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ISSUE #13 | Q1 2021

SWEDEN MULTI-SPECIES ON THE FLY

PORTUGAL SHORE FISHING IN MADEIRA

COLOMBIA

THE VAMPIRES OF THE ORINOCO

SCOTLAND CHASING SCOTTISH SILVER

+ NEW TACKLE, LATEST IGFA RECORDS, SEEN ON THE WEB & MORE...


CONTENTS

ISSUE#13 Q1 2021

6 Editorial

50 Sweden

8 IGFA

78 What’s new

Supporting our local shops

Latest records and news

12 Portugal

Shore fishing in Madeira

28 Scotland

Chasing Scottish silver

Multi-species on the fly

Our selection of the latest tackle

82 Colombia

The vampires of the Orinoco

112 Seen on the web

Our selection of recent fishing footage


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8

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82

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WHERE ARE WE TAKI

COLOMBIA

PORTUGAL


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

SCOTLAND

SWEDEN


EDITORIAL Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

Supporting our local shops Despite the recent vaccination campaigns across the world, the Covid-19 pandemic is still causing lots of trouble and damage to many businesses. They need our support now more than ever before. As fishermen, it is our duty to help local fishing shops as much as we can. Even the smallest purchase counts, as the line between surviving and bankruptcy is thin. Beyond helping them paying their rent and keeping their shops alive, it is truly heart-warming for business owners to meet new customers who care for them. So instead of buying tackle online directly from big corporations, let’s take a bit of our time to drive to the local fishing shop and support the owner by purchasing a few products and having a friendly conversation. They will greatly appreciate the kind gesture.

Dylan Smith COVER SHOT: A trophy payara, from Matt Harris’ article on Colombia, p.82


SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES T H E

W O R L D ' S

B E S T

F I S H I N G

D E S T I N A T I O N S

Editor in chief Dylan SMITH

Contributors Daniel Klemm Samantha Datta Rudy Van Duijnhoven Matt Harris Wesley White

Special thanks IGFA Iskander Mermet Sportfishing Adventures magazine, published quarterly, is independently owned and operated by DMS Editions. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. No part of this magazine can be reproduced without prior permission. For inquiries, contact the editor: editor@sportfishing-adventures.com


IGFA NEW RECORDS

IGFA

NEW RECORDS Keel’s Dolphinfish Armistead’s Rainbow Trout Olive Armistead, age 11, recently landed this impressive 8.61-kilogram (18-pound, 15-ounce) rainbow trout to set both the IGFA Women’s 3-kg (6lb) Line Class and Female Junior World Records for the species. Olive was fishing the Ohau River in Twizel, New Zealand, when this record rainbow ate the lure she was casting. An experienced angler, Olive made quick work of the fish and was able to net it after a quick five-minute fight. After the proper information was recorded and photos taken, and the fish was safely released back into the river.

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Hunter James Keel, age 12, landed this enormous dolphinfish on August 31, 2020, to set the new IGFA Male Junior Record for the species. Keel’s fish weighed in at an impressive 29.48 kilograms (65 pounds) and was caught while fishing Washington Canyon off the coast of Maryland. The fish ate a trolled ballyhoo and was landed after a 17-minute fight, breaking the previous record by nearly four pounds.


NEW RECORDS IGFA

Weston’s Alligator Gar Arthur Weston, who already holds several Line Class records for alligator gar, recently added another one to his list. While fishing the Trinity River, Texas, Weston landed this 17.24-kilogram (38-pound) alligator gar to set the IGFA Men’s 1-kg (2-lb) Line Class World Record for the species. Fishing with IGFA Captain Kirk Kirkland aboard his infamous Garship Enterprise, Arthur was able to land the record gar after a tense 30-minute battle. Congratulations Arthur and Capt. Kirk on an impressive feat on light tackle!

McCormack’s Smallmouth Bass On October 22, 2020, Spencer Alan McCormack caught this impressive 2.86-kilgram (6-pound, 5-ounce) smallmouth bass to set the IGFA Men’s 6-kg (12-lb) Tippet Class World Record. McCormack caught and released the record smallie while fishing on Larks Lake, Michigan, after it took the minnow-pattern fly he was casting.

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IGFA LATEST NEWS

IGFA LATEST NEWS

Team Saranita Wins the 2021 IGFA Light Tackle Open

The IGMR has three primary goals: increase understanding of the distribution and behavior of billfish species in relation to their environment in order to better inform fishery-management entities; increase participation of recreational billfish anglers worldwide in electronic tagging science; and to provide free, open-access billfish tag data to scientists throughout the world for their research.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recently hosted the second annual IGFA Light Tackle Open, which took place on February 10-11, 2021, out of Sailfish Marina Resort in Palm Beach Shores, Florida. A total of 14 boats participated in this year’s event, up from the nine boats that fished the tournament in 2020. Despite the relatively slow fishing conditions, due to the summer-like conditions in February, the tournament fleet successfully released a total of 18 sailfish during the two days of fishing.

Read more

Read more

Tracking Billfish Around The World

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021


LATEST NEWS IGFA

Hearing in the Underwater World Scientists have learned a lot about sound under water and how fish species respond to it. We anglers tend to interpret animal behavior from our own point of view and sensory abilities. Though our vision pales in comparison to birds and some animals, we rely on sight for nearly all our activities.

More info

A Bipartisan Win for Gulf Reef Fish Conservation The DESCEND Act now requires the use of descending devices or venting tools while fishing for reef fish in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and includes both recreational and commercial hook and line fisheries.

Read more

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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TRAVEL PORTUGAL

PORTUGAL

SHORE FISHING IN MADEIRA Text and photos by Daniel Klemm

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PORTUGAL TRAVEL

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A nice bluefish from the rocks for the author.

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ur trip to Australia was canceled, thanks to the Coronavirus! Fortunately, there are also interesting places in Europe, which promise good success. Well, it was not really Europe, but an island in the middle of the Atlantic - Madeira. When you think of Madeira in terms of fishing, what comes to your mind first? Of course, big game fishing for marlin and 14

tuna. Quite rightly, because off Madeira world record size fish are caught every year. But in the last years also the light tackle fishing for bluefish, grouper and pargo has become popular. Wild North Coast The only problem here is that there is only one charter company that offers light tackle fishing seriously. Accordingly, it is difficult (and expensive) SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

The only problem is the surf, which can be very rough on this side of the island.


PORTUGAL TRAVEL

to get a spot on that boat. Well, what to do? Fish from the shore! After a short research it was clear that the north coast promises much better success. The only problem is the surf, which can be very rough on this side of the island. This is especially problematic because the shore consists mainly of cliffs and only a few places can be reached.

