Jul 31

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Lionel Song

LSOng1LIONEL SONG

DOB – 28 July 1966

NATIONALITY - South Africa

HOMETOWN - Pietersburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lionel started guiding in 1988 after leaving the army. He guided in the Timbavati for two years and then ran walking trails in the Manyeleti for another two years before working in the Klaserie. Lionel later moved to Botswana to run Lloyd’s Camp in the Savuti for six years and from there to doing lodge relief management. During the latter time his love for fly fishing was ignited, and the flame has burned ever since. Lionel moved to the KZN Midlands in the late 90’s. In-between all of the above did some freelance fly fishing guiding, and also spent time developing a lodge in Gabon. There he met his guru, Sir Edward Truter. Lionel’s involvement with Tourette Fishing was a fortuitous meeting with TF director, Keith Clover, on the Zambezi some years back. Lionel sums this up bests in his own words: “I met Keith Clover under intimate circumstances on a small island on the Zambezi, in a small wooden hut. We shared a few sweaty nights together as the weather was rather warm. Our relationship (make that friendship) was rather infectious (no, there were no diseases), from the start as we shared not only that steamy little hut, but the same sense of humor as well. After an amazing twelve years of camaraderie and hilarious capers, from amazing fishing to cavorting crocodiles here we still are, thrilling our clients and enjoying every rollicking minute of it.”

 

Guiding Log

Botswana Fishing and Safari Guiding: 1988 – Present

Lesotho: 2013-2014

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

Diawa Osprey

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

Gabon

 

What would you consider to be your favorite fly?

Clousers and any fly tied with natural materials.

 

What is your all time favorite movie?

 Apocalypse Now

 

What kind of music are you into?

AC/DC

 

What kind of books do you like?

The Earth is Not Enough – Harry Middleton

The River Why – David James Duncan

Somewhere Down the Crazy River – Jeremy Wade & John Boote

Fish Fishing and The Meaning of Life – Jeremy Paxman

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

Persevere. You will eventually stop catching the bush behind you.

 

Any interests outside of fishing?

WWW (wildlife, whisky, women).

 

Favorite quote?

War is Gods way of teaching Americans geography- Ambrose Bierce

 

Most memorable moment or highlight of your guiding career?

I had a lady client on my boat in the Okavango who managed to land a 16lb tigerfish while her husband looked on. I really enjoyed that.

IMG_6253catfish

Jul 24

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Kyle Reed

s24KYLE REED

DOB - 11 February 1988

NATIONALITY – South Africa 

HOMETOWN - George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle grew up in the picturesque Garden Route part of the Southern Cape in South Africa. George is surrounded by plenty of rivers and dams with abundant fishes. Fishing is part of the local lifestyle so it was natural that Kyle ended up fly fishing at a young age. Kyle has also completed a diploma in Professional Photography. He joined the Tourette Fishing team in 2012.

 

Guiding log

Botswana: 2012, 2013, 2014

Farquhar: 2012, 2013, 2014

Lesotho: 2014

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

My first fly rod was a 4wt Loomis & Franklin, matched with a silver aluminium reel and a crummy line. It made for immensely tricky casting until I invested in a better quality line. However, I did catch my first garrick on the setup.

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

It will have to be the sneaky flat I have on the Swartvlei estuary. MANY grunter!

 

What would you consider to be your favorite fly?

My favorite fly is obviously location specific but if I had to travel the world with only one fly, it would have to be a Clouser of sorts.

 

What is your all time favorite movie? 

That’s a tricky one. When it comes to fly fishing media, I have watched hundreds of movies over and again. Tapam and Gangsters of the flats are my two favorites.

 

What kind of music are you into? 

Music, as with film is just as tricky. I’m pretty open-minded though and will listen to anything from hip-hop to techno. The album that’s on repeat on my iPod at the moment is Concrete School Yard by Jurassic 5.

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

The best advice I was given when starting out was to never stop casting. Practice all the time. Even if you don’t have a rod close-by, just use your hands. Like in the shower or in the office at work for instance you can teach your body to get used to hauling by mimicking with your hands. Also, practice casting into the wind and try to hit targets with your tippet. Don’t only practice distance casting because when you have to hit a target the size of a side plate with a big crab pattern into the wind, the wheels will come off.

 

Any interests outside of fishing?

Photography, camping, the Kruger National Park, and working on my boat.

 

Favorite quote?

