Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 15 | Q3 2021

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ISSUE #15 | Q3 2021

FRANCE

MAYFLY SEASON ON THE THERAIN

FINLAND MAGICAL MUONIO

SPAIN

EBRO CATFISHING

IRELAND ALL AROUND THE RING OF KERRY

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


CONTENTS

ISSUE#15 Q3 2021

6 Editorial

50 Fishing Artisanship

8 IGFA

56 Finland

Traveling has never felt so good!

Latest records and news

Mel Handmade Lures

Magical Muonio

12 France

80 What’s new

32 Ireland

84 Spain

Mayfly season on the Thérain

All around the ring of Kerry

Our slelection of recent tackle & gear

Ebro catfishing


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8

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WHERE ARE WE TAKI

IRELAND

SPAIN


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

FRANCE

FINLAND


EDITORIAL Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

Traveling has never felt so good! It feels good to be able to travel again. Even if it requires vaccination and lots of paperwork depending on the destinations, it is finally possible to go fishing abroad, with more and more countries opening up to tourists. For our first trip since Covid started, we had the chance to visit Finland in July, for this issue’s article. What a great feeling it was to discover a new country, meet great passionate people, and catch fish, as if Covid never existed! We really hope all of this is behind us now, and that you are planning your next fishing trip like you used to. Traveling has never felt so good!

Dylan Smith COVER SHOT: Salmon Finland owner Toni Kuusisto with a nice female salmon caught during our trip.


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 Babs Kijewski Rudy Van Duijnhoven Maciej Dukacz

Special thanks IGFA Iskander Mermet Salmon Finland Frédéric Derouet 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 Morales’ Mullet Snapper

Thompson’s Broomtail Grouper In early July, Maya Thompson and her family had an amazing trip to Tropic Star Lodge in Pinas Bay, Panama. On July 1, 2021, Maya landed this beautiful broomtail grouper while slow trolling a live blue runner aboard the classic 31’ Bertram Miss Scandia. The massive broomtail grouper weighed in at 23.47-kilograms (51-pounds, 12-ounces) and earned Maya the new IGFA Women’s 10-kg (20-lb) Line Class World Record for the species. On this trip Maya and her family also landed several IGFA Grand Slams and a few more potential records. Congratulations on an amazing fish and an incredible trip! 8

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

On May 28, 2021, angler Gamaliel Santiago Morales had a day to remember fishing with Tailhunter Sportfishing out of La Paz, Mexico. Using a live caballito as bait, Morales landed this massive 20.87-kilogram (46-pound) mullet snapper to set the new IGFA All-Tackle World Record for the species. After searching the area for a certified scale, they were finally able to get an official weight and submit the record catch. Congratulations to the angler and the crew on a very impressive catch!


NEW RECORDS IGFA

Sherbovich’s Atlantic Salmon Konstantin Sherbovich has added to his impressive angling resume with this 100-centimeter Atlantic salmon that set the new IGFA All-Tackle Length World Record for the species. On June 11, 2021, Konstantin was on a trip to the Yokanga River in northern Russia when he landed this beautiful Atlantic salmon on the fly. The fight lasted nearly 20 minutes before the young angler was able to land this beautiful salmon. After a photo and some measurements taken on his official IGFA measuring device, Konstantin released the salmon safely back into the river.

Peterson’s Tiger Trout Caylun Peterson was fishing from his family’s dock on June 26, 2021, when he landed this massive 11.11-kilogram (24-pound, 8-ounce) tiger trout to set the new IGFA All-Tackle World Record for the species. He was able to catch this massive tiger trout while fishing on Loon Lake in Washington. The fish ate a live nightcrawler on a weightless hook. Caylun was concerned he may get spooled but, fortunately for him, the fish turned back to shore, and he was able to successfully land the record trout. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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IGFA LATEST NEWS

IGFA LATEST NEWS

IGFA Creates New Record Opportunities

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Striped Bass Bonanza Whether you call them stripers, striped bass, rockfish, or linesiders, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more popular and revered saltwater game fish. These iconic fish can be targeted in the surf, shallow bays, rips and around structure, and can be caught with lures, flies and natural bait. Their hard fights, willingness to take a variety of natural and artificial baits, and good table-fare make the striped bass one of the most highly sought-after game fish species in North America.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) today announced several changes to its angler recognition programs, including the addition of a fly-fishing category to the All-Tackle Length record program, and the expansion of line class categories for those freshwater and saltwater species eligible.

A stroll through the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame reaffirms their popularity amongst angling’s elite, with prominent names like Frank Woolner, Lefty Kreh, Joe Brooks and C.M. Rip Cunningham, who dedicated much of their lives to fishing for or writing about striped bass.

Read more

Read more

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021


LATEST NEWS IGFA

Rule Change on Gang Hooks and Lures IGFA announced a change to its International Angling Rules, which are widely considered as the official rules of sport fishing. The recent change comes after feedback from the angling community regarding the use of soft-bodied lures where hooks are embedded into the lure itself to enhance the lure’s swimming ability.

Read more

IGFA to Sponsor the Fish Art Contest The IGFA is excited to announce a new partnership with the 2021-2022 Wildlife Forever Art of Conservation® Fish Art Contest, a program connecting youth to nature and science, while introducing them to the joys of fishing and the importance of aquatic conservation. Beginning September 1, 2021, the contest is open to all youth in grades K-12 (ages 5-18) who have until March 31, 2022, to submit their artwork.

Read more

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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TRAVEL FRANCE

FRANCE

MAYFLY SEASON ON THE THERAIN Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021


FRANCE TRAVEL

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We were lucky enough to witness one of the first big Ephemera Danica hatches of the season!

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o the north of Paris, there is a little hidden paradise for trout fishermen: the Thérain. This little-known river is home to a very healthy population of native wild brown trout, with a high average size and some specimens well exceeding 60cm. Who knew such 14

a place existed, only an hour and a half drive from Paris! This 94km-long river originates in Normandy and then passes through the Hauts-deFrance, before flowing into the Oise river, near the town of Creil. We had the chance to follow Frédéric Derouet during a guiding session on SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

We are already spotting many mayflies, but the trout do not seem to be feeding yet.


