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ISSUE #9 | Q1 2020

USA

PYRAMID LAKE’S CUTTHROATS

FRANCE

ENTERING A NEW WORLD

ERITREA THE RED SEA JEWEL

CENTRAL AFRICA

GOLIATH TIGERS ON THE FLY

+ INSTAGRAM ANGLERS, NEW TACKLE, LATEST IGFA RECORDS, FISHING ART & MORE...


CONTENTS

ISSUE #9 Q1 2020

6 Editorial

74 Eritrea

8 IGFA

88 What’s new

Stay home, safe and healthy

Latest records and news

12 France

Entering a new world

The Red Sea jewel

Our selection of the latest tackle

92 Central Africa Goliath tigers on the fly

36 USA

116 Fishing Art

70 Insta Anglers

122 Seen on the web

Pyramid Lake’s cutthroats

Samuel Urbain

AD Maddox

Our pick of recent fishing videos


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WHERE ARE WE TAKI

USA

FRANCE


ING YOU THIS TIME ?

CENTRAL AFRICA

ERITREA


EDITORIAL Dylan Smith Editor in Chief

Stay home, safe and healthy With the recent worldwide pandemic, the last few weeks have seen lots of countries closing their borders, and asking their citizens to stay home. There’s no doubt that this unprecedented event will affect small and big businesses for years, and it is already putting a serious threat on small touristic operations, like fishing lodges for example. Saving lives and businesses has never been so easy: all we need to to is stay home and limit our interactions with others as much as we can. Tie flies, play with your kids, change old trebles on lures, watch TV shows, or even start a workout program! We have so much we can do compared to 50 years ago ! So until you can cast your line again, stay home, safe and healthy.

Dylan Smith COVER SHOT: Trophy goliath tiger on the fly, from François Botha’s article, p.92


SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES T H E

W O R L D ' S

B E S T

F I S H I N G

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

Editor in chief Dylan SMITH

Contributors Daniel Klemm Rudy Van Duijnhoven Philippe Dolivet Franรงois Botha

Special thanks AD Maddox Samuel Urbain Pyramid Cutthroat Outfitters IGFA WhereWiseMenFish The Atlantic Salmon Trust 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 Bluch’s Rainbow Trout

Miller’s Squirefish Sahra Miller continues to impress by setting the new IGFA Women’s 1-kg (2 lb) Line Class World Record with this beautiful 5.15-kilogram (11-pound, 6-ounce) snapper (squirefish) she caught fishing the shoreline of Shark Bay, Western Australia. She played the record catch for an incredible 1.5-hours after it hit a McCarthy Plastic she was using. Catching this record from shore is a true testament to her patience and skill as an angler.

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

Aussie angler Frank Bluch is no stranger to light line records. He recently caught this 13.3-kilogram (29-pound, 5-ounce) rainbow trout to set the new IGFA Men’s 2-kg (4lb) Tippet Class World Record. Frank was fly fishing in Lake Ruataniwha, New Zealand, and landed the record trout in 7 minutes after it ate a white Beadhead Super Flash Zonker fly. This is Frank’s 16th IGFA World Record in tippet classes of 2-kg (4 lb) and lighter, and his 24th overall.


NEW RECORDS IGFA

Sherbovich’s Taimen Russian angler Ilya Sherbovich visited the Tugur River, Russia, late last year in search of record-setting taimen; the trip was a success, to say the least. Not only did he set the new IGFA All-Tackle World Record, but he also set the IGFA Men’s 12, 16, and 20 lb Tippet Class World Records for taimen. His heaviest catch maxed out his 50-kilgram scale, so the catch was officially recorded at 48.62-kilograms (107-pounds, 3-ounces) once the weight of the sling was deducted, although the fish was likely larger than the approved weight. He caught all four fish while fly fishing, weighed them in a sling, and released them all to fight another day.

Methner’s Speckled Peacock Lucas Methner is now the fifth person holding a tie for the IGFA All-Tackle Length Record after he caught-and-released this stunning 90-centimeter speckled peacock. Lucas was throwing a propeller lure in the Uneuixi River, Brazil, and landed his first IGFA World Record after a 5-minute fight. Who will be the first to land a 92-centimeter fish and knock all five names off the list?

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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IGFA LATEST NEWS

IGFA LATEST NEWS

Jason Schratwieser Elected President

IGFA Launches Three New Trophy Fish Clubs The IGFA Trophy Clubs recognize individual trophy game fish catches for certain eligible fresh and saltwater species. To qualify for an IGFA Trophy Club, the fish must meet either the required length or weight, as listed below. All past and present catches are eligible, provided they can be appropriately documented and were caught per IGFA Angling Rules.

Read more

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The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Board of Trustees have unanimously elected Jason Schratwieser as president of the organization. Schratwieser has served the IGFA as conservation director since 2003 and has been influential in transforming the IGFA into highly respected conservation organization within the recreational angling space.

Read more

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


LATEST NEWS IGFA

IGFA Rules Pertaining to Using Scent on a Fly Captain Fly Navarro of Fly Zone Fishing and IGFA President Jason Schratwieser explain the IGFA rules regarding the use of scent on a fly.

The IGFA Names 2020 IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame Inductees In recognition of their extraordinary contributions to recreational angling around the world, The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) named five fishing greats to the 2020 class of the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.

Read more

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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TRAVEL FRANCE

FRANCE

ENTERING A NEW WORLD Text by Rudy van Duijnhoven, pictures by Rudy van Duijnhoven and Philippe Dolivet

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FRANCE TRAVEL

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A

Beauty of a LĂŠguer river brown trout.

ccording to stories that were told many centuries ago, there is a gateway to a new world in the land that was put under water when the Lac du Drennec reservoir was filled in 1981. Even shortly before the water levels started to rise in the reservoir, special ceremonies were still held here. But also without this gateway, you think you are in a diffe14

rent world in Bretagne all together anyway. In recent years a great many rivers in France have suffered from pollution and significant levels of fish mortality. The whole of France? No, there is a small area, like in the comics of Asterix and Obelix, that has largely escaped this downfall. Here, in Bretagne, or Brittany as it is called as well, you will find wild brown trout on natural, largely unspoiled rivers. Next SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

Here, in Bretagne, or Brittany as it is called as well, you will find wild brown trout on natural, largely unspoiled rivers.


FRANCE TRAVEL

to that Lac du Drennec is situated here, one of the best trout reservoirs of France and fly-fishing for seabass along the coast of Bretagne can be exceptional too. The term ‘Brittany’ for this area dates back to the immigrants from Great Brittain, that settled here between the third and sixth century. Part of the population of Brittany still speaks Breton, a Celtic language that is closely related to the traditional languages from Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. French is still the language that is used in

general in Bretagne though. Accessible Lac du Drennec has a size of about 110 hectare, with a maximum depth of 20 metres and a total length of the shoreline of about ten kilometres. The brown trout in this lake, that is surrounded by nature, originate for the most part from the creeks that run into the reservoir. These small rivers are used by the trout on the lake for spawning and trout have been caught on the lake that were over twelve pounds

in weight! The rainbow trout are reared on a small plant where the river comes out of the dam; every year thousands of trout are planted into the Lac du Drennec. A lot of small baitfish, including roach, inhabit the lake and are an excellent food source for the trout, there are no or hardly any pike or perch on this lake. The shoreline of the lake is, where allowed, well accessible for angling. Apart from fly-fishing, it is also allowed to fish here with a spinning

A strong fight at Lac du Drennec. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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The Elorn river not only has a healthy population of trout, it also has the largest salmon run in the country.

