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ISSUE #2 | Q2 2018

MONGOLIA

IRELAND

GENGIS KHAN’S KINGDOM

DONEGAL LOCH TROUTS

SPAIN

CATFISH MADNESS

BRAZIL THE RIO DEMENI

INDIA

HIMALAYA’S GOLDEN MAHSEER

+ TESTED AND APPROVED : MAHSEER TACKLE & OUTDOOR GEAR SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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CONTENT ISSUE 02 | Q2 2018 6

Editorial

42

India

8

News

66

Tested & Approved

12

Spain

68

Tested & Approved

26

Mongolia

70

Ireland

90

Brazil

38

Protect our waters !

News from the sportfishing industry

Ebro Delta Catfishing Experience

Gengis Khan’s Kingdom

New Gear

A selection of the latest tackle

Himalaya’s golden mahseer

Mahseer fishing tackle

Outdoor gear

Donegal loch trouts

The Rio Demeni


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8 12 26 42 70

38 66 68 90


WHERE ARE WE TAKI

IRELAND

BRAZIL

SPAIN


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

INDIA

MONGOLIA


EDITORIAL PROTECT OUR WATERS !

Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

All around the globe, the increasing human population is threatening endemic animal species, including some of your favorite game fish. During our trip in India, we were informed by the guides that a massive dam was going to be built on the exact area we fished on the Mahakali river. Thousands of people will lose their homes and lands, and the beautiful river and forest will become a gigantic deep lake. The dam will produce electricity for India and Nepal, but at what cost ? I remember when I was told about the dam, sitting near the bonfire on the river bank after a long day’s fishing, looking around me trying to imagine how this beautiful paradise would look like once the dam is built. It seems like the only means to preserve these kind of places is to make them protected national parks, declare certain species as protected and find cleaner ways to produce energy. As sportfishermen we must take note. Increasing demand for water, the damming of rivers throughout the world, ISSUE #2 | Q2 2018

MONGOLIA

IRELAND

GENGIS KHAN’S KINGDOM

DONEGAL LOCH TROUTS

SPAIN

CATFISH MADNESS

BRAZIL JUNGLE FISHING

INDIA

HIMALAYA’S GOLDEN MAHSEER

+ TESTED AND APPROVED : MAHSEER TACKLE & OUTDOOR GEAR SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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the dumping and accumulation of various pollutants, and invasive species make aquatic ecosystems some of the most threatened on the planet, It’s not surprising that there are many fish species that are endangered in both freshwater and marine habitats. The American Fisheries Society has identified 700 species of fresh and saltwater fish in North America as being endangered, amounting to 39 percent of all such fish on the continent. Across the globe, 1,851 species of fish, 21 percent of all fish species evaluated, are at risk of extinction as estimated by the Internation Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including over a third of sharks and rays. We fishermen know what to do ; practice catch and release, respect our waterways, avoid polluting and educate future generations. Dylan Smith

Cover shot : our guide Sanjay from the Himalayan Outback holding the trophy 26 lb mahseer of the 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 Rudy Van Duijnhoven Chad White Petr Prochazka Steve Townson

Special thanks Amazon Angler The Himalayan Outback

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


NEWS WORLDWIDE FISHING

WORLDWIDE

NEWS LEFTY KREH PASSES AWAY Lefty Kreh, one of the most famous sportfishermen of all time, died in his home in Cockeysville, Maryland on March 14th, 2018. Bernard «Lefty» Kreh moved to Florida in 1965 and discovered saltwater fly fishing. With numerous articles, videos, TV shows, collaborations with fishing brands, the globe trotter fishing journalist inspired generations of fishermen all over the world. His universally effective fly patterns and legend will live on forever. 8

2018 WORLD RECORD GAME FISHES BOOK IGFA World Record Game Fishes is the world’s definitive publication of recreational angling records. The 2018 edition includes comprehensive information on all freshwater, saltwater and fly-fishing world records for all-tackle, line classes and length-based catch and release records, including new world records set in the last year. In addition, the publication features a wide variety of unique content like Ten Fishing Tips & Techniques from IGFA Hall of Famer Bill Dance, tales of angler achievement like the Billfish Royal Slam on the Fly and stories around important conservation topics, including one titled Swordin’ for Science.

store.ifga.org


WORLDWIDE FISHING NEWS

CAST A WINSTON, WIN A WINSTON The R.L. Winston Rod Company has annonced its new 2018 Sales Program, Cast a Winston – Win a Winston. This simple program is designed to reward customers who cast any Winston rod at a Fly Fishing show or Winston Dealer event by entering them in a free raffle for a chance at winning the Winston Kairos rod of their choice.

winstonrods.com

RECORD PENDING MASSIVE COBIA ON THE FLY French fishing guide Anthony Guénec spends his winters working in thte Bijagos Archipelago for the Acunda fishing camp. On a day off fishing with his 13 year-old son Mathéo, Anthony spotted a huge cobia cruising near the surface. Mathéo teased the fish near the boat with a popper, then daddy presented a big streamer to the fish. The fish immediately took the fly and the battle lasted over an hour. The monsterous fish weighed an impressive 42 kilos (92.5 pounds) and will probably be the new world record on a fly rod. 9


NEWS WORLDWIDE FISHING

LAST MINUTE OFFERS FOR MONGOLIA Fishing tour operator Ingol has informed us that a few rods are still available for this season in Mongolia. Last minute offer :

EFFTEX 2018 HELD IN AMSTERDAM The European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition’s 2018 edition will be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. All members of the association of manufacturers and wholesalers of sportfishing equipment EFTTA are invited to present their offers. The exhibition includes some of the biggest names of the industry including manufacturers and distributors of fishing tackle, fishing clothing, floats, fishing lines, life jackets, nets, scales and more... From June 28th through June 30th. Make sure you get your tickets !

efttex.co.uk

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Tengis camp June 14th to 28th: Fishing on Shishkid river in wild national park. Price: 2 600 USD Selenge Rashant camp September 27th to 10th October: Fishing on beautiful river Selenge, accommodation in our the most luxurious camp. Price: 2 800 USD Delger Moron September 3rd to 18th: Fishing on crystal clear river in national park, adventurous trip with rafting and horses. Price: 2 800 USD For more information, please contact Ingol. Email: ingol@ingol.cz Tel.: +420 577 211 115 GSM : +420 603 164 061


WORLDWIDE FISHING NEWS

JAKUB VAGNER IS DAM’S NEW SPOKESPERSON World famous angler Jakub Vagner, originally associated with MadCat, is now DAM’s new spokesperson and will be promoting the brand. Vagner is « the perfect person to represent DAM as overall spokesperson because he has enormous experience as an all-round angler using DAM tackle» says DAM-owner Hans Massbøl. Famous for his National Geographic TV show Fish Warrior, Jakub has fished all over the world and has extensive knowledge on different types of fishing, which makes him a perfect match for the brand.