These are then often so exposed that they are very dangerous to fish in high swells. Due to the wind that blows (quite) constantly from the north in summer, high wave sets build up here that often make fishing impossible for several days. On the south coast, however, fishing is practically always possible but due to the lack of current and extensive local fishing, however, only with very mo-

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

derate chances of success. After our arrival in Porto Moniz, the north coast immediately showed its worst side: wind with 5 Beaufort and high waves made me postpone the obligatory first casts after arrival. But the scenery compensated for this. The natural pools, which are the tourist magnet of the region, adjoined by the rugged cliffs and Ilha Moheu, looked simply magical. We ended the

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Not only does Madeira have a beautiful coast, the island is also stunning. With its ever-changing landscapes as you climb in altitude, it is worth devoting a few days to some hiking.

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PORTUGAL TRAVEL

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evening with a typical dinner (black scabbardfish with banana). Tough Game

Yes, in the 12 days on the island I didn’t see one angler casting lures.

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The following days the weather showed its best side. Light breeze and 25 degrees, ideal conditions. But the fishing for bluefish was not that ideal. There were, except for very few mullets, no baitfish to see. The bluefish were accordingly difficult to locate. Topwater, softbait, spoons - nothing seemed to interest the fish. No followers, either on the gravel

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beach or along the cliffs, - just nothing. Well, «nothing» is a lie, the lizardfish were really everywhere. After two days, the frustration level was already in the red zone, when I watched a couple of Portuguese people fishing with bread after a dinner in Seixal. With bread? Yes, in the 12 days on the island I didn’t see one angler casting lures. All the locals were fishing with bread or a sardine paste. The catch was rarely longer than 20 cm and consisted of mullet and wrasse. But back to the spot


PORTUGAL TRAVEL

The streams of Madeira hold a decent population of rainbow trout. Worth having a rod in the backpack! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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TRAVEL PORTUGAL

A beautiful specimen of a female pink dentex (dentex gibbosus). It’s a prized gamefish for anglers and spearfishermen of the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

The surubi catfish not only have amazing patterns, they also put on a great fight! 20

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021


PORTUGAL TRAVEL

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The rocky shore of the Northern Coast.

in Seixal - after a few minutes and mullet number 5 I decided to make a few attempts on the top of the cliff as well. Including a new tactic: let the softbiat sink into the midwater and slowly crank it in. Not really expecting success, I was even more surprised when the rod was suddenly bent. Hooking was one thing, but landing on a cliff is another matter. With a 22

lot of luck (twice the fish dived directly along the shell covered cliff) and some climbing I could land my first Madeiran bluefish. The long road to the dream spot Now the spell was finally broken. In the following days I could catch some medium sized bluefish. All with SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

the same method, the whole hardbait armada I had taken apparently in vain. The places around Porto Moniz and Seixal were the only ones, which were mentioned more often when you search the internet for interesting spots. But the north coast is long and during the hikes along the steep coast you constantly saw places where you thought: «There


PORTUGAL TRAVEL

must be fish here!» The problem was the accessibility of these, because climbing down the cliff is only possible in a few places and very tedious. But you have to take a risk if you want to hook bigger fish. One of the supposed hot spots I selected and went on the arduous descent. About 90 minutes later and slightly damaged, I was finally at the water. But the effort was quickly forgotten. As so often with little fished places the hits followed within the first throws. First, some small groupers (and lizard-

fish, of course...) grabbed the softbait. After a switch to topwater, the target fish of the vacation bit: a bluefish over 5 kilograms grabbed the Seaspin Pro Q. After a few more smaller fish, the climb followed - two hours at 30 degrees. Afterwards the efforts were rewarded with two bottles of the island’s own passion fruit lemonade «Brisa».

I attributed the lack of success here to the high number of spearfishermen.

The last of its kind For the last day at the north coast I picked the spot in

Bluefish are often very receptive to lures, and this one wasn’t an exception! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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The volcanic activity of the island has shaped some mesmerizing natural swimming pools, which attract lots of tourists each year.

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TRAVEL PORTUGAL

The smile says it all! Massive male dentex on the jig.

Porto Moniz, which is often mentioned in the internet. I attributed the lack of success here to the high number of spearfishermen. Because they were everyhere in Madeira, I assumed that many fish have a diffcult life here. Especially the number of amberjack and grouper, the main prey of the Spearos, has suffered a lot in the last years according to the locals. So without much expectation I jigged the Fiiish Black 26

Minnow for what felt like the 100th time past the rock edge when an impact drove through the rod like a thunderclap. The first run tore 30 meters of line from the reel and the rod was bent to the hand part. After further anxious minutes and a hard fight including a difficult landing the fish was in m hands: a Dusky Grouper of over 10 kilograms. Of course I reSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

On my trip with another angler I was able to catch some trophy sized dentex on slow jigs.


PORTUGAL TRAVEL

leased this magnificent fish, under the eyes of the disbelieving loclas. Maybe he has further luck and does not get into the focus of the spearfishermen. Looking for a change? Besides the great inshore fishing on the north coast, Madeira has a lot to offer anglers even in bad weather. The levadas that are all over the island are home to a self-replicating population of rainbow trout, which make up for their lack of size with their beautiful markings. If you prefer to try for bigger fish, book a trip with

Madeira Sight Cast Fishing. The captain was a professional fisherman and knows all the good spots for amberjack and pargo. On my trip with another angler I was able to catch some trophy sized Dentex Gibbosus on slow jigs. If you are lucky (perfect weather) you can try your jigging skills at the Islas Desertas. Here amberjack in world record sizes roamd the waters, the boat’s record is 80 kilograms!

MORE ABOUT THEAUTHOR

The Flower Island really has a lot to offer for the advid fisherman, especially for a destination that can be reached after just under a 3 hour flight. «Adeus por agora Madeira»

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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TRAVEL SCOTLAND

SCOTLAND

CHASING SCOTTISH SILVER Text and photos by Samantha Datta

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SCOTLAND TRAVEL

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TRAVEL SCOTLAND

A fresh river Tay salmon.

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or many anglers that fish for Atlantic Salmon, Scotland is the Holy grail when it comes to salmon fishing destinations. Scotland has an abundance of rivers from which these magnificent fish can be caught. When you combine this with the beautiful, rugged scenery and rich salmon fishing history it’s easy to see why Scotland is such a firm fa30

vourite among the salmon fishing fraternity. Many anglers that come to salmon fish in Scotland have one goal at the forefront of their minds. That is to catch a spring salmon on the fly. Spring salmon fishing in Scotland especially early in the season is not for the fainthearted. The weather can be inhospitable and there is often not an abundance of fish in many of the rivers but the SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

The start of the salmon fishing season in Scotland varies depending on the individual river.


SCOTLAND TRAVEL

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SCOTLAND TRAVEL

Downstream view from the cottage on the River Dee.