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We landed rainbow trout up to about two pounds in weight, one brown trout and a number of goodsized roach.

rod in combination with natural bait or lures. During a dry summer the water level can go down considerably, so much so that even the village that got submerged by the reservoir appears again. When I visited the area in June some years ago, the lake was still filled to its maximum level; in Bretagne they must have had about the same type of spring as the people of the Benelux‌ Wading along the shoreline, Philippe Dolivet and myself fished here with floating lines

in combination with a team of small wet flies and nymphs just below the surface of the water. Fish could be seen rising here and there at regular intervals and we hooked fish both close to shore and further out. We landed rainbow trout up to about two pounds in weight, one brown trout and a number of goodsized roach. The action was almost non-stop, but the larger trout remained out of reach. With a 20 foot leader and a weighted nymph I managed to gather a few trout and roach from close to the

Philippe guides a client on the Elorn in the direction of a rising trout. 18

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


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

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


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This B&B in Brézéhant, with the typical Breton roof made of slate stone, is many centuries old.

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Patterns that have proven their worth on the rivers of Bretagne.

bottom in deeper water. The salmon run The Elorn is among the rivers in France that sees the largest run of Atlantic salmon every year in this country. Some four to five thousand salmon, of which about a thousand are spring salmon and the rest are grilse, will run up this river to spawn; a huge number for this river. It is a fascinating sight to see a salmon of five to ten pounds in weight pass your position while you are fishing nymphs or dry flies for trout on the river. 22

“Flyfishing for salmon is the most interesting in autumn’, according to Philippe Dolivet, “than the salmon are spread evenly among the pools of the Elorn”. The Elorn is in total about 56 kilometres long, it starts to flow near Monts d’Arree, than it runs via places like Sizun and Landivisiau to Brest where it runs into the sea. The river is also the birthplace of the famous dragon of the Elorn… We did not see any dragons, what we did see however on both the upper and lower Elorn, is a beautiful natural river with deep pools, runs SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

and a lot of plant growth in the water at certain places. The water level was a lot higher than usual for the end of June, which made fishing the river a bit more difficult, but the clarity of the water did not suffer much from the high level. One can fish here for a very nice population of wild brown trout, fish that can be several pounds in weight sometimes. Hooking a seatrout is quite well possible here too, they can often be found in the deeper pools, hiding under overhanging trees, close to


FRANCE TRAVEL

shore. Small dry flies are most successful here, on one of the pictures one can see a collection of flies for the rivers of Brittany. The LĂŠguer and the PenzĂŠ are examples of creeks where good sized trout can be caught as well. One often has to cast with very limited room around oneself, with overhanging trees and trees that have fallen in the water, a dense growth of bushes along the water, etc. but this fishery is always worth the trouble. Flyfishing for seabass Another very interesting method of flyfishing that Bre-

tagne has to offer is flyfishing for seabass. Philippe Dolivet has a 4,80 meter Carolina Skiff available for this, equipped with two 40 HP Honda outboard engines, with which he can target several bays close to Brest. Because the boat can be launched and taken out of the water quickly, he can always fish there where the chance of success is optimal for his clients. The boat has also a combination of Humminbird Side Imaging Sonar and GPS on board. Apart from life-vests the people on board can also make use of Winston fly-rods for line classes #7 through 12, Danielsson fly-reels,

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

Another very interesting method of flyfishing that Bretagne has to offer is flyfishing for seabass.

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TRAVEL FRANCE

Stealth approach is required on those tea-tinted rivers. Sometimes it is necessary to fish the dry fly really close to the shore.

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Rio fly-lines and tippet material, plus seabass flies that are tied according to Philippe’s patterns by Fulling Mill. Two setups are usually enough here. One set with a floating or intermediate flyline for fishing shallow parts of the bay or areas where seabass can be caught on surface patterns (poppers, gurglers). The second set is equipped with a fastsinking fly-line in order to deliver Deceivers, Clouser Minnows, imitations of sandeels etc. at a greater depth. Like everywhere, imitations that

are fished fast will often get you the most takes as is the use of fluorocarbon of 28 to 35/00 for the tippet of your leader. From small bass that hunt in schools up to fish of several kilo’s in weight, without doubt the take and the fight in the beautifully clear water is spectacular. When, after such an exciting fight, you are put on the picture with such a good sized, silver coloured seabass and the fish goes back unharmed in the water, then you do indeed think that you have entered an altogether different world.

TRIP CONTACT Brittany Fly Fishing Philippe Dolivet info@brittanyflyfishing.com Website: www.brittanyflyfishing.com Local tourism organisations: Office de tourisme de Morlaix Email: informations@ tourisme-morlaix.fr Website: www.tourisme-morlaix.bzh Accommodations: Chambres d’hôtes de Brezehan contact@chambreshotes-brezehant.fr Website: www. chambres-hotes-brezehant.fr Local fly-fishing shop: Riverstones 17 Rue de Brest 29600 Morlaix France Website: www.riverstones.fr

Nice seabass on the fly for this happy client ! 26

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RUSSIA TRAVEL

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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AST 2020 AUCTION

AST 2020 AUCTION

T

Lots include 2 rods for one week at the Belousiha Lodge, Russia.

he Atlantic Salmon Trust annual auction goes live once again on Wednesday 18th March 2020 and closes at 6pm on Monday 4th May. Once again an outstanding and eclectic variety of over 70 lots have been sourced

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with all funds raised going towards helping the Trust deliver their aims of putting #WildSalmonFirst & delivering Year 2 of the Moray Firth Tracking project and replicating this with the launch of a pilot project on the West Coast of Scotland. All lots can be viewed at SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

www.astauction.com from the 18th March or contact the AST office to request a printed catalogue.For any questions, please contact the AST office by emailing administrator@atlanticsalmontrust.org. As well as the usual stables of quality fishing some of the more unusual lots include:


2020 AUCTION AST

Title: All-inclusive safari for 2 people. 8 nights Donor Name: Offbeat Safaris Dates: Booking must be within 1 year - May 2020 - May 2021 Starting Price: ÂŁ6,000

8-NIGHT KENYAN SAFARI FOR 2 PEOPLE

This fabulous trip will be an adventure of a lifetime with a variety of visits between the splendid Deloraine House, Sosian Lodge and the heart of Mara. With beautiful gardens to explore or a choice of day/night game drives or walking tours, to experiencing Mara’s wildlife first hand, Offbeat Safaris offer a traditional safari adventure like no other. Leave the world behind you as you ride through the wild in Deloraine or Sosian or relax and refresh before setting off for the next memorable moment. Please contact AST office for full itinerary and details of additional costs that will be incurred which are not included in auction prize. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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AST 2020 AUCTION