“I believe that art is, and cannot be other than, the exact reproduction of nature. Thus an industry that could give us a result identical to nature, would be absolute art” - Charles Baudelaire (on nature photography)

 

Most memorable moment or highlight of your guiding career?

This is a tough one as there are so many good memories. Right at the top of the list would have to be when my dad came to visit in Botswana and I guided him onto his first tigerfish. Also the one afternoon I fished with Keith Clover and Lionel Song in the Okavango. We jumped so many big fish and in between all the chaos, I managed a whopping 8.5lb tiger. Some other really good memories that come to mind as well would be the first GT and permit that I guided clients into.IMG_0225Kyle Reed, Okavango 23-30 September 2013 (4)-Edit

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Jul 18

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Stuart Harley

Stue1
STUART HARLEY

DOB - 31 August 1990

NATIONALITY - South Africa  

HOME TOWN - Howick

 

 

 

 

Stuart was born, raised, and schooled in the KZN midlands. A really passionate outdoorsman, Stuart spent all his free time during his teens, either fishing or hunting. After matriculating, Stuart did his professional hunting apprenticeship in Mozambique where he worked for two years. He spent all his time in between hunting safaris, fishing the southern banks of the Cahora Bassa dam and fell in love with the tigerfish that dogged its shallows. He found himself fishing for these toothy predators more than anything else and decided to follow his passion for them by guiding full time on the lower Zambezi.

Stuart joined the Tourette Fishing team in 2014 full time.

 

Guiding log

Lower Zambezi: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Lesotho: 2014

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

Ecotec 8’ 4wt

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

Kariba Gorge

 

What would you consider to be your favorite fly?

Mberi SF baitfish

 

What is your all time favorite movie?

A Million Ways To Die In The West starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, and Liam Neeson.

 

What kind of music are you into? 

I really enjoy listening to deep house, sax, and I’m also into acoustic. However, the sound of a screaming reel and an angler going ballistic, is real music to my ears.

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

Never under any circumstance, stop having fun. Plus always strive to learn new things.

 

Any interests outside of fishing?

I’m an outdoors man. I love to spend time exploring the african bush and everything that comes with it. Photography is also something I am quite passionate about.

 

Favorite quote?

“Why not?” - Unknown

 

Most memorable moment or highlight of your guiding career?

I have been fortunate to share countless special moments with many people. To me, all of those moments are just as memorable as the other.

stue3

Stue2

Jul 15

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Mark Murray

_MG_0006-EditMARK ALFRED MURRAY

DOB - 15 July 1987

NATIONALITY - South Africa

HOMETOWN - Jeffreys Bay

 

 

 

 

Mark grew up in the picturesque coastal town of Jeffreys Bay. Known for its spectacular beaches and perfect waves, its natural for any young local to take up surfing. However, Mark’s passion lies below the waves and as a five year old ankle biter he took up fishing. During his teens he joined a rock&surf club and started fishing competitively. Mark excelled in this, breaking a number of provincial and national records. His guiding started at the same time, taking visitors fishing during school holidays. Mark always knew that he was meant to be outdoors so in 2012 after studying architecture at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, he turned his passion into his profession and joined the Tourette Fishing team full time.

 

Guiding log

Tanzania: 2012, 2013, 2014

Gabon: 2013, 2014

Lesotho: 2013, 2014

Sudan: 2014

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

I will never forget this. I bought myself a Shakespear beginner fly fishing set when I was 15. It was a 5wt fibreglass rod with matching reel, line, and five flies with which I tried to harass some largemouth bass in a local pond. I ended up snagging in the bush.

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

There are so many places I really love going but if I have to choose one, it would be my home surf between Jeffreys Bay and Gamtoos River. Its a place where every tide is a different story and when it fires, I don’t think there are many that come close to it.

 

What would you consider to be your favorite fly?

Thats a no-brainer! Definitely a chartreuse over white Clouser Minnow. Its produced more fish for me than any other, I have so much faith in that fly. I always have some in my fly box.

 

What is your all time favorite movie?

The Rock starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, and Ed Harris.

 

What kind of music are you into? 

Im quite easy going and will listen to pretty much anything. I do however have a big love for Trance and Progressive music: Armin van Buuren, Aly&Fila, and Nate Raubenheimer just to name a few favorites.

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid. I try to apply this to everything in my life. Also, never feel intimidated by the guy fishing next to you with all the fancy stuff. Do your own thing. Just because he dropped mega bucks on gear doesn’t mean he knows what he is doing.

