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ISSUE 04 | Q4 2018

BELIZE

GUYANA

PERMITS ON THE FLY

JAGUAR CAMP

USA

ALASKAN RAINBOWS

SPAIN

MAURITIUS BIG GAME ISLAND

EXTREMADURA’S PREDATORS

TESTED : WINTER PIKE LURES SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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CONTENTS ISSUE 04 | Q4 2018 6

Editorial

70

Chunky Pike Candy

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Belize

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Alaska

24

Guyana

92

Mauritius

46

What’s new?

50

A better understanding is vital

Permits on the fly

Jaguar Camp

An assortment of the latest tackle

Spain

Extremadura’s predators

114

A choice of winter pike lures

A summer of rainbows

Big game island

Seen on the web

A selection of entertaining videos


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8 24 46

70

50 78

92

114


WHERE ARE WE TAKI

USA

BELIZE

GUYANA


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

SPAIN

MAURITIUS


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EDITORIAL A better understanding is vital

Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

During our trip in Mauritius, we were told by Aquila’s crew that they often see tuna fishing boats from Spain where they troll their lures. What are these boats doing so far from their waters? Are the fish gone from the Spanish coast? Are the Mauritian authorities protecting and managing fish stocks properly? In Spain, where we did the Extremadura article, the extremely hot conditions of summer put pike in death threat when they’re caught, because of the low oxygen in the water. Still, no regulations have been decided for pike fishing in Extremadura during the hotter months. The lack of scientific research on fish populations and behavior is a serious problem all over the world. We need to better understand these beautiful creatures in order to be able to continue to fish for them in 10, 20, 50 years. Even if they’re still very abundant, imagine what fishing in these areas would be today if they had been properly managed for 200 years ... Dylan Smith

COVER SHOT: Guide Craig Reid with a massive comizo barbel from Extremadura’s lakes.


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 Jim Johnson Steve Townson

Special thanks Iskander Mermet Extremadura Predator Fishing Horizon Fishing Aquila Fishing Golden Wave Fish Whisperer

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


TRAVEL BELIZE

BELIZE

PERMIT ON THE FLY Text and photos by Jim Johnson

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Some good-sized bonefish patrol in shallow water, make sure you bring a few flies to target them.

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lmost nothing in fishing gets my adrenalin flowing like spotting the characteristic black sickle tail of an actively feeding permit, which probably explained why my heart was racing out of control as I stalked a school of big permit. I had just caught a glimpse of the tip of a tail in the trough of the last wave set out in about 3 feet of water. When a tail pops up in 36 10

inches of water, you know you are looking at a bigger than average fish.. I turned my back to the next wave, with the fly in my hand and 60 feet of fly line stripped out next to me. Once the 3 plus foot wave passed over my head, I quickly snapped a roll cast forward to pluck the shrimp imitation from my fingers, sent a powerful back-cast out behind me and fired a cast forward into the wave SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

A big permit on the fly is our holy grail, and Belize is arguably the best place in the world to achieve this rare feat.


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trough where the fish were last seen. At the first strip, 3 permit peeled out of the school and raced the next wave for my fly. When the lead fish darted forward and grabbed the fly, I raised the rod as high as I could to allow the line to clear the coral that was all around me and let the 20 pound permit race away. Just as I turned to yell “fish on” to my fishing partners that day, the next breaker knocked me several feet across the sharp coral and drove my head underwater.

This is probably a good place to insert rule #1 for a successful flats fishing trip…flip flops make very poor wading shoes. A good neoprene wading boot will protect your feet from both the coral and the various ocean dwellers that might be looking for a snack. Once I managed to get my head above water and get my sandals back on my feet, I began the difficult task of beating the fish into submitting to a photo shoot. 25 minutes later, I proudly

grasped the tail of my hard earned trophy permit and created a memory that will be with me for the rest of my life. For the dedicated flats angler, a big permit on the fly is our holy grail, and Belize is arguably the best place in the world to achieve this rare feat. But Belize offers so much more than just great permit fishing. The northern part of Belize around Ambergris Caye is the best section of the

Belize is home to an amazing and colorful wildlife like this keel billed toucan. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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country to attempt to achieve the grand slam of the flats – a bonefish, tarpon and permit. To catch all three in a week is a great accomplishment. To land all three on a fly rod in the same day puts you in an exclusive fraternity indeed. The second longest barrier reef in the world protects the entire 26 miles of Ambergris Caye, creating a haven of perfect habitat for the tens of thousands of bonefish and permit to thrive in. It also shelters the flats from the waves, which allows fi-

shermen to safely access the beautiful white sand flats nearly 365 days of the year. I have spent lots of wonderful days stalking bonefish in both the Bahamas and the Florida Keys. Both are great destinations for larger bonefish, but for sheer numbers of bonefish opportunities, very few places can compare with northern Belize. The average size of the bones in Belize is smaller, with 2-4 pounders being common. Any fish over 5 pounds is considered a trophy. Many fly anglers will gear down to match the size

A healthy snook caught on the fly. Their strength and aerial defense make them a prized gamefish.

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The spin fisherman will catch fish until his arm hurts with a bit of shrimp for bait.


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by choosing a 6 or 7 weight rod and dropping down to a 10lb tippet, but don’t ever underestimate the power that even a smaller bonefish has to break tippets and make long runs into your backing. A handful of #8 bonefish fly patterns produce the majority of the success, with the Christmas Island Special being the hands down guide favorite. Just make sure you have a selection of heavy, light and unweighted flies. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a few

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flies with weedguards for the turtle grass flats, just in case. Rule #2: Having the correct weight on the nose of your fly is more important than the color or pattern you choose. The spin fisherman will catch fish until his arm hurts with a bit of shrimp for bait, or a small jig tipped with a rubber scented shrimp imitation. Just remember to spool the reel with very lightweight line so that you will be able to cast the very

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light jigs that are needed to stay above the turtle grass. There are huge schools of smaller bonefish feeding in the deeper flats and channels, known as “muds”. These muds are great for the beginning bonefisher to get lots of practice fighting fish, but to get the true bonefishing experience, an angler needs to stalk the bigger fish as they tail amongst the mangrove shoots in the numerous bays that populate the protected back side of Ambergris.

When you begin to think you have mastered bonefishing, ask your guide to take you into Congrejo, also known as the Crab Keys. This set of remote islands to the south of Ambergris hosts large numbers of bonefish that tail and feed on the dozens of shallow flats tucked into the protected bays and coves. These larger tailing fish will challenge even the most seasoned flats angler, sometimes seemingly immune to the best imitations we can put in front of them, biting our flies just often enough

A typical Belize resident tarpon. 14

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There are huge schools of smaller bonefish feeding in the deeper flats and channels, known as “muds”


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to keep us going back to try again. Belize also hosts a year ‘round population of tarpon that cruise the flats daily in search of food and a chance to dance on the end of a fisherman’s line. The larger tarpon in the 30 to 100 pound range cruise the expansive white sand flats located 7 miles behind Ambergris and the mainland. The mangrove shorelines of Ambergris are home to schools of “baby” tarpon in the 5 to 30 pound

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range that are great fun on a smaller 8 or 9 weight rod. A 10 weight rod is the standard for the bigger tarpon that haunt the deeper flats around places with names like Savannah Flats, Deer Cay and Long Cay. My favorite flies include the Puglasi minnow in mostly white, tan Tarpon Toads, and the old Stu Apte style classic cockroach. All tied unweighted on a 1/0 Gamagatsu or Owner Saltwater hook.

