Check out the insane milkfish action in this trailer for Jako Lucas’ film Chanos Chanos (available now on his Vimeo) and be sure to read Jako’s advice on catching the most difficult fish to target on the fly:
One of the main reasons why Milkfish, also known as Chanos Chanos, have become so popular is because of their strength. Part of their strength comes from the fact that their muscles, amazingly, do not build up any lactic acids. Consequently, this means that you have a fish that is shaped like a bullet, with a massive tail and it simply does not get tired! I have had clients hook Milkfish, barely 20 lbs, that took them over 2 hours to land. This is obviously not every fish, but you do get a devilfish every so often.
There are very few fish that we catch in the Seychelles that jump, however; we do see the Milkfish as the “Tarpon of the Seychelles”. Once hooked, you can get fish that would jump more the 6ft out of the water and up to 15 times. This is the ‘dreadful and stressful’ time of the fight, as they can easily wrap the line around their tail and snap you off. What is also truly incredible is the diversity of acrobatic style each fish has, some flip, some twist or some just launch themselves out of the water, making each jump a new experience for the angler.
Milkfish have become one of the most sought-after game fish on the planet, not only because of their fighting ability but also because of the challenge of catching them. So many anglers come all the way to the Seychelles just to target these fish, and sadly most of the time they go home with nothing but pulled hooks and snapped leaders with no fish in the net. This is why every Milkfish landed is a memorable and celebrated occasion!
4Fly Choice and Technique
The guides out in the Seychelles have pioneered fly-fishing for Milkfish, but this has also come with a lot of trial and error. This means that you simply can’t just go out there to catch and land a “Milky”. You need to have the right fly, in the right part of the water column, in exactly the right spot and stay connected to the fly to feel the slightest take. Remember to set the hook. You could, of course, have done all of it perfectly, only to lose the battle… be prepared to fight!
5Conditions and Feeding
Like I said before, there is still so much we need to learn about these fish. It is, however very important to find these fish in the right mood and situation. You can find a group of fish and cast at them a thousand times and not hook one, and then you can cast at another group and get an eat on the first cast. Milkfish do not only feed on plankton but also on Copepods and have even been found feeding on a worm hatch in other places in the world. That is why you have to make sure you have the right conditions and know what they are feeding on.