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the Thérain with a client at the very beginning of the mayflies period, last May. Arriving at the meeting point at the edge of the river, I am greeted by Frédéric who carefully inspects the leader of his client of the day, Julien. After some adjustments, he takes out a hoop and asks Julien to aim it with a hookless fly : not easy with the blowing wind! The preci-

sion of the casts is essential on this leafy river. As a qualified guide with many international fishing trips under his belt, Frédéric gives him some advice on fishing this technical river which he knows since he was a child, and we then begin to walk towards a first spot. Although the river is naturally slightly tinted, it looks a lot like the famous English chalkstreams, with interesting bends, lots of

weeds and numerous holes. It is bordered by many trees and flows through crop fields of the French country side. We are already spotting many mayflies, but the trout do not seem to be feeding yet, despite lots of stops to observe the river. Having reached a very promising bend on the river, Julien starts fishing with an imitation of a mayfly on the

The wild brown trout population on the Thérain is in excellent shape, with a high average size. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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A box full of trout candy! However, the fish were feeding on one bug only: the famous Ephemera Danica aka mayfly. Choosing the right imitation was therefore very easy! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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Since the mayflies in this area can grow quite big, the imitations Frédéric uses are just as big.

surface, blind casting. No activity around, but Frédéric suggests that he uses a wellweighted nymph in a nearby hole, because he spotted a nice trout there. After several unsuccessful tries, we continue our journey in search of visible or active fish. As we observed a pike lurking near the bank, Frédéric spots a rising fish. This cast is quite technical because the river is totally wild with

many trees. You always have to have an eye behind you to be sure you don’t snag your fly during a backcast. Since the mayflies in this area can grow quite big, the imitations Frédéric uses are just as big. It is advised to use a rather heavy leader (.18mm) in order to cast those big flies easily with a 5-weight rod. After a few casts Julien ends up putting his imitation mayfly in the right place,

With the vegetation exploding in spring, the banks can be quite tricky to cast from! 18

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The leopard of the Thérain! A beautiful specimen caught by Julien on a dry mayfly imitation.

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

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Lots of observation is required on this small technical river.

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and a magnificent trout gulps his imitation. The fight is tough with the many obstacles around, but Frédéric finally puts this first fish in the net. It is a superb brown trout of about 50cm with plenty of dots, the leopard of the Thérain’s waters!

fish returns into his element. Frédéric always makes sure to keep the fish in the water as much as possible during handling. He knows this river like the back of his hand, having fished there during his youth with his brother, and cares a lot for these trouts.

A few quick photos and the

As we celebrate this first fish, SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

the mayflies are starting to hatch in big numbers and the trout are finally starting to feed everywhere on the river! Julien spots a fish in the middle of a feeding frenzy, and once again presents his mayfly imitation. The fly drifts perfectly over the right spot several times, but no-


FRANCE TRAVEL

thing helps. As his fly drifts after the fish on another cast, a second, bigger trout comes out of nowhere and grabs his fly. After a few acrobatics, the fish ends up spitting the fly. She was unfortunately poorly hooked because she took Julien by surprise! Time passes but the activity remains intact and the numerous trouts and few chubs are still feeding. This was one of the first big mayfly hatches

of the year, so we were very lucky to have picked this day. Julien made the most of this feeding frenzy and managed to catch many fish, all of a high average size and very combative. But after a while, the trout no longer seem to be interested in Julien’s dry fly, despite some very nice presentations.

After a few uncooperative fish, Julien is on a trout once again!

Frédéric suggests that he switches over a light mayfly

Frédéric about to put another fish in the net! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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Teamwork payoff! A wild brown is about to be released by Frédéric, who takes extra care of these magnificent fish.

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nymph which will work just below the surface. The fish are becoming more suspicious and you have to know how to land your fly very precisely so that the fish can see it properly. After a few uncooperative fish, Julien is on a trout once again! A superb fight starts between the trees. Julien avoids the many weed patches and Frédéric jumps in the water to put the fish in the net quickly. This spe-

cimen is younger and has a different pattern than the previous fish, with less dots but just as beautiful. As the end of the day draws closer, mayflies become rarer, but some fish are still visible. This is the case with a very large trout that Frédéric spotted 50cm from the our bank, very close to our feet! There is indeed a large black mass that seems to be ambushed and waiting for an

After a few casts over a feeding fish, it’s on for Julien! 26

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

Suddenly, the fish rises to the surface, inspects the fly, then goes back down… Bloody big girl!


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The «lancer arbalète» (bow and arrow cast) can come in handy in many situations on this river. Mastering this tricky cast can really make a huge difference.

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The last fish of the day, caught on our way back to the cars!

easy meal. The tinted water is working in our favor here, because the fish didn’t notice us at all. The cast is complicated once again and it takes a stealth approach to not scare this big trout, but Julien manages to land his mayfly nymph in the right place several times. Suddenly, the fish rises to the surface, inspects the fly, then goes back down… Bloody big girl! Despite several other attempts, this fish will not notice us, 30

neither will it find interest in any of Julien’s flies ! On the way back, he will still manage to catch one last trout. A memorable day for him who discovered fly fishing recently! With such a great guide and a healthy fish population, there is no doubt that the Thérain will gain notoriety in the years to come. If you’re staying near Paris and have a day off, it is definitely worth the ride SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

TRIP CONTACT journeepeches.fr


SPAIN TRAVEL

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

hello@kbeteam.com

www.kbeteam.com

Office 3202A, Ocean View, Abu Tig Marina, El Gouna, Hurghada, Egypt.

Flyyshing Blog

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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TRAVEL IRELAND

IRELAND

ALL AROUND THE RING OF KERRY Text and photos by Rudy van Duijnhoven

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IRELAND TRAVEL

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Productive fly fishing in the Ring of Kerry.

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t is not just salmon, sea trout and brown trout that draw fly-fishers to the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. The circle can be completed with sea bass, pollack and mullet. Lough Currane has for many years been Ireland’s major fly-fishing water for big sea trout. Tens of thousands of this species run up the short distance from Ballinskelligs Bay into the lake and later

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on-wards up the little creeks and into other smaller lakes higher in the system. There they take care of future generations. Fly-fishing from a drifting boat with a team of wet flies is highly popular among fly-fishers visiting the Currane watershed. But the conditions are not always favorable for fly fishing for sea trout, salmon or brown trout. When this is the case, take a look over your shoulder and see what the sea has to offer SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

Fly fishing for mullet is much like dry fly fishing for trout on a reservoir.