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As amazing as catching a big tarpon or bonefish is, for many of us, they just can’t match up to the great sense of accomplishment we feel after we have gone head to head with a wary permit and come out the victor. It wasn’t until my first trip to Belize several years ago that I tasted what it was like to beat a permit on his home turf. After landing over 70 of them since, I have to say that my fondness for them is still growing. Maybe after another 100 or so… Every successful permit angler has a theory as to how you should fish your fly. At the time of his passing a few years

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ago, Del Brown had landed over 400 permit. His favorite tactic was to throw a crab pattern right at the fish, as close as possible, and let the fly fall to the bottom. He estimated that 9 out of 10 permit would spook from the presentation, while 1 in 10 would take the fly. For Del, that was good enough to make it his go-to technique. Rule #3: for being successful on the flats is to ignore almost everything you read written by outdoor writers (like me) or wisdom passed on by so-called experts at your local fishing club. Most permit fishermen are coming up with their “secret” techniques that they have seen work once or twice. Even an expert like Del succeeds 1 time out of 10, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. Very few fly fishing authors or self proclaimed experts have had even that level of success

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Aerial view of Caye Caulker.

fooling permit with a fly. In most of the flats fishing world, it is possible to spend days and weeks between good permit opportunities, making it a slow and expensive process to become an accomplished permit angler. In Belize, we are often lucky enough to get dozens of opportunities per week at watching a wary permit react to our flies, allowing us the luxury of trying many different flies and techniques. Through trial and error (mostly error), we have 18

settled on some basic rules for success. These rules are just as applicable to bonefish and tarpon as they are for permit. Rule #4: Flies that look suggestive with lots of movement work better than flies that look exactly like a food item but don’t have lifelike motion. A perfect facsimile of a shrimp or crab doesn’t work well unless it swims and moves with a lifelike action. Most crab imitations don’t swim anything like the real thing, which is why SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

In Belize, we are often lucky enough to get dozens of opportunities per week at watching a wary permit react to our flies.


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the most effective method for fishing them usually involves letting the fly dive to the bottom and leaving it there in hiding. This method sometimes works, but I have found that a fly that has a lot of movement is more versatile. I have had great luck with flies that feature marabou, rubber legs, rabbit strips and arctic fox. Rule #5: A predator’s natural prey never makes it easy for a fish to catch and eat it. When a permit comes up to a live crab, for instance, the crab goes into high gear, darting away, swirling in circles, jumping out of the water or

diving into the nearest hiding spot. Slowly stripping the fly at the same speed as a big fish approaches is a sure signal to that predator that something isn’t right. Don’t let the fish get time to study the fly. Make him commit as quickly as you can. No matter how good your fly is, a smart fish will figure out it is a fake in a few seconds, so make sure that you make good use out of those first few seconds to close the deal. Never strip the fly towards your quarry. A fish is not used to its food committing

Double bonefish trouble ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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suicide. Crabs and shrimp don’t purposefully swim into the path of a moving school of permit, for example. They instead run away and hide. This would seem to be obvious, but it is surprising how many anglers place there cast in places that force them to strip towards the fish, putting their quarry immediately on alert. Lets go back onto the flats and put these rules into practice. Imagine a school of permit at 90 feet, traveling left to right at an angle that will bring them within 60 feet of the bow. You are on the deck holding a 9 weight fly rod with a floating line and 12’ of leader ending in 2 feet of 12lb fluorocarbon tippet. On the end of that tippet is a size 4 spawning shrimp imitation with heavy lead eyes.

60 feet into the path of the permit school, landing softly about 3 feet in front of the lead fish. As soon as the permit catch sight of the fly, you swim it away with a long strip. At this point, your next move will be decided by watching the fish’s reaction to the fly. If more than one fish peels off to chase, you continue stripping it away quickly hoping that the competition for an easy meal is enough incentive to overcome their natural caution. If only one fish is slowly following or if the school of fish seems unconvinced, you stop the strip abruptly, which causes the fly to dive towards the bottom, as if it is looking for a safe place to hide. You do this because you understand that his will often trigger a permit (or bonefish) to dart

You roll cast forward to pluck the fly from your fingers, shoot some line on the back cast and send the fly

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forward and grab the offering before it can disappear into a hole. If the predator grabs it on the way down, that is great. If the fly makes it to the bottom first, you leave it there in hiding and hope that the fish swims over and tries to dig it out of its hiding spot. If the fish keep swimming away, you have no choice but pick the line up and try again. These basic rules work for most flats fish with slight variations. Tarpon cruising the flats in daylight are a unique challenge. I don’t really know what they are

doing out there much of the time, because they seem to do most of their active feeding at night. During the daytime, they often seem more curious than hungry. Many years ago, I had the good fortune to run into an old timer in the Florida Keys that taught me his secret to fooling these magnificent creatures. He said that the worst thing you can do is let a tarpon follow your fly as you swim it along in front of him. He will become bored and turn

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away. He told me a story about practicing with his cat and a piece of yarn, teasing the cat by taking the yarn away at the last second until the cat finally goes crazy and throws himself with abandon on the yarn. Treat a tarpon like that cat; tease him and tease him until he snaps and attacks the fly like a crazed animal. Rule #6: Never stop experimenting and learning. Until we figure out how to catch every fish that swims

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The author with a big jack crevalle. Jacks of this size represent a real challenge on the fly rod.

by in front of us, we have room to grow our understanding of these amazing fish. If you are an expert fly fishermen, schedule a trip to Northern Belize to test your skills against the wily permit in a place where you can be virtually guaranteed of numerous shots at these strong fighting fish and possibly to catch a grand slam. If you are new to salt water flats fly-fishing, Ambergris Caye could arguably be the 22

best place for you to visit to catch your first bonefish on a fly. There are no bad months for fishing in Belize. The fish are always around. Some months, however, have more consistent weather. February - May is the driest season and not coincidently the most popular with fly fishing visitors. There is very good fishing for bonefish and permit and decent fishing for tarpon in the 5 SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

There are no bad months for fishing in Belize. The fish are always around.


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to 50 pound range. June – August is tarpon season, with many migratory fish moving onto the oceanside flats. These months also feature very consistent permit and bonefish fishing. The winds tend to be lighter and the rains more frequent. September and October are the slowest tourist season on the island and the most likely months to feature hurricanes and tropical storms. If the weather is good, the fishing can be fantastic. November – January can be slightly cooler and can still host some hard rains. The bonefishing is excellent. This is also the best time for

snook and baby tarpon fishing around the mangrove shorelines. While you are on Ambergris Caye, you may want to sample some of the non-fishing activities. The island should be on every snorkeler and scuba divers wish list, with hundreds of dive and snorkel sites within a short boat ride of San Pedro. The world famous Blue Hole is just one of the many attractions that bring divers back year after year. Belize is a great adventure destination, offering jungle hikes and tours to the numerous Mayan Ruins, caves and waterfalls that abound in this paradise

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GUYANA

JAGUAR CAMP Text and photos by Steve Townson

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A huge piranha caught by the author. Imagine what a school of fish of this size can eat...