Title: Cottonwick on Mustique: A Week’s Stay For Six People In A Luxury Villa Donor Name: WhereWiseMenFish Dates: To be taken on a mutually agreeable date from May – December 2020 or as agreed with the owner, subject to availability Guide Price: £7,000 Starting Price: £6,200

A WEEK’S STAY FOR SIX PEOPLE IN A LUXURY VILLA Cottonwick, a gorgeous villa on the exclusive and world renowned island of Mustique can be yours for the week. Winding steps lead up to the villa entrance with a central main pool, infinity edge and three cascading feature pools. The Great Room has a bar with drinks fridges at one end, a dining table for up to 10 guests and sofas and entertainment system at the other end. The three en suite bedrooms are all air conditioned, the rearmost having access to a separate plunge pool alongside a veranda and outdoor dining table. You will be looked after by an outstanding chef/housekeeper whose culinary talents surpass the size of the villa alongside a fabulous butler/gardener. You will have full use of both a six seater Kawasaki mule as well as a 2 seater electric vehicle to explore the island. Cottonwick was designed to be a wonderfully relaxing base for friends or families from which to enjoy everything that the incredibly picturesque island of Mustique has to offer. Picnic on the amazing white sands of Macaroni, make use of the dive and water sports centre, enjoy sundowners at the Firefly and dance the night away at Basil’s Bar. To be taken on a mutually agreeable date from May-Dec or as agreed with the owner, subject to availability. 30

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


2020 AUCTION AST

Title: Russia - 2 Rods for One Week at the Belousiha River Lodge Donor Name: Lot offered by WhereWiseMenFish on behalf of Belousiha River Lodge Dates: At Any Stage of the Season Subject to Availability Guide Price: £5,150 Starting Price: £3,950

2 RODS FOR ONE WEEK AT THE BELOUSIHA RIVER LODGE An opportunity for two anglers to fish a prime week, for Atlantic Salmon, over the 2020 season at Belousiha Lodge on Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The fishing comprises of two rivers; the small and intimate Belousiha, a river set amidst exceptionally attractive surroundings with a good run of salmon and the larger and more powerful Voronja, with the potential for something BIG! Typically, anglers will spend 3 days fishing each river. The Belousiha can be compared to a small Highland river, best fished with a single or short switch rod. The water is usually crystal clear and has a wide variety of interesting and attractive pools, some of which allow the salmon to be fished by sight. During the summer weeks, both dry and hitched flies are very effective. The Voronya is a much larger river and is best suited to anglers fishing with a double-handed rod. Fish of over 25lbs are relatively common-place and it has produced salmon well in excess of 40lbs. Each pair of anglers will have a dedicated guide, all of whom speak reasonable or good English Anglers stay in a comfortable lodge, over-looking the Belousiha and a very short drive from the Voronja. The lodge has received numerous improvements over the last two seasons with substantial upgrades to the accommodation and living area as well as offering wi-fi, and a sauna. Helicopters are not used as the lodge is an easy 3 hr drive from Murmansk. (Anglers will be offered a range of available spots for the 2020 season but in the event of a suitable week being unavailable, the lot will be carried over to the 2021 season). SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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AST 2020 AUCTION

Title: Four ball on the 2010 Ryder Cup Course, hosted by Sir Gareth Edwards, for 3 people Donor Name: Sir Gareth Edwards and the Celtic Manor Resort Dates: Tee times and dates are subject to availability and prize must be taken by June 2021. Guide Price: ÂŁ1,250 Starting Price: ÂŁ1,000

FOUR BALL ON THE 2010 RYDER CUP COURSE A fabulous four ball of golf on the Twenty Ten Course which staged the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort. You and two guests will have the privilege of playing in the company of Wales and British Lions rugby legend, Sir Gareth Edwards. The prize also includes overnight accommodation at the five-star Resort Hotel with a threecourse dinner in one of the restaurants and breakfast. Accommodation is based on three people sharing two twin or double bedrooms. Any additional charges, including all beverages, must be settled on departure. 32

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2020 AUCTION AST

Title: Private viewing of the Cresswell Collection of Classic Salmon and Trout Flies with Lunch at the Mayfly Inn Donor Name: Sir Peter Cresswell Dates: To be arranged with donor Guide Price: £200 Starting Price: £150

PRIVATE VIEWING OF THE CRESSWELL COLLECTION OF CLASSIC SALMON AND TROUT FLIES WITH LUNCH AT THE MAYFLY INN Experience the precious collection of classic salmon and trout flies with lunch at a riverside gem: the Mayfly Inn near Stockbridge in Hampshire. The collection contains original salmon flies tied by Kelson, Pryce -Tannatt, Rogan and Megan Boyd. Viewing also includes a comprehensive range of salmon flies tied by the Lunn & Sawyer family and early trout flies dating back to 1850 with associated literature and materials. The collection contains 250 salmon flies illustrated in the classic work «Hardy’s Salmon Flies» by Martin Lanigan-O’Keeffe. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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AST 2020 AUCTION

Title: Tour of Vintage Fabrics Aircraft Restoration Workshops at Audley End Airfield with Trip in Piper Arrow followed by lunch at Biggin Hill Donor Name: Pete Wood - Vintage Fabrics Aircraft Maintenance (Warbird Maintenance and Restorations). Dates: TBA with Donor with flexibility dependent upon weather Guide Price: £400 Starting Price: £300

TOUR OF VINTAGE FABRICS AIRCRAFT RESTORATION WORKSHOPS AT AUDLEY END AIRFIELD WITH TRIP IN PIPER ARROW FOLLOWED BY LUNCH AT BIGGIN HILL A tour for 2 people of Vintage Fabrics Aircraft Restoration Workshops at Audley End Airfield. This will be followed by a trip in a Piper Arrow to Biggin Hill for lunch and to look over the famous Mark IX «Kent Spitfire». The Kent Spitfire is flown in displays by Clive Denney, partner in Vintage Fabrics.

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SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


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

SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

#fishonmoon #strengir

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TRAVEL USA

USA

PYRAMID LAKE’S

CUTTHROATS Text and photos by Dylan Smith

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USA TRAVEL

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Camping right on the water!

W

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hen you h e a r about Nevada, it evokes Las Vegas and the desert, but you don’t immediately think about fishing. Yet there is a lake unique in the world to the west of this state: Pyramid Lake.

are the only ones authorized to live on the reserve. The lake takes its name from a pyramid-shaped rock formation located on the east shore of the lake. This eastern half of Pyramid Lake is also reserved for the Indians: they alone have the right to set foot there and fish there!

Located northeast of the city of Reno, this lake of 27 miles long and 11 miles wide at its largest is nestled in the Paiute tribe Indian reserve. The Paiutes actually manage the fishing licenses and they

Fish were a valuable food resource for the tribe in pre-Western contact times. The lake is home to the Cuiui lakesucker, which is endemic to Pyramid Lake, the Tui chub and the Lahontan cutSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

The Paiutes actually manage the fishing licenses and they are the only ones authorized to live on the reserve.


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The rocky shore of the Northwest part of the lake. No ladders needed here, as the drop-offs are very close to shore.