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to the fly-fisher that is willing to experiment a bit. You will need other rods and lines, shorter rods than you would use when drifting for trout, seatrout and salmon, for line classes #6 through 10; with floating, intermediate, slow sinking but also fast sinking lines, in order to get your fly to the desired layer in the water where pollack and sea bass are to be found. Surface tactics for mullet

to sea around high tide. The mullet are moving round in schools, intercepting as many of the maggot like larvae as they can. If you stay low, out of sight of the fish, they will come quite close; often just a few meters away. You know that with all the mouths of the mullet coming out of the water and the many swirls and bow waves that are visible in the bay, you stand a good chance of hooking into one of these powerful fish.

Fly fishing for mullet is much like dry fly fishing for trout on a reservoir. On calm, sunny days with a light offshore wind, larvae that live in rotting seaweed are pushed out

John Quinlan of the Thatch Cottage in Cahersiveen developed a pattern for this situation, a white or yellow fly made of foam that hangs in the water surface and looks

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

just like the larvae that the mullet are after. Before making a cast, hold the fly under water and press out most of the air that is trapped in the foam. We want the fly to hang in the surface, not stick out on top of it. A fly that floats too high is seldom taken by the mullet. A nine or ten foot fly rod equipped with a WF6F or WF7F is fine for this style of fishing, the ten to twelve feet long leader has a rather thin, 3X or 4X, fluorocarbon tippet. Because it is sometimes hard to keep an eye on your fly, a balsa or foam strike indicator is placed some 20 to 30 centimeters from the fly. When you see the fly being taken or when the strike in-

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Jos van der Wouw managed to hook and land a nice mullet on light tackle with an imitation of a larva that is hanging just in the surface of the water.

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dicator moves, you have to set the hook immediately. Easily spooked Jos moved into position next to a big rock. He stayed low, moved slowly and the mullet stayed within easy casting range. There was a small group of fish coming from the left, their mouths half out of the water at regular intervals with which they hoovered up tiny pieces of food. Jos placed his fly ahead of the fish, in the path he expected them to take. The school kept on fee-

ding and moving forward, but left the fly untouched. A new cast in front of the same fish did not produce a take either. Jos, again, pressed on the fly while holding it subsurface, squeezing out the air that was again trapped in the foam. A slightly longer cast now and this time one of the mullet took the fly in it’s mouth. Jos set the hook, but the hook took no hold. He waited until the school of mullet had passed the leader and fly before picking it up for a new cast. These mullet are easily spooked!

A good sized mullet taken on the fly. 38

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

A new cast, another take after a short while and this time the hook went home.


IRELAND TRAVEL

On quiet evenings it is possible to fly fish further out at sea. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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John Quinlan (right) and Peter Turner with a nice pollack caught from the rocks.

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This pollack took a chartreuse Clouser Minnow.

A new cast, another take after a short while and this time the hook went home. A big swirl in the surface indicates where the mullet had just been hooked, at first it stayed with the school but then it decided otherwise and made some quick runs in different directions. Jos succeeded in keeping the line clear of the stones and rocks above and below the water surface in front of him. It took several 42

minutes before Jos managed to land the fish in a shallow stretch of water next to the rock where he was standing. He was over the moon with this mullet, he had caught mullet before, but it had always been by accident; this time he had targeted this species and managed to hook and land one. After taking some pictures of the fish, the mullet was returned and swam of with a dash. The feeding had SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

Streamers of eight to fifteen centimeters are usually just fine.


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stopped in the mean time, so we moved on to another spot. On the rocks At numerous locations around the Ring of Kerry it is possible to explore deep water from large rocks and stone formations. They often require quite a walk and sometimes some climbing as well, but the results can be most rewarding. In the deep water pollack hunt for prey besides and over the rocks and kelp

and these are often willing to take a streamer brought down to them with a fast sinking line. Streamers of eight to fifteen centimeters are usually just fine, with some lead or brass eyes to make them sink more quickly. Clouser Minnows are a good bet here for this reason and because they seldom hook up on the bottom. Tie them in different color combinations, with natural colors like white, olive and blue, but red/white and all black can be good

choices too. A line tray is necessary to be able to cast a longer line, otherwise the line will get stuck among the rocks and weed around your feet. Let the fly sink deep and then fish it back with irregular pulls. Do not strike on every tab you feel but rather keep on stripping until you feel a good bit of resistance. Pollack do not have teeth to grab a bait-fish, they have to take it into their mouth completely in order

The stunning Kerry coast. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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Jos van der Wouw about to land a nice bass in the delta.

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to get a hold of it. Sand eels can often be found lying in a U-shape in the stomach of the pollack, another sign that they have to swallow their prey as a whole. Pollack will often follow your streamer right up to the surface, you can see their golden brown color showing up a short distance behind your fly. I am sure that under some circumstances, pollack can even be caught on poppers. Upon setting the hook try to pull the fish up, do not give it

a chance to dive back to the bottom. A tight line is quickly cut among the barnacles and shells on the bottom. Pollack fight well on a fly rod and they do not seem to be tippet shy, so use something like 12 to 15 lb breaking strain for the tippet at least. Fly fishing from a charter boat The problem with fishing for pollack of the rocks is that you pull a hooked fish towards the rocks, not away from it. A boat would solve that

Deeper than fifteen to eighteen meters is not practical with the fly rod.

Even at four in the morning, when it’s still completely dark, the sea bass managed to intercept our streamers. 46

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021


IRELAND TRAVEL

Nealie Lyne (right) knows where to find water of ten to fifteen meter in depth where you can hook pollack on the fly.

problem, but small boats are not always available for this ‘exploration of new worlds, new civilizations’. There are many charter boats available from ports all around Ireland. These make a comfortable platform to fly fish for pollack and this was proven again one recent summer. With Nealie Lyne’s boat the Mary Francis we went out in the evening on two occasions to fish for a few hours. Nealie Lyne’s home base is the town of Knightstown on Valentia Island. Fishing all day long among people that fish heavy shads or natural baits

was not what we were interested in, but going out for a few hours in the evening with just the four of us was a great experience, and also for Nealie. He has had fly fishers on his boat before, but these had not been successful. With our extra fast sinking lines and #9 - 10 weight rods, we proved that pollack fishing with the fly can be really successful. We even hooked more fish, in ten to fifteen meters of water, than other anglers fishing with heavy, weighted lures from a nearby drifting boat. And we had more fun doing it this way as well!DeeSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

per than fifteen to eighteen meters is not practical with the fly rod, especially when there is some tidal flow running, it is hard to reach the bottom. After a cast let the line and fly sink for a minute or so, adding extra line during the process. There is usually room in the back of the boat to make a long cast but casting over the deck in the middle of the boat is not a good option. In that case it is better to make some kind of roll cast and then let the line sink to the depths. 47


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Fly fishing for bass in the delta of one of the rivers that runs in to Ballinskelligs Bay.