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ur Jaguar Explorer Camp is set on the mighty Essequibo River in Guyana and is run jointly by Amazon-Angler and our partner Steven Andries, a pure Amerindian from the village of Fair View on the banks of the river. The knowledge we have gained and shared between us on the Essequibo (along with our trusty Amerindian guides) and the fishing we 26

provide, make our anglers leave with smiles on their faces and memories to re-live for ever. The Essequibo River runs north from the Acarai Mountains in the south of Guyana for 1,014kms and out into the Atlantic and beyond. We fish the Essequibo itself and also a small tributary called the Siparuni River. These two rivers have something for everyone and have given us true Amazon River Monsters over the years! If anglers want to SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


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put in the time and effort, they can catch nearly 50 fish species with a multitude of fishing methods and styles. Guyana is in north-eastern South America. It has an Atlantic Ocean coastline to the northeast, and lies between Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west and Brazil to the south. It is the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. The name Guyana comes from the Arawak Wayana language and means «Land of Many Waters” and Guyana’s world-famous Kaieteur Falls, at 250m tall, is over four times higher than Niagra Falls and twice the height of Victoria Falls … a staggering sight to behold. Guyana’s tropical climate is hot and humid but is nicely cooled by northeast trade winds. An average feel-factor of 23-26ºC makes for comfortable fishing, but don’t be fooled and always wear a high factor sun-cream in the tropical sun! There are two main rainy seasons: May to July/August and end of November to mid-January so we run trips from September to November and February - April. On our last nine days’ fishing trip, we arrived in the city of Georgetown and were whisked off to stay at the Kanuku Suites Hotel, a small, comfortable guesthouse just outside

Every specimen of peacock bass has a unique coloration. This one is yellowish with beautiful blue dorsal fins.

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Releasing a big arapaima after a long and hard fight is a beautiful moment you’ll never forget.

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The ultimate trophy for a sportfisherman : the powerful arapaima.

the city centre. The following morning everyone was transferred to the Ogle airport and flown by private charter to Fair View Village airstrip. Flying over the hundreds of rivers, falls, stream and huge swathes of rainforest and savannah land is just breathtaking, apart from some indiscriminate gold mining scars 30

in some areas. Hopefully the government will act accordingly to control this. After a short boat trip downriver to our Jaguar Explorer Camp, which caters for up to 8-10 guests. We have large individual tents 3m x 3m with mattresses and plenty of room for storage, a big rustic eaSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

a few casts with a white Hansen Lotus spoon brought me a nice 53 cm seatrout


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had a few ice cold beers. We set up our gear to go fishing the following morning while some opted to fish from the rocks just above the camp and caught a few Peacock Bass, Bicudas and Piranhas to ‘get their eye in’. Each day in evening brought bragging and tales of lost fish and some great catches. Plenty of nice fish were caught every day, while either lure, fly or bait fishing. Lure fishing On lures and flies, we caught ‘Yellow’ Peacock Bass to 17lbs, the smaller Lukanani or Lake Peacocks to 4lbs, Payara up to 17lbs, huge Arowana to over 14lbs, Bicuda to 8lbs, Silver Drum to 12lbs, Wolf Fish to 12lbs, Jacunda to 2lbs and with small inline spinners like Mepps #3 we caught Couti/Matrinxã to 5lbs and four different Pacu species to 12lbs under the fruiting trees. Surface lures: The way to use these small 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 also use Spooks/stickbaits in a walk-the-dog style, pausing sometimes for more effect, again casting beyond the target point and this looks very much like a snake or woun-

ting/chilling area and a jungle shower and flushable loo set apart. Drinks are chilled in a large freezer and another freezer stores all our meats and perishables. Lights and freezers are run by generator and our complete, big jungle kitchen area produces some delicious meals. Once everyone settled in and SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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ded bait fish zig-zagging over the surface. BOOOOM! But the best surface lure I have found that works best for me is the Rapala Skitterpop, both in 11cms size and also the Saltwater size. I ‘spit’ the lure rather than pop it and WHAM!, plenty of great fish. Subsurface lures: 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

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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 for soft plastics for me were white/ pearl and dare I admit it... shocking pink! I only carry a few types of lures in my tackle box to save on weight, which include small prop baits, Spooks and other stickbaits, some small

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A decent redtail cat !


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The author with a 225 piraiba catfish, also called «lau lau». SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The mean-looking payara is also known as the vampire fish because of the two long fangs protruding from its lower jaw. The all-tackle IGFA record is a 39lb specimen caught in Venezuela.

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to medium poppers, jigs and some soft plastics, a few 3-4”shallow minnow baits and some deep divers. It’s all too easy to bring every lure you have on our tours, but baggage weight on charter planes is a major safety issue. We restrict our anglers to soft duffel bags only with a max. 15kgs with a small hand luggage of 5kgs, 20kgs max in all. Anglers will be weighed including their own body weight and any overload will have to be left behind. For lure fishing, my own setups are always simple. I use two Medium/Heavy 6ft bait casting rods with 40 and 50lb braid, with 5-6ft of 40lb fluo-

rocarbon leader for surface lures and minnow baits. For jigs, smaller lures and soft plastics I use a Medium 6ft bait casting or spinning rod with 40lb braid and 5-6ft of 30-40lb fluorocarbon. All reels must have smooth drags or it’s over before it’s even started! Peacock and Payaras will wreck fishing gear… Catfishing On live and cutbait we caught many Catfish from 10lbs to 265lbs!! No way each client can weigh these big brutes accurately without huge scales, but a great way is to measure Length in inches x Girth in inches x Girth again in inches and divide by 800, giving a

The jau catfish is a common catch around rocky drop-offs. 36

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The amazing Kaiteur falls, located in the center of Guyana, are over 220m high.

pretty reliable weight guestimate within 5%. We have some of the largest Cats in the whole of the Amazon Rainforest and most of our guests got stuck into a few monsters. The three main larger species are: Piraiba/Lau lau: the largest Catfish in all of South America and runs like a Shark when hooked. Massive fish

have been caught by many of our guests to 300lbs+. Redtail Catfish: this is a very common Cat in these rivers and an average one will reach approx. 60-70lbs. We have had them to over 100lbs, caught by yours truly a few years ago. Jau: these are very common in the faster currents and SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) is undoubtly one of the prettiest catfish species.

around falls and rocky outcrops. A sharp drop off next to this type of structure can usually guarantee a run. Jaus take the bait and run straight back into their lairs in the rock caves and holes. Once in, they are often impossible to tug out and anglers have to be ready to reel in hard once they turn out again. The world record currently stands at 109 lb caught in Brazil in 2004. We have had them estimated to over 145lbs using our measurement method. 38

We have many other smaller species too, with Striped Shovel-nosed or ‘Tiger’ Cats, Jundia, Flat-whiskers/ Blinkers, Striped Raphael, Duckbilled Cats, Zamora/ Driftwood Cats (that have no whiskers), Mandi, Ripsaws, Porthole Shovel-nose, ‘Football’/Black Cats, the list goes on and on ……. My own largest Cat on this trip was a Lau Lau caught on a live 5lb Zamora/Driftwood Cat …. It made 225lbs and took us 45 mins to land, haSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


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Bow hunting is the traditional way to catch fish here. The pacu fish is a prized meal for locals.