 

Any interests outside of fishing?

I really enjoy photography and I’m also quite keen on endurance sports, especially cycling(and trolling the beach for betties).

 

Favorite quote?

“Have faith in the guide” - Edward Truter

“You win some, you loose some” – Unknown

 

Most memorable moment or highlight of your guiding career?

There are so many highlights. The two weeks I had the privilege of guiding Jeff Currier in Tanzania and the unreal week of fishing I had with Joe Brownlee in Gabon, but the one that really stands out for me is the day we foul hooked a hippo in Tanzania. At first it stayed down and we thought we had hooked a big vundu catfish. Then a hippo surfaced and the game changed! The expressions on my client’s and boat driver’s faces is something that will be with me forever.

Lesotho

Milkfish

gabon

 

Jul 10

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Pierre Swartz

Katse yellowPIERRE SWARTZ

DOB - 17 February 1973

NATIONALITY - South Africa

HOME TOWN - Graaff Reinet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up in Graaff Reinet, Pierre fell in love with the sport of fly fishing at a very young age, spending endless weekends camping and fishing the neighboring rivers. After matriculating Pierre took the plunge and moved to Stellenbosch where he took up fly fishing full time, guiding local and international clients on the pristine streams and rivers of the Western Cape. Since then Pierre has guided throughout South Africa targeting both salt and fresh water species and joined the Tourette Fishing guides team in 2014. Quite the dexterous man, Pierre also designs and manufactures custom handmade leather boots, belts, and bags in his spare time.

 

Guiding log

Pierre has guided for yellowfish, rainbow and brown trout, carp, mullet, and numerous other fresh and saltwater species. Since joining the Tourette Fishing guides team, Pierre has spent seven weeks guiding in Lesotho for smallmouth yellowfish and trout.

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

A Daiwa Osprey 7’6 4/5wt matched with a Daiwa reel and Sci Anglers 4wt floating line.

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

There are so many to choose from but I love De Mond Nature reserve near Struisbaai. It is one of the most beautiful lagoons on the South African coastline and casting to tailing grunter is enough to get anybody excited.

 

What would you consider your favorite fly?

The one fly that stands out to me is the Royal Wulff. It always has a special place in my box because the fish love them.

 

What is your all time favorite movie?

There are many great films out there but the one that will always be special to me is A River Runs Through It.

 

What kind of music are you into? 

Rhythm and Blues is king. BB King, Miles Davis, etc. (Sorry Mark Murray, Trance music is somewhere on the list.)

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

KEEP IT SIMPLE. I learned this lesson a long time ago from well known angler and guide, Tony Biggs.

 

Any interests outside of fishing?

I have always been quite a keen outdoors man. I really enjoy spending time in my garden or going on multi-day hiking trails.

 

Favorite Quotes?

All of John Gierach’s work is brilliant and refreshingly witty. This is one of my favorites: Calling fishing a hobby is

like calling brain surgery a job.”

 

Most Memorable moment/highlight of your guiding career

I’ve been fortunate to have shared some very memorable times with a lot of exceptional anglers like MC Coetzer, Dean Riphagen, Tom Sutcliffe, Ed Herbst, Ed Truter, Anthony Kruger and Andrew Parsons to name only a few. However, the moments that really stand out for me are the ones where I get to help a first time angler to land their fish of a lifetime. That really puts a smile on my face.

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Jul 08

Meet Tourette Fishing Guide, Greg Ghaui

Greg Ghaui 1GREG GHAUI

DOB - 21 February 1988

NATIONALITY -Tanzania

HOME TOWN - Iringa, Tanzania

 

 

 

 

A proud Tanzanian national, Greg also has some Southern African flavor, having attended primary school in Zambia, and finishing the rest of his education in South Africa. After completing BSc studies in Cape Town (Zoology and Environmental Science), Greg  finally returned full time to his native Tanzania. After two years spent in the hustle of Dar-es-Salaam, it was time for a lifestyle change, and his attention was turned on the magnificent Mlimba tiger fishery, which had long been on his radar. Always an outdoors man, the fishing guiding offers the ideal combination of quality time spent in the wilderness, with being able to follow other interests such as agricultural endeavours, sport, and a passion for leisure time.

 

Guiding log

Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers for Tigerfish; 2012, 2013, 2014

 

Q & A WITH THE MAN HIMSELF

What was your first fly rod?