Hooking up on the bottom is part of the game and you will lose flies regularly, but you will get more takes close to the bottom than in the upper layers of the water. When you tie some streamers on circle hooks, you will find that these will not get stuck on the bottom quite as often. You will also loose flies on fish that you just cannot stop, pollack over ten pounds in weight are almost impossible to land with a flexible fly rod. When they have set their minds on 48

reaching the bottom again, it is hard to stop them with a fly rod. In the delta Bass can be caught too from the rocks, although more likely in shallower places than the pollack. They are also caught off the beach among the braking waves, at river mouths, in areas with bottom full of stones etc. We went out twice at a quarter to four in the morning, when it was SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

still pitch dark. When the tides are right at that time, you have to sacrifice some bedtime hours. John hooked up a few times with bass in the darkness, but by the time he was close enough to me and my camera, the fish had thrown the hook. Fishing off the beach with intermediate and slow sinking lines, we all had takes in the dark, but it produced no fish for the camera. What did produce some interesting fi-


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shing was to concentrate on some of the deeper pools in the estuary of the River Inny. When the tide drops, schools of mullet and bass stay behind in some of the deeper pools in this estuary. The water in these pools can be up to two meters deep, in fact when you see mullet making zigzag movements in the surface, the bass are usually not too far away. With waders the four of us walked to some of these pools. While in some place the mud can be very soft and dangerous, in other places the bottom of the estuary is hard enough to make for some easy walking. Had the water been a bit higher John would have launched a small boat with which we could have reached the same spots as well. These pools we fished

with floating and intermediate fly lines in a line class #6 and 7, with ten foot leaders and a tippet of 10 to 12 lb breaking strength. After a cast was made we let our flies sink for a few seconds to reach the desired depth, and then fished them back with different retrieves. Streamers of some eight centimeters in length, tied with nylon thread, Super Hair in white plus blue or olive, Sticker Eyes and Softex for the head, produced the most takes. Most bass were small, only one and a half to two pounds in weight, but a few of the fish were in the four to five pound range. Excellent sport on light tackle, that is for sure! With these bass fly fishing in the Ring of Kerry had come full circle for us

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TRIP CONTACT Thatch Cottage: - John Quinlan kerrybassfishing.com thatchcottageireland@ eircom.net Valentia Island Sea Angling: - Nealie Lyne nealielyne@eircom.net facebook.com/nealie. lyne

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FISHING ARTISANSHIP MEL HANDMADE LURES

FISHING

ARTISANSHIP:

Mel Handmade Lures

A

fter catching our attention numerous times on social media, we definitely wanted to know more about Mel Handmade Lures and the man behind them, Maciej Dukacz. We had the time to ask him 10 questions about himself and his oustanding creations.

1. What is your fishing background? I have been fishing since I can remember. My dad is not fishing and those who introduced me to angling were my uncle, aunt and cousins with whom I used to fish for pike, perch, crucian and roach on 50

nearby oxbow lake, ponds and river. Serious fishing adventure started when I moved to Ireland and realized that here I can catch such big fish as I could only dream of back home. On my first serious fishing trip in Ireland, I caught 7 jack pike and I got hooked on. Now I am using SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

lures the size of those catches but back then I was stunned. 2. How did you get into making lures? Over 10 years ago my fishing buddy Jack who was making his own lures convinced me


MEL HANDMADE LURES FISHING ARTISANSHIP

to try making mine. I got really hooked on it and since that time I was always trying to improve my craft. 10 years later I only use my own lures for pike fishing that takes 95% of my fishing time. I’m making steps to introduce some perch and trout lures as well so I can have a complete set of Mel Handmade Lures to catch all of the predator species in Ireland. 3. Do you remember the first lure you ever made? Yes, I do. I still have this one. It was a 10cm long wooden jerkbait. It caught me many fish. Not monsters but definitely a lot of fish.

4. What is your favourite fishing technique? For years I loved to use jerkbaits as my main lure/technique and Piranha Jerkbait was my favourite lure for a very long time, however in the past 4 years my fishing approach changed completely. On the market lures started to size up and it was noticeable that with bigger lures come bigger fish. Bigger lures combined with better knowledge of the waters was a game changer and I had to introduce to my offer something bigger. That is why Baby Shad 32cm was created. From being a jerkbait lover I went all in for large rubber shads. In the first week after

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

I made the first batch of Baby Shads they caught 4 or 5 meter+ fish and I knew that it was the right direction for my fishing and my business as well. 5. Do you think large lures catch more big pikes? Yes, definitely. Large lures not only catch more fish but the average fish size is bigger. Years ago, catching meter+ fish was something special for me, right now I can catch meter+ fish on almost every single trip. On the best fishing day this season we caught 13 fish and 9 of them were meter+ fish. Some of them being really extraordinary but I will come

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FISHING ARTISANSHIP MEL HANDMADE LURES

back to them a little later. I have mentioned 32cm Baby Shad already but there is something bigger, much bigger that I have in my offer. Mamma Shad was a lure that I created last year. It is a bigger and much heavier version of Baby Shad with 42cm length and weight around 650g. Most people I know think that it’s too big but it’s not! Sometimes, when you see really big fish activity (follows) it is time to pull out big guns. I strongly believe that those really big pikes may not hit 30cm lures and switching to something bigger can make them bite. There is nothing better than getting hit by a monster pike on the lure 52

over 40cm because the pike is going for a kill and that strike is always super strong.

you to make the first wood carved prototype of a lure? Tell us about the process.

6. What would be your dream fishing destination?

It all depends on lure size and how detailed carving I would like to have on it. I would say the most correct answer for that question would be 1 - 2 weeks of labour. It all starts as an idea that is transferred to a piece of paper and then it is cut out from wood and shaped. Bringing the lure to life by carving its details is the best part in the entire process, apart from catching a big fish on it at a later stage of course.