ILLEX 2018 CATALOG French brand Illex released its 2018 catalog. From extremely well built rods for perch or tropical predators like GTs, to lures, fish attractants, terminal tackle, fishiing accesories and float tubes, the new catalog has an impressive variety of products.

issuu.com 11


TRAVEL SPAIN

SPAIN

EBRO DELTA CATFISHING EXPERIENCE Text and photos by Chad White

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


SPAIN TRAVEL

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L

Fighting a big Catfish from the foredeck.

ast summer brought about the opportunity for me to fish several days for the famous monster Catfish of the river Ebro situated in the North Eastern corner of Spain. Now I must admit that in advance of the trip I was not quite sure what to expect from this. Much of what I had seen on the TV seemed to show crowded banks, a barren landscape, and a ‘fishing by 14

numbers’ type of approach. However, what I found over the course of the next few days was a fantastic fishing experience which was as far removed from this stereo type as could be imagined! First impressions Perhaps the first thing to mention in terms of a ‘big game’ fishing trip was the sheer ease and convenience of reaching the destination in comparison to some of the other far flung SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

A fantastic fishing experience which was as far removed from this stereo type as could be imagined


SPAIN TRAVEL

orientation in advance of the fishing. That evening we took advantage of the local taxi service and headed down into the nearby resort L’Ampolla, where we enjoyed the local speciality ‘paella marinera’ with a drop of Albarino, a superb dry White from Galicia in very civilised surroundings. We returned to our villa that night in suitably high spirits and full of anticipation for what lied in store. Let battle commence The following day saw the commencement of fishing and we followed Al down to the closest slipway around 10 minutes away from the Villa in the town of Amposta. All fishing on the Delta section of

the Ebro is carried out from boat due to the largely inaccessible nature of the banks, which are heavily lined with banks of tall reeds. The boat was ideal for the job, an excellently maintained 18ft Carolina Skiff JVX with a 60HP Honda on the back. We headed up river for around 10 minutes, and to my total surprise did not see another boat, we had the river to ourselves! The fishing method is essentially a ‘stake out’ approach with bottom baits being taken out by the Guide from a small inflatable tender and lowered carefully into gulleys and clear spots alongside huge banks of weed in some of the shallower sections of the river. Plenty of free offerings are distributed

voyages that I’ve embarked upon, half way around the globe! A two hour Easy Jet into Barcelona from the UK, pick up the hire car, and within 90 minutes we were pulling in to our accommodation for the next few days, a charming, rustic villa nestling in typical Spanish countryside amongst Olive groves. We received a friendly welcome from our fishing guide, Al Henderson, and over a couple of beers were given a brief SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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TRAVEL SPAIN

A beautiful 165 pounder caught in the fading light. 16

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


SPAIN TRAVEL

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TRAVEL SPAIN

around the hook-baits, and we were assured by Al that we would be fishing around 4 or 5 pre baited areas during the course of the day. Once the baits are in position it’s a case of sit back and enjoy the surroundings while waiting for a pick up. The Delta is a real mecca for birdlife so you can observe some great sights, and we were lucky enough to spot Osprey, Marsh Harriers, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Hoopoe and 3 different types of Egret amongst others!

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

Action! After around 90 minutes with just a few plucks from the nuisance fish, Channel Catfish, which are typically just a few pounds in weight, we decided to move on to the next swim. The baits were positioned and within around 15 minutes, bingo, the Shimano Baitrunner 12000 OC was spinning, and this time it was the real deal! As advised I picked up the rod swiftly and whacked into the running fish, only to connect with fresh air, a


SPAIN TRAVEL

A lower Ebro giant in excess of 170lb. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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TRAVEL SPAIN

The Ebro Delta is home to numerous beautiful bird species like these flamingos.

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


SPAIN TRAVEL

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swing and a miss! The bait was repositioned and I was relieved to hear that it is not uncommon to miss a take, as the fish are very wary of resistance and pick up the baits in a cagey manner which is somewhat in contrast with their rather numb looking appearance. The good news on offer was that the same fish would be likely to return to the bait within around half an hour, so I sat in anticipation of the run, holding my rod with finger hooked round the line ‘touch legering’ for a hundred pound fish! Sure enough, around 20 minutes later I felt a sudden tighte-

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ning on the line and with no hesitation, Whack, I slammed into the bite and felt the Daiwa Uptider immediately hoop over. Sluggin’ it out! These Wels Catfish don’t really look like they are built for speed so I was absolutely gob smacked by the sheer running power of the fish, which set off like an express train, stripping line at quite an alarming rate! The other rods were cranked in, and the anchors had to be left behind with buoys attached as we fired the engine to go

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

I was absolutely gob smacked by the sheer running power of the fish, which set off like an express train


SPAIN TRAVEL

Huge head of a Catfish close to 190lb.

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TRAVEL SPAIN

The Ebro delta attracts amazing gamefish like this 50lb leerfish.

after this hard running brute which was now in excess of 100 metres away. Eventually the fish found some heavy weed growth and the final part of the battle involved a skilful process of steadily coaxing the fish through the weed into open water, where a further 10 minutes of fighting around the boat had this monstrous Cat ready to be gloved onto the boat by the guide. With the fish on the deck of the boat it was time for the high fives and celebrations, and I must say that in the flesh, these Catfish have a kind of prehistoric aura about them which perhaps pictures cannot do justice to. After the customary 24

photographs the Catfish was released quickly back into the water, and glided off showing little sign of distress. I must admit it was an almost surreal sight to see a fish of this size (in excess of 150lb) casually mooching back into a freshwater environment! Only the beginning The trip was a great success in terms of the fishing, with each of our 3 days on the boat yielding 2 Catfish and 4 of the 6 fish caught exceeding 100lb, with a biggest of 167lbs. The guiding was pro-active and first rate, Al has 19 full seasons of guiding under his belt and this knowledge realSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

Sunset on the lower Ebro vista.


SPAIN TRAVEL

ly shone through. It was remarkable to be able to enjoy fish of this size and power so close to home and on a budget which makes this kind of adventure affordable to people from all walks of life. Along with the Catfishing we were also able to fish for Black Bass and Sea Bass with light spinning gear whilst waiting for the next bite, which really helped to pass time in between Catfish takes. Trying to extract the Black Bass out of the thick weed-beds on surface frog imitations was great fun! We were also advised by Al that during certain months

of the year (mainly in May and June) there is a good run of both Bluefish and Leerfish which enter the river and can be targeted on medium weight lure gear close to the estuary. Sadly we were a little bit late in the season for this, but were quite happy to keep hauling those huge moggies! A fond farewell The final day of our trip was a late departure, but instead of fishing a half day we opted to take Al up on the offer of a trip into the salt marshes at the end of the Delta where some fabulous birdlife was observed, with the highlight

being the vast flocks of Greater Flamingos. Looking out over this sea of pink, you have to pinch yourself to remember that you are not in the great Rift Valley in Africa as hundreds of these majestic birds sift through the silt. In conclusion we enjoyed a fantastic break and the trip exceeded my expectations of the Ebro Catfishing experience in every way possible. With all this possible just a few hours journey from home, I left this beautiful destination vowing to return next year – to catch a bigger one !

TRIP INFORMATION

For more information, and how to book a catfishing trip in Spain: ebro-catfishing.com Al Henderson: ebrocatfishing@hotmail.com UK contact: 01943 876941

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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TRAVEL MONGOLIA

MONGOLIA

FISHING IN GENGIS KHAN’S KINGDOM Text and photos by Petr Prochazka

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MONGOLIA TRAVEL

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TRAVEL MONGOLIA

S

eems like the never-ending journey as a skilled Mongolian driver brings our fishing expedition closer to making our lifetime dream come true. Ever since we left a small airport in the regional town of Moron we haven’t noticed any civilization’s mark. The asphalt road ends and the first meters of earthen path disappear under our jeep’s wheels. The road really tests our toughness. It’s surrounded by endless prairies with lonely yurts and by extensive mountain ranges. The peaks pierce the azure sky in the distance. We pass by herds of horses and cattle who freely pasture here in peace. 28

Many groups of anglers from all around the world come here every year to battle with predators of trophy sizes. Ten days full of unique fishing in the one of ten fishing camps which are almost all located in highly protected national parks. But life in the beauty of unrestrained nature of Mongolia, which reaches almost all natural zones by its breadth, is hard and tough. Despite that, the hospitality and friendliness of local people are notorious. Just like their pride and mystery as descedents of Genghis Khan, the great conqueror. Our expedition is aimed at the foothills of the wild mountains of Eastern Sayan, right to the richly planted valley near SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


MONGOLIA TRAVEL

the Shishkid river canyon, where Genghis Khan’s army used to pass through. This is where we await the unique battle with the king of local rivers - the Taimen. This is the magnificent trophy that most of anglers aim for as they journey thousands of miles to these inhospitable conditions of Mongolia. After a lonely, multiple-hour ride, we overnight in a standard equipped log cabin camp on the Tengis river. In the morning we continue to our base camp on the Khanagai river. The camp is located approximately 20 kilomeSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

ters downstream in the national park’s wild taiga, so we plan to float down the river by raft boats. The log cabin camp in Khanagai is comfortable and provides quality service from the beginning of the season in mid-June after the fish’s reproduction, when they become very active. Our own assistants take care of anglers for the whole summer to season’s end in mid-October, when insulated apartments with a warm shower and great meals are really appreciated after hard fishing in cold weather. Despite the tough weather conditions, fish are predacious and catches are recordable. Shishkid river is full of great locations for fly fishing, just 29


TRAVEL MONGOLIA

Famous angler and photographer Bram Bokkers with 30 SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018 a beautiful trophy Amur Pike from Khalkhingol river.