‘Kingfisher’ 6 wt

 

Where is your favorite fishing spot?

At ‘Greg’s’ on the Mnyera River.

 

What would you consider to be your favorite fly?

Olive Brush Fly

 

What is your all time favorite movie?

Anchorman

 

What kind of music are you into? 

Mark Murray’s night terrors are music to my ears ha-ha

 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out fly fishing?

Don’t sacrifice your own style for better form.

 

Any interest outside of fishing?

Sport; Travel

 

Favorite Quote

Msimu wa embe, nyani haikonde’ (In the mango season, the baboon does not starve)

 

Most Memorable moment/highlight of your guiding career

Swimming and shredding myself while climbing over and around structure to try and untangle a runaway vundu on the Ruhudji. No fish pics, but plenty of scars to remember it by!

Greg Ghaui 3

Greg Ghaui4

Jun 17

Last week of exploring the Nubian Flats produces some great fishing.

Chasing Yellow Margined Triggers on The Nubian Flats

Chasing Yellow Margined Triggers on The Nubian Flats

After the last two solid weeks exploring the Nubian flats, the final week was upon us.

It’s crazy how quickly time has gone by. It feels like just yesterday that we walked our first flat up here. What a journey it has been. The last two weeks have been great and with some old friends joining us for the last week, we are keen to get going and hopefully finish the exploratory season off in style.

 

We were joined this week by Keith Clover (on a sabbatical from the Tourette Fishing office), Ewan Naude (who explored with us in December 2013) and his two mates Jimmy & Craig, one of our guides from Tanzania; Greg Ghaui, and then South Africa’s Grunter Whisperer, Jannie Visser.

 

 The wind was still blowing on day 1 but it didn’t seem to bother our guests too much, and with much anticipation we split into two groups.

GT on the Nubian Flats

GT on the Nubian Flats

The great thing about this area we have been exploring is that there are always options for whatever the wind throws at us, and having some strong wind is always good for getting the fish hungry after a few days of very settled weather. On this first day we fished an area that is well known to us now, and as expected it wasn’t long until each group was staring a tailing triggers in skinny water. Both yellow margin and titan’s were on offer and it seemed as if today each and every fish was hungry. Hats off to Ewan who got an eat on his very first cast at a Trigger Fish, and after some nervous moments in the shallows, landed a brute Yellow Margin. Not a bad way to open your account.

 

Jannie Visser and Rob sharing a moment on the Nubian Flats

Jannie Visser and Rob sharing a moment on the Nubian Flats

 On the other side of the island, Greg, Jannie and Keith were having ample shots at tailing fish, and although there were some school fees, squashed hooks, snapped tippet and missed opportunities…it wasn’t long before all three of them had a good trigger in the bag.

After lunch Keith, Jannie and Greg continued the chase tailing fish on the flats while Jimmy, Craig, Ewan and I tried our hand at some teasing over one of the many deep drop offs. Although this session was slow for us we managed two inquiries of which Ewan converted a nice bohar snapper and another one left Craig licking his wounds.

On the flats the afternoon was still producing the goods and everyone managed some more trigger fish, bringing the first day to a pretty successful end.

Greg with the first of many triggers on the Nubian Flats

Greg with the first of many triggers on the Nubian Flats

 

 

Day 2 we moved the mother ship to a nearby different group of islands. Once again the group split into two, with

one half chasing tails on the flats while the other half went teasing again in the hope of getting some GTs, Bluefin and Bohar.

The morning session started off with a bang. Jannie Visser put his grunter skills to good use and after some impressively delicate casting and presentation, in very skinny water, landed a very nice Yellow Margin Triggerfish. We had quite a few more shots at triggers but the game changed in a matter of seconds – all of a sudden they were insanely skittish, with only a few fish showing interest in the crab and shrimp patterns. This is what makes Triggers so exciting to target, they are impossible to predict and are probably the most temperamental fish in the ocean. One moment they all happy, tailing and doing their best to eat every fly you cast at them, then next moment it’s like someone flicks a switch and they become the most frustrating target species on the planet. I suppose that’s what makes them so great, every fish is different, always unpredictable, and every single fish keeps you guessing and pushes your heart rate through the roof.