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TRAVEL USA

throat trout. It is for the latter that hundreds of fishermen, mostly American, come here every year from October to June. The reason for this attraction is simple: Pyramid Lake is home to the biggest cutthroat trout in the world, the Lahontan cutthroats!

duced to support populations after white settlers arrived in the Great Basin in the mid 1800’s and overharvested the lake. However, these fish did not reach the sizes of yesteryear and the «real» strain of large cutthroats from Pyramid Lake had disappeared.

The lake record is a 41lb specimen taken in 1925. Today, trout in the 10-15 pound class are abundant, and fish over 20lb are taken regularly. Two strains of Lahontan cutthroats are present in the lake, the Summit and the Pilot Peak. The first were intro-

In 1979 a remnant population of the original Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout was discovered in a small brook on Pilot Peak, on the Nevada/ Utah border, by Dr. Robert Behnke. After comparing its DNA with a museum specimen, Behnke was right! He

The inside of Crosby’s lodge, a real fishermen’s cave! 42

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Today, trout in the 10-15 pound class are abundant, and fish over 20lb are taken regularly.


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Most anglers at Pyramid Lake are flyfishermen. However, the use of spinning reels is allowed but only with lures. Trolling is also permitted. We saw a few catches on spoons during our stay.

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Fish on in Pyramid Lake’s beautiful scenery.

had found the missing Pyramid Lake cutthroat strain. It is believed that in the early 1900s, before Fish and Wildlife Services existed, a wildlife commission took small fish from Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe and placed them in streams in eastern Nevada and across the border in Utah. Nobody knew the original Pyramid Lake cutthroats were still in existence until Dr. Behnke found them. In 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 46

partnership with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, stocked the Pilot Peak strain back into its home waters in Pyramid Lake. Since then, the fish have been thriving and monstrous specimens have been caught, a great success story. We had the chance to visit Pyramid Lake at the end of February to fish with guide Sam Padilla and his friends. After a long journey from Paris, punctuated by several stops, I finally landed in Reno in the night. The next SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

The busy roads and the casinos gave way to a totally wild landscape, worthy of an old cowboy Western movie.


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No need for a caption on this one! SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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The first fish of the trip : a healthy 13 pound male Pilot Peak cutthroat, caught on the indicator.

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morning, Sam picks me up at my Airbnb and we head to Pyramid Lake. We take advantage of the 45min drive to get to know each other, and Sam explains the basics of Pyramid fishing to me. The conditions are not ideal, because the fish are very active during «weather events», and the area hasn’t had any precipitation for more than a month! With the tumult of Reno behind us, as we headed for the lake, the busy roads and the casinos gave way to a totally wild landscape, wor-

thy of an old cowboy Western movie. We pass a small hill, and arrived on the other side, we have a magnificent view overlooking the lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Here we are! We follow the West coast of the lake towards North, where our camp is installed, right at the water’s edge. From the road, I can see RVs scattered at the edges of the lake and in front of them, fishermen, perched in the water on the famous ladders! Arrived on site, Sam’s friends are already installed. They managed to

A beautiful female Pilot Peak cuttie caught on the indicator. 50

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The conditions are not ideal, because the fish are very active during «weather events», and the area hasn’t had any precipitation for more than a month!


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Great flies for Pyramid. During the trip, we had lots of success on midges.

catch fish this morning, good news. After a few presentations and greetings around the bonfire, I put my personal affairs stuff in my trailer. As I start to mount my rod, Sam shows me the type of setups that are used here, and how to use them. An 8-weight setup is the norm here. It may seem a bit overkill but it is necessary, especially in windy conditions, and especially if you hook into a 20lb+

fish! Both single-handed rods and switch-rods can be used. With a floating line, the rig consists of an indicator and 2 flies tied at least 2 feet apart or even more for deeper locations. You’ll want your flies to be close to the bottom, and need a bit of chop on the water to move the indicator and give a little action to your flies, usually midges. All you need to do is cast, and let the chop and wind SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

wiggle and drift your flies. The sinking rig is the same, except you don’t use an indicator and you tie a floating fly at the end of your rig. When you cast it, you let your line sink for a few seconds and start stripping very slowly, with some intermittent pauses. While stripping, the flies will follow your sinking line into the depths, and during each pause, the floating 51


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The female Pilot Peak cutthroats are silverish with pink cheeks. Males are more brownish with deep red cheeks.

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Navy helicopters flying back to the nearby base, with the famous pyramid below.

fly will slowly bring the rig upwards a few inches, mimicking aquatic bugs going toward the surface. With the rods ready, we don our waders and join Sam’s friends, not far from the camp. In the Northern part of the lake, where we will fish during the whole stay, the borders are rocky and the dropoffs - where trout patrol - are close to the edge. The use of ladders is therefore generally not necessary and we start fishing from a large boulder on 54

a rocky point. I don’t know yet, but that very rock is a prized fishing spot… After only a few minutes, Sam’s friend Brian hooks a fish while fishing with the indicator. I observe his rod and immediately imagine the beautiful fish that must be hooked at the other end. After a few minutes of fighting, the fish is visible and it is a superb male Pilot Peak, very colorful. Once in the landing net, we admire this magnificent 13lb fish! I’ve never SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

After only a few minutes, Sam’s friend Brian hooks a fish while fishing with the indicator.


USA TRAVEL

Sam with a healthy male caught from the ladder on a pebble beach. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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Brian with a colorful male Pilot Peak, caught just before heading back to camp !

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seen such a big trout with my own eyes, these fish are real works of art. We continue to fish from the rock, throw after throw and criss-cross the area. Through mid-afternoon the fishing remained calm, until the sun began to set! Two other Pilot Peaks were captured, a male and a female. The latter are less colorful than the males

with a beautiful silver robe and pink cheeks. As the night begins to fall, as everyone else puts away their equipment and heads for the camp, Brian again hooks another fish! It’s a smaller Pilot Peak male compared to the very first one, but just as beautiful and colorful. No fish for my part, but the trout are obviously there and I fully trust Sam’s advice!

Around the fire, we check the photos of the day with Sam, and he explains how to differentiate the Summit from the Pilot Peaks: the latter have their adipose fin clipped and become larger than the Summit. After verification, all the fish caught were Pilot Peak, the original strain of Pyramid Lake. After a delicious barbecue

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Beautiful late afternoon light on the lake, the magic hour is close!

Every morning when the sun rises, we are treated to the same spectacle: cutthroats rolling on the surface, everywhere on the lake.

and a few IPA beers, everyone goes off to bed for a well-deserved rest. The next morning, we get up at dawn to go back to hunt trout from our famous boulder. From our campsite, we can see several fishermen: the spot is taken by others who arrived earlier than us! Sam then decides to fish a small pebble beach which forms a bay, below our camp. This time the ladder is required equipment! We descend to this new spot SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

and install our ladders in the water. They are mainly used to gain throw distance and allow the backcast to avoid touching the water. It’s a great help on beaches where dropoffs are far from the edge. Some fishermen don’t hesitate to customize their ladders by adding knee pads and can holders, and we quickly understand why after spending several hours perched in the middle of the water! Every morning when the sun rises, we are treated to the 59


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This big rock produced a lot of fish during the trip. Being the first one on there gives you the right to claim it for the day!

