The Maldives is a great place for saltwater fly-fishing. A wide selection of remote islands, shallow fish filled waters and guides to take you. None of this was for me, however, as my wife doesn't like me to leave her for hours on end. In this instance I guess it was forgivable as It was our honeymoon. And she was pregnant. But it is possible to combine a relaxing holiday with a bit of fishing. By day we would sit on our loungers and read but once it was dark and she was off to bed I would get my rod and fish from the beach outside our bungalow. That's her below, in her favourite place, parked on a lounger.
The Maldives are served by a number of airports. We flew to Ibrahim Nasir International on the island of Male. It's a small airport which is about 50 yards from the dock where you can catch a boat or sea-plane to your final destination. Have I mentioned that my wife doesn't like boats or the sea? Well, she doesn't like flying either, so a sea-plane which would combine at least two of her fears was out of the question. As was anything other than the shortest boat trip. So when we booked this holiday we went for the closest island to the airport, which was Kurumba. From picking up your bag you could be through customs, on the boat and landing on the island in about 30 minutes.
We stayed in a waterfront bungalow on the island of Kurumba (www.kurumba.com). It was about UDS 500 a night. Even the most robust wallet would feel violated. Once you were on the island you didn't need much. There was no point carrying money as you signed for everything. It felt like you were getting stuff for free. I imagine that's what my wife thinks when she uses my credit card.
The island is circled by a man-made breakwater which creates a shallow artificial lagoon. On the outside of the breakwater was a small reef and a drop-off. You could go out of the breakwater at any point and snorkel along the drop seeing eagle rays, turtles and black tip reef sharks. There is an abundance of marine life within the lagoon including the fishable trevally and numerous small black tips. I fished for the Trevally with a Clouser Minnow and a big black thing the name of which I do not know. As ever, I didn't take many flies. I tied a couple before I went off and stuck to those.
It turned out that you weren't supposed to fish inside the lagoon. I only realised at the end of the trip when I was flicking through one of the brochures at reception. I can see their point. Fishing covers a broad spectrum and I don't think anyone - fisherman or otherwise - would like to see beautiful reef sharks being hauled out of the water on a baited line in front of toddlers splashing in the shallows. The odd discreet cast after hours seemed to be acceptable and none of the staff who walked by seemed to care.
For the adventurous, there was a platform just round from the beach bar on the outside of the breakwater which you could swim to carrying your rod.
Off the tip of the island the lagoon had a floating platform. Beneath it was always a huge school of Trevally. The first night I only caught one small snapper, which was surprising considering the number of Jacks and mullet which were splashing about. The second night, and from then on, I caught a steady stream of Trevally by casting close to the platform. When the tide was in you had to wade pretty far out to reach it. I'm not normally concerned with sharks, especially not the comparatively friendly black-tips but as the holiday wore on the ones I saw in the lagoon seemed to get bigger and bigger. Of course, the chance of one biting you is next to nothing, but when you stand there fishing, up to your waist in water in the middle of the night, you can't help thinking that you might end up being that statistical anomaly which will be talked about for years. Which is why, I feel embarrassed to admit, I started fishing from the pier instead of standing in the water.