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fish that are there are usually large and extremely powerful. This is what makes catching a spring salmon on the fly the ultimate achievement in our sport. The start of the salmon fishing season in Scotland varies depending on the individual river. Some rivers like the mighty River Tay, Thurso and Helmsdale open in mid-January. Even though fishing at this time of year is classified as spring fish in reality your fishing in the depths of winter. As we move into February many more salmon rivers

open including the Dee, Spey and Tweed amongst others. Traditionally the spring season runs from January or February (depending on the river) through until the end of May. As you enter March as each week goes by, more and more fish enter Scotland’s salmon rivers and usually April and May are the prime spring months on most rivers. So, what are the secrets behind hooking and landing one of these magnificent creatures? Many anglers believe there is a magic formula when it comes to catching Scottish spring salmon. This

Splashing action for this client. 34

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

A fresh spring salmon (a fish which has been in the river for no longer than 48 hours) is naturally quite aggressive and inquisitive.


SCOTLAND TRAVEL

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TRAVEL SCOTLAND

Beautiful closeup shot of a fresh river Tweed salmon.

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Peace, tranquillity and relaxation come as standard on a Scottish salmon fishing holiday!

is of course not the case. In fact, spring salmon are actually quite easy to catch. A fresh spring salmon (a fish which has been in the river for no longer than 48 hours) is naturally quite aggressive and inquisitive. This is one of the characteristics, which make them such good takers of the fly. However, because these fish are fewer in number than their summer or autumn counterparts they can 38

be very difficult to find. Usually during the early part of the season water levels can be quite high and so this can make finding the fish even more difficult. Often it is about covering as much water as possible and fishing at the adequate depth. These two factors can be vital when it comes to being successful in the quest of chasing a Scottish spring salmon. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

When the water is cold fish tend to lie close to the riverbed.


SCOTLAND TRAVEL

As we have already mentioned locating the fish is more than half the battle. Once the fish is located then there is a good chance it will take a fly, especially if has only just entered the river. Therefore, as anglers, it is so important to try and cover as much ground as possible. Usually, there is no point in fishing one pool for hours. Instead, it is better to fish four or five pools through the course of a day. This ensures that you have covered the water and increases the likelihood of locating a fish. Another important factor is to consider is the depth and

speed at which your fly is moving through the water. Usually, during the spring months, water temperatures are low. This is mainly because of the reduced hours of daylight and melting snow. When the water is cold fish tend to lie close to the riverbed. So, it is imperative that your fly is fishing at an adequate depth and close to the bottom. It is very unlikely when the water is cold that a salmon will come up to the surface to take a fly. Getting your fly to fish at the adequate depth can be achieved

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

by either using a weighted tube fly or using an intermediate or sinking fly line and sometimes a combination of both. However, it is not only depth which bis important. The speed at which your fly is moving through the water can also be critical. During the early part of the season, salmon are not keen on moving quickly or long distances to chase a fly. So often it is about getting your fly to swing around in the current at a slow steady speed. This not only means that the fish

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TRAVEL SCOTLAND

Spring showing up slowly on the famous river Tweed.

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SCOTLAND TRAVEL

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don’t have to travel quickly to intercept the fly but also, they have adequate time to see it. The speed at which your fly swings around in the current can be easily varied by mending the fly line or changing the angle of your cast. When it comes to salmon flies, each angler has their own favourites. However, it is important not to be too subtle when it comes to fly selection. Usually, during the spring months, water levels are high and water temperatures are low making a weighted tube fly often perfect for the job. The heavier tube fly will sink better and fish closer to the river bed

where the fish are most likely to be. Also, when you chose the fly pattern it is important to be bold. So, using colours that show up well in the water can be important. If your fly is highly visible in the water it is more likely to catch the attention of a spring salmon. Another factor that effects fly visibility is of course the fly size. It is always better to be a size too big then a size too small. The larger the fly the more likely the fish are to see it. As we already mentioned the fresh springer is by nature quite aggressive and so will usually not be put off by a slightly larger fly. It is better that the fish see the fly than not see it all.

One last effort and this river Tweed salmon will be in the net! 42

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Scottish spring salmon are often very large and have unparalleled power which tests the angler and their tackle in equal measure.


SCOTLAND TRAVEL

A beautiful Scottish male about to be released.

Finally, we come to tackle. This of course includes the all-important fly rod and reel. Scottish spring salmon are often very large and have unparalleled power which tests the angler and their tackle in equal measure. If you’re lucky enough to hook a spring salmon you want to make sure that you have every chance of landing the fish. Of course, as we all know

there is no exact science to landing salmon and many are lost during a long and hard fight often due to no fault of the angler. However, there are a few things as an angler you can do to ensure that the odds are tilted in your favour. Firstly you want to make sure that you have a powerful double-handed fly rod. This ensures that once battSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

le ensues you are in control of the fish and not the other way around. Having a strong powerful rod can allow better control of the fish and can stop it from maybe running into the next pool or down some rapids which can often lead to a very unhappy ending. The fly reel is also very important. As we have already 43


TRAVEL SCOTLAND

This is where these amazing creatures get all their power from!

mentioned the Scottish springer can be extremely powerful and once hooked it’s important to be able to be in control of the fish as soon as possible. It is therefore good to have a reel with an adequate and reliable drag system which will help tire the fish during the fight. The backing capacity of the reel is also important. Often early during the fight, salmon can make enormous powerful 44

runs downstream and if your reel does not hold adequate amounts of backing then the result is unthinkable. When it comes to terminal tackle, it is good to use nylon with a decent breaking strain. At this time of year usually, the water is quite high so there is no need to use lighter nylon. It is good to opt for breaking strain around fifteen to eighteen pounds. This will SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Chasing Scottish silver is a truly special experience and, in many ways, the ultimate challenge in our sport.


SCOTLAND TRAVEL

not only ensure that there is less chance of losing a fish especially if it gets tangled in debris during the fight but it will also help to cast heavier tube flies. So, as you can see there is no real secret when it comes to catching that elusive Scottish spring salmon. It’s more about doing the simple things well. Locating a fresh spring salmon is more than half the battle as usually they are such good takers and this is done by covering as much water as possible. Once located, if you use a fly which is fishing at an adequate depth and speed and highly visible

there is a good chance that your fly line will tighten before all hell breaks loose! If you use tackle that is up to the job when it comes to a powerful rod and a good reliable reel then there is a greater likelihood of landing the fish. Chasing Scottish silver is a truly special experience and, in many ways, the ultimate challenge in our sport. It is like a drug which is why anglers return to Scotland year after year for their hit. If you are successful in your quest it will be a salmon fishing experience that will live with you forever

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MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR Samantha Datta is a very keen salmon fisher, angling writer and also Director of Salmon Fishing Holidays Scotland. For more information about salmon fishing in Scotland please visit: www.salmonfishingholidaysscotland.com

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CONSERVATION CCA CALIFORNIA

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLYMEMBER JIM WOOD INTRODUCES AB 817 TO ESTABLISH A 365-DAY STATE FISHING LICENSE AND CREATE A MOBILE APP TO MAKE FISHING EASIER AND MORE ACCESSIBLE

F

ebruary 16th, 2021: California Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) has introduced legislation that would transition California’s calendar-based fishing license to one that’s valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. The bill would also include a mobile phone app designed to make fishing easier and more accessible for more people. “It’s time for California to 46

abandon its antiquated fishing license sales system,” Wood said. “Modernizing this to a full 365-day license from the date of purchase will encourage more Californians to fish and increase fishing license revenues that fund critical state fishing and conservation programs.”

the state’s population has increased over 60 percent since that time, Wood said. ‘In 2020, California fishing license sales spiked upward due to increased participation in angling activities brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the long-term trend is still downward.”

