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ISSUE #8 | Q4 2019

IRELAND IRISH MAYFLY TIME

EGYPT

POPPING & JIGGING IN THE RED SEA

CAMEROON NILE PERCH AND TIGERS

RUSSIA BELOUSIHA LODGE

OMAN

THE HALLANIYAT ISLANDS

+ NEW TACKLE, LATEST IGFA RECORDS, FISHING ART, EDITOR’S PICK & MORE...


CONTENTS 6 Editorial

Our best wishes for 2020

8 IGFA

Latest records and news

ISSUE #8 Q4 2019

98 What’s new

A selection of the latest tackle

102 Cameroon Nile perch and tigers

16 Russia

128 Egypt

46 Oman

144 Fishing Art

74 Ireland

150 Seen on the web

The Belousiha Lodge

The Hallanyat Islands

Irish Mayfly time

Popping & jigging in the Red Sea

Carin Vaughn

Our pick of recent fishing videos


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8

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74

102

16 98

128 144

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WHERE ARE WE TAKI

IRELAND

EGYPT

CAMEROON


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

OMAN

RUSSIA


EDITORIAL Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

Our best wishes for 2020 As we reflect on the past two years, we are very proud and thankful for all the support we’ve had and the tremendous growth of our publication. We’ve met incredible people from around the world, anglers, taxi cab drivers, captains, local villagers, cooks, farmers, lure manufacturers and many more... Sportfishing Adventures is all about this : fishing of course, but also travel, encounters and frienships. We can’t wait 2020 to start rolling and bringing catches and new amazing people to meet. We hope you all had a merry Christmas and we wish you a happy new year, big fish and safe travel for 2020 !

Dylan Smith COVER SHOT: A healthy amberjack caught with Noukhada Fishing in Oman, article p.46


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 Charlotte Chilcott Justin Stuart Hesham El Brollosy Rudy Van Duijnhoven

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


IGFA NEW RECORDS

IGFA

NEW RECORDS Zaccherini’s Orinoco Peacock

Pennington’s Smallmouth Bass Seven-year-old angler, Brayden Pennington, recently tied the IGFA Male-Smallfry World Record after catching a beautiful smallmouth in Burt Lake, Michigan. The 2.64-kilogram (5-pound, 13-ounce) fish hit a Poor Boy’s Baits tube lure and was brought in after a 3-minute fight. Congrats, Brayden, on your first IGFA World Record. We hope to see more in the future! 8

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Andrea Zaccherini recently set the new IGFA All-Tackle Length World Record with this beautiful 72-centimeter Orinoco peacock. He was casting a 15-cm Caribe lure in the Rio Negro River, Brazil, when the record fish struck. Congratulations, Andrea, on your second IGFA World Record.


NEW RECORDS IGFA

McCord’s Northern Pike IGFA Representative, Meredith McCord, set the new IGFA Women’s 10-kg (20lb) Tippet Class World Record with this sizeable 10.43-kilogram (23-pound) northern pike. She was fly fishing Wollaston Lake, Canada, and landed the record fish in four minutes after it ate a Tarpon Snake fly. Meredith returned from Canada with several new records and she’s nearing the 200-record mark, to boot. Impressive.

Mackesey’s Kokanee Rob Mackesey is a man with a plan. On September 4, 2019, Rob set out to defeat the IGFA All-Tackle Length World Record for kokanee and accomplished his goal. While fly fishing the Big Elk Creek in Irwin, Idaho, he hooked the 50-centimeter record fish. After a five minute fight, the fish was measured and released. Congratulations on your first IGFA World Record, Rob.

Lemke’s Red Drum Junior Angler, Clayton Lemke, was bottom fishing with family and friends on the Neuse River, North Carolina, when he hooked into a massive fish. After a 10-minute battle, he and his dad hauled the 27.22-kilogram (60-pound) redfish aboard for an official weight. After a quick picture with the family, the fish was released to fight another day.

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

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IGFA LATEST NEWS

IGFA LATEST NEWS

New Conservation Measures for Atlantic Marlin

This February, the IGFA will host the inaugural IGFA Light Tackle Invitational in Palm Beach Shores, Florida. With a maximum line class of 12-pound (6-kilogram) and strict adherence to IGFA Angling Rules, the IGFA Light Tackle Invitational is a genuine angler’s tournament and a platform for light tackle anglers from around the world to showcase their skills and sportsmanship.

At its recent annual meeting held in November, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted measures aimed at rebuilding blue and white marlin stocks. A rebuilding plan put into place in 2013 has been largely unsuccessful, as both blue and white marlin stocks continue- to be overfished and blue marlin continue to be experiencing overfishing. New measures have recently been put in place to aid the rebuilding of both stocks.

More info

Read article

IGFA Light Tackle Invitational

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019


LATEST NEWS IGFA

IGFA Annual Awards 2019 The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is proud to announce the winners of the IGFA Annual Awards for 2019. These prestigious awards recognize individuals for their accomplishments and contributions to sport fishing

Read article

Annual IGFA Auction Angling enthusiasts from around the globe will gather at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, on Saturday, January 25, 2020, to attend the 36th Annual IGFA International Auction. Guests will bid on exciting trips, artwork, tackle, jewelry, and more to support the IGFA’s initiatives in the fields of conservation, youth education and angler recognition.

More info

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

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TRAVEL READER’S CATCH

READER’S

CATCH Kyle Hunt had the chance to fish in Panama with the organization Los Buzos. Among other fish, he managed to catch a 68-pound wahoo from a kayak! Here’s his story on this epic fight.

W

hat I loved about fishing in Loz Buzos, is that every moment is filled with limitless potential. As you drift, bait in water, your mind wanders, 12

and you find yourself on the edge of your seat with anticipation. Panama really is the land of giants, and the possibility of what you might hook into is endless. In true fashion and almost SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

as a response to my train of thought, my rod slammed over, and my ears were greeted by the heart throbbing sound of a screaming drag. My live blue runner had been absolutely crushed and the reel was dumping so fast that


READER’S CATCH TRAVEL

I quickly bumped up the drag, put the wood to the fish when to my horror I saw it jetting straight for one of our pangas with lines in the water.

the distinct clicker became one solid shrieking noise. By the time I snatched up the rod and fought to whip the kayak around to give chase, the torpedo of a fish had damn near spooled me. I quickly bumped up the drag, put the wood to the fish when to my horror I saw it jetting straight for one of our pangas with lines in the water. I knew if the fish swam around the lines and took off, I’d have a tangled mess resulting in losing this once in a lifetime opportunity. The fish and I must have been

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

thinking the same thing, because that’s exactly what he did. Shooting right for the boat he took a sharp turn just after passing the lines. Without hesitation Darret with Los Buzos, looking like a Costa Rican Rambo, stripped down and knife in teeth, dove into the water quickly cutting the lines preventing a sure-fire tangle. A few wild screams and a collective “no way did that just happen” later, I was off and running on what turned out to be a two-and-a-half-hour sleigh ride along the Panamanian coastline. At first, we were

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TRAVEL READER’S CATCH

After a long and stressful battle, the beast is finally in the boat !

all convinced I had hooked a seriously massive roosterfish, even though a local guide on the panga radioed to tell us they saw a large Wahoo shoot past their boat. Initially shrugging this off, and since I was using 80lb fluorocarbon leader that had not been cut, I wasn’t convinced. I decided to put the heat on, however, the fish had no problem coming close to spooling me with blistering runs on multiple occasions. After around 45 minutes or so of a very odd fight for a rooster fish, I managed to crank this beast up close enough to the kayak to get a jaw dropping 14

look. What I saw filled me with excitement and awe; I was looking at a true monster over 5 feet long, jet black with gorgeous neon blue stripes tearing down the sides of its sleek missile-like body. Quickly that excitement turned to dread when I realized I had an unfortunate lack of steel in the makeup of my leader, and that leader was hanging just outside of those razorsharp teeth. As I was trying to work the fish in closer to get a glimpse of how the hook was set in an effort to gauge the precarity of my situation, he deSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Time and time again I had the fish pinwheeling under the kayak just at the edge of my ability to gaff him before he tore off, dumping my spool.