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Release time for this male Pilot Peak.

same spectacle: cutthroats rolling on the surface, everywhere on the lake and sometimes very close to the shore. Some fish are absolutely monstrous and exceed 20lb, a feast for the eyes. However, the little wind that we had has fallen, which doesn’t make our task easier for indicator fishing. After several fruitless hours, we decide to return to the camp to join Sam’s friends, who 62

also took nothing during the morning session. To refresh ourselves, we all head for at Crosby’s Lodge, the only bar-restaurant in Pyramid Lake. The interior is absolutely dedicated to cutthroats: fish mounts on the walls, record fish photos, etc. There is also a mini-grocery store with first-aid products, and even fishing tackle. After an excellent cheeseSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

burger, we then return to fish near the boulder, although it’s quite busy. This stone must have something magical, because during this afternoon the fishermen will catch fish after fish just like we did the day before. As for us, strategically placed ten meters from the rock, on each side, we won’t catch a single one! On returning to camp, we learn that Sam’s friends have caught a beautiful fish


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One of the only Summit cutthroats of the trip, a perfect example of a colorful male.

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in the bay where we fished that morning, well done! In the evening, I have only one thing in mind: to fish on that damned rock! I explain to Sam that I am going to get up before 4am, almost two hours before sunrise, in order to have the right to claim the boulder for the day. After a short night, my alarm clock sounds and 2 minutes later I’m already in my waders, rod in hand, and I set off in the dark night. As I approach I see, horrified, several headlamps going back and forth on the famous

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rock! Other fishermen got up a few minutes earlier than I did and are patiently waiting for sunrise to start fishing! Total failure of my plan, but that’s also Pyramid Lake, a fishing-spot warzone. A bit disappointed, I stand about ten meters away from them to fish ... and spend the morning watching them catch fish! Why do trout pass precisely in front of this rock all day? It’s a real mystery... More motivated now than ever for my last half-day, I join Sam who is guiding two clients from Tennessee. After

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Sam’s tips - Always wet your hands before touching these fish. - Never stick your fingers in the gills of the fish as they are fragile. -When weighing these fish, weigh the fish in the net and subtract the weight of the net. Hanging these fish by the gills can break its spine, mouth and gills. - Keep it out of water for only a few seconds while taking pictures. - Practice catch and release.


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A hefty 13lb female Pilot Peak graced us with her presence on the last day.

a few hours in the small bay at the foot of our camp, Sam decides to change places to finish the day. We take the car and try another spot heading South. As I get out, I see a huge fish roaming the surface. I immediately rush to the edge and send my flies in front of his nose twice, but no reaction. Sam explains to me it is probably an old specimen dying, because he’s never seen one swimming under the surface in this way.

Too bad, because this fish was really massive! We settle down and start fishing. We have only an hour left at most, but the wind has disappeared, making the surface of the lake perfectly smooth. I decide to retrieve as slowly as possible to give my flies some action and to cover the ground with the indicator. After a million casts, while I was nearly daydreaming, my SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

retrieving is brutally stopped! At split second later, I realize that I’m not dreaming and that I’ve got headshakes at the end of my rod, indeed I’ve hooked one! I’ll let you imagine my stress: I absolutely had to land this fish, the only hit I had during my stay! After a few endless minutes, I can finally see it: a superb specimen of respectable size. That’s when the hardest part begins: tire the struggling fish in a small area around me, wi67


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thout letting it drag my line across the stones. Sometimes it feels like the fight is over, but as soon as the landing net approaches the fish, it starts again! Sam ends up putting him in the landing net, and I scream out, «Yeeeeessss!» I’m so happy! It’s is a superb 13lb Pilot Peak female, a magnificent fish with a massive head, quite simply the biggest trout of my life! A few photos while the sun begins to disappear behind the mountains, and Sam releases this beauty which quietly sets off again into the depths of the lake. «Mission accomplished!» Sam is as happy as I am! I will never forget this fish for which I made count-

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less casts, you must always believe and persevere until the last moment. Upon leaving Pyramid Lake, I understand why this place attracts so many fishermen every year: the setting, the fish, fishing on the ladders, the camping atmosphere and the Paiute Indians, every single thing about this place is unique. It should not be forgotten that the trout we caught were reintroduced less than twenty years ago, and that their average size increases each year. It is therefore a destination that will attract more fishermen in the years to come, there is no doubt about it. If given the chance, go for it

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TRIP CONTACT For more information, contact Sam Padilla: sam@pyramidcutthroat.com www.pyramidcutthroat.com


PYRAMID CUTTHROAT OUTFITTERS P Y R A M I D L A K E G U I D E D F LY F I S H I N G sam@pyramidcutthroat.com www.pyramidcutthroat.com Located on Pyramid Lake Nevada, home to the famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. 69 SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020


INSTAGRAM ANGLERS SAMUEL URBAIN

INSTAGRAM

ANGLERS: Samuel Urbain

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Since then, this very particularly fishing technique has become an obsession for him. Over the years, he adapted his technique and gained a lot of experience.

After a lot of effort, patience and dedication, he finally hooked his first “gladiator”.

He then started to tag his catch for the famous Billfish Foundation, which hosts the world’s largest private database on billfish, and whose efforts contribute to understand and protect

amuel has been a passionate angler since a very young age. A few years ago in the city of Sainte-Maxime on the Mediterranean coast, he decided to set himself one heck of a challenge: catching swordfish on a regular basis!

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those amazing creatures. Samuel even won prestigious international tagging competitions organized by the Billfish Foundation, earning the “Top Tagging Angler Atlantic Swordfish” prize in 2017 and 2019. He is undoubtedly one of the best swordfish anglers in the world ! You can follow him on social media and particularly his Instagram: urbainsamuel


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INSTAGRAM ANGLERS SAMUEL URBAIN

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SAMUEL URBAIN INSTAGRAM ANGLERS

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ERITREA

THE RED SEA JEWEL Text & photos by Daniel Klemm

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The author with a decent barracuda.

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ritrea is probably not the most typical travel destination and our group wasn’t exactly planning to fish this unknown area. However, some problems in Sudan left us no choice but to try our luck in these virgin waters. The Dahlak Archipelago simply looked too good and promised too much, so we ignored all the travel warnings and booked our flights. The archipelago lies in the Red Sea 15 to 70 kilometers from the mainland and extends over 124 is-

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lands. The few inhabitants depend on fishing and pearl diving. In addition, there is a strictly regulated tourism by the government, which so far is directed exclusively towards divers. Tough start Their stories and pictures made us dream - untouched coral reefs and flats that have never seen a lure before. As beautiful as this imagination was, so difficult were the preparations for the trip. One month before the departure there was no more talk about the promised SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

There was no turning back now and so we hoped for the best and didn’t expect too much.