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ving to follow it in our boat the whole fight! It dragged us a kilometre upriver until we could finally slow it down and unhook it. These larger Cats need time to revive and we took another 45 mins until we released it. The mighty Arapaima Of course the crème-de-lacrème for any Amazon angler to catch is the Giant Ara-

paima. These are prehistoric, air-breathing Leviathans of the jungle and we have them to over 350lbs in our lake system. Arapaimas tend to engulf their prey and take it way down, so we only allow anglers to use circle hooks. The hook-up must be made instantly when the fish runs, so as to hook it early and always in the corner of the mouth. All of our anglers this trip caught Arapaimas, with some huge specimens over 200lbs. Hooked on freshly cut Wolf Fish or whole small livebaits if available, these Giants leap high in the air like Tarpon. Unhooking a big one is a treacherous business and many unwary anglers have been given a lesson in letting their guide do the hard work. An Arapaima is like a long barrel and difficult to hold, and it can smash its heads sideways at a moment’s notice or whip its tails around and slap anyone not holding on tightly! We also caught many, many Couti and Pacu with small fruits, imitation fruit beads and potatoes cut to fruit size! These fish are amazing fighters and make great bait for all the larger Cat species.

Steven with his massive 265lb piraiba.

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Our trips are not only for anglers but also for photo-


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Above, camp food is getting ready ! Below, the Surubi catfish has amazing patterns on its body.

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The amazon forest is filled with odd-looking wildlife, like this elephant fish.

graphers and wildlife enthusiasts. We can give guests close up and personal access to an incredible array of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. As we sleep in the jungle, waking up to an Amazon dawn chorus is like no other in the world! So many monkeys, birds and insects scream and shout to out-do each other. Most of the Amazon’s landbased mammals are nocturnal and hide during the day but we often see a Tapir or 44

After a long day’s fishing, some rest at the camp is highly appreciated. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


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Jaguar crossing the river. Monkeys are all around and can be seen way up in the canopy. We had a troupe of them come through camp and screech at us while we sat having breakfast one morning. We have many families of Giant River Otters throughout the two rivers and most of our anglers here have a run-in with some of them. Snakes are abundant but very rare to find, although

I did capture this amazing Anaconda on film last trip. It was lying on a fallen tree, eagerly watching a huge Green Iguana in the bush above it. We all have a successful trip with many big fish and plenty of variety. Our group consisted of British, American and Australian anglers. Flying back to Georgetown, my guests all stated they would be returning to do battle again. “There’s something about the Amazon that keeps calling you back”

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TRIP CONTACTS www.amazon-angler.com info@amazon-angler.com Skype : amazonangler (US) 1 800 262 0370

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

WHAT’S

NEW

?

EFFZETT EISVOGEL This unusual lure is an imitation of a kingfisher, called «eisvogel» in German. The crankbait features a rattle chamber and has an erratic swimming action. “The reason why we created this lure, was because we wanted to create something the world has never seen before and give it a beautiful and artistic look. It’s an innovative, functional piece of art that tells a story of fishing with something different, beautiful and ultra effective” said Maximilian Mirederer, Product Manager at Effzett. Available in two sizes : 11cm/28gr and 14.5cm/35gr.

effzett-fishing.de

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ROSS ANIMAS 2019 The new verson of Ross Reel’s emblematic Animas incorporates the manufacturer’s latest improvements with a modern design. This updated version features a larger diameter spool, phenolic handle and trouble-free spool release. Improvements were also made on the Composite-Disc Drag. Not only does the the reel look beautiful, it is also 30% lighter than the previous Animas. Available in matte black or platinum, in 4-5wt., 5-6wt. and 7-8wt.

$295 | rossreels.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

DAIWA PROTEUS WN Designed for saltwater anglers, the Daiwa Proteus WN Saltwater rods are class rated for both monofilament and braided lines. The X45 Bias Graphite Fiber reinforces the blank and prevents twisting when the rod loads up while the Braiding-X carbon fiber braiding technology provides added blank reinforcement further reducing blank twist. Features a Fuji reel seat and Fuji Fazlite Ring Guides. Available in 7 conventional and 2 spinning rod models.

$229.99-$279.99 | daiwa.com

AFTCO TACTICAL CAMO SHORTS The Camouflage Tactical fishing short features an exclusive AFTCO fish silhouette hidden within a blue camo, green camo, and grey camo print. The Tactical men’s camo fishing shorts sport AFGUARD stain resistance, AFLEX 2-way stretch and AFBLOCK sun protection. It also features AFTCO’s Active Fit for a true-to-size fit for optimal on the water performance.

$62.00 | aftco.com

SUFIX 131 G-CORE The latest braid release from Sufix is the new 131 boasting 12 carriers plus 1 gore fibre at the core ! It won the Best New Braided Line award at Efttex 2018. The great benefit of the GORE® core is that it is a slick, highly abrasion resistant textile fibre which protects the braid from internal fraying. Available from 4lb to 50lb in 150yd Neon Chartreuse spools and 10lb to 100lb in 300yd Neon Chartreuse.

sufix.fishing.com

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

SAVAGE GEAR XLNT3

DUO ROUGH TRAIL MALICE

The new XLNT3 series are made to match any lure fishermen’s needs. From the 2-10g casting weight model to the 150g model, the different rods cover a wide range of possiblities. The blank is made of Toray carbon and guides feature a Coil Control system for improved casting distance and an Alien Lock Down reel seat.

The Malice is a jig-minnow designed for fishing offshore in big predator feeding frenzies. Its unique weight arrangements make it sink like a wounded baitfish. Its profile and weight provide amazing casting distance for those «big feeding tuna school» situations. Unlike most jig-minnows, the Malice is also effective at a low pace retrieve. Weighs 64gr, 13cm long.

savage-gear.com

MADCAT A-STATIC RATTLIN’ SPOON This innovative spoon from Madcat is designed specifically for european catfish. The lure swims like a spoon but also has a rotating rattling body in the center to attract predators. The A-STATIC technology is about minimizing the negative influence of electric fields. The trebles are covered with a rubber coating, keeping catfish unaware it’s all metal. Winner at Efttex 2018 in the Best New Metal Lure, these heavy spoons weigh 110g.

madcat-fishing.de

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duo-international.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

SHIMANO CURADO DC Definitely one of the most technology advanced reels on the market, the new Shimano Curado DC offers easy, trouble-free, long distance casting throughout a range of conditions and baits. Its outstanding performances reside in the externally adjustable braking system that is measured and controlled by a microcomputer every 1/1000 of a second, applying the optimal amount of braking pressure, virtually eliminating backlashes and maximizing casting distance. It also features a Shimano’s MicroModule Gearing to provide seamless and efficient rotation and has a Hagane body to minimize flexing.