MONGOLIA TRAVEL

like the Tengis or the pure and clear Delgermoron, which is located near Russian borders. Crystal-clear waters are guaranteed by limestone rocks, untouched taiga, but mainly by strict rules in this highly protected area. The number of incoming anglers to Mongolia is limited by fishing licenses and that’s the reason why the promise of trophy fish here is guaranteed – trophy Taimens in

Shishkid or beautifully dotted Amur pike in Khalkhingol river, which meanders through shrubs and grass steppes near Chinese border. Khalkhingol river is better for spinning fishermen, but there are also good spots for fly fishing. Beyond the trophy Amur pike, Khalkhingol river is home to big taimens and two precious species of lenok, Mongolian asp or Amur catfish. Mongolia offers additional treasures of crystal-clear

Graylings of the Altai grow up to trophy sizes. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


MONGOLIA TRAVEL

Kazakhs still hunt with eagles in the Altai mountains, it is a 4000-year old tradition.

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TRAVEL MONGOLIA

Tengis river also provides many successful fishing locations.

rivers from the Altai Mountains in the Northwest, where the river Khovd runs out of Khoton Lake to Khurgan Lake.The endemic graylings grow up to trophy sizes over there. And they are accompanied by another endemic species : the Altai Osman. In the early morning we leave Khanagai camp. We ride saddled horses through the unrestrained taiga to battle huge specimens of taimen, lenok or grayling. Every day we try new fishing spots; stony roads under slopes lead us to deep pools – hiding our desired fish. Today and tomorrow we lodge in a small hunting hut, where the guide is warming up the stove. I and the rest of the adventurous fishermen 34

The Selenge river is surrounded by amazing scenery. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


MONGOLIA TRAVEL

are preparing our fishing gear and lures. We go on through the virgin nature by foot, down to the clear wild river. I am now standing on a bank throwing the first bait. After the second cast, the first strike appears. I leave the beach and get closer in the water. Seems like a really big, heavy fish. I am balancing upon the surface, then I kneel and try to drag in various positions with all my muscles tighte-

ned. Majestic fish don’t give up without a battle. It is fighting with all its strength and moving down the beautiful river with its tail fin exposed. I feel it in my bones, it’s the catch of my life. After a grueling fight, I finally carry the fish in my arms. It’s beautiful, healthy, wellfed male taimen and measuring 130 centimeters. I am holding his orange tail fin in my left hand. Orange color passes into the shiny black of

his huge body. My right hand caresses the back of this majestic animal, which has stopped writhing. I thank him for the opportunity to fight with him in a really hard battle, he was an equal and worthy rival. He made my biggest dream come true. I caressed him for the last time, kissed him goodbye and released him back into the river in perfectly fine shape. I accompany the other anglers, full of satisfaction, back to the wooded hut in the

Beautiful Amur Pikes can be caught on the Khalkhingol river. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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Reindeers of the wild Tsaatans.

middle of the forest, where a fresh meal is waiting for us. The next morning we are in the saddles again for a trip to altitudes of 2 500 meters to meet wild tribes. The wild taiga mountains are home to 36

nomadic Tsaataans, original Siberian inhabitants. The name “Tsaatan” – a man who has reindeers – reminds us that they are the last reindeer keepers living on the world. Now we arrive to a grassSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

land behind the forest, where there are several modest abodes covered by leather, resembling an Indian’s teepee. There is a herd of reindeers freely grazing nearby. Men, women, children, young or


MONGOLIA TRAVEL

Evening we meet the local shaman. This visit is really unique and mystical. Mongolians have true respect for him. By calm live ritual music and an odor of slightly narcotic herbs we let natural and spiritual powers cleanse and soothe our tired bodies and souls. A tough return back awaits us. A friendly farewell by traditional ceremonial dinner and prepares us to return to our hectic lives. But tonight, we fall asleep under an obsidian black sky punctuated by a billion shiny stars

TRIP INFORMATION For more information on booking a trip in Mongolia, please contact Ingol. Email: ingol@ingol.cz Tel.: +420 577 211 115 old, they all live here in an absolute harmony with nature, far from the borders of our busy civilization. They wear typical Mongolian clothes, which we are able to try on. We are invited to taste a

typical local specialty, a meal from a reindeer meat. It’s really tough and the most of us eat it with some difficulty. The family playfully mocks us and has a good laugh. They are very friendly people. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

ingol.cz

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

WHAT’S

NEW

?

SAVAGE GEAR 4D LINE THRU PERCH The new Savage Gear 3D Line Thru Perch features a full 3D Scan of an actual Perch. Available in Firetiger, Perch, and Albino and comes impregnated with scent. Available in 2 sizes- 6 ¾”2.25oz and 9”- 5oz. They all feature a slow sinking action. The new 3D Perch has a new internal harness that allows for a thicker line to be passed through as well as a line thru modifier.

$15.99 -$19.99 | savagegear-usa.com

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OKUMA MAKAIRA SPINNING Okuma releases the follow up, and next step in the Makaira spinning reel family, the 10,000 size. Built with the same forged aluminum and machine cut body and side plate process, these reels were built from the strongest materials available. The new 10,000 size reel has the same great features as its bigger brothers. With its 23 different oil-retaining o-rings and gaskets, the Makaira spinning reels were built to withstand the most brutal conditions the ocean can throw at them. Available in left and right hand editions, the Makaira 10,000 comes with an Ergo Grip, soft touch handle design for comfort and speed. The 10,000 reel puts out an incredible 55-lbs of pure drag pressure through is carbonite high output drag with Cal’s drag grease and Okuma’s Dual Force Drag system. With a 4.9:1 gear ratio, you can pick up 40” of line per turn of the handle. The reel also features ability to go long on the battle with a giant, coming in with a capacity of 415yds of 50lb braid. The Makaira 10,000 is backed by Okuma’s 5-year limited warranty.

$699.99 | okumafishingusa.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

DAM G-FLY REEL This DAM fly reel is the perfect reel to learn fly fishing. Made of high grade 6061 aluminium, the G-Fly reel has an impressive drag for the price : 5 kg of stopping power. If you’re looking for a great performing, not-expensive fly reel, it is hard to beat the G-Fly.

dam.de

TENRYU SPIKE TRAVEL Tenryu’s new 3-piece rod was designed for traveling anglers. Available in three 8’ models ranging from max 100g to max 200g lure weight, these high end Japanese rods are perfect for casting big topwaters. Guides are combination of Ocean Top, Ocean Guide and K-Guide with stainless frames and SIC rings.

fishing.tenryu-magna.com

WESTIN MONSTER TEEZ RNR

RAPALA MAG SPRING PLIERS

Designed for big pikes and muskies, the Monster Teez RnR is a pre-rigged soft bait. It has an internal weight and two attaching points on the head to match every situation on the water. Magnets in the lure keep the hooks in position while casting, avoiding tangles. Weighs 203g and 25cm long, available in 10 colors.

These tough pliers are made of 420 stainless steel with tin-nickel alloy plating. The ingenious Mag-Spring system keeps the pliers open and ready when your other hand is busy. Includes a pivoting sheath with belt loop and clip.

westin-fishing.com

$24.99 - $27.99 | rapala.com

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

STORM 360GT SHRIMP The 360GT Shrimp features a segmented body that displays a natural looking tail action. The realistic legs swim and kick on the fall while the flat bottom design keeps bait upright when resting on bottom. Available in 3’’ and 4’’size and 11 colors.