Most likely the wilderness of Canada. There are a lot of spots that have never seen humans before and pikes there have never seen any lure before. I know from a friend of mine that on a good day he may catch over 40 meter+ fish. That would be an experience I would like to try one day. Another dream of mine is catching big musky in the USA. 7. How much time does it take SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

8. What lure of yours is your favourite to fish?


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FISHING ARTISANSHIP MEL HANDMADE LURES

Baby Shad (32cm) for sure. This lure helped me to catch so many big fish however in the recent weeks I started to fish less and less with Baby Shads as I’m currently testing new prototypes which need more time in the water. 9. What’s your most memorable catch? It is not a catch of mine, but I was taking part in it and it will probably stay in my mind for long. Couple of weeks ago I fished for a few days with my buddy Jack. We invited Gregor to join us on a boat for one day. When we approached one particular spot, I explained to Gregor that in this spot I caught

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a meter+ pike on Mamma Shad and that fish was followed by another, much bigger fish. I told him to make a cast along the reeds as that is the spot where the big fish lives. He did that and he made a cast with his favourite lure that caught him two PB before - Baby Shad Red Perch. Almost instantly Greg got a massive attack and after an exciting fight he landed a monster pike. The 117cm 30lb+ class fish became Gregors third PB on Baby Red Perch. That fish made me so happy that I can’t even explain. If I would catch that fish, I would be happy but seeing Gregor and his emotions after catching a monster like that made me even happier since I have caught several fish bigger than this one

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before and for him that was a catch of a lifetime. 10. Do you have new lures you plan on releasing? Of course, I do. I’m currently working on a new hybrid lure that will most likely be the biggest casting lure on the market. It went through some testing and it caught a couple of decent fish (110cm+) already. The other lure that I plan on releasing is The Pike. It’s a 37,5cm long jointed lure that I created last year for a BaitBash Lure Expo in Sweden where The Pike won the audience award and received positive feedback from many lure makers attending the show


MEL HANDMADE LURES FISHING ARTISANSHIP

MORE ABOUT MEL HANDMADE LURES melhandmadelures.com

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TRAVEL FINLAND

FINLAND

MAGICAL MUONIO Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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Elias with a small grayling caught on a dry fly.

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o s t people visiting Lapland - the northern most part of Finland – come to enjoy the peaceful winter and spring’s snowy scenery. However, if you’re into fishing, you’ll might consider visiting during summer! It is in fact one of 58

the world’s hotspots for the mighty Baltic salmon. They are the same species as the Atlantic salmon, except they grow big, very big. Fish of over 100cm are very common here, which makes it the perfect place to catch a trophy salmon. Last July, after several flights and countless SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

Fish of over 100cm are very common here.


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Visanto Lodge, located right on the banks of the Muonio river.

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Wading all day can be exhausting after a while. Having comfortable boots and waders will be a real treat when you start getting tired.

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covid paperwork checks, my plane was soon landing in Kittila, Lapland. As we were getting closer to the airport, I looked outside the window and was absolutely stunned by the infinite pine landscape punctuated with countless lakes and rivers. At my arrival I was greeted by Elias, one of the guides at Salmon Finland, and we headed for the Visanto Lodge, on the Muonio river. The Muonio is a river in northern Finland and Sweden. It

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is a tributary of the Tornio. Together the two rivers form the national border between Finland and Sweden. Each year, between 60,000 and 80,000 salmon run up the river, and it can go over 100,000’s like it did in 2016. Visanto lodge is located roughly 250km away from the river’s mouth, near the small town of Ylimuonio. This means the fish you catch around the lodge have already made one long trip in freshwater! It takes a lot of energy and strength to swim so far upstream, no

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Boom! I get a very hard and quick take.


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The food Toni cooked at the lodge was absolutely excellent, the fresh salmon and reindeer were delicious!

wonders these Baltic salmon are uniquely strong. Arrived at the lodge, which is located right on the river, I meet the guests and the boss of Salmon Finland, Toni, who is also cook and guide as well. While he was finishing to prepare the dinner that evening, I looked outside the wide windows of the lodge and realized how big this river was: in some places it’s nearly 200m wide! After a delicious dinner with reindeer carpaccio and caught-infront-of-the-lodge salmon risotto, we headed to the river

for an evening session from the shore. Both spinning and fly gear can be used here and after unsuccessfully trying my luck with a dry fly for some grayling, I decided to give a few tries with the twohanded fly rod. I scouted the nearby rocks and picked one that seemed wadeable, close to nice holes and pools, and somewhat stable. Last time I used a double hander was years ago in Iceland so my casting abilities during the first days weren’t quite impressive to be honest! As I was swinging my fly SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

and imagining its trajectory, I was getting closer to a very promising boulder and my fly was about to pass right behind it, in the sweet spot. Boom! I get a very hard and quick take but unfortunately not good enough to hook the fish. With my legs poor legs shaking on my rock sticking out of the rapids, I try a few more casts in the same area, hoping for that fish to attack again, but obviously it didn’t happen… As I reeled in my line and reached for the fly to hook it on the reel, I noticed the big tube fly Elias had given me earlier is lite63


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Toni slowly rowing during a harling session. This traditional way of fishing is still very popular and effective today. 64

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On his first cast, he is on a grayling! He definitely wasn’t lying about this spot, we can easily see fish rising everywhere.

rally cut in half and totally wrecked! I wade back to the shore quickly to share what just happened and to show what’s left of my fly. Elias and Toni have no doubt, that was a big angry salmon! No need to say I had a hard time finding some sleep that night, that “boom” I felt was absolutely stuck in my head. The next morning, Elias and I hopped on the river boat and we headed upstream, to fish a good spot for grayling on dries. The boats are traditional “teno” river boats, thin and long, and very capable in low waters. Arrived on the spot, I let Elias start fi-

shing while a snap a few pictures. On his first cast, he is on a grayling! He definitely wasn’t lying about this spot, we can easily see fish rising everywhere. I put the camera down for a few casts, and try to aim a rising fish that Elias had spotted. The fish misses my fly, but as I turn my head toward Elias to say “Did you see that?!” another fish rises and takes my fly properly! These beautiful creatures are extremely fun to catch on light rods and dry flies. After putting many graylings in the net, we decided to leave them alone and try our luck

We saw numerous beautiful lakes during our ride from Kittila airport to the lodge. 66

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Elias deep wading for grayling! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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The powerful tail of a Baltic salmon. This very fish had already swam 250km upstream before getting caught at the lodge!