“Prior to 2020, annual license sales had experienced a decline starting in 1980 to the tune of 55 percent, while

In fact, while California has a population of more than 39.8 million people, one of the country’s longest coast-

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CCA CALIFORNIA CONSERVATION

lines, more than 3,000 lakes and thousands of rivers and streams, it has the lowest fishing participation rate per capita in the country. A leading contributor to declining fishing participation rates is costly fishing licenses that are not valid for a full 365 days from the date of purchase. “Past bipartisan support underscores the recognition by members of the State Legislature that California’s outdated sport fishing license system does not properly serve anglers in the Golden State,” said Wayne Kotow, Executive Director of CCA CAL. “Providing anglers access to a fishing license that

provides greater value and technology that makes fishing more accessible is long overdue.” “This bill also complements the current California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) R3 program,” Kotow added. “R3 stands for Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation of California anglers , and what better way to achieve these goals than to boost the value of a license purchased by an angler? It’s kind of a no-brainer.” This is not the first attempt to pass such a bill in California. Just last year, Assembly Bill 1387, also proposed by

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Wood to establish a 365-day license, was taken off the docket in the fall legislative session due to COVID-19. Similar bills in years past also failed to pass, despite the fact that 14 other states have now transitioned to a 365-day license. According to Rob Southwick and Associates, a national marketing and economics firm which analyses fishing license sales throughout the country, their analysis suggests that states that offer a 365-day license are outperforming revenue of states that only offer a calendar-based license. The proposed bill would also

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CONSERVATION CCA CALIFORNIA

require the CDFW to create an app by which anglers can display sport fishing and hunting licenses on mobile devices. Several other states offer mobile phone apps that provide anglers information on fishing locations, regulations, fish stocking schedules, campground reservations and more. The bill would also allow anglers to sign up for automatic license renewals. Under the bill’s language, there will be no increase in the fee charged for the 365day license versus a calendar license, and if passed, the 365-day license would go into effect on January 1, 2022. California’s sport fishing license remains among the costliest in the country, se-

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cond only to the State of Washington. Since 1986, the price of California’s resident annual fishing license has increased 216 percent, which is 41 percent greater than the rate of inflation. Today, the license costs 110 percent over the national average. California’s 1 million recreational anglers contribute over $4.6 billion annually to California’s economy, a major contributor to outdoor tourism and jobs. Wood was elected in 2014 and represents Assembly District 2, a Northern California district including 300 miles of coastline and many state parks, lakes, rivers and streams. To learn more about AB 817, visit ccacalifornia.org

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MORE ABOUT CCA CAL The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA CAL) was created in 2015 when recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts came together to work for the conservation and enhancement of our marine resources and coastal environments. «Today, we are working to protect not only the health, habitat and sustainability of our marine resources, but also the interests of recreational saltwater anglers. Our goal is to protect your access to the marine resources you cherish and enjoy everyday. CCA CAL consists of 2,300 members spread across 6 local chapters in Southern California.»


Tailored jigging and poppping trips in the Red Sea, Egypt.

hello@kbeteam.com Office 3202A, Ocean View, Abu Tig Marina, El Gouna, Hurghada, Egypt.

www.kbeteam.com

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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TRAVEL SWEDEN

SWEDEN

MULTI-SPECIES ON THE FLY Text by Rudy van Duijnhoven, pictures by Rudy van Duijnhoven and Leon Godijk

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SWEDEN TRAVEL

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TRAVEL SWEDEN

One of the holiday apartments of Riverwild in Färila.

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t takes about a day by car to reach the fishing areas in the middle of Sweden, once you have left the harbour of Göteborg behind you, from the Stockholm airport it is just a few hours driving. Whatever way you choose, be prepared to fish new and exciting waters for trout, grayling, pike and perch every day. On a Saturday in June some years ago, I took the Ferry Kiel - Göteborg together

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with Leon Godijk to explore, for the first time, some new waters in Sweden for Cordes Travel, a Dutch fishing travel agency. Our first stop was at Riverwild in Färila that has its apartments and cabins just a short distance from the River Ljusnan. The camp is open from May 15th until October 15th. Riverwild has five cabins of some fifteen square meters, each with four beds, a kitchenette, kitchen equipment, running cold water and drain. Covers SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Exclusive lodgings are available in the Sauna cabin located privately on the shore of the Ljusnan river.


SWEDEN TRAVEL

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Leon Godijk into a fish on the River Leån.

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SWEDEN TRAVEL

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and pillow are included, and bedding can be rented. The Systerbo Cabin is larger, offering a kitchen, living room and a small bedroom, shower and WC. The kitchen has an oven, microwave oven, refrigerator and freezer, plus needed kitchen equipment. The living room has a convertible sofa, TV and wood-fired stove, while the bedroom has a bunk bed.

of the Ljusnan river. This cabin has a kitchen, running hot and cold water, a double bed that can be lowered, an extra bed if needed, shower and, of course, a sauna. There is a separate toilet outside the cabin. Riverwild can also rent out a wilderness hot tub for ten persons located near the river. Finally Riverwild has six sites for caravans with electricity.

Exclusive lodgings are available in the Sauna cabin located privately on the shore

Fishing in the area The river in this area holds

The Ängraån runs right beside the Wildlife Sweden Camp. 56

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We had a few nice grayling, one brown trout and a large number of small perch.


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A nice trout from Gommorstjärnen caught close to the bear observation cabin.

grayling and trout in the faster stretches, while pike and perch are the main species in the slower, deeper parts of the river. Perch and pike can also be found in a lot of the lakes in the area, these waters also hold roach, ide and bream. For more fishing information, visit www.ljusdalsfvo.se and www.farilafiske.se. With guide Micke Hansson we made a visit on the

first day to two sections of the River Leån (sounds like Leon), a river of some ten kilometres in length that runs between two lakes. The river was still running higher than normal (summer had only just started there...) which made it hard to reach the fish at several spots. We had a few nice grayling, one brown trout and a large number of small perch came to take our nymphs, emergers and dry flies. It was an SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

overcast day with a bit of rain, but the temperature was comfortable enough. We did need DEET however to keep the midges at a distance… Wading and boating The next day we fished on the Ljusnan River in front of the Riverwild Campground. Using Teeny Nymph Lines and nymphs we hooked a good number of grayling and perch in some of the dee57


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Pike lake near Wildlife Sweden . The main season for fishing for pike is in spring and autumn.