$249.99 | fish.shimano.com

FISHUP LURES CATFISH RIO FLY CLIPS

PLANO A SERIES 2.0 BACKPACK

If you’re tired of always reducing your leader’s length, Rio has the solution for you. Their Fly Clips are easy to use and switch flies with. They are recommended for small dries, nymphs and soft hackles. For bigger flies, Rio also produces Twist Clips. A useful, time and leader-saving product !

Plano’s A-Series 2.0 Backpack comes with five versatile 3650 Stowaway® boxes, which all fit in the massive main compartment with room to spare for a rain suit and other gear. It features a tool holders, a large zippered pocket, a structured mesh pocket and heavy duty zippers. A great versatile fishing backpack.

$3.99 | rioproducts.com

$79.99 | planomolding.com

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SPAIN

EXTREMADURA’S

PREDATORS Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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Extremadura Predator Fishing’s guide Craig Reid ending a fight with a comizo barbel.

ifteen meters deep, there’s a least 3 of them, drop your lure! » cried my guide Craig.

«

We had just found a school of bleak (baitfish) on the echo sounder on Lake Zujar in the Extremadura region of Spain when several promising echos appeared just below us. « He’s going for it, reel in really slow! » I executed and a second later a hard hit nearly pulled the rod from hands…The fish makes a few nice runs and seem strong and healthy. As 52

it finally surfaces I’m satisfied to see the species we’re targeting: a magnificent comizo barbel! This relatively unknown fish is the the largest of the European barbel family, which makes it a superb sport fish which can attain more than 15 kilos. Present only in Spain and Portugal, this barbel is very receptive to artificial lures and can even be taken on the surface on stickbaits. During our stay with Extremadura Predator Fishing in southwestern Spain, we targeted and caught them using SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

A second later, a hard hit nearly pulled the rod from hands…


SPAIN TRAVEL

the tried and true local technique: vertical jigging with soft baits. Hunting these Spanish beauties is art that Craig Reid, my guide with Extremadura, has mastered perfectly. It requires hunting and finding the schools of bleak on the echo sounder and, with a bit of luck of course, locating big barbels posted just beneath. During the hot Iberian summers, baitfish are scattered about the entire lake’s surface area which renders the fishing difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Getting ready for a long and hot day of fishing !

All the barbels we caught were hooked on small soft plastics with a 15-30gr weighted single hook. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The comizo barbel (Luciobarbus comizo) is the largest european barbel species The lakes of Extremadura offer a perfect habitat for this great game fish. However, their population has declined by one third since the 90’s because of the unsustainable extraction of water for agriculture, and pollution.

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Vertical lure fishing requires a lot of concentration, keep your eyes on the fishfinder and get ready to set the hook at any moment !

Once a school of good-sized bleak was localized, we attentively monitored the sounder, looking for large echos underneath. Dropping the soft baits straight down to predator’s level while slowly working the lures with smooth pattern is the recommended method. Several fish were hooked in this manner on the drop, without even moving the lure as the boat’s gentle drift was sufficient. Most of the barbels we hooked hit the lures between a depth of 56

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6 and 20m. Craig sometimes finds them in proximity of the bottom at more than 30m! Generally speaking, it doesn’t take long to get a decent hit. The lures used are often small 10cm shads rigged with leadheaded hooks of 15 to 30g according to required depths, wind and current conditions. Barbels are quite agile and quick swimmers. Sometimes, you must present your lure at a depth of 20m in just a few seconds in hopes of it being seen by the fish. This technique is quite exciting as it’s


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If you’re into fly-fishing, make sure you bring a rod or two. Craig knows all the good spots in the area to tempt a comizo barbel on the dry.

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something of a mix between fishing and playing a video game; you drop and follow your lure on the echo-sounder’s screen while watching for a predator to come up and inspect it and hopefully strike your bait. Once a comizo barbel is hooked, it’s a worthy fighter. It hits hard and gratifies you with several strong runs. In winter, very large specimens are caught using dead bait on the bottom. We’re talking about specimens over 35 kilos!

No pike in summer In addition to barbel fishing, two more species are typically targeted in the Extremadura: black bass and pike. Black bass are to be found in most rivers and lakes in the region and can reach sizes of greater than 3 kilos on Lake Orellana. Some areas are literally “infested” with them, like on Lake Zujar where it isn’t rare to have 10 juveniles chasing after your lure. Pike are equally present in excellent numbers and it’s in

No, it’s not a bonefish, it’s a barbel !

A barbel just took Craig’s hopper. Dozens of comizos and carps feed during the day on these beaches. 60

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Catching a comizo on the fly is really rewarding, even if the average size is smaller in these mud creeks.

Lake Orellana where they can be caught in prolific quantities. Craig didn’t hesitate to describe this lake as “the best pike venue in Europe for average fish size”. However, Craig refuses to fish for pike in summer. In fact, in this region of Spain the summer months are blistering hot, which considerably reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the lakes. Pike are particularly sensitive to diminished oxygen levels, much more so than the other species of fish inhabiting these lakes. They beco-

The beautiful interior of Puebla de Alcocer’s Casa Rural lodging. Comfortable and minutes away from the lakes ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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Sheep herds enjoy the climate of Extremadura and the steppe vegetation. The area is famous for it’s different sheep cheeses like the «quesaillas» of la Raya or the «la Serena».

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A hefty barbel caught by Craig. Bigger specimens are caught during the cooler months. 64

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Some creeks of the Zujar lake are filled with bass, some of which are well over 3 kilos.

You’d think you were hunting bonefish on Caribbean flats!

me more fragile as a result and when they fight a hard battle in the heat of summer, they struggle to survive after release. Sometimes a laborious release only produces a fatality several hours later as the pike is unable to recover. Unfortunately, no rules or regulations govern pike fishing here in summer and many fishermen, either knowingly or unknowingly, end up killing beautiful specimens of pike. Golden bones The 3 large lakes that we fished are all dam lakes. In SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

summer, their water levels become low, uncovering shallow muddy along the shores not unlike freshwater flats. All day long, barbels patrol these zones allowing for sightfishing on a fly rod. You’d think you were hunting bonefish on Caribbean flats! In summer, these fish often feed on insects. Be sure to bring tchernobyl ants, beetles, grasshoppers, etc. along with various wet flies to tempt the finicky barbels or even the occasional carp which sometimes can be found in in the 65


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Extremadura’s weather can be extremely hot during the summer months. Make sure you bring sunscreen and plenty of water !