Craig with a good Bohar Snapper

Craig with a good Bohar Snapper

On one of the other islands, while we were being schooled by the numerous triggers, Ewan & co were getting some good fish on the tease. Some big bluefin trevally, plenty big bohar snapper, and a couple shots at big GTs kept the group busy. A highlight was when a big King Mackerel came in hot on the tease, and ate Ewan’s Semper, in knee deep water at his feet. Unfortunately the King Mackerel’s teeth found their way around the hook, and made short work of the 1.2mm Mono leader. After leaving the flat edge, Ewan, Jimmy, and Craig found some good triggers, but battled to get any to eat. Another highlight was while walking back to the tender, Ewan spotted a massive barracuda cruising the flats, after presenting a poodle to the 25 plus Kilo fish, it promptly devoured the offering. It wasn’t Ewans day, as for the second time in an hour he was quickly cut off. Not a bad morning session.

Mark and Jannie with a Double up Yellow Margined on the Nubian Flats

Mark and Jannie with a Double up Yellow Margined on the Nubian Flats

 

For the next three days we moved again. An area that offered some really big sand and turtle grass flats, insane bommie bashing and a few islands and flats that were yet to be explored.

On our first session on the flats, we found some insane trigger fishing. To give you and idea, in just one short session Jannie managed 4 triggers on his own, while everyone else also managed one or two fish each. Not too bad considering that was just one of four sessions, and that also excludes all the triggers that spooked, snapped off, cut through hooks or merely came off.

As with some of our other sessions in this area, the guys saw some really big GTs on the flats, as well as a big school of bones. 

Keith getting worked by a big Bluefin on the Dropoff - Nubian Flats

Keith getting worked by a big Bluefin on the Dropoff – Nubian Flats

Unfortunately a fly was presented to neither of these species. A case where everyone gets so zoned in on the triggers, that the other species that are harder to spot often only get seen at the last second.

 

The highlight though, was some of the new areas we explored over these three days. There were a few small islands which we have been eyeing for some time now, and we were super excited to get out and fish these good looking flats and deep drop-offs. We found some tiny little islands and reefs offshore, all of these were wade-able(varying from mid shin to just below waist deep water) with crazy deep drop offs! You can literally stand right on top of the drop off and 1 meter in front of you is 150 meter deep water. 

Tripple up - Nubian Flats Fly Fishing

Tripple up – Nubian Flats Fly Fishing

To give you an idea of what these drop-offs were like, we saw sailies and doggies, literally a couple meters from where we were standing in shin deep water. Although we didn’t get any eats from these sailies and doggies, it is only a matter of time before we land a few of these, on fly, with our feet on terra firma.

 

Although we got some great shots at big GTs and Bluefin on the flats, as well as triggers and bumpies, the area was about as perfect for teasing as you could hope to find anywhere on the planet. We explored these small islands with a combination of teasing the edge, and then fishing to free swimming GTs, Bluefin and Bohar on the flats.

 

Nubian Flats GT

Nubian Flats GT

On the teasing side, it is hard to describe how many fish came in.

Literally the second the tease hit the water, there would be explosions of white water around the tease, with numerous GTs and bluefin smashing the surface behind the teaser.

The thing with this fishing, is that the guys have to be properly briefed beforehand, and there is very little room for mistakes. The fish come in so fast that there is zero chance for a second shot, and loads of room for things to go wrong. It is one thing to make a good cast when everything is calm, but something completely differnet when there is when a 120cm GT is tearing the ocean apart from 100ms away, pushing everyone’s heart rate through the ceiling and making even simple tasks very difficult

 

In essence when the fish comes in red hot, you have to have your A-game ready.

Nubian Flats Bluefin

Nubian Flats Bluefin

I’ve seen guys get pulled off their feet, GT’s and bluefin fighting with bohar snappers for your flies, lines exploding, some really colorful language, and too many shaky hands and knees to mention.

I don’t think fly fishing can get anymore extreme than this.

 Ok back to the fishing, the teasing was incredible.

The amount of bluefin trevally was astounding.

The sea was literally flooded with them and almost every tease had anything from 5 – 10 bluefin coming in hot! Double and triple ups were pretty standard, and in many cases the bluefin ruined chances at big GTs and Barracuda.

 

During these sessions Jannie, Greg, Keith, Rob even cameraman Richard all got smoked by some proper GT’s. But all was not lost, Greg and Craig managed to land a couple nice mid 90cm fish, Keith also landed a couple in the 80 to 100cm rang.

Bluefin - Fly Fishing the Nubian Flats

Bluefin – Fly Fishing the Nubian Flats

While Ewan took his chances when they came and landed 5 solid GTs. Broken bodies, broken tackle but big smiles all round.