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The shallower parts of the stream are full of water-plants, which should be perfect hiding places for the pike.

per, not too fast runs. There was some misunderstanding concerning our fishing guide on this day, but at least we had one booked for the next day when we wanted to go after pike on some quiet stretches of the river with a boat. With fishing guide Roger Pekkala, Leon Godijk and myself tried for pike for some hours the following day. We fished from a rowing boat at a slow flowing and at places deep stretch of the River Ljusnan upstream from Riverwild Fishing & Lodging. The pike did not want to come out and play,

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it seemed, we had a few fish following our streamers and we landed one small fish but other than that it remained rather quiet. The shallower parts of the stream are full of water-plants, which should be perfect hiding places for the pike. We fished there and in the deeper parts as well, but apparently the pike were just not active. That same afternoon we drove to our next stop during our trip, the Wildlife Sweden Camp of Marco Hassoldt in Kårbole. Staying at Wildlife Sweden Staying at Camp Ängra is possible on three different


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The Harmånger River in front of Kustleden holds good-sized grayling, pike and seatrout as well in the season.

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You will need a boat to fly-fish for pike on the wide, deep stretches of the Ljusnan River.

ways: the camp has two cosy and modern, apartments. Both apartments have a kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a living room with fireplace. In the apartment ‘Järven’ there is place for up to seven persons. There is one bedroom with two single beds which can be put together as a double and one bedroom with one single bed and a two bunks. In apartment ‘Mården’ there is room for up to five people. There is one bedroom with 64

two single beds which can be put together as a double and one bedroom with one single bed and one bunk. In the typical Swedish landhouse of Wildlife Sweden there are two guest rooms. Both guest rooms are available for B&B or full service. In the family room there is one double bed and a bunk. In the other room there are three single beds available. On the camping-field, which lays direct beside the beautiful river Ängraån, Wildlife SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Sweden has twenty places where you can put your tent, caravan or camper. On the field there is a fireplace where you can grill your fish or sausage, or just sit around and enjoy. All places have 230 Volt hook-up and there is a sanitary cabin with two showers and two toilets. Of bears and fishing With Erik Vork and Leon Godijk I fished on lake Gommorstjärnen on the first day of our stay at Wildlife Swe-


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We had a super day fishing mainly dry flies and streamers, the trout were rising freely to the large brown mayflies that were hatching.

den, the lake where the bear observation cabin of Wildlife Sweden is to be found on the water as well. We had a super day fishing mainly dry flies and streamers, the trout were rising freely to the large brown mayflies that were hatching. The lake holds a good population of wild brown trout, some char, roach and rainbow trout; the latter are of course introduced here for the fishermen. We caught a good number of colourful rainbow trout, some small roach and average sized brown trout. Leon caught two big brown

trout towards the end, fish of 56 and 60 cm in length... An exceptional catch for sure, all fish were released unharmed and a little wiser. After a few hours on the river Ljusnan in wind and light rain (the forecast was for dry and sunny weather...) whereby we caught some average sized grayling, Leon, Erik and myself spend the afternoon on Laforssjö in front of Wildlife Sweden. We caught a good number of small but colourful pike, all on streamers fished on floating or intermediate fly-lines.

Gommorstjärnen holds large brown trout as well. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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On our way with a proper boat and engine on Lake Vexnan.

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There was a good amount of mayflies on the surface again. That evening we had to pack our car as we would leave for Göteborg early in the morning. Our second year After leaving the Stena Line ferry in Gotenborg in June of the following year, it was again about an eight hour drive for Leon Godijk and myself to Kustleden in Strömsbruk in the middle of Sweden. We were looking

forward to try some waters in this area, together with our guide Jessica Dolk and Stefan Barenfeld, in the next few days. Kustleden has among others a number of apartments close to a river. Kustleden’s main building is situated on the same strategic spot as the smithy which operated from the late 1600′s and two centuries onwards. When Ströms Bruk changed directions at the end of the 1800′s the smithy was replaced by a splendid new head office right by the

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The building turned 100 years in 2012, the ceilings are high but the atmosphere is still cosy.


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Our second day on Lake Vexnan started with a hefty take for Leon.

rushing river. The building was finished in 1912 and added on to ten years later. The era as a head office ended in the 1960′s and today the rooms offer comfortable accommodation, kitchen, lounge, café and a gallery. There are only four rooms in the main Kustleden building and one of those is a single room. That means that there will be no more than seven guests sharing kitchen and

lounge at the same time. The building turned 100 years in 2012, the ceilings are high but the atmosphere is still cosy. There is a small angling shop and a camera museum in the main building too! Although there is no TV, Kustleden does offer free wireless internet (WiFi) and exciting books in the bookshelf. The Kustleden apartments The Kustleden Söder apartSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

ments consist of two rooms, kitchen and WC with shower. Size: approximately 50 m². The seven holiday apartments at Tallbo differ a bit from those at Kustleden Söder. They do all have two rooms and a kitchen and are equipped for four (or three) guests. Tallbo is the original name for these homes built for the mill-workers as early as 1903 and have been modernised throughout the years. In the 40′s – 50′s they 69


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A 90 cm pike for Leon on the fly. Not a bad way to start the fishing day.

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Jessica will bring you to some interesting spots, show you how and where to fish and she prepares a nice lunch or dinner as well.

received electric power and water after half a century with outhouses, a well and root cellars. The buildings are log but they have been insulated and modernised. At that moment they could do with a lick of paint on the outside but they are comfortable on the inside with lots of character. On the first floor the apartments have sloping ceilings and large balconies while those on the ground floor have high ceilings and a door from the living room straight out into 72

the greenery. After a nice tour, on the morning after our arrival, by the owner of Kustleden in Strömsbruk of both the hotel/apartments and the area, Leon and myself tried the river at the site before Jessica Dolk was going to pick us up for some guided fishing. The river in front of Kustleden brought some small grayling plus a 39 cm fish on the nymph, which was nice. There are a lot of small, SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

silvery fish in the river that attacked everything, could they be asp? Jessica brought us to a nice stretch of the river with some deep pools and runs. As there was little surface activity we fished with nymph and streamers for most of the time. After a nice dinner prepared by Jessica along the river, we tried some more. Now a 38 cm grayling took a floating CDC nymph of mine, other than that we just landed some


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small, wild brown trout. A good many grayling

The building turned 100 years in 2012, the ceilings are high but the atmosphere is still cosy.

Before driving to Riverwild Fishing and Lodging once more, Leon and myself spend a few more hours at the Harmånger river that flows alongside Kustleden. We started with small nymphs fished upstream and that brought us six nice grayling between 35 and 39 cm (some more threw the nymph before we could take a good look at them). After lunch the pike rods were put together and after missing some takes by

very small pike and some perch that also tried to take the big snack, we landed three strong, healthy pike up to 73 cm from the river. With Leon I arrived at Riverwild Fishing & Lodging that same afternoon and the following day their guide Mattias Furuskog took us to the River Leån to try for trout and grayling. We started at another section than the one we fished last year and here, in some fast runs, we got some small grayling and a few nice wild brown trout on size 8 black streamers. Lunch

The deeper pools of the Harmånger River hold some strong fighting pike that can be reached with sinking flylines. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

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Another nice grayling which took some time to subdue for the author.