$5.99 | rapala.com/storm

WESTIN MONSTERVIBE COLORADO

Sometimes pikes just want a big chunk to chew on. The new Westin Monstervibe Colorado spinnerbait is the perfect match for those situations. The two Colorado blades make lots of vibrations and keep spinning even when retrieved slowly. Weighs 65g and available in 6 colors.

westin-fishing.com 40

SIMMS G3 GUIDE STOCKINFOOT WADERS Simms’ G Guide Stockinfoot Waders are designed for hardcore anglers. Made of Gore-Tex, the waders feature 5 layers on the lower part and 3 on the upper part. Seams are placed outside of pressure points to avoid worn zones and therefore increase significantly the wader’s longevity. Made in Montana, USA.

$499.95 | simmsfishing.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

RAPALA X-RAP LONGCAST SHALLOW DAIWA EXIST LT The Daiwa Exist LT is probably one of the finest lure fishing reels ever made. This new version boasts all of Daiwa’s latest innovations, with an amazing 10kg drag on the different models. Another interesting fact is its weight : only 205g for the biggest model, the 4000 !

This version of the X-Rap was designed for extreme casting distances, when you need that extra distance to reach the fish. A steady retrieve gives a wobbling action or walk-the-dog for a slashing action under the surface. Features VMC inline single hooks. Available in 12cm and 14cm, 18 colors.

$13.79 - $15.49 | rapala.com

$799.99 - $849.99 | daiwa.com

BOOYAH TOADRUNNER This frog lure’s particularity resides in its paddle tail between the legs. The 360-degree roatating tail creates a plopping sound that attracts fish from far. A molded-in wire allows you to bend the paddle to change ethe action and match any situtaion you may encounter.

booyahbaits.com

LOON OUTDOORS FLY TYING TOOL KIT Featuring 7 essential fly tying tools packaged in a heavy duty travel case, this kit from Loon Outdoors is perfect for first-time or long-time tyers !

$89.95 | loonoutdoors.com 41


TRAVEL INDIA

INDIA

HIMALAYA’S GOLDEN MAHSEERS Text and photos by Dylan Smith and Himalayan Outback

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TRAVEL INDIA

A beautifully colored mahseer. Their colors can slightly change from one specimen to another.

W

e had just crossed the river Saryu to reach our camp for the next few days. We had barely come to water’s edge when Bobby, the head guide, asked us to quickly look behind a large rock situated 20 meters downstream. Sure enough, behind the swirling water, my fellow fishermen John, Byron and I could finally catch a glimpse at the fish we came so far to encounter : the magnificent Golden Mahseer ! A day exploring Old Delhi for the first time, prior to depar44

ting for the Uttarakhand province, was nearly overwhelming with the ambiant chaos, the seeming disorder, sights, sounds and smells that I’d never experienced before. It was at Indira Ghandi airport that I met my fellow fishermen guests, John and Byron, both friendly and capable fishermen from the United States. We set off together toward the Himalayan foothills with mahseer on our minds. We spent our first night, en route, in the beautiful Te Ahora lodge, nested at an altitude of 7000 feet. The comfortable beds and luxurious ameniSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


INDIA TRAVEL

ties were most welcome after a long trip from Delhi. Our last leg of travel by car had brought us to our first location on the banks of the Saryu river, not far from the Nepalese border in the Uttarakhand province in Northeast India. We were warmly welcomed by our guides for the adventure ; Sanjay, Russin and Himalayan Outback’s head guide, Bobby, who invited us to board a « cat » (inflatable catamaran) in order to reach the campsite

Spey casting is an excellent method to get these heavy tube flies far out. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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Everyday, beautiful landscapes and long walks await the anglers. Make sure you bring confortable wet-wading boots as most of the fishing is done by walking or hiking.

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on the other side of the river. After a quick refreshment and a briefing on the campsite, Bobby proposed that we meet in the afternoon under the dining tent to talk about tackle requirements and assist us in our preparations. He showed us the selection of fly rods available, excellent 8 and 9 weight setups for either single or doublehanded. He equally revealed his « treasure chest » of flies and indicated which patterns

and designs would be productive, mainly tube flies and sculpins. Once we were debriefed and prepared, we were off to dinner. The first Indian campsite meal we experienced, all confectioned on the spot by the chef, the dal rice and massala butter chicken he served was succulent and promised good things to come for the tough days ahead.

While were enjoying our meal in the evening heat, we could hear enormous splashes in the river right in front of our camp. We were informed that the mahseer is extremely active at night, which certainly got my attention… Before retiring that evening, Bobby announced the next day’s fishing configuration and accompanying guides; John would fish with Sanjay, Byron would fish with Bob-

Cows are holy animals in India, they roam freely everywhere in the country, even in remote places ! 48

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Mahseers are extremely active during the night, we often fished a few hours after sunset.

by and I would go with Russin (each guide would fish a half day with one guest and then switch). Our start time was set for 3 :30 a.m. the next morning for an early start. Midnight mahseer Although the heat and fatigue encouraged me to sleep, the relentless splashing of mahseer on the river’s surface prevented me from drifing off…The best solution I found was to hop out of bed, 50

A quick view of the famous Black Rock Pool on the Saryu. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


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Although the heat and fatigue encouraged me to sleep, the relentless splashing of mahseer on the river’s surface prevented me from drifing off…

tie up a Rapala X-rap long cast on the spinning outfit I’d brought and make a few casts only meters from my tent. After a few minutes, in the middle of the night, my lure was hit hard. A modest mahseer of 2 kilos appeared under my head lamp. Small but beautiful, it was my first ! I quickly admire it before releasing it safely. These fish are magnificent creatures, even at night, but extremely slippery !

Early riser’s reward Next morning broke too quickly and we were on our designated spot at 4 :00 a.m. It’s still fully dark and Russin and I are fishing where the warm and clear Saryu meets the colder and darker Mahakali river. We started off fly fishing with Bobby’s custom-made tube flies. The technique required casting

Delicious Indian breakfast on the Saryu’s bank. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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Although Himalayan Outback doesn’t provide spinning gear, you can bring your own. It can be a game changer when the fish don’t eat your flies !

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toward the opposing bank and letting the fly drift, in similar fashion for salmon fishing. An hour of fruitless attempts on the last 50 meters of the Saryu prompted me to switch to spinning and lures. Once again, I tied up last night’s Rapala X-rap and targeted the swirling pools near the junction of the two rivers. Fifteen minutes and boom ! I’m startled by a violent attack and a healthy run. The fish feels much larger than my first, even if the current is a factor. Russin confirms my thinking by saying « nice fish sir » and prepares his pliers. All the guides with Himalayan Outback are perfectly equipped from head to toe,

A typical house in Chuka.

ready and able to assist. An exhilarting combat finally brings the fish into Russin’s arms. We estimate it at about 12 kilos. Its large and hard scales

Our to reach ADVENTURES Chuka. MAGAZINE | Q2 2018 54 chef working his way on the river SPORTFISHING

remind me of an armored coat. Imagine an armored barbel and you get the picture. Russin gives it a proper and respecful release and it gracefully returns to the swirling pools from which it


INDIA TRAVEL

Our campsite near Chuka. The village is only half a mile away.

came. What a great way to start the day ! An epic fight A few days later, we were fishing together with Sanjay about 2 kilometers upstream from the river junction on a wide portion of the Mahakali with strong current. My guide mentioned that the water level was suprising low. A sandy beach gave way to a rocky point which seemed perfect for casting with a spinning outfit. This time I used up a Rapala X-rap jointed to change things up a bit. It pro-

ved to be a good idea. After three quick casts to judge my distance and adjust the lure action in the current, bam ! A powerful strike sends my adrenalin levels off the chart. A blistering run puts a beautiful arc in my rod and my reel’s drag screams in discontent. The fish was using the current to run downstream for atleast 100 meters, nonstop, causing me to nevously monitor my line capacity. Sanjy is running downstream holding the braid above his head to keep it axay from the sharp rocks. I’m scrambing after him while attempting to maintain tension. I finally reach another sandy beach SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

area where I stop and realize something is wrong. No more movement, just a strange tension in the line. I immediately resign myself to the fact that I’ve lost the fish as it skillfully used the rock formations to outwit me. Yes, I vocally manifested some desperate frustration ! Sanjay is not convinced. He’s seen it before. I enter the water and try different angles to break free with no luck. I’m definitively stuck somewhere. The current movement and gentle line tugs give me some false hope as I force myself to believe it’s not over. From the Nepalase side of 55


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The biggest fish of the trip, a beautiful 26 lb specimen from the Mahakali river. The unusual bump over his mouth means this fish is mainly a bottom feeder.