 

The last two sessions we fished the flats for the majority of the day. After a few very settled days, the wind had started to pickup again but everyone was on such a high and couldn’t be too bothered about the wind. Besides, there were still plenty fish. We found some tailing permit but no one got a proper shot at them as they spooked very quickly. Rob got smoked by a solid 8lb plus bonefish while Jimmy, Ewan and Craig landed some more trigger fish. A fitting ending to a stellar week.

Electric Bluefin on the Nubian Flats

Electric Bluefin on the Nubian Flats

One last mention goes out to Jannie Visser. In the dying moments of the last day, when everyone was too tired to bother venturing out and all opted rather to clean and pack gear on the mothership,

he went for a quick solo mission on a tiny little island right next to the anchorage and landed a beautiful mid 90cm GT as well as a one last Yellow Margined Trigger fish. Not a bad way to end your trip and also our exploratory season in the Nubian Flats.

 

With the Exploratory Season process now complete, we have 10 weeks of experience under our belts. Although there are still areas we need to visit, we are more than happy with what we have discovered so far.

Solo GT on the Nubian Flats for Jannie Visser

Solo GT on the Nubian Flats for Jannie Visser

There has been times when we have been frustrated, times of disappointment,

but mostly we have been blown away by the discoveries we have made.

We are already looking forward to next season when we will be running our first fully fledged and guided season on the Nubian Flats. For now though, Burger King in Dubai is right at the top of our priority list.

 

Till next time, I can’t wait to make the return journey to this amazing part of the world.

 

Mark Murray

 

Anyone keen on info on the next Nubian Flats Season email rob@tourettefishing.com

Jun 12

Second to last week of the Nubian Flats Exploratory Season.

Looking for triggers and bones on a mangrove flat

Looking for triggers and bones on a mangrove flat

Wow, I can’t believe that the end of this awesome exploratory season is almost upon us. Looking back we have covered so many new areas, learnt an incredible amount, made some great new friends and above all had some world class fishing. This week we have earmarked a couple new areas, in a combination with a couple islands and flats that we already know. Thus we will have a great mix of knowing what to expect along with the excitement that comes with exploring someplace completely new. To make the week even better we welcome a great bunch of old friends onto the mothership.

The forecast looked great for the week – a little wind around on day one but fortunately the forecast showed that this would be the last of the wind for the rest of the week.

Endless oportunities for exploring on the Nubian Flats

Endless opportunities for exploring on the Nubian Flats

Day 1 and we explored an island we have come to know relatively well already. In the past we have seen incredible number of triggers, odd shots at permit and bones, good number of bluefin and GTs, so it was going to be a case of fishing to whatever showed up in front of us. Of course being the first session, the level of excitement from the crew was sky high.

The flats looked really nice, knee to ankle deep water with turtle grass and shale bottoms with sections of really shallow sand. Very promising and it didn’t take long for the first trigger fish to make its appearance either! In fact, by lunch time we landed 6 fish, a mix of Titan and Yellow Margin! For some people this might not sound like incredible fishing, but anyone who has had the priviledge of targeting these awesome fish will know that they can be extremely frustrating and temperamental. We saw some big bonefish as well but no one managed to get any shots at them. The afternoon we carried on walking the flat and found some more trigger fish. Hats off to Abri though who, on his first flats trip on day one, managed some trigger fish and in the afternoon – after some fancy footwork to dodge some coral – managed a nice GT and Bohar!

Nubian Flats GT

Nubian Flats GT

The next two days the guys were keen to spice up their trip and mixed things up with a session in the morning vertical jigging offshore for Dogtooth tuna and then spend the afternoon walking some more flats.

The morning sessions offshore produced some good sized GT’s, some small Doggies but also some really tired bodies followed by some pretty good trigger fishing in the afternoon.

Day four and five though is where we hit the jackpot!! We moved the mother ship to a tiny little island which looks like a little sand dune floating in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a big sandy flat ranging from mid shin to waist deep water. The first time we walked it was in the afternoon and although the light wasn’t great we found some good numbers of trigger fish and some gt’s cruising the shallows.