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An example of the Lilli balsa wobblers that Toni and Elias use for harling.

with salmon. The main and traditional fishing technique for salmon in this area is called harling. It originates from local ghillies rowing for British royals long ago. Today, the boats are similar and the techniques still requires a lot of rowing, but the tackle has obviously changed a bit. What Toni et Elias do is they put a spread of six rods with handmade balsa wobblers at different lengths behind the boat, and then they slowly row against the current, insuring a slow drift downstream 70

and a great presentation of the six lures, what an interesting technique! Elias warns me: if a fish takes one of the lures, the first thing to do is the reel the other rods first to avoid any tangle issues. As we drift downstream, the peaceful calm is regularly disturbed by jumping salmon. And most of them are big, very big. Easily over the 10kg mark! Suddenly on of the rods gets a hit and I start reeling the first other rod I found as quick as possible, like a madman. After 2 seconds Elias SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

tells me to stop: no line is getting pulled and it is obviously a tiny fish that hit the wobbler. As we reel it in, we find a small grayling hooked on the lure, the little fellow was hungry! On our way downstream to the lodge, we didn’t get any other strikes, but we certainly saw a few other big salmon jumping. After a delicious dinner we headed back to the river to fish from the shore. What is amazing in Lapland during summer time, is the never-ending daylight. At first it can be a bit distur-


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bing when trying to get some sleep, but you get used to it easily and make good use of the curtains in your room! This also means you can literally fish all day long, as the sun still illuminates us even at its lowest point. As I was trying my luck with a heavy salmon spoon, I noticed a nice pike a few meters away from me, in a calm area. I couldn’t resist it and made a good cast near the fish, I cranked my reel three times and the fish was on! The Muonio river is not only home to salmon and grayling, but also brown trout, sea trout, pike and perch.

As I was trying to wade to a big rock, Elias calls me on the phone: Toni and one of the guests are on with a nice salmon! I ran as fast as I could to get close to their boat and watched them bring the fish in. It is a fresh female salmon around 8 kilos, great job Toni! The next day, we headed upstream with Elias in search of salmon, both from the shore and from the boat. We started by fishing heavy spoons to cast further and reach the deep holes easily. While we were both leaving a big boulder and wading to

As we were talking about the size of that fish and how close it was to us, another 15kg+ salmon jumped further down!

Foggy «night» on the river. Fishing under the midnight sun is really something special! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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Heading upstream for a harling session. If you look close enough you can see the lodge behind the rods on the right.

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the shore to fish another spot further down, a gigantic salmon jumped right where we were fishing. Needless to say we immediately got back on the boulder and tried every lure and fly we had. As we were talking about the size of that fish and how close it was to us, another 15kg+ salmon jumped further down! The place was filled with big fish but they weren’t very aggressive unfortunately. Elias managed to get a hit on a spoon, but didn’t hook the fish. As I was reeling my spoon for the zillionth time, I saw a familiar fish behind my spoon: a big 50cm perch! I twitched my spoon a bit and she took it right a my feet, and after

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a short fight she was back in the river. On the way back to the lodge we tried to do some harling but the scorching heat was definitely not playing in our favor. In fact we arrived right in the middle of a heatwave, which isn’t good at all for our beloved salmon. Combine that with low waters and blue skies and you have the toughest conditions for salmon fishing! Despite the heat we could still see fish jumping and rising throughout the day, so deep inside I still had a little hope. While Elias parks the boat on the shore, he gets a call from Toni: they are on a salmon again! It’s another

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beautiful chrome female that will put on a great fight and will boost my confidence for the next day. The two guests are thrilled, they both caught their salmon! For my last half day, we decided with Toni to go harling in the morning around 8am. But I was so focused on catching a salmon that I decided to fish from 4 to 8, in order to maximize my odds! Completely zombified by the non stop fishing and little sleep, I still managed to wake up and hit the river on time by myself. As I was slowly wading upstream, I suddenly heard something in the bushes. Even though bears are


FINLAND TRAVEL

One of the two nice females caught by Toni and his guests during our stay.

rare in the area, I was still on my guard but happily it was “just” a reindeer a few meters away! I tried every little pocket, every big boulder I saw, but nothing happened and I didn’t see a single salmon jump that morning. I was slowly making my way towards the lodge and casting at the same time, when I reached a spot that Toni calls the “salmon riviera”! Despite the fatigue and the mosquitoes, I was totally focused on my spoon and started hammering the area. Boom! Once again I get a big split-second hit, but do not hook the fish. I cursed for a few minutes

on my rock then I got back to the lodge for a nice coffee before heading back out with Toni for my last chance! While we finish our coffees inside the lodge, Toni puts two tackle boxes full of handmade wobblers on the table, and asks me to pick six. There’s just too much choice here. I finally make up my mind and chose six wobblers with distinct colors and patterns and we hop on the boat. Toni has been running Salmon Finland for over 16 years, he literally knows every single rock in the river! As the water got lower SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

Toni seems very happy with the 6 lucky lures I picked: I keep my fingers crossed!

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We really had a blast fishing for these magnificent creatures on dries with Elias.

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TRIP CONTACT For more information on booking a trip with Salmon Finland, contact Toni Kuusisto: toni@salmonfinland.com salmonfinland.com

Toni’s biggest salmon to date : a 19,3kg, 126cm behemoth!

each day, it is quite useful in order to avoid hitting a boulder with the boat. Arrived in a sheltered area way upstream, Toni puts the boat on the bank and, like always, he tests the swimming action of every lure tied on the 6-rod spread. Since these “Lilli” wobblers are handmade, they all have a slightly different action in the water, which makes every one of them very unique. Toni seems very happy with the 6 78

lucky lures I picked: I keep my fingers crossed! We get back in the current and start putting out the lure spread. Toni starts rowing and the slow, calm drift toward the lodge begins once again. As we were getting closer to the end and my hope was slowly dying, a fish hit one of the wobblers, in front of the lodge. I start reeling the other rods but Toni brings me back to reality: it’s not a salmon! Effectively the fish on the other end of the line had clearly nothing to do SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

with a strong Baltic salmon, it was just a small pike! Unfortunately luck wasn’t on our side this time, but we still made great memories with Toni and Elias, and really had a good glimpse of the huge potential of this area. We can’t wait to get back in the great Finnish wilderness and chase these uniquely big fish. With the right conditions, this place has nothing to envy to other world class salmon destinations


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 SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

?

