Cullan Ashby


Cullan was born in 1998 and raised in the small town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

With a father crazy about fishing and the mighty Zambezi River just a mere ten minute drive from his front doorstep, he found himself with a rod in hand before he can even remember. Spending his early years casting at anything that swims, Cullan was eventually introduced to fly fishing when he was about 8 years old, his first fish on fly being a Tigerfish on his home waters. He was quick to fall in love with the whole concept of fly fishing and the direction that the sport was heading in.

Cullan’s guiding career kicked off during his last few years of high school. He and his old man would spend the duration of the December holidays looking after family owned Tiger Fishing lodge, Shackleton’s on the Upper Zambezi River in Zambia - while his uncle took some time off. If he wasn’t out on the water guiding or fishing himself, he was in camp with his dad Brian, helping out with clients, boats and even around the bar in the evenings. It was during this period that Cullan got a taste of what the fishing industry had to offer.

After finishing school he took a gap year and went to the Seychelles early 2017. Having a mother who was born and grew up in the Seychelles meant he had a set plan on his movements for the duration of his stay and was not going in blind. Within a couple weeks Cullan was working on a catamaran that was running diving charters. He used the time to log as many hours on the water as possible and simultaneously managed to complete his captains license and various other seafarers courses.

At the time the Seychelles fly fishing industry had in some way or another exploded. Alphonse Fishing Company and the Outer Islands where the hot topic and already a large blip on Cullan’s radar. A couple months before he was due to head back home to Zimbabwe, Cullan took a shot in the dark and sent the team over at Alphonse an email, introducing himself and the situation he was in. An 18 year old kid that was already in the Seychelles, had a Seychelles passport (didn’t need any paperwork) and had completed all the necessary courses to drive boats and look after paying guests on the water. It was a no brainer. If they didn’t like him they could send him home at no extra headache or cost.

A handful of emails were exchanged, Cullan was given a shot and got thrown into what was arguably the best guide team in the world at the time. -“Guiding out in the Seychelles is not a joke. The fishing itself is the least of your worries - It is a long season away from family and friends and you have little to no communication with the outside world. You need to be a special breed of human to make it out here. The only thing that is due to keep you going is the strength of the team around you and that burning desire to be out on the water, on the flats, on the hunt for that next fish of a lifetime. It all boils down to how passionate you actually are, not how

passionate you think you are. This place will break the worlds best guides and anglers, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

Cullan initially had times where he questioned himself and thought he was way in over his head. Thankfully he was surrounded by of some of the industry’s most influential guides and leaders and under their supervision and care he quickly found his feet as a top guide. His gap one year turned into two and after finishing up a full 9 month season with Alphonse Fishing Company Cullan went back home to Zimbabwe with full intentions of making a career out of guiding and fly fishing.

Since then Cullan has been guiding in the Seychelles for over 6 years. His experience extends over almost all the outer atolls of which include Alphonse, Les Amirantes, Farquhar, Cosmoledo, Astove, Ile Platt and most recently he was appointed Head Guide of the Providence Atoll operation. In his time he has excelled at guiding for Indo-Pacific Permit having 4 of the existing 6 IGFA line class world records (6lb, 12lb, 16lb, 20lb) being landed by his clients over the last few years. Cullan has also spent 3 seasons on the Kola Peninsula in Russia guiding the famous Ponoi River for Atlantic Salmon, as well as a three month season guiding and fishing the waters of Slovenia for Marble Trout and Grayling last year.

Cullan is a passionate photographer and fly tier and when he’s not on the water guiding you’ll find him behind a camera, drone or on the vice, trying to figure out the next best thing to show that ‘tricky’ permit. -“Mako Reels are without a doubt the best on the market in my opinion, there is no argument. Confidence in you gear and terminal tackle plays such a vital role in what we do out here. Whether you are on the poling platform or with the rod in hand on the bow of the skiff having that confidence is going to make the difference. From the smooth, delicate drag needed to land that record permit on 6lb tippet to the one turn show stopping power required to stop that meter plenty GT in its tracks. Mako has it all covered. They are not hard to look at either!”