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mothership, so we switched to camping. In addition, there were the Eritrean authorities, who took their time until almost the last day to approve our visas. When our guide opted out one hour before departure, the mood was at its lowest point. There was no turning back now and so we hoped for the best and didn’t expect too much anymore. Unknown waters After a short journey via Cairo we were welcomed by a

good-humored guide in perfect English in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. He gave everything to fulfill us every wish and made us feel very welcome. Some hours later we went from 2400 meters altitude by bus to the plain to the city of Massawa. The port city is the starting point to get to the Dahlak Islands. Heavy loaded we went to the islands with two functional, but by no means comfortable, fishing boats and 5 crew members. After an hour’s drive all efforts were forgotten when we saw

Nice GT caught on a stickbait. 78

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The government of Eritrea, as mentioned above, is very anxious to keep the environmental pressure on the islands as low as possible.


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RECOMMENDED TACKLE Heavy Tackle: - Stickbaits in sizes up to 190mm provided the best results, due to the shallow water poppers aren’t really working. Nomad Madscad 150, Flake Lures Sticky 160, Hybrida J1 Tropic and Amegari Urpekari 190 were the lures of the trip. Rod class between PE 5 - 8. Light Tackle: - Spoons, softbaits and sinking stickbait up to 9cm provided fish at almost every cast, mostly grouper and snapper between 3060cm. Best working lures were the Seaspin Janas, Nomad Madscad 115, Fiiiish Black Minnow and DUO Realis Pencil. It is important that you rig a long, heavy leader as the fish go straight into the corals. Rod class between PE 2-3. Fly Fishing: - We had one fly fisherman in our group. He had good results with small crab and shrimp flies. You can catch snapper, grouper, triggerfish & all kinds of smaller trevallies.

the azure blue that surrounded our island. The government of Eritrea, as mentioned above, is very anxious to keep the environmental pressure on the islands as low as possible. So, it is only allowed to fish one island per day. On the one hand a great opportunity to discover new terrain again and again, on the other hand a great challenge, as you never know what to expect. So, the coming days were always a surprise. Current, condition of the island? We didn’t know anything because the guide was missing, and the captain wasn’t very expeSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

rienced. Due to the inability of one boat to sail we decided to divide the group: 3 people explored the island by foot, the rest dedicated themselves to the outer reef. Every morning at 6 o’clock we went to the Red Sea, which still had an incredible 30 degrees water temperature at the end of October. Each island had its own special features: on some of them the flats went out for kilometers and were very flat, on others the reef’s edge was already visible after 30 meters. With the condition of the ground, the fish species and fishing techniques also changed, which posed a great challenge, 79


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One of the Red Sea’s prettiest fish: the titan triggerfish.

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especially for the shore anglers.

Red Snappers up to 8 kilograms followed the poppers & stickbaits and fled every time with vehemence back into the corals.

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Fish hard on the reef’s edge The anglers from the boat however were in a more comfortable position. Due to the clearly recognizable reef edge the first fish were landed. Red Snappers up to 8 kilograms followed the poppers & stickbaits and fled every time with vehemence back into the corals. Especially the two beginners of our group were surprised despite all warnings by the brutality of the bites and only thanks to our diving captain they were able to avoid bigger lure losses.

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On the shore it became clear after only two days that the fish were not coming on the flats to feed, although the food supply was gigantic. Mullets, sardines or fusiliers - the table for predators was more than amply laid. Perhaps it was this oversupply that made successful fishing difficult from noon onwards. But even if it took many casts there was fish on every island! Especially the most sought-after species, the GT patrolled at the edges of the currents. The first decent Trevally, how could it be any other way, was caught with light equipment.


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Good-sized giant trevallies can be caught from the shore, but beware of rocks and bummies!

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Good-sized grouper for the author.

After a spectacular drill, a decent specimen could be landed with a lot of luck and skill. During the next day’s every one of the group could catch at least one specimen over 15 kilograms - the atmosphere was accordingly good. The ubiquitous GTs were joined by several other interesting fish species. Red snapper could be found on practically every island, as well as groupers, barracudas, spanish mackerel and some other trevally species which attacked our poppers & stickbaits. So, boredom never came up, the reef’s edge 86

always brought fish! Big fish from the shore As time went by, more and more success came from the shore. On the island of Durgh, the current edge ran directly along the island - so it was no surprise that the first large GT was caught from the shore here, followed by a nice grouper, who took the Nomad Madscad. However, the true potential of this island was certainly not revealed. Everywhere there were big stone corals, SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

turning into sandy flats, in addition masses of baitfish. At the right time of year, it is certainly possible to catch GTs over 30 kilograms and groupers here. On the smallest island, Mursol, more a rock than an island, we had the biggest success from the shore. Several GTs, some Red Snappers and a grouper even made the boat anglers look jealous in the end. On top of that some monsters were hooked but found their freedom in the corals, which surrounded this small island.


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In the fishing breaks, one could also enjoy the pleasure of being able to see an unbelievable underwater world on the shore. Meter-high corals and loads of fish made you think you were in a big aquarium. Even the guys who had travelled around the world agreed: they had never seen such a variety and quantity of fish before. This also reflected in the catches when you used smaller lures and lighter tackle. At almost every cast you got a strike. Mainly smaller groupers and snappers, but also trevallies and barracudas. At the end of the trip, we were out of spoons and small stickbaits, as the fish often won the fight in the corals.

Back home with a smile So, the days passed quickly, also thanks to the crew who spoiled us with best food. On the last day we even had the luck to catch some big barracudas and a big spanish mackerel - the perfect end of a fantastic trip, which ended in Asmara. Contrary to our expectations, the people here were also very friendly and relaxed, no comparison to the reports you can read about Eritrea. The Dahlak Islands are truly a jewel and will hopefully continue to be so well protected that more people will be lucky enough to see how incredibly diverse and rich in fish our seas can be

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MORE ABOUT THEAUTHOR

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

?

WHAT’S

NEW

ABEL VAYA

RAPALA X-RAP MANGNUM PREY Built heavy and aerodynamic for extreme casting distances, Rapala X-Rap Magnum Prey delivers even in the most demanding saltwater fishing conditions. Heavy-duty construction stands up to the strongest of saltwater beasts. Lipless design and fluttering action on the drop allow natural baitfish-imitating presentations.On fast retrieve the lure will skip on the surface like a fleeing baitfish.

$20 | rapala.com

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The Abel Reels VAYA series debuts an all-new technical look and feel paired with outstanding performance. The partially-ported VAYA frame offers the unique combination of minimized weight, incredible rigidity, and just enough surface area to highlight Abel’s hand-anodized finishes. The frame interior also features varying sets of CNC-milled fly patterns, relevant to each size of reel. The large-arbor spool features a precision-balanced, dual-pawl drag engagement design that eliminates the need for a counterweight. The spool’s mechanical incoming click compliments the audible, smooth feel of the outgoing drag. The carbon / stainless multi-disk drag system produces substantial resistance, while providing a wide range of adjustability for delicate tippet.

$495 | abelreels.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

MEGABASS OKASHIRA JIGHEAD COSTA TYBEE Inspired by the laid-back beaches of Tybee Island, the Tybee acetate frame with polarized lenses are made for taking it all in. Tybee features ocean-inspired colorways and a casual style that lives up to the watery world that inspired it, while embodying the classic town it’s named for.