READER’S CATCH TRAVEL

cided he had seen enough of me and took off on another screaming run. With giant Wahoo on confirmed and worry about my leader being sliced through on my mind, I back the drag off and settled in for what I was sure was going to be a long battle of attrition. Time and time again I had the fish pinwheeling under the kayak just at the edge of my ability to gaff him before he tore off, dumping my spool and breaking my heart. Finally, and well past two stressful hours of coaxing the leader later, he mustered everything he had and gave it his all in one last run after

which I was able to bring him up to the kayak and quickly set the gaff in. Instantly my stress evaporated leaving me overwhelmed by what I had just experienced. Not many people are lucky enough to experience what I had, let alone land the fish in the end. What I had just spend the last few hours tied to was not only my first Wahoo ever, but one that measured 5’ 6’’ long and weighed over 68 pounds! The remote beauty of Panama, and the rush and thrill of this experience will no doubt be fueling future kayak fishing expeditions. Next time I find myself in Loz Buzos, I will be gunning for that billfish wall of fame

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

More info behind the story : @kylehunt698 @denesszakacsphotography @Darret_kayak_ fishing @adamfishk www.losbuzos.com

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TRAVEL RUSSIA

RUSSIA

THE BELOUSIHA RIVER Text & photos by Justin Stuart

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RUSSIA TRAVEL

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t first I was sceptical ! An email arrived promoting a new destination for Atlantic Salmon on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, the Belousiha and Voronya rivers. My initial reaction, despite some appealing images of large fish, was to assume that someone was chancing their arm, pushing a new destination and trying to cash in on the Kola bandwagon. What made me even more suspicious was the relative proximity to Murmansk, a drive of just 2-3 hrs, and no

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need for transportation via the usual Russian workhorse of the skies, a MI8 helicopter. What’s more, I had flown over the location dozens of times. Belousiha lodge is at the end of the track of the most eastern road on the northern Kola coastline, a backcountry resupply hub used by the helicopters servicing the lodges of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve amongst others. After 15 years of fishing the Kola, had I really missed a significant river. It all sounded a little too good to be true! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Broadly speaking the Northern Rivers are known for producing some enormous Atlantic Salmon whilst the more southern rivers are renown for prolific quantities.


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TRAVEL RUSSIA

The Belousiha is a small tributary river to the much much much larger Voronya! The Voronya was once one of the biggest river sytems on the Kola Peninsula.

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Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the late 1980’s, a few intrepid salmon anglers set out to explore and then to mount expeditions to fish the numerous rivers that adorned its coastline, flowing both into the Barents Sea in the North and the White Sea to the south. Over the past 20 years rivers such as the Rynda, Kharlovka, Litza, Yokanga and Varzina, in the North, and the Ponoi and Varzuga in the

South, amongst many others, have become synonymous with Atlantic Salmon fishing. Broadly speaking the Northern Rivers are known for producing some enormous Atlantic Salmon whilst the more southern rivers are renown for prolific quantities. The bulk of the Kola Peninsula is above the arctic circle and life is undeniable harsh, especially in the northern part, an open expanse of tundra. The generally bare and rocky ground has underlying

On bigger rivers, a two handed flyrod is the only way to go.

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permafrost which, in less exposed areas, limits growth to dwarf birch forests and elsewhere, a suitably barren mixture of lichens, grasses, wildflowers and cloudberry. It is bare and wild but at the same time thrilling, especially from the eyes of a fishermen as it is interspersed with lakes, streams and rivers. The native Sami people etched out a subsistence lifestyle in this region herding reindeer, but the other natural and well-established asset is the Atlantic Salmon.


RUSSIA TRAVEL

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

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TRAVEL RUSSIA

The surubi catfish not only have amazing patterns, they also put on a great fight! 24

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019


RUSSIA TRAVEL

The native Sami people etched out a subsistence lifestyle in this region herding reindeer, but the other natural and well-established asset is the Atlantic Salmon.

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TRAVEL RUSSIA

The author with a fresh Russian salmon.

The Belousiha is a small tributary river to the much much much larger Voronya!

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Geographically isolated from human habitation and with it human interference, the rivers are, in most cases, in pristine condition. Where rivers do have road access, notably the Umba in the South and in the North, beside Murmansk, the Kola River, the numbers of returning salmon have shrunk to historic lows. The Belousiha and Voronya, as with the aforementioned, has direct road access from Murmansk. Even if the salmon were around, would the experience be marred by teams of poachers or spin fishermen, a real risk in a reSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

gion where the economy has stagnated or contracted, and life is undeniably hard. The Belousiha is a small tributary river to the much much much larger Voronya! The Voronya was once one of the biggest river sytems on the Kola Peninsula. Originally 155kms in length it was also home to some of largest runs of Atlantic Salmon on the Kola as well as some of the biggest. Whilst I cannot verify this, it may well have been home to the largest Atlantic Salmon ever captured on the Kola Penin-


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TRAVEL RUSSIA

Since 2012 and 2015, the Belousiha and Voronya rivers are now secured by a lease, with strict anti-poaching measures, guard huts and patrols posted along the river.

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sula, and one omitted from what is considered the ultimate authority on size, “The Doomsday Book of Giant Salmon” by Fred Buller. In the middle of the 20th century the Kola Peninsula underwent a huge period of industrialisation, both for its raw materials but also as a strategic military base and home to Russia’s Northern fleet. To facilitate this industry and expanding population, the Voronya river was dammed with two very significant hydro-electric power stations, located at Tumanny, approximately two and a

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half hours drive from Murmansk. Material and strategic might at the height of the cold war sadly but inevitably took precedence over the environment, and I do not suppose the passage of salmon past the dams entered into the construction equation. Restricted to around 7kms of length, what remained of the salmon run will have been exploited relentlessly by the construction and maintenance workers at the hydro plant as well as anyone with access to the area. It is surprising that this event was not the final chapter in one of Russia’s greatest

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salmon rivers. The numbers of fish dwindled, to a point where poaching them almost ceased to be productive, although invariably still exploited as a means of putting food on the table. Salmon are undeniably survivors, and in this instance, two keen Russian anglers who had enjoyed fishing on other rivers on the Kola peninsula, thankfully recognised the predicament and equally the potential. With timely intervention they secured the lease on the Belousiha in 2012 and more recently the Voronya in 2015.


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RUSSIA TRAVEL

Fishing with a hitch is one of the most exciting means of fishing for Atlantic Salmon. Widely practiced in Iceland, it’s a technique that can be used anywhere.

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TRAVEL RUSSIA

Strict anti-poaching measures were enforced with security guard huts and patrols posted along the length of the rivers. The only question that rested in my thoughts was whether they had been in time? Murmansk has developed considerably over the last 15 years. The airport has received several facelifts and whilst passport control remains a steely affair, the feeling of nervous trepidation as you approach the stern looking security guards is no longer as evident. Following an overnight stay at the Meridian Hotel in downtown Murmansk, a flying vi34

sit to the local tackle shop to find some half reasonable waders, our party of three set off to the lodge. About half of the car journey is on tarmac, the other half on a dirt road, neither of which could be considered a smooth ride. Regardless, keen anticipation certainly helps smooth away the worst of the bumps! During the final leg of the journey we first drove alongside the upper lake, formed by the hydro and then along its dam wall. The remnants of the original path of the Voronya river can be seen below, now a dry riverbed. It is a visceral scar on the landsSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Although we were fishing over the last week of July, potentially a low-water period, the river had more than enough water to make all the pools fishable and interesting.


RUSSIA TRAVEL

cape with exposed trucksized boulders strewn along its now arid course, an indication of the awesome power of the river and the reason one supposes for its sizeable salmon. On arrival we were shown to what must be the most sophisticated looking ensuite fishing cabins on the Kola Peninsula, complete with hi-speed wi-fi and mobile reception!! Maybe one of the advantages of having an old cold war radio listening station and hydro power plant on your back door! The fishing on the Belouisha is all done by foot. Despite an unusually cold summer, the weather had turned just

prior to our trip. Although we were fishing over the last week of July, potentially a low-water period, the river had more than enough water to make all the pools fishable and interesting. There are few rivers on the Kola as intimate or as scenic! This is 100% single-handed fishing territory and although a slightly larger rod might be useful at the start of the season in mid-June, when sink lines and heavier flies are required, for now it was longer leaders and surface flies. Max, the lodge manager and Russian guide started me off on a cascade which remains universally and internationally effective and resulted

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

in my first fish on the lip of a waterfall. Following a swirl by another fish I then moved to a hitch fly and from that point barely deviated from them for the rest of the week whilst fishing the Belousiha. Fishing with a hitch is one of the most exciting means of fishing for Atlantic Salmon. Widely practiced in Iceland, it is a technique that can be used anywhere. Not only is it very visual, it is also exceptionally effective at eliciting a reaction from salmon. A half-hitch knot is either tied around the eye of a standard salmon single or double. Alternatively, the leader is threaded via a pur-