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Top: Closeup on the 26lb mahseer’s head. Below: A selection of the most effective tube flies of the trip.

the river a group of villagers observing the scene, most certainly entertained by my plight, respond to Sanjay’s request and propose to use their make-shift raft and inspect the entry point of my line. Is it stuck ? Do you see a fish ? At that very moment, by some magical fishermen’s luck, the line breaks free and the fish is still on. I decrease my drag in fear of a damaged, frayed line and resume my mobile routine of following the fish downstream. The fish has sought refuge in the mid-river depths. At this point I’m sweating bullets and pro58

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bably suffering from acute high blood pressure but fifteen minutes later, near the river back, I get color. We see a very large caudal fin break the surface. It’s a beautiful specimen. Sanjay wades in and carefully seizes the fish. After a few quick photos the fish is weighed : 25 pounds ! Sanjay gives it the customary « thank you » kiss releases it as the Nepalese villagers watch the scene. What a complicated and stressful fight with a hap-

py ending ! Sometimes you wonder how a fish throws your hook and sometimes you wonder how they stay on… Chuka village After 4 days on our camp on the banks of the Saryu, we’re up early for an incredible 90 kilometer raft expedition towards the isolated village of Chuka. The village is mentioned in Jim Corbett’s

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essays and books. Packing in an entire camp and loading several rafts in a monstrous job but the staff had experience and knew exactly what to do. John and I were together on a raft with a guide while the rest of the personnel were divided among the remaining embarcations. On longer trips, I was told, they even carry live chickens (for meal preparation) and they too get an exciting rafting adventure. Reaching Chuka is an expe-

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Mahseers have huge armor-like scales. They’re the size of those of a tarpon, but much thicker ! 60

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rience in itself. After a long river descent, punctuated by monkey sightings, negociating rapids and waving to villagers, we arrive at afternoon’s end. The river banks are different here with a denser vegetation in abundance. The next morning we begin to explore the area and size up the fishing opportunities. Certain pools were wide and deep separated by shallow rapids. Bobby remains confident despite the low water levels. The weather is perfect for mahseer fishing ; not a cloud in the sky under a burning April sun.

In spite of the promising conditions, no fish were taken that morning, neither by spinning nor on the fly. We’ll try again soon. After lunch and to afford ourselves a break, we visit Chuka and meet some villagers. We are indeed in another world ; they live in modest houses made of brick and dried earth. They live on what they cultivate and take care of themselves when sick. Electricity in Chuka is quite recent and only consists of a solar panel to power an incandescent light bulb in the evenings. In fact, the trips managed by

The weather is perfect for mahseer fishing ; not a cloud in the sky under a burning April sun

Mahseers of this size are common on the Saryu and Mahakali, but they’re very smart and spooky ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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The amazing untouched scenery near Chuka. While fishing, you’ll most likely never see another fisherman in this remote area, inhabited by monkeys, leopards and eagles.


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Himalayan Outback as they pass through Chuka represent a means to earn a bit of money as they are employed to assist with camp setup, water-fetching and so on. Our return to fishing that evening resulted in a general skunking for all of us with no fish taken. Just a friendly reminder that the mahseer is finicky, wary and quite difficult to catch. This trend continued during the next day, most likely due to the low water levels. However, as persistence pays, it was perhaps after a thousand casts on a shallow rapid further downstream I spot a shadow with my polarized Wiley X glasses. I’m on the flyrod now and I’m stripping a tube fly quite close to the mahseer. It hits the fly, makes an agile u-turn and downstream he goes for a run. I succeed in landing it with Russin’s assistance near

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the bank. Very nice 5 pound specimen Even the smaller mahseer are terrific fighters ; agile and powerful, they are like armored torpedoes. Sightfishing for mahseer in India ? YES ! Even in these tough conditions, we were all able to catch mahseer during our trip. For my colleagues and I this was an unforgettable trip deep into the Indian wilderness. Our nights spent on the river banks listening to mahseer breaking water, the outstanding food prepared by the excellent chef, the encounters with local villagers, the lessons learned fom the guides and especially the spectacular mahseer will certainly remain engraved in our memories. One thing I know for sure, I’ll return to incredible India once again to chase the amazing and mystical mahseer

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TRIP INFORMATION

For more information, and how to book a fishing trip in India, contact Himalayan Outback Website: himalayanoutback.com Email: info@himalayanoutback. com Phone: +1 443 766 3644 (US) +91 981 560 5847 (India)


saltydogfishing.co.uk +44(0)7515 738 100

Travel Fishing West Africa


TACKLE TESTED & APPROVED

TESTED&APPROVED: MAHSEER TACKLE

INDIA PENN CLASH 6000 The two biggest fish of the trip were caught on the spinning rod, using this reel. Its powerful drag did a great job on stopping these big fish when they tried to take advantage of the river’s current. The handle is comfortable, even during long fights. Also, the bail is very thick and strong, that can be important on rivers where you’re likely to slip and fall on rocks every day while wading, and damage your reel.

$239.95 | pennfishing.com

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BERKLEY FIRELINE 8 CARRIER Smooth casting and good abrasion resistance.We used 54lb braid on our spinning reel and the braid performed very well. In fact, a big mahseer got the braid stuck under a rock in the middle of the river for five minutes. After reeling the fish in, the guide checked all my braid and it didn’t even have the smallest nick!

$19.99 - $199.99 | berkley-fishing.com


TESTED & APPROVED TACKLE

BKK LONE DIABLO HOOKS

RIO INTOUCH STREAMERTIP

A great fly line for casting streamers. We used the S6 model and the sink tip gets your fly down very quickly. The heavy head loads the rod perfectly, allowing you to throw those big flies in just a few casts.

$89.99 | rioproducts.com

Mahseers are brutal with hooks. These were recomended by the Himalayan Outback staff and they performed very well. Although we used crushed barbs only, No fish were lost nor any hooks bent. The small ring helps greatly for putting split rings on. Recomended sizes for mahseer : 1/0, 2/0 and 3/0.

bkkhooks.com.au

ELKHORN AMP-908-4 ROD

ROSS EVOLUTION R SALT If you’re looking for a fly reel with a very strong drag, the Evolution R Salt is definitely what you need. With its 16-disc sealed drag system delivering a mind-bending 30 pounds of drag pressure, the 7/8 model we used perfectly kept mahseers from running too far downstream. Also, the counterbalances make the spool’s spin really smooth when the fish runs. A beautiful, tough and lightweight fly reel.

$595.00 | rossreels.com

We tested Elkhorn’s 9’ 8 weight AMP (Absolute Maximum Performance) on the Saryu river and were amazed by how smooth this rod casts. With its medium fast action it was perfect for casting streamers, and very convenient to travel with (4 pieces, sold with a rigid travel case). A well built and designed fly rod ! Highly recommended.

$359.00 - $429.00 | elkhornflyrodandreel.com

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GEAR TESTED & APPROVED

TESTED&APPROVED: OUTDOOR &

INDIA

TRAVEL GEAR

PELI 2780R HEADLAMP The Peli 2780R headlamp was perfect for night fishing. It’s Peli’s most powerful headlamp with 558 lumens of light. The main LED had easily twice the reach of the other headlamps on the camp. The second LED, with its large beam pointing down, gives you the ability to see your path and also avoid blinding the person you’re facing. Another good feature is the USB lithium ion battery with charge level indicator. No more batteries needed !