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The author with a nice pike from Lake Vexnan.

was served where the section of the river comes out of a lake and here we had fished the year before as well. After lunch Leon and myself took some roach and perch in the lake on small dry flies and nymphs. After dinner we tried the river Ljusnan in front of Riverwild for some more, it provided us with some grayling in much the same size as the year before.

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Big perch

an hour driving to Fjussjön, a gin clear lake with a good head of brown trout, grayling and some big perch (as Leon found out halfway through the day); it is ideal for fishing from a rowing boat or a belly boat. I had a brown trout on my very first cast and a grayling a little while later (both on an American Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph in a size 12), but than the sun came into play and things got more difficult.

From Riverwild it is about half

Some large brown mayflies SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

were hatching and these were often chased by trout and grayling, but getting these fish to take our flies was a bit more difficult. We went to a rather large pike lake (Vexnan) the following day with Mattias Furuskog, we went on the water (some twenty minutes from Riverwild) with a rented aluminium boat and a proper engine behind it. The morning in the bright sun was slow with just some small pike following our streamers, but


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after lunch the clouds came and the fishing improved a lot. We were ‘tortured’ by small pike all afternoon, some better fish missed the fly or threw the hook too early. We missed a whole lot of takes too. Our best fish was a 75 cm pike in prime condition. Bigger pike With Mattias and Leon I started the following fishing day at a deep, slow flowing stream that connects different lakes in the area of Riverwild. We had some small pike here and missed some takes of better fish. In

the afternoon Mikael Frisk brought the rental boat to the lake we fished the day before for a few more hours of fly-fishing for pike there. Leon started the afternoon with a 90 cm pike, not a bad way to begin, and after that we landed several more pike, but we missed and lost probably at least twenty each in the reeds and weeds (mostly small pike though). In the last hour the rain finally came, a sign that our stay in Sweden was coming to an end, sad but true. We would be driving back to the ferry in Göteborg early the next day

TRIP CONTACT www.fishinginthemiddleofsweden.com www.kustleden.com www.riverwild.se www.wildlifesweden.se Jessica Dolk, Fishing Guide Email: j.dolk@hotmail.com www.cordestravel.nl

Flyyshing Blog

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

?

WHAT’S

NEW

SHIMANO SCORPION MD YO-ZURI MAG POPPER

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Yo-Zuri Mag Popper Lures are floating poppers built for long distance casting and handling both inshore and offshore big game saltwater species. With an unmatched popping and splashing action that will bring in big predatory fish. These poppers can really cast a long way with Yo-Zuri’s magnet bullet weight transfer system. When it’s cast the weight ball unit moves like a bullet generating casting power. When swimming the strong magnet in the chamber holds weight ball unit tightly allowing for quicker response and much improved swimming action.

Shimano Scorpion MD Monster Drive is to catch big fish with big baits. Its 300 sized large aluminum body hosts 43mm dia large deep spool, brass high speed drive gear, and 8pt SVS brake system to cast big swimbaits easy. The large spool stocks 160m of 20lb(0.365mm) nylon lines. Its 7.9:1 super fast gear allow you to present swimbaits in panic action without jerking, but only by handle turn. Features an aluminum alloy main frame, silky smooth micro module gearing system, S3D balanced spool, extra efficient X-SHIP gear system, sealed anti-rust ball bearings S-ARB, and a clicking star drag.

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NEW GEAR TACKLE

RAPALA ELITE PLIERS STRIKE KING RAGE TAIL NED CRAW Unique in its ability to create a huge amount of vibration, with the slightest movement of the rod tip, the claws start flapping back and forth, creating a terrific action. Even at rest on the bottom, the Rage Tail Ned Craw looks like a crawfish in a defensive position with its pincers up. To better accommodate Ned head jigs, the Rage Tail Ned Craw includes a flat end for seamless rigging and a more streamlined presentation. Complete with a ribbed body to move a tremendous amount of water, the Strike King Rage Tail Ned Craw is sure to be a favorite among Ned Rig enthusiasts everywhere.

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Made from premium steel for strength and durability, the Rapala Elite Pliers 7” are armed by Cerakote, which is a high performance, lightweight coating that protects against abrasion, corrosion, and UV rays. They also feature a patented “Mag Spring” that keeps the jaws open for easy use and a “Mag Lock” that tightly secures the jaws for safe storage. The hybrid jaw design provides interlocking front teeth that ensure a lock-tight clasp on hooks while a flat area on the rear of the jaws are built for gripping line and leaders as well.

$87.79 | rapala.com

ORVIS MEN’S PRO LT SOFTSHELL HOODIE A full-zip jacket with single-adjust hood and adjustable hem to seal out wind and cold air. Two zippered handwarmer pockets and a low-profile, welded-stretch chest pocket holds small valuables safely. The DWR finish sheds moisture and the tightly woven, yet highly breathable double-weave fabric resists punctures and keeps you cool when active. With ample stretch in both the double-weave body and nylon side panels, this jacket moves with you when casting, shooting, rowing, or whatever the day presents. Stretchy contour cuffs have a comfortable, close fit, and provide extra protection from the elements.

$149 | orvis.com

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

TIBOR BACKCOUNTRY REEL The new BackCountry is designed and crafted with the same uncompromising standards as the time-tested Tibor, Signature, and Billy Pate series reels. Suitable for a 5-7 weight rods in both fresh and saltwater conditions, even the most fragile tippet can be fished with complete confidence. Proudly made and assembled in the USA.

SAVAGE GEAR CRAFT DYING MINNOW Crafted and designed by Mads Grosell. The lure profile is inspired by a bleak with abig realistic soft eye and perfect details. The super thin body enables the lure to swim amazingly lifelike rigged side down on jig heads or drop shots. The tool making, handcrafted details and painting sets new standards for soft lure making!

$545 | tiborreel.com

SHIMANO OCEA JIGGER Boasting Shimano’s Infinity Drive technology, Ocea Jigger offers paramount cranking power by reducing friction between the pinion gear and spool shaft, greatly improving rotational torque. Combined with MicroModule Gearing, anglers will experience unmatched gear feeling. X-Protect enhances durability and water resistance by utilizing a water repellant coating and a labyrinth construction to funnel water away from key wear out parts. The adjustable, two-position, long crank handle; the Spool Lock to allow anglers to more safely break off snagged lures and the Auto-Clutch which easily engages the reel out of free spool to react to quick bites.

$499.99 | fish.shimano.com 80

$9.99 | savagegear.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

ABU GARCIA ZENON This very light reel has a magnesium body with one-piece gearbox integrated with the stem to shrink its footprint and reduce weight. In the quest to make the reel as light as possible, no measure was spared, down to the use of a hollow knob handle. The size 20 model holds 185 yards of 6-pound test, has a 6.2:1 gear ratio, and 11 pounds of drag, but still weighs only 4.9 ounces!