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TRAVEL RUSSIA

pose made hole in the body of a tube fly. The end result is that the leader is attached to the fly at right angles in the upper 1/3 of its body. The result, when cast, is that as the fly swings it skates across the water surface with a seductive V wake. Salmon, which may have been totally unresponsive to any other means of presentation, can rise up and deftly sip at the fly, as a Trout would take a size 16 dry or react angrily with a pronounced take or swirl. Very often a salmon will move at the fly but not always take. In such a situation, after having tried again, reverting to a swung wet fly may result in the take, having

enticed the fish into action with the hitch. On a river as small and as intimate as the Belousiha, at this stage of the season, Icelandic fishing tactics can rule the day. The river runs clear throughout the season and will never significantly colour up. Over our week the clarity was mesmerizing and although it carries a hint of the peaty tannins typical of all rivers on the Kola, on a sunny day, from a vantage point, you could count individual fish where they lay. That said, cloud cover will always benefit a salmon angler and that was what we had on our first day and the fish behaved

The end of the fight is near for this salmon ! 36

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accordingly. I landed 4 fish and lost two more. Above all I had the rare pleasure of first rising a salmon on a small hitched sunray and then having it launch at the fly a second-time, leaping several feet out of the water as it took, somersaulting in the air and then tearing off downstream, all within the confines of a gorge. Spectacular to say the least. There are two distinct beats on the Belousiha, with the river typically being fished by two pairs of rods. The middle section below the camp has a much slower section, although it also has some quite distinct holding


RUSSIA TRAVEL

The Kola peninsula is a vast, unspoilt and unfriendly wonder of nature.

spots and at times of the year the salmon can back up here in significant numbers. The lower beat on the Belousiha lacks some of the ruggedness of the upper section but has an equally beautiful section of consecutive falls, interspersed with seductive pools. The very bottom section of the river has some quite slack water. Max, on the first morning, explained to me with a wry smile that although salmon angers do not usually like that sort of water, when they start catching fish they change!! One section we fished was packed with salmon and although this also included a significant number

of Pink’s, amongst them were some very good-sized Atlantic’s. It required an element of perseverance to work out how to get them to take but take they do, and it resulted in our best sized fish on the Belousiha for the week. Although the Belousiha is superbly charismatic to fish, has its share of good-sized salmon and is entirely comparable to what might expect of a small Icelandic river, the draw of the big and typically short and powerful fish of the Voronya was none the less appealing. The contrast and variety offered by the two very different rivers is part SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

The contrast and variety offered by the two very different rivers is part of the attraction.

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RUSSIA TRAVEL

In some places, you can use a single handed rod, which provides maximum sensations, even on much smaller fish.

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of the attraction. This year the summer had been especially cold with the river running at 6C for much of July. For any anglers who had fished through the heatwave of 2018 this would seem like a blessing, but naturally, as is often the case when fishing, it was too much of a good thing. As a result, the salmon appeared to be holding back from running the river in greater numbers. The Voronya is huge in relation to the Belousiha. From what I could ascertain, lack of water is never an issue, and certainly the body of water above the dam does not

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change by much more than one meter all season. This is an encouraging feature, especially for someone perpetually terrified of extreme low-water conditions. I would far rather search for a fish amongst an expanse of water than find fishing restricted to a puddle with a few sedentary uncooperative salmon. Water is released by the power station and this does mean that the level can vary from what one might consider low-water summer conditions, to full spate conditions over less than an hour. Change plays on an angler’s confidence and the low ‘ish’ water we experienced on the

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first day was replaced with high water on the second. Trying to interpret this is difficult, especially in such a big and powerful river. Do you fish small and high or deep and slow? Not that one fishing technique ever fits all situations, not knowing if you are in the right ballpark can be disconcerting. On my 3rd day fishing the Voronya, my final day of the trip, fishing the upper section I received a strong pull and a heart-stopping swirl on my first run down the pool. I tried to tempt the fish again with several other flies, but to no avail. Over the next


RUSSIA TRAVEL

With the clock ticking down to my departure, I decided to do one last run down that stretch, starting from the very top.

60 mins the river rose by approximately one meter. Running short of time and with the memories of what felt as if it had been a goodsized fish fading, I searched for success elsewhere, but to no avail. On the previous afternoon whilst fishing the Voronya salmon had been showing everywhere. That activity had all but vanished. With the clock ticking down to my departure, I decided to do one last run down that stretch, starting from the very top. Just as I got going, I saw a large splash in the exact spot where I had the take at the beginning of the of the morning. With time against me, I skipped the middle section SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

with an eye to determinedly targeting that fish with everything in my flybox. My instincts were rewarded without having to resort to a carpet-bombing approach! As soon as I covered the spot the salmon took. What followed was spectacular. I have only once had a fight as acrobatic as the one that followed. Somersault after breath-taking, heart skipping, stomach churning somersault ensued. I do not normally feel the need to cry for assistance but cry I did at the top of my lungs until Max appeared. In fairness this was as much for him to grab my camera, although I was equally happy to see him bearing the net! The salmon when landed was 41


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Swinging flies on a big Russian pool. The Voronya can hold very large, powerful fish.

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only a little more than 15lbs, but it was as short, deep and solid as you would ever want a salmon to be. After the fight it had given me, I would have doubled its size if I had lost it! The Voronya has only been fished over the last 3 seasons and much remains to be understood about it. Like any large river, when it is not producing on a regular basis it can be dispiriting. When salmon fishing the mind plays tricks like few other sports and the mix between sight-fishing on the Belousiha and then casting a long-line on the Voronya, especially when the former was showing and producing, and the other less so, is an interesting combination. Having caught two fish on the Voronya on my first day I was mentally reinforced to cope with a blank

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period. Like a flood, confidence returned on my final day and with luck it will stay with me until my return in July 2020! I unashamedly love exploring new locations and the challenges of a new river (s). Belousiha lodge has much to recommend it. It is well run with diligent ownership and a mix of good guides, both Russian and Argentinean, all with good or excellent English. It is easy to get to; the accommodation and food is good and for those who dislike Russian helicopters a welcome relief to travel by road. Our fishing week was better than some but less good than others. By contrast to the 2017 season it was poor when both rivers were on fire, but fishing is a long-term game and you cannot expect to pull the lottery winner on

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every draw, especially when fishing a new river! Above all, for good quality salmon fishing, on rivers with a track record of producing some very large fish, it is also exceptionally good value

TRIP CONTACT To book a trip at Belousiha Lodge contact, Justin Maxwell Stuart: justin@wherewisemenfish.com wherewisemenfish.com


AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN FISHING FOR 1 WEEK FOR 2 ANGLERS AT BELOUSIHA LODGE, RUSSIA A generous donation by the lodge owners via WhereWiseMenFish in support of the Atlantic Salmon Trust. Details of the auction lot alongside other amazing donations can be found via the AST website.

Fishing packages available at Belousiha Lodge from €2,000-€4,500/person.

www.WhereWiseMenFish.com

Justin@WhereWiseMenFish.com


TRAVEL OMAN

OMAN

THE

HALLANYAT ISLANDS Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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OMAN TRAVEL

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TRAVEL OMAN

I

A beautiful spangled emperor to open the first day !

was just a young fisherman when I first saw pictures of Oman fishing in a magazine. Upon discovering the impressive variety of catches, the geographic location of this country, and the unique landscapes, I immediately found this place to be unique. Surrounded by the United Arab Emirates to the North, Saudi Arabia to the West and Yemen to the Southwest, the Sultanate of Oman has a long coastline on the Arabian Gulf, which is extremely rich in fish from North to South.

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Many years later, I was finally able to travel there and discover this beautiful country with my own eyes. After a flight from Paris to the Omani capital of Muscat, and a second domestic flight to Salalah in the far South, I embarked by rental via sandy roads to reach the small village of Ash Shuwaymiyyah where the Noukhada organization is based. On my way, the dry desert landscapes were spectacular, at times it was easy to imagine myself on planet Mars! By chance of SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

I also discovered firsthand the incredible hospitality of the Omanis who are quite welcoming and always ready to help.