Amazing colours of a Bluefin - Fly Fishing on the Nubian Flats

Amazing colours of a Bluefin – Fly Fishing on the Nubian Flats

It was only on the next day that this little island  really showed its hand when we walked it in the morning session! Trigger fish numbers like none of us have ever experienced, and this is saying alot considering over the season we have been treated to trigger fishing that is hard to put into words. To top off the inrecible numbers, They were good sized and hungry. Pretty much everyone capitalized on this and hooked, landed and lost good numbers of triggers. On top of the triggers we also saw some interesting fish on this huge flat –  Milkfish, GT’s, bluefin, barracuda’s were also in the mix but to me, the highlight was the massive shoals of bonefish we found!  Petrus Gous and myself were at one stage  surrounded by loads of 7lbs to 9lb+ bonefish that were been chased over the flat by the gt’s.

Titan Trigger - Fly Fishing on the Nubian Flats

Titan Trigger – Fly Fishing on the Nubian Flats

The sight of a massive shoal of bonefish scrambling right at you trying to get away from GT’s is one pretty amazing experience. The bones frame of mind made them impossible to catch.

Rob found some tailing permit and some bonefish as well but none of them showed any interest at all. The bonefish were pretty skittish more than likely as a result of the GTs – a case of avoiding been eaten rather than eating anything themselves.  

The last day we moved to a new area but and only fished half of the day. We found some more trigger fish and snapped on a couple triggers that were well over the 10lb mark

Fly fishing for Triggers on the Nubian Flats

Fly fishing for Triggers on the Nubian Flats

. We also  saw a really large shoal of GT’s with +/- 25. After lunch the wind picked up, and the decision was made to take our tired bodies back to the mother ship to give the guys enough time to clean and pack their tackle.

A little windy ending to the week again but what a week it has been.

Be sure to check in next week for another update from the Nubian desert.

Cheers

Mark

May 29

Nubian Flats Exploratory Week 5: 19 – 26 May

After a good three week break back home in South Africa, tying flies and spending endless hours poring over maps, we made our way back to Sudan for the second stint of exploration on the Nubain Flats. I was heading up a week early to accompany the mother ship as it made its way to the area we would be based for the next 3 weeks of exploration.  I was joined this week by fellow J-Bay local and friend, Raimer Potgieter, and with just the two of us on board as we accompanied the boat on its travels, it was bound to be an epic week.

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Exploring the night markets in Port Sudan. The friendly people, and getting to know the local culture, make for a really great experience.

The first day we spent cruising to our first anchorage, dredging and teasing off the tenders along the way. We had very little action dredging, but teasing over the shallow reefs and edges of the bommies produced the goods. Raimer connected with some small bluefin kingfish and snapper. However, the most exciting part of the day was when we had one really nice GT follow the tease for almost 70m. It is quite an experience controlling the tease and keeping the fish coming in hot over such a distance! Unfortunately it was so “hot” that it swam past the fly looking for the tease and left us empty handed. Nonetheless pretty exciting. On day two we walked our first couple of flats, and found good numbers of fish on them. Loads of bluefin cruising around, some smaller sized GT’s, barracuda, and trigger fish – both Yellow Margin and Titan. Raimer presented to a number of fish. He had a nice sized bluefin chase the fly right to his feet, and got the interest of some trigger fish as well. The fish were however not committing, and although there were plenty fish on the flats, they were definitely not in a feeding mode. We finished the day “bommie bashing” off the tender with Raimer landing some nice bohar snapper and all sorts of little reef dwelling species.

Exploring virgin water on the Nubian Flats

Exploring virgin waters on the Nubian Flats

The following two days were magic, and the fishing really turned on! We saw huge numbers of trigger fish on the flats… like I have never seen before. Day one we counted 38 trigger fish followed by 60+ the next day. You could literally cast at one, and if you didn’t come right, wade another 10m and cast to the next one. They weren’t easy though I must add! The titans were near impossible to present to as they were insanely spooky, but the yellow margins gave us more of a chance. Raimer managed some really nice yellow margin triggers, all on a brown K-Crab fly. Anything with a rust brown color with a hint of orange got a lot of attention! That’s not all though. We saw many trevally (bluefin and GT) cruising and smashing bait on the flats, and I managed a solid 98cm GT in mid shin deep water. We also came across some good sized permit, but none that would eat (f*&^ers!).

