Ascension Island is the first place I have looked at in any great detail since Flywater Exposed was launched last September. As I mentioned earlier, I will not be doing any more in depth reports on possible locations for Flywater Exposed after this until I have narrowed down the possible locations significantly. I realised quickly that I could spend a lifetime going through everywhere on earth that looked interesting, and never end up fishing or photographing any of them. Since I have already gathered a lot of information on Ascension, I thought it might be a good idea to report some of my findings for a couple of reasons. Firstly it will give you, the reader, an idea of what to expect later when I do start reporting on other areas of interest. Second, I am hoping you might notice something important that I have overlooked. As always, please feel free to comment. I will most likely work out a set format and key points to address for all future in depth reports
I will refrain from going into too much detail about the island itself as plenty of information can be seen at the Ascension Island Government's official site or the Ascension Island page on Wikipedia if you are interested. I will focus Part 1 of this report on the fly fishing, and in Part 2 I will look at the photographic opportunities Ascension may offer.
Location & Access
Ascension Island lies approximately half way between the horn of South America and Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean's equatorial waters (see map here). As such, this volcanic island is extremely isolated. It is part of the British Overseas Territory, and in the past has mostly been difficult to get to unless one was working there. In recent years, it seems it is a little easier to get there. You can even find cost and organise booking flights here.
The first thing a search on fishing Ascension Island will show is that it is a place that is most noted for it's big game fishing potential. From what I have read, it is a paradise for those in search of big tuna, marlin, and sharks offshore. This offshore fishing is already established, so heading for Ascension to fish offshore in a game boat would defeat the purpose of Flywater Exposed. I would not rule out going offshore with a local, but I do not want it to be a chartered trip on a game boat. As I am intent on finding relatively unexplored waters, I am most interested in the land based and inshore fishing at Ascension. Apart from the black jack, there is not much information on the inshore fishing. There is mention of a few other species, but information is hard to come by. A sure sign that this area has not been explored to it's full potential. One of the few other species I have heard about is the blackfish, which appears to be a species of trigger fish. They seem to be in large numbers, even right in the most populated area of ascension. Check out this video of them following this swimmer from the jetty to the shore - there seems to be a lot of them and they look to be fairly big.
I did read somewhere of someone snorkelling not far off a beach and seeing big yellowfin tuna. I also found this post from a kayak fisherman catching the big yellowfin. As there is deep water in close and probably a fair amount of unfished shoreline, I have a feeling there are probably some rock platforms that might offer the opportunity to cast at large pelagics from the shore. This footage of someone hooked up to a yellowfin on fly off Ascension makes me wonder how much hope there is of landing a big yellowfin on fly off the rocks though. Watching the other fish being hooked and landed on the bamboo pole right next to the fly fisher is pretty interesting too!
Fishing the beaches, I am assuming that there would have to be other worthwhile targets other than black jack and blackfish. This definitely warrants further investigation, and I think it may be best to contact people that have spent a lot of time on the island, and possibly marine biologists and researchers to get a good sense of what fish species are available. If Ascension ends up as one of the higher rated areas on my list for the Atlantic region, then I will spend the time to find out more.
I will leave you with this blog post that I stumbled across in my search for information on Ascension's shore based options. It is about bait fishing, but gives a bit of an idea of what is available, and what the place looks like. The person who wrote the post mentioned catching 13 different species on his trip, and I am sure there are many more on offer, especially if one is willing to walk in to more remote parts of the island.