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Craig knows how to find the barbels on these big lakes, and still loves catching them after years of guiding.

area as they forage for food with their backs exposed. Nymphs, worms, leeches and slow-sinking flies are also useful. After a short morning session on the northern portion of Lake de la Serena, Craig decided to switch to the southern side thinking there could be more barbel action there. Sure enough, once we arrived on the spot we were able to see several barbels, easily recognizable by their slender silhouette and their habit of “rolling” like tar68

pon, exposing their dorsal fins. They are quite spooky especially when they’re patrolling the lake’s edges. I personally scared plenty until I found the right distance to keep from startling them, just out of their eyesight. After a few thrown flies and missed occasions, Craig hooks up with a nice barbel. I turn my attention to a small bay where 3 fish are foraging in the muddy bottom. I delicately placed a hopper in their trajectory and boom! a barbel couldn’t resist, so fish on! In SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


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fact, the fish were biting for the rest of the day and provided for some excellent fun. I was even able to temp a carp on a nymph as it mixed in with the barbels. Morning bass For our last day of fishing, we returned to Lake Zujar on Craig’s boat to hunt more barbels. This fish is addictive! After a few caught while vertical jigging, we approached a small island in the middle of the lake, maybe 10 square meters in size. Craig stopped and suggested I try casting a stickbait around the edges as “some big bass and barbels hang around here in the mornings”. A cast or two later

and I’m hooked up. With a crash and a splash, a fish hit the lure and quickly took off. After a few jumps we saw that it was indeed a bass. Boatside now, we hoisted it up for quick photo before a safe and healthy release. During the afternoon we were able to another dozen barbels with the vertical soft-bait technique, with the same adrenalin rush at each attack and hookup. This dry and arid region of Spain is a goldmine for sportfishing. The fishing pressure on the resident species is still minimal and makes for excellent opportunities. Let’s hope that the local authorities are able to proper-

ly and responsibly manage these waters, along with the species that inhabit them, so future generations can enjoy the superb fishing to be found here

TRIP CONTACTS Extremadura Predator Fishing extremadurapredatorfishing.com 0034 - 665 605 143 mobile 924 630 328 office info@extremadurapredatorfishing.com

Casting your fly into a group of barbels can bring nice surprises like this carp caught on a nymph. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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TACKLE PIKE LURES

CHUNKY PIKE CANDY As winter slowly arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, the water temperature drops and pikes will soon need to put on some weight for the cold months ahead. Here’s a selection of chunky pike candy to match any cold water condition.

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PIKE LURES TACKLE

RAPALA X-Rap Peto The Rapala X-Rap Peto is a new hybrid lure with a hard-bodied first half, and a soft plastic second half with a paddle tail. This unusual configuration gives this lure a unique swimming action. It sinks slowly while staying horizontal and works very well on a steady retrieve or on a jerking retrieve. The soft tail is made of durable plastic and is safely attached to the hard body. The lure features VMC Coastal black hooks and is sold with a spare tail. During our tests we really appreciated the lure on a slow, steady retrieve. It makes good vibrations in the water and has a rattling chamber for murky waters.

SPECS Length : 20cm Weight : 83gr SINKING Price : 18,95â‚Ź rapala.com

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RAPALA X-Rap Scoop SPECS The Rapala X-Rap is a unique spoon that can work the whole water column. Just cast it and let it sink and flutter until you reach your desired depth. Then twitch it for an agressive action or simply retrieve the spoon for a linear erratic action. The unusual action of the spoon comes from the fat and curvy shape of the X-Rap Scoop. It also features VMC Coastal Black trebles and a rattling chamber. Perfect to scan a deep, cold lake!

Length : 14cm Weight : 68gr SINKING Price : 14,95€ rapala.com

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PIKE LURES TACKLE

RAPALA Super Shadow Rap SPECS An amazing lure to cover a lot of water in no time. We used the Super Shadow Rap as a trusty multi-purpose lure. When you don’t know where the fish are staying, if they’re feeding or not, and where they feed, this is the perfect lure to tie on. It’s heavy rolling action provides big vibrations and intense body flashes, calling the pikes from far. The compact shape allows nice long casts and the lure has a low-frequency rattling chamber.

Length : 16cm Weight : 77gr SINKING Price : 17,99€ rapala.com

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TACKLE PIKE LURES

Strike Pro Original Buster Jerk Strike Pro’s superstar lure ! Give twitches to the lure for an incredible side to side action, with small pauses to trigger a pike’s natural instincts. The Buster Jerk also has a loud rattle and 3D holographic eyes. Due to its shape, this lure casts like a bullet. This is a proven monster catcher across Europe.

SPECS Length : 15cm Weight : 75gr SINKING/SS Price : 17,50€ strikepro.com

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PIKE LURES TACKLE

Strike Pro Guppie Once handmade, the Guppie has a large shape and is precisely weighted for an amazing swimming action. Besides its beautiful design, the Guppie makes nice erratic belly rolls when you jerk it, and on a steady retrieve, the lure glides from side to side. It is sold with two different tails secured on the body by a screwing system. One is a curly tail that flutters and the other is a paddle tail for a different action. Due to its weight and bulky size, this lure is the perfect jerkbait for very deep waters.

SPECS Length : 13.5cm Weight : 120gr SINKING Price : 26,00â‚Ź strikepro.com

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Strike Pro Pig Shad Jr SPECS The Pig Shad has quickly become a must for Scandinavian fishermen. The «mouth» of the lure makes the head wobble from side to side while the big paddle tail creates big vibrations. This durable soft plastic lure can also have a very big rolling action, depending on how you’ve rigged it. If pikes are laying on the bottom of the lake, a Pig Shad might entice them. Also available in «Piglet» size, the latest and smallest version of the pigshad.

Length : 20cm Weight : 50gr SINKING Price : 11,90€ (2 pieces)

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m +27 82 748 7290 [GMT+02:00] t +248 422 9700 [GMT+04:00] e reservations@alphonsefishingco.com w www.alphonsefishingco.com PHOTOS: TALWEG CREATIVE & ALPHONSE FISHING CO.


TRAVEL USA

USA

Text and photos by Jim Johnson

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USA TRAVEL

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he guy that coined the phrase “Everything is bigger in Texas” has obviously never been to Alaska. The true size of the wilderness in Alaska really hit home the first time I flew from Anchorage to Bristol Bay, passing over 300 miles of mountains, an almost uncountable number of lakes and numerous streams and absolutely no roads. Of course, it isn’t just the state that is bigger. Whether you are talking about 1000 pound brown bears, herds of caribou that number in the thousands, or runs of salmon 80

that number in the millions – no where else compares to Alaska. And then we get to the fish that brought me to Alaska in the first place – the giant rainbow trout. The biologists tell us that rainbows began as ocean dwelling steelhead that used the aerated gravel of the fresh water rivers to spawn in, much like the pacific salmon that also frequent the coastal rivers of Alaska. However, many of the sea run steelhead became blocked off from the ocean and adapted to the fresh water environment, establishing a resident SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


USA TRAVEL

When you have the chance to fight such a beautiful specimen it is important to carefully release your trophy.

population of rainbow trout. On the Naknek River system, these same steelhead wandered in and found a trout paradise. I can only imagine what it must have been like when the first settlers stumbled into California after fighting there way through hostile deserts, rugged mountain passes, not to mention hungry grizzly bears and found a place with rich fertile valleys and perfect weather, but I am pretty sure that this is exactly how the Naknek rainbows reacted when they discovered the interconnected lakes and rivers stuffed with a bounty of salmon fry, smolt, salmon eggs and flesh and decided SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

to make this amazing place their new home. Our summer on the Naknek kicks off on June 8th, when the rainbow season in most of Bristol Bay opens up. June is a great time of year to catch big bows as they try to intercept the salmon smolt migrating downstream towards the ocean. This can make for some wild action as the rainbows drive the schools of small salmon to the surface and rip through them with abandon, sending spray flying into the air like a feeding school of stripers. In between schools of salmon smolt, the bows snack on 81


TRAVEL USA

migrating lamprey, resident sculpin and other assorted aquatic life. Gearing up for June and July rainbow fishing is easy. Grab your favorite single handed 7 or 8 weight rod with a WF Floating line, a handful of Dolly Llama’s in assorted colors and you are just about ready to jump on an airplane. You might throw in a 5 or 6 weight rod and a few dry flies for the smaller feeder streams and it won’t hurt to pack a mouse fly, just in case

Katmai Trophy Lodge guide John McClosky with an Alaskan rainbow.