Nubian Flats GT

Nubian Flats GT

 

A highlight on these two days was an area we had earmarked to explore after the first trip in 2013. A beautiful lagoon surrounded by mangrove flats.  We barely started walking the lagoon when four bonefish swam straight into us. Five minutes later Raimer hooked into a bone that we estimated at about 8- 9lbs. The fish went lighting fast, deep into the lagoon but unfortunately his drag was a little too tight and the hook opened up. I cast at some more bones but got very little interest. Definitely an area we will go back to during the next couple weeks. The last two days of the week we got hit by a serious low pressure pushing winds close to 35 knots making fishing near impossible. Quite a sad end to an epic week but things are really looking promising and I’m quite excited to see what the next few weeks have to produce. We have a full boat of eager anglers and TF guides coming up, so look forward to updating the blog when we get back.

 

Raimer with a super yellow margin trigger

Raimer with a super yellow margin trigger

Ciao

Mark

Off you go!

Off you go!

Apr 23

Nubian Flats Exploratory week 4 – 14 to 21 April

With amazing weather forecast and this being the fourth week of our exploratory season on the Nubian flats, everything pointed to a killer week.

 Our itinerary for the week was as follows: We were top set sail on Tuesday morning, then fish the majority of the day on a small island we had visited previously (in the hope that we would have some more shots at the numerous permit we had discovered here), next on the list would be another slightly larger island which we would sail to after giving proper consideration to the permit flats.

Titan triggerfish on the Nubian Flats

Titan triggerfish on the Nubian Flats

One thing we noticed early on this week was a major shift in season. In the space of a couple days, the average temperature shot through the roof with an increase in the humidity as well and a major decrease in wind. Officially we were fast heading in the direction of summer.

 Our first stop once again produced the goods – with very low water and almost no wind, the conditions were absolutely perfect! On the flats we found some monster barracuda, GTS and some big titan triggers – but the fish that kept everyone on their toes were the permit. The first afternoon session we bumped into two good sized fish but this paled in comparison to the number we encountered the following morning. We sighted and presented to at least 10 tailing  permit in the space of 3 hours – to put the icing on the cake they were all big. Big or small, permit are always tricky and although we were getting loads of shots at these iconic fish, no one could entice an eat, but what a spectacular sight it is when you see them tailing and feeding in such shallow water!

Onto a good sized GT on the Nubian Flats

Onto a good sized GT on the Nubian Flats

Although we had spectacular fishing on the permit flats, it was only once we arrived at the second island that the magic happened. The flats were literally flooded with trigger fish. Both titan’s and yellow margin were on every flat. The sight of very hungry tailing triggers, just about everywhere you looked. They were tailing and were in a feeding mood – If you had the finesse to present the fly delicately the triggers would rush over to inspect the fly and almost always tailing on the crustacean imitation instantly. Some would follow the fly all the way to the rod tip, where others wouldn’t hesitate at all in completely engulfing the fly – something that makes us really love the trigger fish, as every single specimen is completely unique and you never know how the situation is going to unfold.

Nubian Flats trigger

Nubian Flats trigger

With so many tailing fish around, it was often a case where the guests were unsure of what trigger to cast at next – a true angling heaven for anyone who knows and loves trigger fishing. On top of the vast numbers of triggers, the extremely low tidal difference meant that you could fish for these tailing fish the entire day, everyday.

In between all the triggers we saw really good number of GT’s, Barracuda’s, and some bonefish on the flats as well. On the GT side I managed a GT of 87cm fish on the flat but although we saw quite a few over the 100cm mark, we just couldn’t convert any of these fish. The bonefish were proving, once again, to be very tricky. It seems that we are seeing more and more of these fish as the season progresses, and hopefully with some more time we will manage to decode them to a point we can start converting more of the chances to fish.

With the flats being full of fish we did very little walking and teasing along the flat edges but the couple teasing session’s we had produced some crazy fishing. Richard got absolutely manhandled by two GT’s in the vicinity of 35-40kg. He made up for those fish though and in one particular session landed 6 smaller GT’s and 7 bluefin all before lunch. As always the bohar snapper were in good attendance and we got some good fish pushing towards the 10kg mark. One fish that really stood out was the massive 10kg coral trout Craig got during our last session of the week on tease. Beautiful dark bars down the side and completely covered in bright blue spots, a fish that i am sure Craig will remember for a while.

A good Nubian Flats GT

A good Nubian Flats GT

This ended our first four weeks of exploratory work on the Nubian Flats, and what a four weeks it has been. We are slowly starting to build a deeper understanding of the fishery. It’s time for me to pack my bags and head home now,  but I am not too depressed as we still have three more weeks of exploratory work still be to undertaken during May and June. Personally I cant wait.

Cheers

Mark, Fede and TF Nubian Flats Exploratory crew.

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