$78.76 | thepelicanstore.com 68

CATERPILLAR S31 SMARTPHONE An excellent smartphone for tough conditions. The S31 is IP68 certified (waterproof and dustproof), can withstand 1,2m of immersion for over 30 minutes, and can fall from 1,80m without any damage ! It has a long lasting 4000mAh battery, an 8 MP camera and runs on Android.

catphones.com


TESTED & APPROVED GEAR

WILEY X BOSS & PEAK SUNGLASSES These glasses performed very well during the trip. The Wiley X polarized lenses give you a longer sight reach than most polarized glasses. They’re tough, great looking and durable, just like the case they’re sold with. The guides were amazed by the Boss’ Facial Cavity feature. During the dry season, sand and dust can be a problem. It was very useful during those afternoon sandstorms!

BUFF ORIGINAL UV HEADWEAR In some places, you just can’t go fishing without headwear. Buffs protects your neck, shoulders and face. And thanks to its moisture-managing microfiber fabric that’s wind resistant and able to control odor, it is perfect for those long hot days of fishing.

$25 | buffusa.com

$80.00 - $160.00 | wileyx.com

AIRBOLT SMART LOCK ANKER POWERCORE When no electricity is available for charging your electronic devices, power banks are very useful. The Anker Powercore stocks 20100mAh of charging power. That’s 7 Iphone 6 charges ! Features 2 USB slots and sold with a micro USB cable and a housse.

$43.99 | anker.com

A very clever TSA-approved digital travel lock for your luggage. They’re weather resistant and rechargeable by micro USB. Simply download the app and pair your Aibolt with your smartphone and you’re ready! The lock works both manually and via Bluetooth.

$79.95 | theairbolt.com 69


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IRELAND

DONEGAL LOCH TROUTS Text and photos by Rudy Van Duijnhoven

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A small Lough Beagh seatrout that took my fly close to the shoreline.

B

etween Malin in the far north-northwest and Ballyshannon in the south of Donegal, there are at least ten estuaries of rivers where you can flyfish for seatrout. The estuary of the River Erne alone is several kilometers in length and despite the fact that there are hardly any seatrout running up this river, there are huge numbers of seatrout in the estuary. These fish are, no doubt, attracted 72

by the huge amount of food that is to be found here; especially in the form of sandeels. Walking or wading along the many sandbanks and gullies in this area, you will see schools of small sandeels everywhere and the seatrout love to hunt for these prey-fish. The season is open from the 1st of March until the 30th of September and next to the seatrout, mullet and mackerel can be caught here as well. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

You will see schools of small sandeels everywhere and the seatrout love to hunt for these prey-fish.


IRELAND TRAVEL

The flyrod is used a lot here to fish for seatrout, but so is the spinning rod in combination with a lure, a strip of mackerel or a dead sandeel. The larger seatrout, fish of up to four pounds in weight, are mainly caught in the beginning and at the end of the season, during the summer months it is mostly the smaller seatrout (finnock) that are caught here. Even though the whole area can be reached by walking the sandbanks, a boat comes in handy to transport your gear and to reach sandbanks in the middle of the river. Michael Patton works for Inland Fisheries Ireland, but he is also active as a guide in this area. From his house one has a magnificent view across the

A selection of Erne flies.

Foxhall house.

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Lough Beagh is without doubt one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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delta. Markus Müller and myself eagerly accepted the opportunity to explore this delta together with Michael. To say that Michael knows the delta like the inside of the pocket of his pair of trousers, is just an understatement. Gadgets Markus and myself would start with the flyrod, Michael would use the spinning rod

at first. In this estuary it is mainly intermediate flylines which are used, but floating flylines are worth a try too. Looking at the amount of sandeels in the water, imitations of these are a logical first choice. The ‘Gadget’ is a well known pattern in this part of Ireland, it is tied with a body of flat silver tinsel, a tail and back of peacock fibers and a head of the same material. Other imitations of sandeels can be just as suc-

Casting flies on the Lackagh River. 76

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cessful though. The length of the imitations we fished I kept to about eight centimeters, because that was the length of the sandeels that we saw swimming in the water. A line tray comes in handy, because of the flow in the water, to reach some distance when casting, Michael advised us not to wade far from shore right away. Due to the tidal currents there can be conside-


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78 ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018 A nicely marked brown trout for MarkusSPORTFISHING from Glen Lough.


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rable differences in the depth of the water and you will often find that the seatrout are hunting behind you when you wade too far! Taking care while wading is advisable too, we saw upon arrival how a spin fisherman tried to take a shortcut from some rocks towards the shoreline. The water was a lot deeper than he expected and he ended up with a pair of waders full of water. Good thing he had some dry clothes with him in the car. At first we fished along the sandbank where Michael had put the boat in the water, later we used the boat to reach hot-spots on the south side of the estuary and some sandbanks. Michael was very successful with the natural bait that he fished actively, but the lures were taken by some nice seatrout too. When fishing with a combination of a spoon and a fly, he even hooked and landed two seatrout at the same time, one of which was of a nice size. For sure a sign that there are a good many seatrout in this area. With the flyrod we had no shortage of action either, a lot of takes, quite a few fish that threw the fly prematurely, but we landed around ten seatrout between us too. Swirls and sprays of water being thrown into the air indicated that there were sea-

A nice seatrout for Michael Patton from the Delta of the Erne.

trout present here hunting for sandeels. Next to the Salmon License a special, local license is needed as well to fish this water SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

for seatrout. This license can be ordered from Inland Fisheries Ireland, Station Road, Ballyshannon; tel. +353 (0)71 – 985 1435. 79


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Exceptional nature Donegal has the visiting flyfishermen or -women a lot more to offer in terms of special fishing waters. Lough Beagh, for instance, is situated in the middle of the beautiful Glenveagh National Park; due to the breeding season of the birds it can only be fished from the 15th of July, the season than runs until the 30th of September. From Glenveagh Castle one has an exceptional view across the water. The lake is one of the most beautiful, natural and

original waters of Ireland, with numerous special plants and animals around it. It is not allowed to fish this water from the shore or by wading, but there are two boats with outboard engines that can be rented for a day. Lough Beagh is in the first place a water where one can flyfish from a drifting boat for brown trout and seatrout, but salmon are hooked and landed on a regular basis by this method as well. The brown trout are generally small, but fish of two to three pounds in weight are caught

The lake also holds a population of Arctic char [...] by the end of the season, they often come to the surface to take a wet fly

At the Castle Grove House Hotel you will find a quiet atmosphere and excellent meals. 80

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every season. The lake also holds a population of Arctic char, few people fish for these especially, but by the end of the season they often come to the surface to take a wet fly. Some flies that are recommended for this water are: Peter Ross, Teal Blue and Silver, Wickhams Fancy, Butcher, Connemara Black, Fiery Brown and Alexandra. You need some wind to fish the Irish lakes in the traditional manner and that is, very unusual, what we had a shortage of by the end of September. Very often the water was calm like a mirror, with

very light winds at some moments that kept us moving a bit. No good circumstances when you want to cover a lot of water, but lucky enough we still managed to catch some brown trout and a single seatrout from the water along the shoreline. Easily accessible The Lackagh River is a short river of about three kilometers in length that flows from Glen Lough to Sheephaven Bay. A lot of work has been done in recent years to get a better access to the river and SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

more work is planned on the river so more salmon and seatrout can move up the river and spawn here. Through Inland Fisheries Ireland you can buy a license to fish the left bank of the river (looking downstream), the right bank is in private ownership. The spring salmon will move upriver as early as January and this run lasts until the month of April. Grilse will run the Lackagh River from the end of June and this run remains in full force the full month of July. In the month of September the first of the larger autumn salmon will move 81