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getting during the drive lost (cursed GPS!), I also discovered first-hand the incredible hospitality of the Omanis who are quite welcoming and always ready to help and assist. After a series of happy and less-happy car adventures, I finally arrived at the gas station of Ash Shuwaymiyyah, where Jamil, one of the captains of Noukhada, awaits me, and who kindly escorts me to the lodge. Started in 2002 by Ali Dashti, this organization is one of the pioneers in sport fishing around the Hallanyat islands, which are located an hour by boat from Ash Shuway-

miyyah. Here, the lodge is immaculate, the boats and equipment are top-notch, and the food is absolutely delicious. It’s a real pleasure to find yourself in the dining room in the evening with pictures of trophy fish on the walls, and to recharge your batteries with the chef’s excellent cuisine. At the lodge I meet the group with which I would go fishing, a friendly bunch of Kuwaiti jigging fans who do not lack humor. They are all experienced fishermen with whom it will be a real treat to fish with for a few days. I also meet Swabir, the second

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captain of Noukhada, who explains to us the next day’s fishing plan over a tasty hot tea. The group will be separated between two boats and for jigging off Hallanyat Island, the largest of this small archipelago comprised of five islands. Fast jigging works very well here. Rods that can handle jigs between 200-300gr are pretty much the norm. Long blade-shaped jigs are very appreciated by amberjacks, whilst smaller models are perfect for trevallies. The next morning, on the short drive to the boat ramp,

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The Islands of Hallanyat are comprised of five islands, which are roughly 45min by boat from the village of Ash Shuwaymiyyah

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Swabir asked me if I had a raincoat with me. Amazed by his question given the total absence of clouds in the sky, I understand that the boat trip to Hallanyat is going to be ...wet! The boats are launched at the Ash Shuwaymiyyah boat ramp and we leave the cliffs and the arid and rocky coast behind us. Fifteen minutes later, I was literally wet from head to toe, as the boat was bounced about by the rough sea. Luckily for me, I was equipped with my Thunderhead backpack from Fishpond. I had all my elec-

tronics, passport, and important papers safely protected by the product’s excellent waterproof construction. We were all sopping-wet, but the contents of my bag were not. Highly recommended for wet conditions! Once we approached Hallanyat island, the sea was less agitated and we arrive at our first spot, an underwater structure above which we drift several times. The jigs are dropped and disappear into the water and almost everyone is immediately harnessed to a fish on the first drop, incredible! A bo-

Captain Swabir with a nice emperor. 52

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A bonito, an emperor, a snapper and an amberjack; the first fish already testify to the variety of species here.


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Our first fish in Oman, a hefty golden trevally.

nito, an emperor, a snapper and an amberjack; the first fish already testify to the variety of species here. After a few minutes taking pictures of the fish that keep biting, I again try my luck and drop a jig into the depths. I make contact with the bottom, start jigging vigorously and boom, something nearly rips my rod from my hands! Here I am hooked up with a serious fish which makes me walk around the boat several times. After several rushes we begin to see flashes of color in the 54

water: «Nice golden trevally! said Swabir. He grabs the huge landing net, secures the fish and hoists it onboard. I will never forget this moment, it looked even bigger once at my feet! Seeing me absolutely shocked by this first fish, Swabir cries out laughing: «This is Oman my friend, THIS IS OMAN!». First day, first drift, first fish, what an incredible start. We continue on to other spots, a bit deeper, to target beautiful amberjacks. There are so SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019


OMAN TRAVEL

A nice snapper on the jig.

Early morning near the boat ramp of Ash Shuwaymiyyah.

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Small commercial boats are frequent around the Hallanyat Islands. Sometimes they help you find a frenzy, and sometimes they outfish you !

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many fish that triple hookups are common, and it’s a mix of joy and chaos on the boat! Fortunately, Swabir has a real gift for untangling three rods hanging from amberjacks all twisted together in no time! These fish are real brutes from the depths and they made all our reels onboard sing in harmony. At some spots, a few small boats and small commercial fishing boats target the same fish as us. They fish using live bait on handlines, which often appeals to fish more than our jigs. We even caught the same fish as one of the com-

mercial fishermen. An amberjack had taken their live bait and one of our jigs at the same time! However, it was the commercial fisherman who brought the fish up, and politely put the jig back in the water! After this fantastic day, it was time for us to return to the lodge, with tired backs but a smile on our faces for everyone. Despite the presence of the boats, the fishing remains excellent. Swabir explains to me that what protects this ecosystem is the rainy season, called «khareef». For several months, the sea is im-

Saffar with a healthy amberjack. Did you notice the bent jig ? 58

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For several months, the sea is impassable and almost no boat can go out, which leaves a little peace and quiet for the different species of fish.


OMAN TRAVEL

Big fight on Noukhada’s second boat.

passable and almost no boat can go out, which leaves a little peace and quiet for the different species of fish. The next day, the sea is a bit more agitated. We leaving anyway in good hopes and the fish are still there! The amberjacks again make our reels scream for our greatest pleasure. A few days before, the group explained to me that they had been able

to witness an amberjack feeding-frenzy on the surface, unheard of here in Oman. Unfortunately, nobody had the time to bring their lines up and change to an adequate lure but the videos are incredible! We then try for a popping session near a rock formation where the waves break, a good spot to fish GT and other trevallies. The popSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

pers are flying towards the foam of the waves and you can already see some curious fish behind the lures. On light equipment, the small crankbaits are attacked at each launch by blacktip and bigeye trevallies; it is a treat to see them chasing your lure in crystal-clear water. The GTs don’t not show up however. After half an hour on the spot, I see a school of 10 elongated fish on the 59


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In shallow water, bigeye trevallies and blackfin trevallies provide excellent fun on light tackle. Beware of the GTs that could be around too though !

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Amberjacks were present in big numbers on deep wrecks and structures.

surface, ÂŤMilkfishÂť tells me Swabir. As the school gets closer, I realize that they are much more numerous than I thought, at least 25 fish and most are over 20lb, but no fly rod on board! We contemplated these mysterious fish for a few minutes and then they continued on their way, a magnificent spectacle. The following days, the sea is too rough to go out. We make the acquaintance of the three gentlemen behind the famous brand of Jackfin 62

lures, who have come to fish here for the second time with their own creations: magnificent handmade Italian lures. The next day we all leave in a 4x4 to fish on light tackle from the shore on a rocky beach battered by the waves. As soon as I got out of the car, I saw the Jackfin team already launching in the middle of a school of baitfish, not far from the edge. Small groupers are numerous and easy to spot because their brown color contrasts with the white sand, but watch out for the SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

The Omani breams are also present and very aggressive, it is a great fun to catch them on crankbaits with light tackle.


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The landscapes in Oman are very arid most of the year. You sometimes really feel like you’re on another planet!

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rocks when you bring them close to the edge! The Omani breams are also present and very aggressive, it is a great fun to catch them on crankbaits with light tackle! As we all frantically threw to profit from the proximity of the sardine shoal, I saw a familiar fin that was sticking out of the water and sinking regularly into the baitfish. It was a superb permit in the middle of a feast! By the time I cast, Simone, from the Jackfin team, had already shipped his Pelagus lure which ins-

tantly crossed the permit’s path. After a fight and a balancing act to recover the fish from the rocks, it’s finally in front of us. A superb specimen which succumbed to a well handled stickbait! Shortly after, the school of baitfish moved away from the shore and calm returned to the beach. It was time to return to the lodge and enjoy dinner before our last day. The sea having settled down, we set out again the next morning to fish around another island of the archipelago called Sawda.

Decent Omani bream from the rocks. 66

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Once on location, we start with a little jigging session. Very quickly, amberjacks are hooked and the reels protest with singing drags. A few photos and they are back in the water! The jigging session continues when suddenly a big fish is hooked, and it doesn’t fight like a yellowtail. The fish takes off like a rocket and makes the reel smoke! Jamil thinks it’s a GT or a big grouper but after a long fight we see a very large spotted trevally under the boat. A superb fish that will leave the poor fisherman


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Fishing on the beach in Oman, you never know what could be out here. Simone from Jackfin lures caught a beautiful permit right here, on a stickbait !

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Spotted trevallies take off like rockets once they’re hooked.

very tired! Shortly thereafter, Jamil spotted activity around a small boat of handline fishermen. We approach and throw long cast crankbaittype lures in the middle of the excited seagulls. Almost every throw is rewarded with a fish. Blacktip trevallies of all sizes are present in number and they will keep us busy for hours. Suddenly, another big fish hits a crankbait and delivers an equally powerful fight to the fisherman. This is another huge spotted trevally, which will nicely round off our stay. 70

On the way back to Ash Shuwaymiyyah by boat, I take a look at the photos. I have rarely had so many different species on my camera! This venue is absolutely unique and there are still many places left to explore. Hopefully the khareef season can allow Oman to maintain the abundant fish stocks as we have experienced. But one thing is for sure, whether you are a fly-fisher, jigger, popper aficionado, or light tackle freak, you are bound to find what you are looking for in the waters of Oman SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

TRIP CONTACT noukhada_omn@yahoo.com noukhadaoman.com


Experience fishing on another planet. ellidason@strengir.is www.strengir.com

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

#fishonmoon #strengir

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The Thunderhead by Fishpond is an extremely durable waterproof backpack. Made from recycled nylon, it features a waterproof TIZIP closure, and a sturdy harness system for a more comfortable carry. Not only does it look amazing, it is very well built and feels very tough. The backpack has multiple rings to attach accesories, and the Modular buckles are compatible with many Fishpond products. A very appreciated storage when fishing under pouring rain or rough seas, especially when you have high-value electronics !

$55.95 | handypaknetco.com 72

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$299.95 | fishpondusa.com


TRAVEL IRELAND

IRELAND

IRISH MAYFLY TIME Text & photos by Rudy Van Duijnhoven

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Lough Muck is situated just a few kilometres from the Callow Lakes, but the trout show a very different colouring.