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The beautiful and peaceful scenery of Alaska.

you get the urge to try and bring a monster bow to the surface to play. The first major change in the fishing occurs as soon as the first salmon start dropping eggs. In some places, this can occur as early as mid-July, but in most of Bristol Bay, this is an August thing. On the Naknek, the 2nd week of August is usually the start of “bead season”. Beading for trout isn’t for everyone.

For instance, if you are one of those fly anglers that hate catching a lot of fish, you should definitely stay away from painted beads. I often complain at the difficulty of creating an artificial fly that looks exactly like the food items we are trying to imitate. Most of our imitations are suggestive at best, and are more likely to be eaten by trout that are curious and think that they have never SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

seen anything like that before – I wonder if it is edible? Not so with salmon eggs. All trout think that salmon eggs are delicious and the modern painted beads are an exact replica of the eggs rolling down our Alaskan streams in August and early September and an accurate presentation involves drifting one straight downstream along the bottom at current speed.

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A great boat like this StealthCraft Power Drifter can help create success. 84

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Above : this is bear country! Below : an arctic char in his fall colors.

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Fall is a great time to break out the spey rod.

The perfect bead setup starts with your favorite nymphing outfit. My favorite nymphing rig for big fish is a 10 to 11 foot rod for a 7 weight floating or shooting line. Depending upon the run I am fishing, I might use a strike indicator and a little weight or I might just skip the indicator and bounce the bead along the bottom with a high rod tip. This rod can be a single hander or a switch rod. Just make sure that you have the bead pegged 2 inches above a size 6 egg fly hook and get ready

to catch a bunch of fish. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, if you don’t like to get your hands wet landing too many fish, you can also fish a small flesh fly, a leech or a sculpin throughout bead season. You will still catch more trout than you might want to, but it will at least give you a little more time for quiet contemplation of nature, composing poems or whatever else it is that you do between hook-ups.

By the second week of September, the spawning activity in most Alaskan streams is slowing down quickly.

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A lodge guest with James and a beautiful chrome September bow.

88 ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018 A nicely marked brown trout for MarkusSPORTFISHING from Glen Lough.


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A giant late season Alaskan rainbow.

tember, the spawning activity in most Alaskan streams is slowing down quickly. On the Naknek River, we call this Spey Season. Rods of 11’ to 13’ are now the norm. The banter around the dinner table changes to words like T-11, Skagit and Scandi. The hardcore big water rainbow chasers start keeping track of tugs and good pulls. Fish under 24” are shaken off in anticipation of the next 28” or 30”. Almost every night at dinner there will be talk of 32’s and 33’s, with pictures being passed around to the sound of oohs and ahhs. This past fall produced a 35.5” fish, which 90

Sometimes a big king grabs your fly ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


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tied our camp record. The tackle choice for this style of fishing is a little more complicated, but if you are already a spey addict, you most likely already own an arsenal of assorted lines and tips to get the fly down in various depths and speeds of current. As for flies, favorites include flesh flies, black and olive leeches, dolly llamas and sculpins. If you are a beginning spey fisher, you might rely on your guide for gear, which will be set up for maximum success. Of course, you can always keep using a bead, because trout love eggs and will eat them all through the fall! The first step to getting to the great fishing in Bristol

Bay is to fly to Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). From there, Alaska Airlines, Penair and Ravn Air offer daily flights to King Salmon (AKN). Scheduling a float plane flyout or two can make the trip even more memorable. There are dozens of destinations in Bristol Bay that offer small stream fishing for rainbow, char and grayling and, of course, salmon. A visit to the famous Brooks Falls and River should be on everyone’s bucket list. Brooks offers an opportunity for good to excellent rainbow trout fishing while interacting with one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world. It’s exciting and unforgettable

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

TRIP CONTACTS naknekrivercamp@hotmail.com www.naknekrivercamp.com Summer phone no: 907 246 2894 Winter phone no: 616 745 6066

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MAURITIUS

BIG GAME

ISLAND Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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Golden Wave’s big game boat in Flic-en-Flac.

W

hen one thinks of the island nation of Mauritius, images of lovely white sandy beaches, lush mountains covered in greenery and exotic flowers and perhaps spicy dishes such as the famous “mine bouillie” come to mind. One doesn’t immediately consider the island’s potential for game fishing. Yet the waters surrounding Mauritius offer tremendous opportunities for sport fishermen. Several charter companies propose both inshore and 94

offshore fishing with an enormous variety of game fish to be caught. The East coast On the island’s East coast can be found Golden Wave charters, based in Flic en flac, offering both big game and inshore trips. The skipper, Victor Pelletier and his mate David are perfectly familiar with the area and specialize in trolling for marlin. From October to March, migratory patterns for blue marlin bring them close to Mauritius and provide for excellent chances to land them. In fact, SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


MAURITIUS TRAVEL

Mauritius attracts practically all species of billfish with the exception of the white marlin. Sometimes marlin are hooked at just 500 meters beyond the reef according to Victor! Wahoo are also quite common and we were able to confirm this while fishing with Golden Wave. Another type of exciting fishing can be done using the “drop shot” technique. Having nothing to do with the well-known rig used for black bass, this local technique consists of casting 10 -15cm soft baits rigged with lead heads weighing up to 20 grams in depths of 6-12 meters. Primary grounds for

this technique can be found inshore just behind the lagoon’s barrier. Ian Koenig, from Fish Whisperer charters, is a local specialist. The technique might appear simple on paper but it requires a fair amount of dexterity and concentration to succeed. The fish take the lures discreetly with just a subtle “bump” felt on the line rather than with a clear and voracious attack. You must keep your line taut at all times while slowly working the lure and be ready to set the hook at the slightest bump. The lure is presented at mid-depths in the water column. Wind direction and

Mauritius attracts practically all species of billfish with the exception of the white marlin.

Wahoos were the most common fish we encountered while trolling. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The yellowedged lyre tail is a species of grouper. They are mostly released because they contain ciguatera, a toxic molecule.