$249 | costadelmar.com

The Megabass Okashira Screwhead adds a flash and vibration that will supercharge your swimbait presentation. Equipped with an asymmetrical prop that features one blade longer than the other, the Megabass Okashira Screwhead is finely tuned to generate a unique pulsing presence, which draws in fish from a distance and triggers an aggressive feeding response. The hydrodynamic head design also features lanes that channel water under the chin to provide increased stability at all speeds and ensure your swimbait is always running true.

$6.99 | megabassusa.com

SHIMANO SP-ORCA BABY With its compact body design and heavy center weight, the SP-ORCA Baby allows for extra-long casts. When fishing the SP-ORCA Baby, anglers can allow the lure to sink to the desired depth and retrieve with a jerking motion or a straight retrieve, and then flip the bail on the retrieve to allow the lure to sink back to the desired depth. The SP-ORCA Baby will wobble and slowly sink in a horizontal position and have a rolling action when retrieved.

$19.99 | fish.shimano.com

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TACKLE NEW GEAR

ABU GARCIA IKE SIGNATURE FINESSE The Ike Signature Series of rods is the result of over 5 years of intensive research and development with Elite Series Pro Mike Iaconelli. For the Finesse series of spinning rods, the blank construction consists of 36 ton high modulus graphite. Fuji reels seats, stainless steel guides and Mike’s unmistakable cosmetics set these rods apart from the competition. With a full assortment of 21 different models, Ike’s Signature Series offers the right rod for every fishing situation.

LIVETARGET FREESTYLE FROG Livetarget’s patent pending Injected Core Technology (ICT) creates an extremely versatile soft lure that is just as effective on the surface as it is below. The Inner-Core presents a life-like profile, while the Exo-Skin, with its upright V-shaped legs, gives the Frog it’s tantalizing action to attract topwater predators.

$149.95 | abugarcia.com

DAIWA SALTIGA 2020 The Saltiga 2020’s new G1 Drive Gear is thicker and larger in diameter by 12% with a newly designed Tough Digigear concept of larger and deeper cut teeth providing increased strength over its predecessor the 15 Saltiga. Daiwa engineers created a new drag stack, increasing the number of washers to deliver more than 10 times the drag durability compared to its predecessor. A newly designed ABS Longcast lip design offers improved casting performance and enhanced line management, while a brand-new aluminium Air Rotor delivers more than double the rigidity against the 15 Saltiga.Protection from the elements has been elevated with a new screwless rear cover, a reduction in spool porting and a unique under-side lip in the spool design combining to reduce water intrusion into the reel.

$999.99 | daiwa.com 90

$9.99 | livetargetlures.com


NEW GEAR TACKLE

PELAGIC ECLIPSE PRO 2.0 GUIDE SHIRT Simply one of the best fishing shirts out there! The Eclipse Pro Performance Fishing Shirt in grey ambush camo takes sun protection to a whole new level. This multi-purpose sunshirt offers convenient hook, flouro, & phone pockets while delivering unparalleled UV protection and cooling with a dynamic 360-degree venting system. Look your best when presented with that championship tournament trophy.

$89 | www.pelagicgear.com

SPRO SPIN JOHN 80 SAVAGE GEAR GRIP TREBLES Savage Gear Savage Grip Trebles were designed to remove the word «unbuttoned» from your fishing vocabulary. These innovative treble hooks are made with a 120-pound braided line eye with an epoxy coating, allowing the hook to spin freely up to four-times on your lure to absorb all the fight a fish can muster.

$9.99 | savagegear-america.com

The Spin John 80 comes with swivels incorporated into the line tie and the back-hook hanger. These swivels help the bait rock back and forth on the retrieve when the bait is falling. The swivel on the back of the bait makes it harder for a fish to get leverage on the bait and throw the hook out of its mouth. The Spin John 80 also has a special «chin» underneath the bait that increases the water resistance on the body of the bait that causes the bait to rock back and forth on the retrieve.

$14.35 | spro.com

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CENTRAL AFRICA

GOLIATH TIGERS ON THE FLY Text and photos by Franรงois Botha & Edward Ghaui

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The goliath is the largest tigerfish species, with some specimens weighing close to 100lb.

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omething stirs in all of us. We aren’t always aware of it, but sometimes it takes a story, a photograph or a myth.

The phone rings. Ed: “Francois!” Ed greets me in tone as if I am lining up for battle. Me: “Edward, what’s happening?” Ed: “I believe the saying goes watch what you wish for my friend” “It’s on, we are going back to Chinko! Now the real work begins!” 94

Take everything you know about Africa, fly-fishing, the normal and forget it. Now imagine a river, hidden away in the geographical center of the continent, undisturbed by man and forgotten by the world. A secret river that flows clear, meandering through an endless landscape of forests and savannahs and over ancient polished volcanic rock. Beneath the surface, a fish that is supposedly impossible to find. A fish both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The most prized and difficult to catch gameSPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

A fish both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The most prized and difficult to catch gamefish of the world, the goliath tigerfish.


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Absolute trophy of a Central African goliath tigerfish. Catching such a fish on the fly is real challenge.

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fish of the world, the goliath tigerfish. One of my life’s greatest ambitions was to find the place that everyone thought doesn’t exist. Many questions surrounded my initial trip in 2014 to Central Africa where, after a lifetime of searching, I had finally found a place where you could successfully target goliath tigerfish on fly. Was it a fluke? Would they still be there? Was there something even greater left to discover? There were so many questions but only one way to find out. Edward Ghaui, my partner in

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this ambitious undertaking, had somehow managed to get a shipment of crates containing two inflatable boats, motors, and complete mobile camp with inverters, solar panels and more, from South Africa to Kenya, Cameroon and finally Bangui with one day to spare upon our arrival. We had to assemble all the gear in Bangui, buy everything from kitchen utensils, groceries and even PVC glue in the capital and interview a surprise addition to our trip from the ministry who thought that he was going on a weekend field trip. We had to load all the contents into a chartered Beechcraft 1900

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One of my life’s greatest ambitions was to find the place that everyone thought doesn’t exist.


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Nile perch are common when searching for tigers. They’re a great «by-catch», if you can call them that way!

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and fly to the Chinko Reserve, across the entire CAR to the East. The next step was to rally with our crew members pack everything into Landcruisers, and traverse and old bush road for a day before finally arriving on the banks of the river. Ahead of our six-week 220km float trip down the Chinko. 102

As we pushed off with grossly overloaded boats and hardly any space left for even a bottle of water, the questions immediately arose again. Ed had interrogated me about what I had found for months leading up to the trip and my secret was about to be revealed. What I never told anyone about the findings of SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

Within a few minutes we saw the first goliath rolling on the surface. About five casts later and‌ bang!