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XTRATUF CHELSEA DECK BOOTS

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The Legacy Chelsea Boot offers the Alaska proven functionality of the best-selling Legacy Boot but with a lower upper height, creating a whole new class of boot. The Legacy Chelsea features the same Commercial Grade performance and safety features of the classic Legacy Boot, but with functional pull tabs and a twin elastic gore for easy on/off when you’re on the go. This new iteration of our beloved classic style is the perfect all-purpose and wet/ cold weather boot.

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YETI BY BUFF NECKWEAR

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COLOMBIA

VAMPIRES OF THE ORINOCO Text by Matt Harris and photos by Matt Harris & Wesley White

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The vampire of the Orinoco, a trophy payara caught by the author.

I

waded gingerly into the heavy current and sent a cast whistling out across the turbulent waters. The fly swung across the face of the big smooth boulder twenty five yards out and suddenly there was a flash of silver and then a savage, wrenching take. A blur of chrome-bright violence jack-knifed abruptly through the surface and twenty pounds and more of wild silver mayhem went

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rocketing downstream. The reel fizzed out its sweet music and my guide unhitched the boat as backing melted off the big spool. The fish jumped again, but now it was way out in the roiling currents, a hundred yards and more from where we stood. I clambered into the skiff and not a moment too soon. Then we were off into the current in pursuit of the big silver berserker, as it disappeared downriver. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Then we were off into the current in pursuit of the big silver berserker, as it disappeared downriver.


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The perfect spot for a payara to ambush its prey: rocks and current! Definitely worth a few casts!

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My guide grinned back at me. His name wasn’t Jock or Jens or Dima, and we weren’t fishing a big brawling salmon river in Scotland or Norway or Russia. My guide was Arnel from Venezuela, just across the river, and that river wasn’t the Tay or the Namsen or the Yokanga but the mighty Orinoco. There wasn’t a waxed jacket or a Willie Gunn in sight. The mercury was hovering at around 90 degrees fahrenheit, and that big silver fish that was cartwheeling off downstream wasn’t a big At-

lantic salmon but Hydrolycus armatus; Colombia’s finest; the payara. The one and only Vampire Fish.. Arnel and I went careering after our quarry, my guide expertly weaving our skiff through the powerful rapids and between the towering moonscape boulders that crowd the shoals and banks and islands of the Orinoco. Finally, after what seemed an age, we caught up with our adversary. I wound down hard, and the fish danced up into the blinding white light

“Grande!!” exclaimed Arnel, as he eased the boat into the slack water and I saw him reach gingerly for the boga grip.

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Stunning colors on this sardinata, the Amazon’s tarpon!

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of the jungle. A big, brawny blizzard of pearl and silver and teeth. “Grande!!” exclaimed Arnel, as he eased the boat into the slack water and I saw him reach gingerly for the boga grip. “Grande…” I concurred,catching his eye. “Y dientes grandes” I added with a grin. “Big teeth?” “Big teeth” doesn’t even start to cover it. As the hefty fish finally rolled over and I drew it into the slack water, Arnel edged out into the river. With exaggerated care, he

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reached out to grab the fish’s tail. In an instant, he had it, and he let out a yell of triumph. “Grande!! GRANDE!!!” he cried. He swung the big fish round into my eyeline and held its head towards me with a grin. It was a big fish - a magnificent fish - but all I could see were those fangs - those impossible, monstrous fangs. They were significantly longer than my fingers. It was a simply astonishing sight. I’m a little ashamed to say that when I first saw images

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Their freakish physiology makes them appear like something from the fevered imagination of a B-movie horrorshow director.


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The Orinoco’s tributaries offer a great playground for peacock bass fishing, with specimens exceeding 20lb.

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These big trophy payara are capable of stripping a lot of backing off of a big saltwater reel in very short order.

of payara, they struck me as more of a curiosity than a genuine sportfishing proposition. Their freakish physiology makes them appear like something from the fevered imagination of a B-movie horrorshow director. However, having experienced what they can do, I would strongly advise that you do not allow this ghoulish appearance to distract you. Be in no doubt: these fish have evolved to be perfect hunters in the heavy currents of what is - by volume - the world’s fourth largest river. Equipped with their enormous fangs and a remarkable turn of speed, payara terrorises the various

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baitfish that populate the waters of the Orinoco. On occasion, you’ll get to see them burst through the surface and slash their poor victims to pieces with ruthless efficiency, but most of the time, they sit down deep, unseen in the heavy currents of the mighty river. This ability to negotiate the rapids of this singularly powerful watercourse marks the payara out as an unforgettable fly-rod adversary. Small specimens are more than game, but a big fish of twenty pounds and more that wrestles its way into the powerful main currents of the


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Inside view of the lodge.

Orinocco is a real handful. These big trophy payara are capable of stripping a lot of backing off of a big saltwater reel in very short order. For anyone who loves to swing flies for salmon, steelhead or seatrout, the payara represents a wonderful warm-water alternative. As enthusiasts will tell you, one of the great thrills of swinging flies in heavy current is the initial strike - that moment when the line suddenly comes tight and you feel that electricity of a living thing at the other end of your line.

Believe me, the payara do not disappoint - they burst into your consciousness in a split-second of unforgettable violence - a brutal smash and grab that is often followed by a wild somersault and a knuckle-busting charge downriver. Payara migrate up the Orinoco in its dry season, throughout the months of January through to March and beyond. To do so takes strength and stamina, and this rugged environment has fashioned a formidably powerful hunter. The payara take up station in the SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

rapids and wait in the chocolate-stained waters for the baitfish runs - most notably the herring-like ‘arencas’, and the ‘salton’ or ‘jumper’ fish. If your trip coincides with the arrival of these poor devils, expect some serious mayhem. The fish can be surprisingly selective, so carry a selection of big tubes that mimic these prey species. Tackling payara involves discipline. On the Orinoco, a heavy sinking line like the RIO leviathan in 400 to 600 grains is often the best way to put your fly in front 97


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Beware of the payara’s mean jaws! The IGFA all tackle world record is a 98cm fish caught in Brazil back in 2016.