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There are numerous small and large pools on the Lackagh River that you can fish successfully with the fly. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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upriver. The fishing for seatrout is at its best from July. The river can be fished with both the single and the double handed flyrod, at the wider parts the double hander is the better choice when you need to make some mends when fishing back your fly. Floating flylines are a good choice here, if need be combined with an intermediate or slow sinking (interchangeable) point of the flyline or a poly-leader. Early in the season small tubes like a Willie Gunn are fished here, the Badger and different shrimp patterns are good choices later in the season. Seatrout are mainly caught at night here with patterns like the Mallard and Claret, Donegal Blue, Connemara Black or a Peter Ross; flies that are tied on a hook size 10 or 12. Like everywhere else it is advisable to make use of the services of a guide when you come to a new water for the first time. He will give advise on what equipment to use, on how to fish your salmonfly (do I need to speed it up?) and he will bring you to the best parts of the river. Often you can also pick up some tips on how to improve your casting technique, so using the help of a “ghillie� is holiday money well spend. The season runs from the 1st of January until the 30th of 84

Markus with one of the many seatrout that took our flies. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018


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September. Large brown trout Glen Lough is especially famous for its seatrout fishing, but salmon are hooked and landed regularly as well. The seatrout are on average up to two pounds in weight, but fish double that weight are often caught too. The lake also supports a healthy population of brown trout, John McLaughlin - our guide said, with a lot of these fish in weights of two to three pounds; in recent years even some fish of up to nine pounds

in weight have been caught! On this water it is also not allowed to fish from the shore, but boats are available for rent. Peter Ross, Teal Blue and Silver, Wickhams Fancy, Butcher and Connemara Black are some of the popular patterns on this water. The water can be fished as well from the 1st of January until the 30th of September; licences are for sale and boats can be rented at the same petrol station in Termon and at the Log Cabin Bar in Creeslough. Lough Fern is a shallow lake of

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around 180 hectare in size that is also best fished from a boat; still the lake can be fished from the western shore as well. The water holds large numbers of brown trout, according to our guide John McLaughlin, most of which are between ž and 1,5 pounds in weight; trout of up to four pounds in weight are often caught as well though. Great sport can be enjoyed here all through the year, but the periods that the mayflies and buzzers are hatching are easily the best. Some patterns that are suggested for this water are Mallard & Claret, Connemara Black, Black Pen-

John McLaughlin brings a brown trout to the boat on Lough Fern.

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The trout of Lough Fern are beautifully marked.

nell, Wickham’s Fancy, Bibio and several sedge patterns; but you can also follow your own preferences in terms of dry flies, nymphs and small streamers. The trout will often look for food close to the shoreline and around the beds of water-plants and are usually found in the top layers of the 86

water. The season on Lough Fern runs from the 15th of February until the 30th of September. Sea-fishing Through the Donegal Angling Holidays website it is also possible to book SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

a day of sea-fishing with one of the eleven charter-boat companies that are listed, these all have certified boats with which they can take a number of people out to sea. The coastline of Donegal holds large numbers of fish of a lot of different species, among others


IRELAND TRAVEL

there are cod, pollack, ling, wrasse, ray, dogfish, blue shark and even bluefin tuna to be caught here. When you book a boat with a number of flyfishers, you can try for several of these species with the flyrod and fast-sinking lines as well. You just need to tell the skipper that a depth fifteen to twenty meters of waters is about the maximum for this method of fishing. When you have never fished for pollack with the flyrod, I am sure you will loose the first few fish that take hook on your streamer! An eight to nine pound pollack is hard to stop on a flyrod when it heads back for the rocks below... If you do not have “sea legs”, there are also numerous possibilities

to fish from the shore, the rocks, piers or the beach; a fishery that is free and easily accessible. From the website you can download and print a number of PDFmaps, on these over 120 hot-spots are marked along the coastline of Donegal. For accommodation in Donegal there is a large supply of hotels, B & B’s, lodges and self-catering holiday homes, all of which can be booked through the website. You have the choice from standard accommodation up to five star luxury. This, together with the fine restaurants we came across in Donegal and the quietness, space and nature that are still available here, made our stay in this county for us more than worth the effort

Information Inland Fisheries Ireland Email: ballyshannon@fisheriesireland.ie Website: www.fishinginireland.info Donegal Angling Holidays Website: www.donegalanglingholidays.com The Creevy Experience Email: info@creevyexperience.com Website: www.creevyexperience. com Foxhall House and Selfcatering Accommodation Email: thebarn@eircom.net Website: www.barncottageholidayhomes.com Castle Grove Country House Hotel Email: reservations@castlegrove. com Website: www.castlegrove.com Guides and tackle shops: Michael Patton Inland Fisheries Ireland Email: michaelfpatton@yahoo.ie John McLaughlin Lough Swilly Angling Center Email: jmclswillyflies@eircom.net Website: www.donegalanglingcentre.com Facebook: loughswillyflies Carty’s Land & Sea Sports West End, Bundoran Co. Donegal, Ireland Website: www.landandseasports.ie

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KNOTS THE UNI KNOT

FISHING KNOTS:

UNI KNOT

The Uni Knot is one of the most famous fishing knots, and is very easy to tie and dependable. This knot can be used for tying lures, line connections and more.

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ADVENTUROUS MAHSEER FISHING TRIPS IN NORTHERN INDIA’S HIMALAYAN OUTBACK info@himalayanoutback.com himalayanoutback.com


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TUCUNARES OF THE RIO DEMENI Text and photos by Steve Townson

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The author with his favorite fish.

T

o those who know me well, saying that I’m a Peacock Bass fanatic is probably the understatement of the century! I live for the Amazon and for me the Amazon equals mega Peacock Bass fishing. It’s what I cut my teeth on 20 years ago and this fish is guilty of making me give up my day job and becoming a full-time Amazon outfitter. I am also the 2005 and 2006 Amazon Peacock Bass World Champion (and still the 92

only and reigning one) so I think I know my stuff! It’s in the blood, it’s what I do …. The stories told of Peacock Bass and their top-water strikes are legendary. These amazing top predators hit surface lures with such ferocity, that it’s hard to take in how much noise just one fish can make. Arm-wrenching strikes on flies, minnow lures, soft plastics and buck tail jigs are also the norm here and no other freshwater sport fish will attack lures and flies as SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

If your lure is in its ‘zone’ then the Peacock Bass will want to kill it or eat it!


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hard or with such pent-up anger and aggression as these species. If your lure is in its ‘zone’ then it will want to kill it or eat it! My last Peacock Bass trip was in January and having arrived at the Eduardo Gomes International Airport in the bustling city of Manaus, Brazil, my travel-weary guests and I stayed the night at the Quality Hotel. Early the next morning, everyone was transferred by an air-conditioned bus to the Eduardinho Airport, (the

small supporting airport next to the international airport), boarded one of Rico’s Cessna 208 Caravan floatplanes and took off from the runway towards our fishing destination. While flying over huge swathes of rainforest and tree canopies, as far as the eye can see, it’s impossible not to feel humbled by the vastness of these untouched Amazon regions. There are more species of flora and fauna per square mile in the Amazon rainforest than anywhere else in the world. We passed over so many tantalising rivers

ADVENTURES 2018 A floatplane is the ONLY way toSPORTFISHING get to these farMAGAZINE away| Q2 destinations in a short period of time.

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Mark Edwards and his trophy 18lb peacock bass.

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Making your way in the jungle can be a real adventure !

(there are over 1,000 tributaries of the Amazon River itself) towards our home for the week, our mobile ‘Cabaçeiras Floating Pontoon Camp’ on the Rio Demeni in the State of Amazonas. Touching down gently on the black water river, we saw that the water levels were absolutely perfect: low and dropping, with many san96

dy beaches out of the water - the perfect scenario for top-quality Peacock Bass fishing. After an early lunch, everyone was anxious to get fishing and once introduced to their guides, we were off to a flying start! Our ‘Cabaçeiras’ or ‘Headwaters’ Floating Pontoon Camp caters for a maximum 12 guests and is air-condiSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

After an early lunch, everyone was anxious to get fishing and once introduced to their guides, we were off to a flying start !