WHAT’S

NEW

BOTE LONO ENGEL HD30 COOLER The Engel HD30 is one of the best soft sided cooler available on the market. What separates the Engel soft-sided cooler from the competition is the fact that the Engel HD-30 is entirely welded while most of its counterparts are sewn. By welding all seams, warm air is kept out, dramatically increasing the life of the ice or ice packs inside. The welded seams help to ensure there will be no air or water leaks, and allow the softsided HD-30 to keep beverages cold for 4.5 days in 90°F temperatures.

$239.99 | engelcoolers.com

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Introducing the reimagined pedal drive compatible LONO Aero 12′6″ Classic Teak Inflatable Kayak. Whether you’re hitting your favorite fishing spots on the weekend, gearing up for a water borne expedition, or just hitting the local launch with your family, it’s time to say goodbye to compromise. Constructed with AeroBOTE Technology the Lono goes from travel bag to 12′6″ kayak in minutes. Packs down to just 39 × 18.5 × 13.5 inches and 70 lbs. Travels comfortably in its high-quality roller bag.

$1499 | boteboard.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

STRIKE KING S11 ROGUE

SEAGUAR BASIX FLUOROCARBON

Featuring eleven layers of superior polarized lens technology the S11 Optics have scientifically engineered lens colors, bi-gradient mirror treatment, providing the extra protection from sunlight and reflection. S11’s Super Hydrophobic Coating repels oils, dust, and water which prevents water spots. Anti-reflective coating prevents light from bouncing off the rear of the lens to the eye, resulting in a clearer, non-distorted image.

Made from 100% custom Seaguar fluorocarbon resins, Basix is virtually invisible underwater and provides anglers with a covert approach for targeting finicky and pressured fish. Designed with a goal of producing a more budget-friendly fluorocarbon, the Seaguar Basix Fluorocarbon Line offers the incredible knot strength and abrasion-resistance you expect from Seaguar, but at a price point that everyone will love.

$39.99 | strikeking.com

$9.99 | seaguar.com

SIMMS FREESTONE CHEST PACK The Freestone Chest Pack gets where it needs to go with multiple carry modes — wear it comfortably on your chest or strap it to a pack — and it includes a compression-molded main compartment and a drop-down workstation for smart, compact fishing functionality. The 330D Nylon Ripstop fabric with polyurethane backside coating is lightweight yet durable and the multi-functional harness design allows standalone, side-by-side or wader/pack attachment modes. Accessory attachments include: Tippet Caddy, Floatant Holster, and internal keyclip.

$89.95 | simmsfishing.com

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BERKLEY POWERBAIT AGENT E The PowerBait® Agent E is the latest creation from Bassmaster Classic® and MLF Bass Pro Tour Champion Edwin Evers! The bottom dwelling Agent E swimbait has an ultra-low center of gravity and skids along the bottom to imitate lifelike bottom dwelling prey. The built-in rattle provides that extra enticement for extra strikes! Edwin’s custom designed hook-keeper sheds the nastiest grass and debris while easily collapsing to hook the slightest bites.

13FISHING JABBER JAW DEEP This bait is as unclassifiable as anything we’ve ever created, and we can’t hit the mute button on loud and furious. The chattering bill is rigged inside the full metal jowls which give it a roaring resonance as it bangs side to side. Introduce your local fish to a new level of chaos. Finished off with VMC black nickel hooks, this bait will land more high fives and fist bumps than a game of beer pong.

purefishing.com

GREYS FIN REEL The FIN reels are the first range in the entirely new Greys reel family. A beautiful performance reel in a never before seen Di-cast construction. The FIN is constructed from durable injection molded aluminum that undergoes two unique machining processes to perfect and polish it to a stunning multi-color finish. The reels are fitted with a full rulon disc brake system that provides a sturdy smooth drag. The fully enclosed frame prevents line escape and is designed with a large arbor spool for rapid retrieve and line care. The Greys FIN reels set a new standard in performance fly reels at an affordable price. Supplied with a reel pouch.

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$12.99 | 13fishing.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

OKUMA SERRANO The Serrano features a 6BB + 1RB precision stainless steel bearing drive system for long, smooth casting and the Quick-Set anti-reverse bearing bodes well for solid hook sets. The precision cut, high strength brass main and pinion gears are smooth running and very durable. The Serrano has plenty of stopping power with multi-disc drag washers for consistent performance. And gone are the days of the professional overrun with the externally adjustable magnetic cast control system that helps to slow the spool in conditions that call for extra control and finesse.

okumafishing.com

SHIMANO NASCI FC SMITH’S REGAL RIVER PLIERS Smith’s new Regal River Aluminum fishing pliers are made from 6061 aluminum with stainless steel jaws. Pliers feature diamond hook sharpener, fillet knife sharpening slot, split shot crimper, side cutters, and incorporate coil pring for quick and easy use.Affordable and lightweight, the pliers come with a locking latch, line cutter spring-loaded design, split-ring teeth and more.

$25 | smithsproducts.com

The new Nasci Spinning Reels includes the same great features that made the previous generation a favorite of many anglers, including the coldforged HAGANE Gear technology that provides unparalleled gear durability compared to reels with diecast or machined gear construction. Also returning is Shimano’s X-Ship and CoreProtect technologies to maximize winding power and keep your reel’s internals protected from the elements. New to the lineup of features is SilentDrive which increases gear tolerances to a micron level to reduce unnecessary noise and vibration for increased reeling performance.

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SPAIN

EBRO

CATFISHING Text and photos by Babs Kijewski

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Girl power, beware Mequinenza!

equinza in Spain is a renowned European predator fishing venue. Be it for zander or black bass, but especially for catfish, the iconic fish of that area. To say that Mequinenza is the hotspot of catfish angling is a bit of an over statement, but it’s definitely one of the best places in Europe. So, time to go there for a road trip with some friends! 86

Cecilia Grönberg and myself started this trip on a Sunday mid-afternoon arrival at Barcelona airport. After a quick check of the weather and the fishing conditions, we headed out for a 2-hour drive to Mequinenza, our base camp for the next few days until Friday. It is located in a relatively poor part of Spain, right in the middle of the famous cities of Fayon and Caspe. You will find nearSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

It’s the end of summer, and sadly most of the river was full of algae.