CENTRAL AFRICA TRAVEL

surface. About five casts later and… bang! There was a hard hit on my fly and it returned with the tell-tale sign of a slimed-up leader. “Goliath” I said. It was wasn’t long after that that we found ourselves on a section of river that looked familiar but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. We drifted into the middle of a pool surrounded by giant trees, rocky banks and a big sandbar that disappeared into the green loom of the clear forest river. We made a few casts toward the shaded corner of the pool and within seconds I saw something appear behind my fly momentarily, there was a strange flash and then

my first trip was how many fish I had really caught and where to find them. Ed eagerly went about casting at all the “normal tigerfish” lies until we arrived at a pool with a very particular structure. “Here”, I said to Ed, “this is where they live and within a few minutes we saw the first goliath rolling on the

a violent take. “Im in!” Im @*&$ing in!” I cried as the huge fish breached and everyone was gob smacked. A dogged battle ensued and after some nervous moments we landed a beautiful 100+cm goliath tigerfish. It was a surreal moment when I came to the realization that it was the very same pool where I had caught my first goliath on fly many years before. We carried on down the river for several days, foregoing miles of what we considered to be unproductive shallow water in search of the deep pools where we knew we would find the Goliath. We had a mixed bag of success with several Goliath, Nile

Releasing a tigerfish caught from the raft. SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

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The spartan conditions during this trip were definitely worth it, with goliath tigers, common tigerfish and nile perch being caught.

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The enormous fish stopped next to the boat, looked us up and down and proceeded on its journey.

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Perch and common tigerfish seen, raised, hooked, jumped lost and landed.

an exceptionally large river buff that was moving up the rapids towards us.

No one had expected the fishing to be so good and we could now almost predict where and when we would encounter the next goliath but, somehow Edward and I felt like something was still missing. In the shallow stretches of water that we thought didn’t hold goliath, we started targeting a few of the barbus species that we aptly call “river buffalo” due to their enormous size and sort of herd mentality. We had the trusty nymph rods out and we began casting at

After a few casts I stopped and had a second look at this fish that now within poking distance of the boat and as the fish turned Ed and I yelled in unison “it’s a goliath!” The enormous fish stopped next to the boat, looked us up and down and proceeded on its journey. We were dumbstruck. At that moment Ed said: “In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d see a free-swimming goliath Francois” To which I replied “Ed, I probably know more than anyone else about catching

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The world record goliath tigerfish is a 97 lb fish caught on the Congo River in 1988.

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A chunky nile perch for the author.

these fish on fly… and I just realized I know nothing.” And it didn’t end there. Once we knew what to look for we started encountering goliath in every imaginable situation, holding in tail outs, rolling on the surface around bait balls, even swimming up to a running motor to see what it was. Mike started experimenting with all sorts of exaggerated fly patterns that he tied up on banks of the ri110

ver. He would complete a few flies, tie one on, amble down to the river and say: “it’s the witching hour boys”. Mike favored a certain approach to catching these fish and on one occasion, he hooked a goliath so big, that after blazing 70 meter run, we knew the chances of landing that leviathan became very slight and, sadly, the fish was lost. It did however prove that there are goliath in that section of SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

river that might be too big to target on fly… and isn’t that what we all want? Nearing the end of our trip, we moved along the river like skilled hunters, picking fish lies and finding meter plus goliath in the most unlikely of places. Crazy ideas turned into eureka moments that left you wondering whether you could sustain a heart attack from the intense shock that


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We left the Chinko realizing the enormity of what we had experienced.

overcomes you when you have had an encounter with a goliath. We had caught more goliath tigerfish on fly than we could have ever imagined but, the goliath definitely won the war. They parted fly lines, pulled the loops off them, bit through 50lb wire, snapped rods and generally just annihilated us. One of our best sessions was when we had just caught the biggest fish of the trip from a backwater lagoon in a way that blew our minds. We carried on down a narrow outlet that didn’t hold much promise. I was sorting out a line tangle when a fero-

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cious attack on the dead drifting fly destroyed me. Three more big goliaths smashed us up in the drift of that innocuous little channel. How do you explain something like that a fisherman that knows what it takes to just get one hit from a goliath? That is the impossible. We left the Chinko realizing the enormity of what we had experienced. For the entire journey of more six weeks and 220km, we did not see, hear or find a single sign of another human being. A magical system of mother nature

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To organize such a trip, a lot of thinking has to go into logistics as you can see!

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that in many respects is perfect because man has been taken out of the equation. Make no mistake, the surrounding land has suffered heavily through poaching and cattle herding and the Chinko was nearly lost had it not been for the conservation efforts of African Parks and the Chinko Project. In the last eight years they have expanded the borders of the reserve to 20,000 square kilometers and is free of cattle and poaching and conflict. A significant uptake in wildlife and the discovery of previously unknown species to the region like chimpanzees, is only part of the ambition to protect an entire drainage

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system from its source to the major confluences. But the hardest work lies ahead. Relying solely on donations and a mandate for expansion, the Chinko Project and African Parks are always in need of contributions from people and business alike to achieve the greatest conservation effort the world has ever seen. Edward and I will be heading back to the Chinko in November to start building a camp that will host but a few people per season and make a meaningful contribution to the conservation effort. Our greatest adventure has yet to begin

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TRIP CONTACT For more information on goliath tigerfish contact : info@goliathexpeditions.com goliathexpeditions.com


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

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

www.kbeteam.com

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FISHING ART AD MADDOX

FISHING

ART A

D has been painting since the age of 6 and got her professional start in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the 90s painting popular wildlife and fly fishing art on furniture that landed her in one of Jackson’s top art galleries. In 2005 she focused her work solely on canvas, painting only trout and marketed her art via merchandise for Patago-

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nia, Montana Fly Company, Croakies and many more outdoor companies. AD learned how to fly fish in 2000 on the Yellowstone River with her Dad and has continued ever since. Her pieces are inspired by the brilliant colors of the top four trout. She brings them to life in oil medium painting one brush stroke at a time building from darks to lights. The process takes extreme focus and execution to SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES | Q1 2020

build each masterpiece. Last summer she opened her own gallery, AD Maddox Studios, in Livingston, Montana which is a working studio displaying her finished works and many in process. You can find all her work at www.admaddox.com which includes her original oils, limited edition giclee prints and merchandise. You can also follow her on Instagram admaddox999


AD MADDOX FISHING ART

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FISHING ART AD MADDOX

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FISHING ART AD MADDOX

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MEDIA SEEN ON THE WEB

SEEN ON THE

WEB

CATCH MAGAZINE TROUT ON MOUSE FLIES Fly fishing for trout with mouth flies at the Aniak River Lodge in Alaska! Another great video by Todd Moen.

BLACKTIP H PEACOCKS AND CLOWNS A cool In-Real-Life stream video of a fishing session for peacock bass and clownfish.

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LUIZA FISHING IN MEXICO Luiza goes inshore fishing in Baja for Roosterfish and Jacks with Capt. Jimmy Nelson.

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SEEN ON THE WEB MEDIA

KANALGRATIS EXPLORING PIKE FISHING IN SIBERIA When the opportunity to discover the pike population in Siberia came, it was to hard to say no... Mille and Anton Fisherman go on a trip of a lifetime in search of big pikes.

FLYLORDS 100 YEARS: A SALMON FLY STORY In honor of Teton Valley Lodge’s 100th year in business - the flylords team made it out to Idaho in search of the legendary Salmon Fly Hatch.

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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 9 | Q1 2020  

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

Sportfishing Adventures - Issue 9 | Q1 2020  

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