I

t is tough to be a mayfly when, after digging through the bottom of an Irish lake for three or four years and swimming to the surface in order to live outside the water for a few hours, and you don’t have your day... Just when you have left your nymphal shuck and you are drying your wings as a dun, a large wild brown trout rises and grabs you from the surface... During the end of May and in early June it is mayfly time in Ireland, even though you can come across these large

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insects later in the Summer months as well. During this period fly-fishers from across the globe come to Ireland to try their chance at catching a large, purely wild brown trout. People are fishing with imitations of the full grown insect, presented as a dry fly (floating on the water surface) or as a wet fly (in the upper layers of the water). The mayflies are a special group among the insects because they shed their skin once more as full grown insects. From an insect with dull wings and colours (dun), they change to an insect with bright colours and clear wings SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

During this period fly-fishers from across the globe come to Ireland to try their chance at catching a large, purely wild brown trout.


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(spinner). Only at this stage the insect is ready to mate and the female insects can deposit their eggs on the surface of the water. After this the insects die and they float in the surface with their wings spread (spent spinner). This stadium can also be well represented by the fly-fisher and fly-tier.

there is too much wind to fish these lakes or when there are no guides and/or boats available any more, then there are enough alternatives in the north west of Ireland in the form of smaller, more sheltered lakes.

Lough Corrib, Lough Mask, Lough Conn, Lough Cullin and Lough Arrow are just some of the large lakes where you can enjoy fantastic sport during mayfly time. When

The Callow Lakes, for instance, are situated along the N26, between Foxford and Swinford. The two lakes, which are connected by means of a small canal under

Callow Lakes

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IRELAND TRAVEL

Nice fly water on the upper section of the River Moy near Foxford.

The trout all showed the brightest of colours, with an intense yellow belly and sharp red and black dots.

a stone bridge, are together some 65 hectare in size. Especially the northern lake is remarkably deep, but there are enough shallow areas to be found along the shoreline and around the vegetation that is visible here and there. Boats can be rented from Tom Deasy at the northern lake, telephone +353 (0)94 – 9256 266, a license is not necessary for this water. Together with Markus Mßller, Mario Sanz and fishing guide Paddy McDonnell, I had a most enjoyable day here. Using dry flies and wet SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

flies, we managed to land some sixty trout between us, the heaviest one was close to one and a half pounds in weight, trout of two and three pounds in weight are often caught here too though. The trout all showed the brightest of colours, with an intense yellow belly and sharp red and black dots. For those people that love to fish dry flies: a Klinkhamer tied in mayfly colours is both well visible on the water because of the large white wing and a good imitation of the full grown insect. With this fly, fishing along the drop-off to 79


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Beautiful colours on a brown trout from Callow Lakes.

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The lough holds a large stock of trout and they rise freely to intercept insects or our imitations at the surface.

deeper water, I managed to land a number of good sized trout that were patrolling this water. A drogue can come in handy when the wind pushes the boat too fast across the water. On a day when the large waters where too dangers to fish, we enjoyed great sport here. Lough Muck Lough Muck is just a short distance from the Callow Lakes, but its character is completely different. The water here has more the colours of the moors, it is very clear but there is a definite brown tint to it. The wild brown trout on this lough also have a much dar-

ker colour. The lough holds a large stock of trout and they rise freely to intercept insects or our imitations at the surface. An ideal water when the larger waters can not be fished or to fill in a small number of hours. Kenny Sloan rents out a boat on this water, he can be reached at +353 (0)87 – 9670310. The lake is also perfectly suitable to fish with a belly boat. Try to make drifts here close to the vegetation or along the ‘monument’ that can be found in one corner of the lough. Wet flies that have black bodies or hackles in their dressing work well here most of the time, but I would urge you

On the estate some forty apartments have been build in recent years which are available for rent. 82

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The Owenduff River runs through a landscape full of flowers.

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Mount Falcon also has some interesting fly water on the River Moy.

to try some dry flies as well if you have the chance. For this water there is no license necessary either. Fishing for salmon Mayfly time is also the period of the year when there are still spring salmon running upriver, the grilse show up when the mayflies have largely disappeared. When you happen to be in Ireland during this time and the circumstances are positive (the water in the 86

rivers goes down again after it had risen more or less after some rainfall), than I would for sure reserve some days to fly-fish for salmon. On our first day of fishing in May there was a wind force six or seven from the north to north-east. Carrowmore Lake looked like coffee with way too much milk and there were large waves crushing its shores; the Owenduff River was still fishable howeSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

ver. The Owenduff is without doubt one of the most beautiful salmon rivers of Ireland, winding through a remote, colourful landscape; so remote in fact that you will have little reception with your cell phone... The river can be fished with both single and double handed fly-rods, on a day with this much wind, the single handed fly-rod is the easier option because you can increase line speed by using the double haul. To-


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gether with Shane Maloney of the Mount Falcon Hotel, Mario Sanz and Markus MĂźller I travelled this fascinating and photogenic landscape, we fished the section that can be booked through Mount Falcon. We walked some distance upstream after which we would fish the pools in a downstream fashion. In the first pool I fished, I got a firm take after only seven casts. I released the line, lifted my rod in order to set the hook and all of this happened in a reflex. The salmon turned out to be well hooked on a bright red and yellow fly, tied on a double salmon hook and brightened up with some pearl flashabou. The short and light salmon fly-rod that I used had to cope with several fierce runs and similar jumps, but I

managed to direct the salmon into some submerged grass finally. The salmon was 74 centimetres in length, probably around eight pounds in weight. After taking some pictures quickly with the salmon lying next to the rod, I gave her back her freedom. There have been many trips when I had to wait longer for the first take of a salmon... Ballintemple Fishery In May 2014 we had, for the first time, the chance to fish the famous Ridge Pool in Ballina, but the water was at such a high level that day that fishing there was useless. As an alternative, on such days day tickets are available for the Ballintemple Fishery on the Moy between Foxford and Swinford. This part of the river is situated above the sec-

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I got a firm take after only seven casts. I released the line, lifted my rod in order to set the hook and all of this happened in a reflex.

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An eight pound salmon from the Owenduff River, caught on a brightly coloured salmon-fly.

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tion that discharges the water from Lough Conn and Cullin and therefore it only seldom has problems with high water in the season. The river here holds a number of pools that are suitable for fly-fishing, but also slower sections where lures and natural bait have their place. Wading has to be done with great care, there can be deep holes in the bottom at some places, but other sections are very easy to wade with only gravel and small stones. With a thirteen foot fly-rod for a line class #8 or 9 and a floating fly-line you can fish this water thoroughly. This set-up is completed with either nylon, fluorocarbon, interme-

diate or sinking polyleaders. From the parking area it is just a short distance to the first pools and while we were still getting dressed, a salmon was caught on the fly of some ten pounds in weight; a very promising start of the day! The same local fly-fisher managed to land a second salmon that day. We decided to walk to the top of the beat, a distance of some 2,5 kilometres and after going only part of this distance we came across no other anglers any more. The first pools below the bridge we could fish on our own. Despite the fact that we covered the water thoroughly, by putting the salmon flies and

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tubes close to the other shore whenever there was room for it, we had no takes of salmon this day. MountFalcon The Mount Falcon Hotel, where we stayed for the duration of our trip, is surely one of the best known sporting hotel of Ireland. Mount Falcon is the ideal base for fly-anglers who want to fish in this part of Ireland offering a very central location and a huge variety of different species to fish for. Beautifully situated on an estate along the River Moy, with private beats on this river and even a trout lake on the property with gin clear water and


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The Mount Falcon Hotel is one of the premier ‘great fishing houses’ of Ireland.

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Flyrod pike acrobatics on Lough Arrow.

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Bodo Funke also has a modern predator boat available, with which he fishes with clients for pike, like here on Lough Key.

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strong rainbow trout that are not that easy to fool. On the estate some forty apartments are build for guest, we stayed in one of these; the restaurant serves an excellent meal, although we usually had our meal in the bar because it had the same high standard and we could follow the news on internet there.

there are some specific sections that can be fished well with the fly. Fishery manager Stuart Price showed us some promising sections of the Wall Pool and together with Mario I fished this section intensely for most of the day with floating and slow sinking fly-lines combined with fast sinking leaders.

Even if most sections of the River Moy that belong to the hotel are more suitable to other methods of fishing (and things can be ‘wild’ here when the grilse turn up in large numbers during the summer),

A double handed fly-rod of at least thirteen foot is necessary here to cover the water well enough. Very often you are wading just a short distance from the shore and there is little room to place SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Another alternative to fly-fishing for trout and salmon consists of fly-fishing for pike.


