquhar will arrive by charter plane. Farquhar offers some of the finest saltwater flyfishing on the planet and species that swim the flats include GT’s, moustache triggerfish, yellow margin triggerfish bonefish, bumphead parrotfish, and bluefin trevally. Farquhar is one of only two Seychelles islands where fly fishermen have the opportunity of targeting bumphead parrotfish on the flats. Known as one of the most powerful tailing fish, they can be seen swimming in great shoals, their big blue tails easy to spot in the water. Barracuda, Indo-Pacific permit, golden trevally, napoleon wrasse, bohar snapper and many more also swim around Farquhar. Amongst others, yellowfin tuna, milkfish, sailfish, wahoo, jobfish and dogtooth tuna, can be found in deeper waters, allowing for exciting offshore, blue water flyfishing.
In 2016, cyclone Fantala hit Farquhar Atoll, devastating its fragile ecosystem. Cyclone Fantala is the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in the Indian Ocean and it decimated over 90% of the island’s coconut trees, as well as almost all infrastructure on the island. Since then it, Farquhar island has been slowly recovering, and is once again a viable destination for flyfishing, which is conducted on a strict catch-and-release basis.
Conservation and sustainability are the soul of the Seychelles and the goal of all Seychelles islands – especially the fishing atolls – is to place as little pressure as possible on nature. Revenue from visitors enables ongoing research and recovery, so that future generations can also marvel at the beauty and magnitude of the marine and birdlife of the region. Island Conservation Society is the steward of this remarkable biome and has done much to ensure the longevity of Farquhar Atoll and the Outer Islands.
Fortunately for anglers, Farquhar’s fishing season starts earlier than the other southern atolls. Bird eating GTs are active as early September and the season continues until the end of April. Spanning 170.5km2, Farquhar’s diverse islands, channels, pancake flats, finger flats, coral reefs, and wrecks allow for an exclusive and entirely uncrowded fishing expedition.
Over and above the main attraction of fishing, Farquhar is also considered to be a
Important Bird Area.
It has a huge seasonal colony of about, 200,000-400,000 pairs of Sooty Tern, and roughly 10,000 pairs of Brown Noddy. Keen birdwatchers will also see Roseate Tern, Black-naped Tern, and Lesser Noddy. Goëlettes Island is a critical nesting habitat for seabirds and there is also a vast population of Red-footed Boobies. It’s also home to the white-tailed brown morph, which breeds nowhere else in Seychelles. Greater Crested Terns can be seen nesting and breeding at Banc Fantala. Napoleon Wrasse, Camouflage Grouper and Brown-marbled Grouper have also been spotted.
As far as marine life goes, Farquhar is also an important nesting site for turtles. Conservation and protection laws have ensured that numbers of green and Hawksbill turtles are increasing. Those who explore the sea may also see sharks, turtles, manta rays, stingrays, stonefish, and cone shells.
Farquhar is all about the outdoors, and accommodation is comfortable, unfussy, clean and more than sufficient. Bedrooms are fully air-conditioned and have 220 volt electricity and hot water. There are also outdoor showers. The communal area is a great place to gather and swap fishing tales, and has a comfortable dining area and a fully stocked bar. Accommodation is on a full-board basis and after working up an appetite on the waters, guests can look forward to Creole and international dishes that incorporate fresh fish, fruit and vegetables that are farmed on Alphonse Island.
The guest house has snorkelling gear that is available for guests to use at any time. Farquhar Lodge caters to only 10 anglers per week (on a sharing basis) which makes for the ultimate secluded, exclusive fly fishing experience.