A “Pink Sneaker” was the downfall of this fish hunting on the back of a ray. Originally black, the fish reverted to silver during the battle, apart from the lips.

Providence Atoll

“You never know what is going to happen on Providence.” This has been adopted as somewhat of a mantra by those who go. There are many famous names of atolls in the Seychelles, but Providence remains the largest, least explored and perhaps the most mysterious. The target – giant trevally, but not to the exclusion of other species. The atoll offers a cornucopia of fish species from huge bonefish, bumphead parrotfish, permit, milkfish to sailfish and everything in between.

At 345 km² it is a huge area to cover and offers every saltwater flats environment imaginable. As there are no discernible landmarks apart from Providence Island in the North and Cerf Island in the south, navigating and understanding how the tides effect areas is massively complex. There remain huge swathes of flats that have yet to be explored or that can only be accessed on specific tides.

White sand drainages on Providence Atoll, the perfect spot to intercept GTs as the tide drops out. 
A pod of milkfish feeding on the flats. 

I started fishing the Seychelles in 2001 and have made many pilgrimages to many atolls. I first travelled to Providence in 2016 and it captured my heart. I have been going there every year ever since. That was also the first year I started carrying a proper camera on the salt flats and surf rather than a waterproof point and shoot. It is a massively hostile environment for camera equipment and requires a little thought against submergence, but it’s hugely worth it.

Since then, my love of photography has grown exponentially, marked by the constant battle between rod and camera. These days the camera often wins. Trying to capture and document the essence of some of these experiences drives me. Fly fishing takes us to some of the most extraordinary places on the planet and the images we return with are a constant reminder. 

The bumpy is the only fish with built in bolt croppers. Keep your fingers away or lose them! 
Cerf Island on the southern tip of the atoll. Once a large semi-circle, it now has a convenient channel punched through the middle by Hurricane Fantala. 
A full quiver of weapons for a day on Providence. 12#, 11#, 9# and a spare 12# in case of breakage.  
Got Crabs? A few mini flexo crabs to fling at those pesky triggers and bumpies. 
Cruising the southern shoreline of Cerf Island on the way to the next spot. 
As the wave lifts you never can tell what “GT TV” will reveal. Here a shark cruises in with a black GT on its back with some bluefin trevally off to the right.
Double up, a GT and a bumpy from the same group of rays. 
Fishing the northern banks is one of the most spectacular areas of surfline fishing on the atoll. Seeing fish surf down the inside of waves over white sand is about as good as it gets. 
Hunting for bones over the apex on the pushing tide. 
The Banana Suit – a Providence forfeit for misdemeanors awarded.

My passion for giant trevally is no secret. Every year I learn something new about their behavior. They are an exceptional gamefish, stunningly aggressive and brutally powerful. Hunting them requires patience, along with an ability to move outside your normal fishing comfort zone and insert yourself into their environment.

I won’t fish for them in a blinkered manner though, if the tides or conditions are not right I am always happy to fish for whatever swims around the corner. Nowhere is this truer than on Providence, where a slow day so many times takes an exciting and totally un expected turn. Be on your toes… 

Leaning in, it’s important to use the whole blank when fighting a GT. Photo Credit Nic Isabelle 
Staking out the surfline awaiting GTs sliding in on the waves.
A metre of brutal aggression. This fish was herding baitfish along the shallow shoreline. Photo Credit Brenden Becker 
The southern point of Providence displays a fantastic drainage of open white sand allowing long range visibility. 
The prize, Peter cradles a 106cm GT that smashed a black and purple hollow fly Off the edge of the coral bommies at low tide. Photo Credit Wesley De Klerk 
Sunset onboard Mayas Dugong, time for a drink and tales of daring do.  
Evening vibes on Mayas Dugong, your home for the trip.

Contributed By

Peter McLeod

Peter McLeod is based in the cradle of Chalkstream fishing in Hampshire, UK, with the River Test flowing through his hometown. He has had a fly rod in his hand since he was seven years old and has dedicated his life to the pursuit of different species on the fly. He founded Aardvark McLeod at the beginning of 2005 and has been organizing the most adventurous and exciting fly fishing trips for over 20 years.

In that time has visited over 60 fishing destinations in 20 different countries. His fascination with trevally species borders on the obsessive and culminated with him writing “GT – A Flyfishers Guide to Giant Trevally”. Along the way he developed a love of fly fishing photography that went hand in hand with the destinations he visited. Peter’s Instagram is @mcleod36 for more images and if you are looking for tips and tricks on tactics, gear and international destinations then check out his YouTube channel @aardvarkmcleodflyfishing.  

Aardvark McLeod is Europe’s premier fly fishing tour operator covering every spot on the planet that is worth travelling to cast a fly. The company prides itself on technical knowledge and customer service, for more check out  


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