IRELAND TRAVEL

line behind you before making the forward cast. Twice we saw a salmon swirl in the surface, shortly after high water had delivered a fresh run of salmon from the tidal sections of the river below. We had no takes unfortunately, but we learned a lot this day from fishing this type of water. Fly-fishing for pike Another alternative to fly-fishing for trout and salmon consists of fly-fishing for pike. For many it is not even an alternative, they travel to Ire-

land just to fly-fish for pike! This comes as no surprise as the pike often show air acrobatics when they are hooked and you have the chance every day to come across a pike of the magical one meter length or even longer than that. When I have the choice between a fifty centimetre trout and a one meter pike, I will for sure decide for the last one! Unfortunately some people are still not willing to see this and the pike are still removed from certain waters with nets; practices that should be stopped as soon as possible, they have become

unwanted in these modern times especially since it has become clear that pike have been living in Ireland for hundreds of thousands of years. With Bodo Funke and Kenny Sloan we fished, in this order, Lough Arrow, Lough Key (near Boyle) and Levally Lake and although the circumstances were not profitable for fly-fishing for pike (days without wind or on the contrary a hard wind from the north, lots of sunshine, hardly any clouds), we still managed to hook a good many pike close to or in the double fi-

Taken from the weedy areas at the end of our drift. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

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gures. Unfortunately we suffered from ‘long line release’ numerous times because the pike often only grabbed the tail of our streamers. Still we managed to land a good number of pike up to 95 centimetres in length. Nobody complained about the circumstances and this fishing alone made coming over to Ireland worth the time and effort. With Judd Ruane we have also fished with two boats in the mouth of the river Moy for seatrout. First with a strip of mackerel flesh on light spinning rods and this bait was grabbed on almost every cast by seatrout in the fast running water. Hooking the fish

proved to be a bit more difficult, but we brought some on board for a short photo session. While wading we also fished some sections of the delta with artificial flies, the larger seatrout could not be tempted with this method on the day however. The day progressed with some small fish, a few missed takes and a fierce fight with a mullet which unfortunately was hooked just behind the head... Judd Ruane offers his guests a superb lunch on one of the islands in the mouth of the river. With fried fish, bread, red or white wine; very nice! Fishing the green island can be very tasty as well in this way

TRIP CONTACT Paddy McDonnell bluecharm@eircom.net Kenny Sloan ksloan@eircom.net www.pikemania.co.uk Bodo Funke info@anglingservicesireland.com www.anglingservicesireland.com Judd Ruane judd@juddruane.com www.fishingireland.ie www.ireland.com Inland Fisheries Ireland Website: www.fishinginireland.info Mount Falcon Email: info@mountfalcon.com Website: www.mountfalcon.com

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640€ | fishing.tenryu-magna.com

CHASEBAITS MUD BUG Using the latest technology to build the most lifelike craw ever created, the Chasebaits Mudbug redefines the term “match the hatch.” Made from super tough 10x TPE material, the Chasebaits Mudbug features an anatomically correct body shape and appendages, which provides a highly realistic profile and subtle movements that exactly replicate those of a real live crawfish. The claws will also float while at rest to mimic a crawfish in a natural defensive position, which infuriates bass into biting.

SAVAGE GEAR 3D NEEDLEFISH PULSE TAIL Based on a 3D scan of a real needlefish, we have created the perfect needlefish imitation! The lure not only looks like a needlefish, it acts like one! We equipped the lure with our Unique pulse tail that gives a very discreet vibration and tail action exactly like a real needlefish! The hollow metal alloy head has a line thru tube, so when rigged the lure slides up the mainline and away from the hooked fish, protecting the lure and ensuring the fish can not use the weight of the lure to throw the hooks. The PVC Body is secured to the head with a Cork screw, so the lure can handle high speed and brutal strikes. Each lure is supplied with a spare tail and Carbon49 wire rig with ST46 Trebles in PS finish.

14.90€ | savage-gear.com

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$10.99 | chasebaitsusa.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS AMPLITUDE INFINITY The conventional wisdom in fly fishing is that there’s no such thing as a “do it all” freshwater line. We have something to say about that. The Amplitude Smooth Infinity has the power to bomb out streamers, yet retains delicacy for dry flies. It mends like an absolute dream, and delivers flies at all distances. Built a halfsize heavy, with a long head and substantial front taper, it’s perfect for everything from trout and panfish to pike and steelhead. There’s a reason we call it the Infinity: there is no end to what you’ll be able to do with it.

99.95€ | scientificanglers.com

PROREX HOLLOW LUNKER A softbait with a versatile hollow body, the Hollow Lunker is ideal for targeting wary fish and for covering shallower stretches of water. The powerful vibrations released by the Duck Fin tail will incite predators to the attack while the increased sharpness of the SaqSas hook will improve your hit rate. Ideal for medium to fast retrieves.

$21.90 | daiwa.com

BKK DUOLOCK SNAP

BKK Duolock Snaps are produced from high quality stainless steel to avoid corrosion. Precision shaping and tempering optimises strength and elasticity. Fine chemical polishing creates a smooth surface that prevents line damage. Heavy Class Duolock Snaps are designed to not let you down when it really counts.

$3.90 | bkkhooks.com

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NILE PERCH &TIGERS Text and photos by Charlotte Chilcott & Andrew Luedke

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Night fly fishing for big nile perch !

always have an ear open for exciting new fishing opportunities and whispers of something new, something different came to me in Tanzania in 2016. Back in Tanzania in 2017, those whispers had more form, a West African river, home to three species of tigerfish. H. Vitatus, H. Brevis and H. Forskali. Possibly Nile perch. Possibly Niger barbs. Possibly many things.

In early 2018, I knew it was Cameroon. The fire was lit; I wanted to go. Escaping Co104

lobus, farting tribesmen, majestic headsmen with many wives ‌ years of Durrell pushed to the fore and pushed all practical considerations well and truly to one side. By May 2018 I had my week. In February 2019, I was packed and ready to go. Sadly going to Cameroon meant I had to miss Tanzania but the lure of two new species of tigerfish to target was too great and H.tanzaniae were sacrificed for the greater good. I had no idea what I was getting into. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

I stepped up my casting practice, entertaining the evening dog walkers on the local school football field and snuck in some casting lessons to straighten out the wriggles.


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A group of hippos from the sky. They play a big role in the ecosystem as fish feed on their excrements.

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I stepped up my casting practice, entertaining the evening dog walkers on the local school football field and snuck in some casting lessons to straighten out the wriggles. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t practice before they head off on a trip. Tackle wise, I had what I needed. My much loved Hardy Zephrus 9’ 9# with its predecessor, the Proaxis 9’ 9# coming along as a spare would take care of the tigerfish. Nile Perch were covered with my Hardy Proaxis 9’ 11# and as a backup, a Hardy Zephrus 9’ 11#. I also packed a Hardy

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Jet 9’ 5# for the Niger Barbs. Reel wise, I packed my Hardy Fortuna X2 for the 9# and my Fortuna X3 for the 11#. The drag on those reels is nothing short of phenomenal and while they are heavy, I’ve not yet found anything I’d like to replace them with. I’d borrowed a Hardy Ultralite 5000 #5 from the office Chalkstream kit and a Hardy SDSL as my spare 11# reel. As we were targeting Nile perch at night, I had both reels set up; one with an intermediate line and the other with a Scientific Anglers 450 grain sinking line. I personal-

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One thing I wasn’t comfortable with? Casting in the dark.


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The crystal clear skies remind you how far you are from big cities and light pollution.

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Insane double hookup !

ly didn’t want to carry two rods; I’m clumsy enough in daytime and two rods in the dark was asking for trouble. Two bits of kit I should have had? A second empty Omnispool because I just didn’t have the energy when back in camp to remember to put the line back on its spool. Mono. I had taken Fluro with me but, for a variety of reasons, they prefer to use Mono. Two bits if kit not to leave behind? A spare head torch 112

as you are at a significant disadvantage if you lose yours or if it breaks. Clear safety glasses. Not what you would normally think to pack but eye protection shouldn’t stop when daylight fades … One thing I wasn’t comfortable with? Casting in the dark. My iffy back means that I can’t turn to watch my line as many do (too many heavy backpacks), so I have to cast purely by feel. Turns out that was an advantage in SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Camp, once reached, was far beyond what I had imagined.