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Ian Koenig with a colorful yellow edged lyretail grouper caught while slow-jigging.

correct positioning must be taken into account. This type of fishing is quite exciting and beautiful hooked fish as well as near-misses happen very quickly in a short time span. As you must be fully concentrated on lure presentation and subtle bites, you really feel engaged as you visualize what’s happening underneath the boat. The main species targeted are 98

the magnificent sky emperor, yellow edged lyretail and bluefin trevally. Using Ian’s light-tackle setups, it’s great sport. He’s noticed over the years that these fish are very active during early mornings and then are more discreet as the morning wears on. Generally by 9 a.m. the feeding ceases. It’s a must to get out early on location and while you’re on the hotspots, cast SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

Sometimes just a small detail is all it takes to “match the hatch” and set off a feeding frenzy for a phenomenal series of hits!


MAURITIUS TRAVEL

a small detail is all it takes to “match the hatch” and set off a feeding frenzy for a phenomenal series of hits! His tackle box full of multi-colored soft baits of several sizes and shapes confirms this fact. When the bite slows down using this technique on the “near onshore” it’s time to change technique and go for some slow-jigging at depths of about 70 to 100m. Contrary to spectacular (and tiring) speed-jigging, we now present smaller jigs or madaïs using a very slow and regular movement being careful

and retrieve quite rapidly as you prospect depths of 6-8 meters. If the bite isn’t on, moving to depths of 8-10 meters while keeping the lure at mid-depth is your next option. Proceed in like manner if required to even greater depths. Ian doesn’t hesitate to frequently change both lures and colors. Sometimes just

Flic-en-Flac beach is the perfect place to watch the sun dip into the Indian Ocean. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The sky emperor has an amazing red coloration. They fight hard on light tackle and can grow up to 5lb.

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The Soudan bank is a veritable underwater mountain whose structure and current upwellings attracts groups of game fish.

The Storm Gomoku jigs work very well for slow-jigging.

to avoid any sudden jerking motions. The fish we are targeting are the same as in the shallow water but bigger. Since the waters of Mauritius often hold nice surprises, even smaller dog-toothed tuna can be taken here! The North coast and Soudan Bank

a perfect warm-up. In the afternoon, several dolphin (dorado, mahi-mahi) were taken and displayed their usual blue, yellow and green colors that have made them so easily recognizeable. They also remind you that they are worthy fighters and make for excellent eating‌

On the island’s northern perimeter, trolling can give excellent results near the coastline. While fishing with Horizon, based in Grand Baie, we quickly landed some good-sized bonita which were

For the more hardcore veterans who are really looking for adventure, Aquila charters in Cap Malheureux may just have the ticket for you; the ultimate Mauritius big game trip to the

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The Shimano Tranx reel paired with a


MAURITIUS TRAVEL

Soudan Bank. It’s an underwater plateau of over 30 square kilometers with depths varying from 25-50 meters surrounded by plunging depths of 3000 meters. It is a veritable underwater mountain whose structure and current upwellings attracts groups of game fish that dreams are made of. The Soudan Bank can be

found at 100 nautical miles Northwest from Mauritius. Yes, it’s indeed a long haul to reach the area. Its distance from the coast allows it to be protected from recreational fishing pressure compared with other spots closer to the island. In fact, departure to the Soudan Bank takes place late afternoon in order to arrive on site early the next morning. A full night’s boat

VIDEO: hooking a dame berri (sky emperor) with Fish Whisperer.

Gomoku Kaiten rod was a perfect combo for Mauritian waters. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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The red church of Cap Malheureux shot from Aquila’s boat departure point.

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A spangled emperor of this caliber provides lots of fun on a light tackle setup.

run is therefore required. I recall being awakened the next morning to the smell of fresh coffee and a Shimano Tiagra’s screaming drag as the first fish was on…that spells happiness to me! Aquila’s boat is perfectly equipped for both fishing (healthy supply of lures, rods and reels of 50, 80 and 130 lbs for trolling, setups for jigging, etc.) and living aboard with its comfy cabins for sleeping, shower, head and kitchen. Spending se106

Simon with a sizeable yellowfin tuna. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018


MAURITIUS TRAVEL

veral days onboard is quite comfortable. As we concentrated now on fishing as morning’s light had broken, we quickly landed several wahoo on skirts and jet lures while trolling. Yellow tuna and a doggie also completed the mix as we explored the Soudan bank’s contours. When the bite dropped off for a short while, we switched to jigging which produced some big dame berry, white berry and croissants… Perfect for a lunchtime carpaccio! Back to trolling again. We

were quickly awarded with the exciting vision of 4 sailfish chasing our lures and 2 were immediately hooked! How many times have you yelled “Sailfish, doublehookup!”? Two blistering and simultaneous sailfish runs were fully engaged as they seemingly refused to stop. Joy and hysteria overtook the boat as we watched the majestic sailfish jump and impress with their aerial grace. Each jump was also accompanied by that fear of a

Small sharks were also in the mix. We’ve been told that gigantic tiger sharks are caught on Soudan Bank. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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This sailfish hasn’t said its last words ! They’re extremely dangerous to manipulate because of their bill, and they hate when they see the boat ! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

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A nice yellow-finned reward before sunset !

thrown hook and a missed fish, but we were confident, they appeared to be firmly hooked. After some nerve-wracking minutes, we finally see some dark blue color approaching the boat. These fish are astoundingly beautiful with their deep colors and majestic dorsal sail raised against a background of frothy whitewater and cadmium-blue sea. One after the other, the sail fish were brought boatside, but not without displaying a supreme fighting spirit with several

VIDEO : double sailfish release !

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Above: a juvenile dogtooth tuna caught trolling. Below: Aquila’s boat in Cap Malheureux.

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jumps once again. Releasing these billfish is indeed a tedious task but Aquila’s crew was perfectly skilled and did a great job rendering their freedom. After a few photos from the upper deck, the fish are released to fight again someday. What a spectacle it was! As the sun finally began to set, we were preparing to return home as we stored the tackle, rod by rod. Suddenly, however, 2 Shimano 80 lb. Tiagras hadn’t said their last word and started singing loudly. In this area, you never know what you might find and even on heavy tackle you can find yourself with a challenge. Obviously, we have some powerful fish on and it’s

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time to concentrate. We thought they could be a pair of dog-toothed tuna as they are typically very strong with bigger specimens often hanging together in groups. After a few minutes and some serious physical effort by the fishermen, we realize they are a pair of superb Yellowfin tuna. As dinner time was near and putting an ending to the trip, I was already looking forward to coming back ! Mauritius and especially the Sudan Bank really have an amazing potential, with a relatively low fishing pressure. Although conditions weren’t perfect we still had a good taste of what this amazing island has to offer. We’ll be back for sure

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE | Q4 2018

TRIP CONTACTS Golden Wave : www.goldenwave.mu goldenwave.mu@gmail.com Fish Whisperer : www.fishingmauritius.net info@fishingmauritius.net Horizon Fishing : mauritiusbiggamefishing.com horizon.fishing@gmail.com Aquila Fishing : www.aquila-fishing-mauritius.com aquilafishing@gmail.com


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Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 4 | Q4 2018  

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

Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 4 | Q4 2018  

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

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