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Ok guys here goes , I know i didnt finish the previous week yet but I am off again in 10 days and I am getting mixed up as to who caught what .

Day one Everyone arrived from Germany , Poland , Latvia and were duely transferred to the boat launch . The island crossing was a dream 2 hrs at 50kms an hour on **** flat calm sea , you could see a fish fart at a thousand yards .

On the way into the island , as if on cue a big bunch of jacks started hammering some mullet in the lagoon , all of them to a man started desperatly trying to get any rod they could out of their locked rod tubes , i calmed everyone down and persuaded them that by the time they found everything they needed and tied it on the jacks would be long gone.

Day 1

Jigging . Peter and his 2 with me as the guide went to the Uno channel , which is a series of rocky outcrops at the bottom of a 30mt deep channel . Peter was determined to fish a salmo lure even though the conditions were anything but perfect . I had a 300gram jig and was hitting decent jacks and snapper pretty regularly and handing them off to the clients . They however were struggling as even the heavy chubby darter , which i have used with great success shore fishing in nasser , refused to go to the bottom.

However after about an 1hr the tide slackened , and I brought into play my secret weapon , Max the skipper , who can catch fish in his own bath . I handed him the rod with the chubby darter and said here you do it , i cant catch a damn thing on it . Well of course 2 mins later he hit into a big jack and then proceeded to prove that of course it works you just have to fish it inthe right conditions . As the tide slacked off it actually outfished the jigs , mainly because of its featjhered action .

about 12 matar the decky shouted Jacks , and as i moved to the bow I could see about 50 good sizes jacks literally crusining past the boat about 2 ft down , at that point peter was winding his lure to the surface and as soon as they saw it they suddenly changed , like a flock of starlings , they switched direction and attacked on mass , it was amazing to see one jack hit and take the lure and then another trying to rip it from its mouth , this is why we get so many lures back with the belly hooks missing , two jacks fighting in opposite directions is more than most lures can stand .

Quickly we wound in everything that was down and as the jigs or darter passed trough the shoal they were hammered . Three clients all hooked up , happys days !!! . Until they started knitting , testamnet to max an matar , how they kept those fish apart was a miracle . Peter got a little carried away and in his inexperience he ahd some idea that you can just stop a 20lb jack , Which you cant . anyway to cut a long story short something had to give and it was his rod . But we still landed all three and \ believe the photo below is the 3 fish in question .

Bit of popping of the pikanina sandbar yield 2 really good jacks a cuda and smattering of 8-10 jacks as well.

Home for the team photo , 12 guys with big fish . Job done

One of the biggest Pompanos ive ever seen

Day 2 Jurgen , Rado and Co with me as guide . Jack attack all day . On the sand bars we hit 4 fish at the same time on three occasions , more knitting , Rado broke another rod . The salmo popper seemed to be working , they had brought protypes and we ascertained that the through wire needs beefing up after the belly hook was torn out on three in quick sucession .

On the washing machine mark the guys caught a really nice pompano that weighed in at 13kgs . On to some trolling , the Barra harvest begins , 2 cudas to over 15kgs came on the beach that afternoon and between 4 boats we caught 38 and released 27 of them .

The guys had arrived with their own gear and despite my best methods of persuasion , they would not take the tackle packs . they insisted on bringing their own . This created 2 problems , a Peter from Salmo paid 800euros in excess luggage and be they all brought pike outfits with them .

They had been to Gambia before and thought the fishing would be the same , I tried to explain that it was totally different but they obviously didnt believe me .

Everybody in !!!

We the up shot of this was that by day 3 they had broken 5 rods , i had run out of replacement tip rings and everybody had realised that thye were totally undergunned , and we hadnt even got out to the big wrecks were the big fish were.

Every morning i had a succssion of , " oh have you got a rod i can borrow " , "have you a reel I can use" , "have you got anything i can stick this back together with " . This light tackle is all very well but when you get it wrong you dont half break a lot of it.

Day 3 More of the same with the exception of Max who took his crew to the 17km wreck , collecting live baits on the way . As the story goes , they hit the wreck at 10.30 and as they dropped down the first 2 yabouy baits 5 cobia rose up and lay finning at the back of the engines , max being the enterprising fella that he is quickly dropped a bait in amongst them and needless to say it was gratefully accepted . At this point Roman was desperately trying to aerialise a huge clouser minnow to tempt one of the other cobia . splat it hit the water and was whisked away immediately by a cobia , unfortunately it was the same cobia that Max had already hooked at the back of the boat . Mayhem ensued !!! Jurgen fighting the cobia and Roman , and Roman fighting the cobia , the engine and Jurgen , it was a full 4 or five minutes before anyone noticed . They then had to negotaite who was actually going to land the fish and who was to release their end . Jurgen said it was hooked on his rod first , Roman claimed the moral high ground as he was fighting it on a fly rod , anyway it fell to the fly angler to land it and after 45 mins he had his 20kg prize , not sure wether it would qualify for igfa but he was proud . The day carried on much the same with probaly 20 cobia to around 20kgs , many small cudas killing all the live baits . Finally back to the island for tea and medals .