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Ready, tackled up, I was as ready for the week ahead as I could have been. For me it was brutal. It took a while to get used to fishing from behind boulders, of keeping the rod high in order to keen the line free. Greg had imparted his little words of wisdom earlier; “with tigers, you have two chances. Two chances only”. No pressure then. Dressed in full bush camo, we soon lost Gordon amongst the rocks and small shrubs. We thought we’d chance our luck with tempting yellowfish. With only a 9# to hand, we were a little over gunned with 4lb tippet on a 10# line. It would have been interes-

ting to see how that battle had turned out had they been interested in any of the nymphs they were presented with. Giving up on them for the time being, I returned to tempting tigers. Stripping fast, slow or mixed raised no interest at all so a change of fly was called for. Lifting my rod, BANG. And gone. It was so hard. So fast. With the new fly on, I cast, stripped, cast and stripped. Nothing. Nothing again. Then another mighty wallop but as quickly as it had come, it had gone. That was my two chances and in the quiet period that followed I was convinced that I’d blown my options. Casting a little further out but letting

the dark. I do have a nasty habit of sweeping as I back cast and oddly, it I was more aware of it in the pitch black than during the day. Two hefty whacks to the back of my head sorted that out on the first night. Camp, once reached, was far beyond what I had imagined. As always a huge pleasure to see Stu and Greg, two of the most accomplished guides I have had the pleasure of fishing with.

Lots of fish swimming around this hippo. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

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What a fight though, for the size of the fish it fought with an enormous amount of power.

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the fly swing right up close to the rocks, I stripped hard once. On the second, BANG and on. Whatever I thought I knew from fishing in Tanzania went right down river. Stumbling over the rocks and trying to keep tension, to keep the tip down, whilst at the same time having to keep the butt high and the rod at arms length over the rocks. At the same time stripping, line on the ground getting tangled in rocks and river debris. I had hooked myself a nice h.Brevis which expressed its dissatisfaction at being hooked by jumping straight off the bat. Not a pause between the second jump, or the third.

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Head shaking all the while and then the hook was free. My first Cameroon tigerfish was gone, not even a ripple to mark its passing. What a fight though, for the size of the fish it fought with an enormous amount of power. And height; those jumps were several feet out of the water and there was no pause between them. Later that afternoon, I was in a fabulous spot; quite high above the water, nothing behind me to get hooked into although dropping a back cast did run the risk of simply snapping your hook. Having found a few discarded


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End of the fight for this big Nile perch.

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broken flies from the previous group, it was worth checking regularly that all was in order and I had an intact fly. I had a 45 degree angle to work including the river’s edge as it looked deep and inviting, pushing up against the rocks. It was beginning to feel like an evening of a thousand unresponsive casts when the earlier blood sacrifice from my nosebleed paid the first of its dividends. With 118

a fish on, I had my first experience of the sheer power of a Nile Perch. What I learned quickly is that they are also dirty fighters. Any ledge, nook or cranny is enough to see your Nile Perch viewing it as a refuge. No matter how big or small, they’ll wedge themselves in there. Helping me around the rocks – falling in wouldn’t be good – the rod was passed SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

back and forth with Stu keeping it all calmly under control while I manoeuvred around. I can’t say I was calm or under control but after a hard – but not too long fight – I had my first ever Nile Perch, lying in shallow water between two smooth rocks with Greg and Stu getting ready to measure and weigh the beast. They haven’t yet caught enough NP to have a huge


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I had just finished my count, and as I reached the end of my first strip, BANG. Fish on and running.

amount of data so over time, it will be very interesting to see what the correlation between length, girth and weight is. Measured in at 110 cm and weighing about 45 lbs, we released the obliging perch back into the depths before making my way back to my spot to carry on. I had on one of Stu’s flies, a big yellow and black bumblebee. At that point, it had landed several NP, all of them over a metre so it seemed sensible to keep it on! I worked my way across the pool, from left to right until I

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was casting back up the edge. I had just finished my count, and as I reached the end of my first strip, BANG. Fish on and running. I couldn’t co-ordinate myself well enough to turn on my headtorch, manage my line and keep tension so with a huge amount of luck, the line was all back on the reel without snagging or wrapping before I managed to turn the torch on. This fish was fighting harder, and dirtier, and the pole had to be used several times to try and push the line out from under the rocks and encourage the fish to move so I could gain

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Casting at night may be difficult to some people, but the rewards are beyond what you can imagine.

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some line back and bring it towards the surface. This fish was notably rounder but only a little heavier. Measured in at 113 cm, it moved off into deeper water, not even leaving a wake behind it. The downside of catching at night is that once you are wet, you get cold and I am eternally grateful that I was in the cab as we eventually called it a night. The next morning, we split up and headed our separate directions. The target again today was tigerfish, yellows if we saw them feeding but tigers were on our menu and it was with that in mind that we

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picked our way across what looked like a moonscape. From ground level you really don’t get the scope of this river system; deep pockets of water are well hidden and whilst you think you are heading to the main river you can see in the distance, in reality you are fishing your way to that. Greg put Gordon up high in a gorge with fast flowing water pushing hard down the inside, leaving calm pockets behind the rocks, perfect resting spots for an ambush predator. I was a little further downstream, on more friendly terrain, fishing up and across,

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working my way down river. My second cast had a bit hit but I failed to connect and I stripped in, checked my fly and cast again. Working the pool on the far side, opposite the line that Gordon was fishing. As I stripped fast, trying to keep tension in the fast flowing water, I had another big hit. So big it made my fingers tingle. No connection; was I just not quick enough to react? Was it an uncommitted strike or tail slap? Who knows. Greg just laughed and said the h.brevis conversion rate was about 16:1 so I had a way to go. Just then, Gordon shouted and from his very lofty perch, high above


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Sunset on the river. Time to tie on a big nile perch fly !

the water, we could see that he had a fish on. He slowly made his way to a point where Greg could land the fish and soon we were treated to the sight of a nice h.vitatis. The tigerfish of the Zambezi, h.vitatis has very distinctive dark stripes and is probably the most colourful of the species, its fins sporting shades of deep orange and red, fading to translucent at the fins edge. As we made our way upriver, I had several more hits,

several connections but nothing stuck until we reached a small pool, swinging wide to our right and disappearing into a narrow gully that Gordon was covering like a man possessed. As I stripped fast across the pool, I saw a swirl and stripped faster. Two more strips and I had a hit. Determined not to lose this fish, I kept the rod tip down and walked backwards up the sandy, playing the fish on the line as there was too much line out to want to get it back on the reel. The SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

water was so clear that we could see the flashes of red as the tiger shook his head, rolled and tried to shake the fly. The mouths on h.brevis are relatively small and they don’t have the upper hinge that h.tanzaniae have; perhaps some of the difficulty in getting them to stick is that we were fishing too big? As Greg readied himself to land the fish, we decided to try for some water shots before bringing the fish in and that change of tack wasn’t 123


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Last seconds before the fish is secured... Landing fish here can be quite difficult because of the rocky landscape.

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a bright one. With one last head shake and sideways flip, it shook the fly and we were treated to a tail flick as it retreated back to the depths. Live and learn. By the time evening came around, we were all keen to see yet another part of the river and to get set up for the evening session. Our spots for the evening were slightly more exposed than the night before and as the sun set, we all had lines in the water, working out our casting pattern, making sure we knew where we had put kit bags and didn’t have anything to fall over. A few Nile Perch were on and off in quick order “IN” “OFF” echoing down the ri126

ver until we heard Martin shout “IN” and I could hear his line zipping off. As he fought his fish and Stu and Greg went to help keep it clear of the ledges and bring it in, I had a small bump. It might have been the bottom, I might have bumped a fish with the fly but re-invigorated, I re-cast, varying my strip and on a long, slow strip, had an almighty take. Before I could do anything my line was on the reel, I was fishing in complete darkness and conscious that they were all busy getting Martin’s fish in, I hung on and tried to keep the fish up, trying not to give him room to run and hide. Eventually, I knew I needed help and my rather SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

apologetic “Chaps, when you are ready” brought Greg and line pole up to help. After a few short but hard runs, a few sticky moments when a convenient ledge provided shelter, we had my fish in and Martin and I had the pleasure of a Nile Perch double up. Weighed and measured, Martin’s fish was 95 cm and mine was 104 cm. Not as round as either of the fish I’d landed the night before, but still deep in the chest; it obviously had some filling out to do. My main reason for coming to Cameroon was the three species of tigerfish – the Nile Perch turned out to be a huge bonus. While Came-


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roon tigers hit hard and unbelievably fast. They don’t settle in the same way that the Tanzania tigerfish do and they learn very quickly. On a new stretch, that I’d not seen before we settled in to observe. The water was very clear, moving through at good rate but not too fast to be able to effectively strip. I cast and stripped, recast and stripped faster. Nothing. Recast a little higher up and stripped then repeated the process again. We changed fly as the original obviously wasn’t flavour of the morning and repeated the process. Moving forward slightly, I recast and on a somewhat bored strip, had an almighty BANG. It went off like a rocket, keeping the rod low as the line tightened, I prayed that this one would stay attached. After some heart stopping moments, I finally managed to

land my very first h.brevis and what a beautiful fish it was. The colouring is more subtle than h.vitatus but no less eye catching. I tried to be cool about it but inside, I was leaping about, yelling and hollering in delight …. Stu just grinned at me, gave me a hug and a high five; he knew there was a party going on in my head. Would I go back? Yes, I’d pack up and go back tomorrow if I could. It was a truly special experience, a pocket of hope in conservation terms and one that I can only hope others will want to experience. These rivers already offer so much to a travelling angler but the reality is that there is so much more to discover as there are species there that we have no idea yet how to target. Now with access to more water, there will be even more to discover