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black water tributary of the Rio Negro. Everyone caught fish after fish during the week. My colleague Bill Day (from billschannel and Amazon River Monsters) and I filmed yet another promo video for Amazon-Angler.com and we were rewarded by some incredible explosive fishing! Most of my bigger Peacocks

exploded on prop baits and Spooks, and for sub-surface takes, buck tail jigs (with extended tails) and a couple of minnow baits did the trick. But the most fun I’ve had in a long time was catching Peacocks from 2-16lbs casting Texas-rigged (weedless) 7-inch soft plastic flukes into the trees and over branches. This deadly method gave me the advantage of being able

tioned throughout. It has six twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a big dining room/ chilling area and a separate upstairs lounge with TV, sofa and chairs. Food and drinks storage, a complete kitchen and a laundry area are set up on another smaller barge linked behind the main pontoon and the whole camp is moved up or down river by our supply boat on our chosen SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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The beautiful red tail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) also inhabits these waters. They are prized sportifsh because of their strength and size, reaching up to 100lb.

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All reels must have smooth drags or it’s over before it’s even started! Peacock will wreck fishing gear…

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to cast into areas where no other lure could reach without getting hung up. I carry only a few types of lures in my tackle box to save on weight, which include 4-5 large prop baits like Rip Roller from High Roller or Peacock Rippers from Klures, 4-5 Saltwater Super Spooks, 4-5 inch minnow baits. I also bring 50+ soft plastics like the Zoom Super Flukes and 50 of my own Stevie Stinger jigs in soft zip-lock plastic

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bags. It’s all too easy to bring every lure you have on our tours, but baggage weight on floatplanes is a major safety issue. Rico Airlines have restricted everyone to weight limits of 33lbs in a soft duffel bag within the floatplane’s pontoons and 11lbs in hand luggage for a total of 44lbs (20kgs) max. For lure fishing, my own set-ups are always simple. I use two Medium/ Heavy 6ft bait casting rods with 65lb braid and 5-6ft of


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Aimaras will attack the same lures you catch peacocks with. Their strikes are just as explosive.

60lb fluorocarbon leader for large surface lures and bigger minnow baits. For jigs, smaller lures and soft plastics I use a Medium 6ft bait casting or spinning rod with 50lb braid and 5-6ft of 40lb fluorocarbon. All reels must have smooth drags or it’s over before it’s even started! Peacock will wreck fishing gear… The way to use these big prop baits is to cast past the target point and use a fast rip, stop, rip, stop cadence all the way back to the boat. This is the ultimate in aggravating the fish to produce such explosive strikes. I use Spooks in a walk-the-dog style, pausing SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

sometimes for more effect, again casting beyond the target point and this looks very much like a snake or wounded bait fish zig-zagging over the surface. BOOOOM! A fast, jerking retrieve produces hard strikes with minnow baits and jigs too and will catch many more fish than on top water fair, but the ‘hit’ is still hard and solid and the fight always as tough! For all lures, bring a mixed bunch of colours to play with as Peacocks can be choosy from one day to the next. With soft plastics I slow-jerk them almost like a glide bait and it is a very visual way to catch Peacock Bass. Best colours 101


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for soft plastics for me were white/pearl and dare I admit it... shocking pink! There are many different fishing situations to catch Peacocks. As they are mostly structure related, this means enticing them out of their haunts in the trees in the lagoon systems to follow a bait and strike at it. But plenty of Peacocks can be caught out in the open too and I always try a cast or two into the middle of the lagoon. Points, laydowns and tree stands in the lagoons, and beaches in the main river system, all make for a beautiful backdrop to any fishing trip.

Imagine the shape of a Largemouth Bass but without the pot belly, then imagine it full of muscles on steroids, a jet engine strapped to the back of its multi-coloured body, then that is the Peacock Bass. When not in their spawning mode, Peacocks take on the ‘Paca’ form with horizontal white dots and dashes along purple/blue or brown flanks. At this stage they are built for speed, fighting and feeding and are called Pacas because they look like the Amazonian Jungle Paca or Agouti rodent, which has a similar fawn colouration. Pacas will

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PEACOCK FACTS Peacock Bass are not actually Bass, but members of the Cichla family (there are 15 recognised species of Cichlas), with the largest of them being our main target species - the Cichla temensis, Giant ‘Speckled or Three-Barred Peacock Bass’. It is also called Tucunaré Açu in Brazilian, but this name originates from the Tupi Indians and which means tree (Tucun), friend (aré) and Giant (Açu) or ‘giant friend of the trees’.


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Another great sportfishing species : the beautiful surubi catfish. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

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A beautiful peacock in its non-spawning «paca» color phase.

morph into their spawning uniform, with the dots and dashed disappearing and the three bars coming through to become full-blown, breeding and parenting Three-Barred Peacocks. When I ask people what they imagine the Amazon would be like, most say they reckon that it’s a mosquito-ridden, snake-infested swampland! That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the rivers we fish are black, tannin-stained waters due to 104

the process of leaves bio-degrading. The leaves are full of tannic acid and the rain water and rising water levels percolate through the leaves, sand and porous clay just like black tea. With its high acidity, there are zero mosquitos where we fish and most certainly no snakes aboard our fishing boats or camps. There are hundreds of lagoons all holding trophy-sized Peacock Bass throughout the region. Our trips are not only for SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

Peacocks will wreck your lures !


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anglers but also for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. Nearly all of our destinations give you close up and personal access to an incredible array of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Waking up to an Amazon dawn chorus, you’ll sure know about it! Parrots of every hue and colour yap away in the treetops; Macaws screech their way across the canopy at each other; and a multitude of birds and insects erupt in a cacophony of song and dance.

It’s rare to see most of the Amazon’s land-based mammals during the day as they’re mainly nocturnal, but it makes for a pleasant surprise to see wild Pigs, Tapirs or perhaps a Jaguar crossing the river. At night, Agoutis, Capybaras and other large fruit and nut-foraging rodents can be seen with a flashlight up on the banks along with the usual Caiman Alligators. Giant River Otters are frequent in the Amazon and they bark and growl at you as you invade their territory. These are their fishing grounds, so

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Giant River Otters are frequent in the Amazon and they bark and growl at you as you invade their territory.

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One of the many wonders of the Brazilian waters : the bicuda fish. They can grow up to 15lb and have an amazing aerial defence.

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As they get ready for spawning, the peacock’s stripes slowly darkens.

what are you doing there? There are two species of freshwater dolphins that inhabit the rivers we fish - the Tucuxi or grey Dolphin and its big cousin, the Boto or Pink Dolphin. Both species hunt fish in packs. A famous Indian legend alleges that a Pink Dolphin can morph into a beautiful young man and seduce the young girls in the villages. Many Indians still believe in it and forgive their daughters for getting pregnant at such a young age! Literally hundreds of goodsized Peacock Bass were hooked, caught or lost and the 108

best fish for the week weighed in at 18lbs by British angler Mark Edwards. Some more high teeners were caught too, mostly on jigs, soft plastics and top water lures. All in all, a great week for us all. My multi-national group consisted of British, Americans, Canadians and an Austrian fishermen. Flying back to Manaus with heavy hearts, my guests all stated they would be back. As I always say, “once you’ve been bitten by the Peacock bug, there’s no going back”, and it’s also true for these new Amazon addicts ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q2 2018

TRIP INFORMATION

For more information, and how to book a Peacock trip in Brazil, contact Amazon Angler: (US) toll-free 866 920 2814 (UK) 01832 275995 (EU) 00351 917812328 info@amazon-angler.com

amazon-angler.com


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Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 2 | Q2 2018  

Sportfishing Adventures magazine brings exotic fishing action and inspiring adventure stories directly to you. Each issue features gear test...

Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 2 | Q2 2018  

Sportfishing Adventures magazine brings exotic fishing action and inspiring adventure stories directly to you. Each issue features gear test...

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