Day 4 Chimmenees . The major wreck is a thing to see but its a long way to go if it doesnt fish 45kms . We livebaited and popper fished , and we caught some nice fish , but it wasnt up to its usual high standards . The other boat had a ball trolling and were hitting good jacks one after the other on exactly the same spot every pass , they must have had 20 , the new whitefish deep diver is going to be made of solid plastic rather than foam mainly because the really big jacks and cudas were breaking them in half on the strike . We were eeking out a few fish , but nothing spectacular so we decided to head back .

On route home we stopped and work a couple of sandbars and hit a big group of jacks . The sight of a shoal of 25lb jacks surfing within a 12ft wave breaking across a sandbars is something else and when you chuck a big popper in the middle of them , man thats one a of anglings major high points .

day 5 Snappers and casavas .

Nothing too much to report in the day , but in the afternoon we went up to the washing machine with a tank full of livebaits . Well to say the action was fast a furious was an understatement . Started slowly with a single snapper bite dragging Peter into the rocks . Then I had a screaming run , the line kited uptide and i handed the rod to the doctor , just as a 6ft manta ray leapt out the water and as it smashed down the hook fell out , obviously foul hooked , but what a run . We hooked three more over the next couple of days . Then the real action started , knitting again , bang bang bang a sucession of cassavas , snappers , jacks , ninebones , small sharks and cudas hit everything that we dropped down , we started of with livebaits and ended up fishing anything that we could find on the boat , the fish were in such a frenzy that it didnt matter . I really dont know how many fish we caught but it was probably around 40 but it could have been 50 and all decent sized fished .

Anyone who has fished mantel reef in the Gambia in the good old days will know what i am talking about , when the cassavas swim through on mass the whole place would go mad and if you had livebaits you knew you were going to bag up.


Morning messing about pooping saw 5 jacks to the boat , sushi for lunch and onto the Tarpon mark by 1.30 . Tide still hammering through but starting to drop off by 3. We were fishing dead mullet under a balloon with a 22/0 circle hook weighted to keep the fish swimming straight. I put our baits out just on the edge of the broken water .

Some wag in the other boat tried to make their set up a little more interesting and so we spent the rest of the afternoon looking across at a orange poodle and a pair of testicles and a ***** fashion from appropriately coloured party balloons .

I put down a bait rod for a passing snapper , but I dont like too many rods out because if you get a strike , you need to move fast , and i mean fast , so to spend 5 mins trying to wind in loads of rods is not a great idea . Anyway needless to say 20 mins later , I had a run on the snapper rod and hooked up a tarpon , it screammed of 100yds of 80lb braid and then launched itself , at wich point bait hook and tarpon parted company never to be seen again. But they do that a lot !!!.

Second run was very lucky because I had the rod in my hand , I fault the slow pick up and draw down and i was able to lift into it as it turned and ran which gaves a good hooked hold . It ran , jumped and the ran and jumped again , all the time i was screaming at roman the designated angler not to try and stop it just keep even pressure on and not do anything stupid , which was tricky because he spoke less english than my springer spaniel . Anyway one way or another we got him to calm down and more by luck than judgement we gopt out prize to the boat . A beautiful female fish of 60kgs . Photographed and released . Job done.

the other boat however had , had 7 strikes but not hooked a fish . Then about 7.30 pitch black and they hooked up . We hung around for 1 hr to make sure all was ok , but our guys were tired so we left the others to it , all the way back we heard on the radio how big it was and how strong it was , in the edn it took 3 hrs to subdue and it was 105kgs . Unfortunately despite all the best efforts to revive it the fish died . The boat got back to came at 12.40 am .

Anyway the final day we went back to the tarpon mark , and despite 3 runs we didnt manage to hold onto any Tarpon . There aws however one thing of note on my snapper rod again , I had a good take lifted into it and a really big tarpon 100kg plus screamed off 150yds and then jumped repeating yesterday loss. The drag on the reel was so hot I couldnt bear my hand on it .

I rebaited and dropped the rod back down . Nothing for 2 hrs , but just as the tide dropped down , I got a tell tale snapper bite , lifting the rod , wait the for the pull down and then lift into it . bang off it went screaming run , I dialled in a bit more drag and called Rado over to take the rod , as he started to fight the fish just carried on taking line , i told him more drag and he did na dthen more and then more and then we realised nothing was happening , the drag on the reel was shot to bits , we couldnt make anything on the fish . So we got Majyo to hand line the fish because he had gloves on whilst i ran to the front grabbed a spare rod roughly tied the mainline to the linkswivel on the mainline of the other rod and wound in ! as far as the tip ring , DOOOHHH !!!

I then removed the swivle , joined them line to line wound the knot onto the reel and handed Rado the rod . Duely he landed a beautiful 19kg snapper , just goes to show what you can acheive under pressure .

its alright catching fish for clients , but its nice to catch one yourself every now and then

Sorry its so long winded but there was a lot going on .

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2,158 Posts
Hi Richard great report and pictures sounds like you had a fantastic trip with some great fishing, well done and thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.
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