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

TRIP CONTACT Aardvark McLeod specialise in fly fishing holidays worldwide, in both freshwater and saltwater. Closer to home, they offer day tickets, guiding and multi-day trips. For more information you can contact them: mail@aardvarkmcleod.com aardvarkmcleod.com

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POPPING & JIGGING

IN THE RED SEA Text and photos by Hesh El Brollosy

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F

ishing to me is a passion and it all started at a very young age in the great Nile River-Egypt for freshwater Tilapia and Nile Perch. Eventually, this developed into a professional sports fishing when I was in Western Australia for two decades when fishing with artificial lures was booming Worldwide, but initiating from Australia and Japan. Not too long afterwards, this passion leads me to open a tackle shop when I moved in Dubai and with my experience in fishing, I was able to give recommendations to my fellow fishermen not only with the gear but as well as 130

fishing destinations and organizing trips for some of the biggest names in Charter Business around. Looking back, I’ve realized that I went through a lot of fishing destinations and this has given me an idea of offering the same experience but with a glam of Egypt. And why not? When Egypt, in general, has so much to offer, to mention a few mustsee destinations: The Great Pyramids, The Sphynx, The Lighthouse of Alexandria, the largest libraries of the ancient world that is also in Alexandria, the Nile River, the historical monuments in Luxor, the scenic and diving SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

Looking back, I’ve realized that I went through a lot of fishing destinations and this has given me an idea of offering the same experience but with a glam of Egypt.


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spots, down south is a perfect spot for Kite surfing too, the amazing fresh food, the experience, the culture, the immense beauty of nature and that includes the famous Red Sea of course which is the base of our charter. Hence, KBE Team Expeditions was born offering a professional sports fishing mainly for jigging and popping. Every trip is like a new adventure for me as I am joining most our groups, call me hands-on or stage owner all you want but there is nothing more satisfying seeing those smiles, the excitement and hearing the laughs and

screams of our guests every time they caught a fish. Witnessing it happening right before my eyes? that is a very fulfilling moment. Welcoming rookies and legends from different parts of the world are always beyond awesome experience for me, sharing fishing techniques, building new friendship and making it a memorable learning experience for them. Not to mention that we have our KBE Jr Academy, influencing the future fishos not just the proper technique but as well as conservation. So let me share the most recent adventure that for me is one of

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The rusty jobfish is tougher than it looks! They provide an excellent fight on jigging rods.

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KBE expedition’s custom boat.

We had a very nice start where the guys nailed 4 GTs before 11 am.

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the most remarkable ones as it was such a challenging and rewarding three days trip. Anglers came all the way from the so hard despite the weather conditions. As usual, we had breakfast on board before we embarked at 6.30 a.m in Hurghada Marina following our short briefing on safety, weather update and target fish for the day. We had a very nice start where the guys nailed 4 GTs SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

before 11 am, and guess what, were there first ever Geets, just before we headed off to a nice light casting session. To catch 4 GT’s?. it was a very good surprise for the day. Guys never anticipate the force that will test your endurance in such fight, the guys were jumping up and down the boat with the thrill, excitement and of course the ultimate satisfaction. Every GT we land in the Red Sea


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Two colorful fish of the Red Sea: the bohar snapper and the mahi mahi.

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A napoleon wrasse caught on a jig. The diversity of catches is impressive on this side of the Red Sea.

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proofs me that they’re different to the 100s I’ve seen around the World; healthier, stronger, not sure about the exact reason, but their fights are pound for pound POWER! So back to this trip, on the way back first day, we checked the weather forecast update, just to find out that wind will change to southerly second and third days, and that’s the worst fishing condition in this part of the World! So comes second day, I let them enjoy

their lunch on board on a nearby scenic island and let them experience the beauty of the Red Sea as they can go for snorkelling using our standby snorkelling gear to relax a bit before we resume with our fishing program for the day and head back to Marina at 4.30 pm. Oh well, couldn’t do much other than enjoying the calm seas on the second day, covering a round trip of 200Kms, and man did they stop casting and jigging?, HELL NO!. We have changed a

Mean GT landed by this angler ! 138

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Grouper on topwater a lure.

million lure, sizes, colour, floating, sinking, you name it, we tried it. Yet, boys fully enjoyed the day, as they fully understand it’s “fishing” not “catching”! Comes third day and it was even worse weather, where its blowing and gusting up to 20kts, well that’s fine but with the south winds?. GRRR!! The boys didn’t give up hope and of course, got rewarded at the end. Topwater was almost dead and we managed to suss out

the deep, and then deeper until such time when GTs showed up jigging in 120m depths. We lost a couple of really decent fish, the one was what we’ve expected to be easy 30Kg plus doggie. But something special grace the occasion, the First Egyptian Mighty Mahi on board that wrapped up the trip. Obviously the best thing about Hurghada, is you have plenty to do and enjoy after coming back from SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019

City is small if you compare it with Cairo and Alexandria, but man it’s alive, and that’s almost round the clock live!

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The Egyptian reef brute: a mighty Red Sea GT !

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every trip. Quick shower at hotel, and you can go down for drinks and dinners within walking distances of any hotel in Hurghada. City is small if you compare it with Cairo and Alexandria, but man it’s alive, and that’s almost round the clock live! This is the kind of experience that I want to share and make sure that our guests will get what they paid for. Fishing is fishing, it takes a lot of hard work and Anglers get rewarded but on

top of that creating happy fishing memories, sharing of ideas, and friendship in such a short period are the valuable ones. Due to popular demand from our previous guests, we have recently launched a new package called «Tough One», 3 days 3 nights glamorous fishing experience in the Red Sea on board our 4 bedrooms Mothership and our experienced crew along with two 38ft fishing boats. You read it right! It is 3 nights in one of the prettiest seas in the world

Dogtooth tunas are common on the Red Sea. 142

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TRIP CONTACT hello@kbeteam.com www.kbeteam.com


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

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FISHING ART CARIN VAUGHN

FISHING

ART A

s a young girl, Carin Vaughn quickly figured out that she came from a long line of “fishaholics” who taught her two brothers and herself to appreciate all that the earth had to offer us. She spent her free time with her family fishing the rivers of Oregon and then when they moved to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina she fell in love with the ocean. After marrying a fishing guide and focusing on her love of art,

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She often choses fish as her subjects. Tarpon have always been my fish of choice to paint. Their prehistoric lines and spectacular scales fascinate her. Whether she is painting fish, plants or landscapes nature is always her muse. «You wont find a bunch of impressive degrees in my resume but a constant drive to grow as I sit at my easel to paint and always enjoy the process. I hope that each painting I create is a tribute to this spectacular planet we call home.» she says SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q4 2019


CARIN VAUGHN FISHING ART

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FISHING ART CARIN VAUGHN

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CARIN VAUGHN FISHING ART

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FISHING ART CARIN VAUGHN

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CARIN VAUGHN FISHING ART

MORE ON CARIN VAUGHN HERE : etsy.com

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MEDIA SEEN ON THE WEB

SEEN ON THE

WEB

SHARK FISHING Aussie Shark Wranglers Wings joins the Sharp Tooth Fishing Team, a crew of young guns who specialise in chasing massive Sharks off the beach in Australia. Watch as the boys experience a hot bite of BIG Bronze Whaler sharks.

NORTHERN NATIVES CANADIAN FLY FISHING A series that documents an awesome trip up to Canada this past summer chasing Bull Trout and Cutthroat with the Blue Line Co. dudes.

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J.SIEMENS THE HUNT FOR BULL J. Siemens goes on a mission. The goal was simple a Bull Red (20+ pounder) on the fly rod....

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SEEN ON THE WEB MEDIA

KANALGRATIS PERCH PRO’S NEW SEASON

Welcome back to PERCH PRO - the perch fishing competition where six teams are spread out all over Europe to bring you some incredible perch fishing.

BLACKTIP H GIANT YELLOWFIN In this epidosde, after a 45-minute fight, Blacktip H caught the biggest tuna of his life, a 121lb yellowfin tuna.

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Kombi Tours Uganda's Most Adventurous Tour Company

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

Nile Perch fishing & Wildlife safaris in Uganda

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Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 8 | Q4 2019  

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

Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 8 | Q4 2019  

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