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Cecilia, the pelagic fishing specialist, teamwork! Landing a big king with aSuccessful juvenile catfish.

salmon on the fly is something one will never forget!

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ly everything at Mequinenza, including a fishing shop for permits, fishing gear and also few restaurants and small supermarkets that have everything you need for your stay. Just be careful about worms! As the postal service is really slow, half the time they arrive dead and the stocks in the shops are always low! So, just to be on the safe side, we brought some with us on the plane to be sure we could fish at least for a few days. You can also find frozen squid in the local supermarkets, the perfect smelly treat to add to your treble hook when targeting catfish!

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It’s the end of summer, and sadly most of the river was full of algae and the surface was covered with duckweed. This will potentially be a serious issue, combined with a 28°C water temperature! No doubt that many fish will die from these conditions. Bearing this in mind, we decided to fish upstream from the dam area where the water was clearer. Let’s get started Cecilia is one of the most famous Swedish pelagic zander anglers, and quite possibly the best. For those that know

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A lot of fish swam up from the bottom to sniff at our rigs but then went straight back down.


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The beautiful arid scenery of Mequinenza, the Spanish Mecca for catfish.

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her, it’s little surprise that she came with her Garmin sonar and her 2 Panoptix PS30 and Panoptix Livescope LVS12 transducers to try to catch catfish pelagic style! During the first morning, we prepared everything: shopping for food, sorting out the fishing gear so that we were ready to begin at the end afternoon when the sun began to set, with the scorching temperatures lowering a bit! We also had to find a way to mount the transducers and sonars on the boat, but after few tries, everything seemed fine

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and at last we were ready to start fishing. Fishing pelagic style with that kind of high-tech electronics is really interesting and instructive as you can clearly see how the fish react. The least we could say is that during the first day, they didn’t react well at all! A lot of fish swam up from the bottom to sniff at our rigs but then went straight back down. The worst thing was that if we used the outboard engine, they all just vanished. The same thing happened as soon as we tried to use the clonk! So, as our

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We stopped the boat at the tail end of the bay and after few casts, we caught a few bass and zander.


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Small fish, but big smiles! The muddy definitely didn’t make it easy but still lots of fish were caught during the trip.

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A few minutes later, and it was Cecilia’s turn to hook the first catfish of her life!

usual strategy for catfish was a no-go and the heat was still stifling, we decided to have a go for black bass in a nice bay. We stopped the boat at the tail end of the bay and after few casts, we caught a few bass and zander. Rapidly the few became a lot! Ok, they were not that big, but what fun to have found the trick that enables you to catch fish and have such a great time! When a storm ruins the perfect plan We had planned to meet very early next morning in order to fish the coolest time of the day, then come back to the fishing

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camp to rest a little bit and head back out mid-afternoon until night. Such a strategy is pretty tiring and constraining, but at least we would be able to fish the best periods of the day. When the alarm rang, everybody was already awake due to the impressive storm that had been raging most part of the night, heavy rain had literally flooded the normally arid area. No choice, we had to change our plan: we decided to wait for the rain to calm down a bit and then try for catfish with lures in a river where water would have a higher oxygen level. When


SPAIN TRAVEL

The mean jaws of a Mequinenza zander.

we got to the spot, the water was muddy, and we could see a lot of weeds in the shallow areas… but also fish! After a few casts, I hooked the first catfish of the trip! It was an average size one but on a light rod and only few metres from the shore, the fight was awesome! A few minutes later, and it was Cecilia’s turn to hook the first catfish of her life! A smaller one but catching the first cat of your life in such testing conditions is just so special, the sensation of pure

elation you get as you watch it swim away is one that you’ll remember a lifetime. It is also really satisfying to have been able to beat weather and find the active fish. As we were getting ready to leave, the cameraman had a go with a rod and hooked a fish on his first cast! The fish was a little bit bigger than the two before, but after few minutes of an epic fight packed with crazy rushes and mad headbutts, the fish spat the hook! That’s fishing, you cannot win them all! We tried another potentially good spot, but the flow SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

was too strong and algae too thick, we just couldn’t fish it correctly. Strategy for success With all information gathered from the first two days, we decide to fish “stealth mode” the third day. We planned to travel for nearly half an hour with the boat to reach a spot where the catfish would be less pressured, to fish early in the morning, in 10 to 15 metres of water and target small bays. After a long refreshing run with the boat, 99


TRAVEL SPAIN

100

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021


SPAIN TRAVEL

Long lipped crankbaits and softplastic lures were the two best options to catch zander.

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

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TRAVEL SPAIN

Another nice zander for the author.

things seemed to be going as planned, the spot was packed with fish! As soon as, the first fish appeared on the fish-finder’s screen, it swam straight up to our rigs. But once again, things didn’t go as planned and they just came and nibbled the worms, leaving the squid on the treble hook, without getting hooked! As the sun rose and the heat started its relentless assault, we decided to go back to bay where we caught the zander on the 102

first day and have some fun on lures. Pelagic style Cecilia was beginning to figure the catfish out, so it was now time to try again to catch them pelagic style, the kind of fishing she really excels in. After few tries, her first pelagic catfish was finally hooked! Fishing like this for these fish is quite testing as they move a lot and it’s difficult to folSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q3 2021

After few tries, her first pelagic catfish was finally hooked!


SPAIN TRAVEL

low them with the boat while keeping them in sight on the fish-finder. But with perseverance and some serious boating skills, it’s possible! For the rig and animation, nothing really changes from clonk fishing: a big lead weight, a leader with strong braided line and a treble hook loaded with big worms and slices of squid on it. But instead of drifting slowly with the current, wind or using an electric motor, when pelagic fishing you need to go faster. The boat is always moving, eyes focused on the sonar to locate the fish thanks to the LVS12 transducer that spots them in front of the boat. Once the target is found, you then must position

the boat on top in order to see it with the PS30 transducer and then drop the rig just above it. In most cases, the fish will come up to see what’s happening, if not, clonk a bit to get it to react or to attract other fish to the spot. Thanks to a mix of fishing styles, depending on the weather conditions, the week ended with few more fish. It was a successful trip despite the difficult fishing conditions, and proof that adapting your techniques can really make a difference. It was also an unforgettable trip shared with good friends, in a lovely place and with a lot of laughs: the essence of fishing

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