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Any obstacle can hold predators on the Orinoco.

of the fish in the heavy currents that they call home. A short leader and a big Flashy Profile tied to mimic the various baitfish patterns in sizes from 6-10 inches in length attached to titanium wire is the medicine, and make sure that you are capable of casting this stuff if you want to get the best out of the fishery. A stiff, fast-actioned ten or even twelve weight rod like the Hardy Zephyrus or similar is perfect for throwing this heavy-duty gear. I like to use tube flies so that hooks could be replaced the 100

moment that they lost their needle-sharp point. I also like to employ a swivel to attach the obligatory wire trace to the stout 40lb mono leader as it allows the fly to track straight, which I believe is absolutely key in enticing the payara to strike your baitfish imitation. A needle-sharp hook which has a straight rather than offset point also helps in making the fly swim without listing onto one side, and I think that this is crucial in inducing the maximum number of strikes. The moment that you feel SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021


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Once you catch up with your prey, play them hard - any slack and you will almost certainly lose your prize.

that savage take, use a really aggressive strip-strike to set the hook. Grab the line tight and jab both hands backwards, setting the hook as hard as you can. 40lb nylon should ensure that you don’t break off, but use a bimini twist as a shock absorber, and employ ‘soft’ hands, as these fish will often take off downstream in a hurry. Stay tight and use a fairly heavy drag setting to keep the hook buried in the fish’s bony maw. Be ready to jump into the boat as these fish can run 200 yards and

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more in a heartbeat once they hit the heavy current, and the shallow, rocky, snag-filled nature of the Orinoco means that you want to keep the distance between you and your quarry to a minimum. Once you catch up with your prey, play them hard - any slack and you will almost certainly lose your prize. Once you can get your hands on them, handle them gently and support their weight by keeping them in the water for as long as possible - these fish

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The silver bar of the Amazon. Wire traces and extra-sharp hooks are obligatory when fishing for payara.

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are fragile despite their savage dentistry. Oh, and mind your fingers… There are a growing number of options for tackling payara. I fished with my great friend Beto Mejia who runs the excellent Orinoco Lodge, part of his Fish Colombia operation. Beto’s camp is based on an island in the middle of the river. It’s a perfect base to access

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numerous rapids and trophy payara of twenty pounds and more are a real possibility from any number of riffles and runs. Fish can be caught from the boat, but I most enjoy targeting them from the bank, prospecting each likely seam and slot, much as you might look for salmon in the broken pocket water of a salmon river. When the fishing is on, it

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can be red-hot but like many apex predators, payara are prone to capricious and violent mood-swings. No matter. The moment we felt that the fish were going off the take, we would head upstream to fish the waters of the Orinoco’s numerous tributaries, where myriad lagoons offered epic peacock bass


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Sunset break on the road. A reliable 4x4 is the only way to go here!

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The Colombian jungle is home to a beautiful and merciless fauna.

fishing. Anyone unfamiliar with peacocks is in for a treat. These flamboyant berserkers offer adrenaline filled afternoons, bursting out of their lairs to attack big streamers and pole dancer poppers with malevolent gusto. Colombian peacocks are every bit as aggressive as their Brazilian cousins, and trophy fish of twenty pounds and more are a real possibility. Another great friend Alex Wilkie, a brilliant and relentless fly angler, caught a fabulous 21 pound trophy on our first visit. 108

Other species will also vie for your attention. Off of the main currents of the Orinoco, you may well come across big schools of sardinata - a wonderful quarry that resembles a small, golden tarpon and that take streamers and even poppers willingly from the surface. While sardinata rarely grow much larger than seven or eight pounds, they are a game fighter, often launching into the crackling heat of the jungle to flip spectacular somersaults. There’s also big piranhas and even surubi catfish to tackle with SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

a fly if you get bored of the big payara...but trust me, you won’t. Colombia has suffered enormously in recent years, and it has become synonymous with drug cartels and lawlessness. However, the country is now emerging from this dark past, and is becoming a safe and fascinating tourist destination. As Beto and I strolled down the main drag of our transport hub, Puerto Carreño, on the way back from our trip, I felt the warmth and vibrancy


COLOMBIA TRAVEL

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TRAVEL COLOMBIA

of the bustling little town. It was a Saturday evening, and as the market stalls started to shut up shop for the day, the street came alive with young, friendly folk, giggling and flirting and fooling around in the warm evening air. There was an irresistible, intoxicating vibe about the place. Colombia offers stunningly beautiful landscapes, a lively, engaging culture and truly remarkable fly fishing opportunities in both fresh and saltwater that are only just beginning to be explored. Beto and I climbed the hill and suddenly we crested the brow of the incline and were looking down at the wide waters of the Orinoco. We sat down at a little bar perched above the river, and I took a first long draft of the icy

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‘Aguila’ beer that the beautiful waitress had set down before me with a smile. I thought of the poor souls who had declined to come with me, muttering nervously about Colombia’s reputation and now hunkered down in the grip of an icy Northern winter back home. Their loss, I thought smugly, when the big payara of the Orinoco are running the river and waiting to dance into the white light of the Colombian jungle. I raised my glass to Beto and toasted my pioneering friend. I knew that I would be back here again to join him, drinking cold beer in the January sunshine, smiling at the pretty girls of Puerto Carreño, and mixing it up with the sparkling, freak-fanged Vampires of the Orinoco River

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

TRIP CONTACT If you want to mix it up with the bad boys of the Orionoco, contact my friend Beto Mejia via: www.fishcolombia.com You will not find better flies for the Orinoco than those tied by another great friend of mine, Armando Giraldo – check out: www.orinocoflies.com


COSTA RICA TRAVEL

Russian Scientists at the PINRO institute have deemed the Atlantic Salmon of the Yokanga River to be the largest salmon on the Kola Peninsula. With the comprehensive anti-poaching regime now in place under new owner and conservationist Alexey Strulistov, the magnificent Salmon of the Yokanga look set to flourish in the years to come. All Yokanga camps are undergoing an entire rebuild, and the new Solar jet boats at @yokanga_lodges mean that almost the entire fishery can now be accessed in the autumn season without the use of prohibitively expensive helicopters. This will make the fabulous fly fishing on this

unique salmon river a more realistic proposition for many keen salmon anglers who cannot afford the high prices of prime time. Check out our website at www.yokanga.com and call us on +44 7850955585 or mail us at mattharris@ yokanga.com if you want to know more. Grabbing a shot at a magnificent thirty pound Yokanga salmon, along with the chance to experience the northern lights and the stunning colours of autumn on the Kola may cost less than you think.

THERE IS ONLY ONE


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FLYLORDS RIO PARANA Home to over 350 species of fish, the Paraná river is one of the most diverse fisheries in all of South America. Anglers from around the world travel to it’s banks in search of trophy Golden Dorado.

WILD INSTINCT OUTDOORS TARPON, BONEFISH AND PERMIT ON FLY Chris Wittman travels to Belize to fish with friend, Wil Flack, for tarpon bonefish and permit.

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE WAHOO FISHING FLORIDA Early winter wahoo fishing in Key West, Florida.

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021


SEEN ON THE WEB MEDIA

KANALGRATIS FLY VS JERK SEASON 12

The 6th and final episode of the latest season of Fly vs Jerk, the famous pike fishing competition.

BLACKTIP H GIANT DOLPHIN FISHING IN PANAMA

In this episode, BlacktipH goes fishing at Tropic Star Lodge in Panama for giant dolphin fish and some local dock pets.

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Kombi Tours Uganda's Most Adventurous Tour Company

info@kombitours.com +256 (0) 7569 33773

Nile Perch fishing & Wildlife safaris in Uganda

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w w w. k o m b i t o u rs .c o m SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2021

Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 13 | Q1 2021  

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