Aug 21

Wonderbag training and distribution with the Makhangoa Community. Fly Fishing making a difference

Rob Introducing the Wonderbag concept to the Makhangoa Community

Rob Introducing the Wonderbag concept to the Makhangoa Community

Here at  Tourette Fishing we are passionate about many things. If we had to pick the four that are on the top of the pile it would be Fly Fishing, Conservation, Adventure and improving the lives of those less fortunate with whom we work. What makes our line of work so special is that in almost every season, destination and trip we are allowed the opportunity to experience, to a significant degree, all of these.

 

Over the course of the last few years, we have been hard at work developing a very special partnership, and one we are sure is going to be used as blueprint for many more projects in the future. This partnership forms the basis of our community tourism initiative in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. The fundamentals of this is that the community earn direct income through the partnership as well as the opportunity to better themselves through the economy developed through the tourists that visit the area. This economy, combined with education, provides the necessary catalyst for the community members to view their natural resources as having value. This value thus promotes conservation of the ecosystem and natural environment.

 

Wonderbag training in action

Wonderbag training in action

The direct funds and direct employment generated through the partnership is one thing, but making sure that the people of the community maximize their ability makes use of the opportunity to better themselves is another. We have earmarked potential areas of growth for individuals to grow their own small business. These being guided horse riding, overnight guided camping trips, village tours, production and marketing of souvenirs as well as a vegetable growing and lamb project that will have the ability to transfer skills in proper growing techniques and open pathways for marketing the produce to the camp and surrounding areas. Another great initiative on the horizon is an environmental wing of the community that will be responsible for monitoring of the activities affecting the ecosystem and natural resource. Dubbed the river rangers project, the individuals involved will be responsible for monitoring illegal fish poaching, pollution threats, identifying of potential erosion issues, as well as for litter clean up and education of the younger generation of the community as to the benefits of a clean environment.

 

Wonderbags ready to make a difference.

Wonderbags ready to make a difference.

All of the above are fantastic projects bound to make a real difference to community’s members where they need it most at a ground root level. Unfortunately the opportunities available need one more aspect that is often lacking…time. The struggle to survive in these harsh, improvised, rural mountain areas leaves little time left for development of other socioeconomic projects.
Once we had earmarked that we needed to find a way to free up time we looked at numerous ways that we would be able to sort this time problem out.
The answer came in the form of a Wonderbag. In a nutshell, it is an innovative cooking system in the form of a bag that is specifically designed to conserve heat within a cooking pot. This ingenious method allows the user to do four things:
• Save Time
• Save Money
• Improvement of Health.
• Conservation of natural environment

Makhangoa Community after the training program.

Wonderbags with the woman of the Makhangoa Community after the training program.

Save Time – This was our main aim with using the Wonderbag. Although there is more than meets the eye, as the time saving is on multiple levels: Firstly there is the drastic time saved through the reduction in collecting of fire wood and cooking fuel. Considering that this particular village of Makhangoa is above the tree line means that cooking fuel is a very scarce commodity. Time is also saved collecting cooking water, as the cooking method is a lot more efficient is conserving water through the cooking process. Thirdly, time is save in the actual cooking process, since although the process takes longer, the actually time spent stirring and tending to the cooking is a fraction of the conventional method of cooking.
Money saved – In a community where natural fuel for cooking such as wood, coal, gas are scarce and expensive commodities, using less means a massive saving of cost.
Improvement of health – the reality for many rural households in Africa is that they cook on open fires, in confined spaces. This means that families, and often mostly woman, spend huge amount of time inhaling smoke. This leads to a high prevalence of lung and respiratory diseases.
Conservation of the Natural environment – Over utilization of natural resources, especially power, is one the major problems facing the world. The insatiable demand for fuel, whether it be wood, electricity, coal, gas etc, is a driving force behind destruction of ecosystems world wide. Using less energy directly equates to conserving the environment that we depend on.
With all of this in mind, the Wonderbag provided the perfect platform to use as a catalyst to ensure the growth and future success for all the beneficiation plans we have in the future. On Tuesday the 18th August 2015, Keith and I travelled to the Makhangoa Community Camp for a full day of training and activation of the products. Along with the Communities members, we had guests from the LTDC (Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation) and the LHDA (Lesotho Highlands Development Association)
The woman and men that attended the initiation program quickly saw the massive benefit these products would have on their day to day lives. We cooked four different dishes with the community during the process, and at each step of the way emphasized the saving on time, resources and the natural environment. The beans, Porridge, rice and beef stew were all perfectly cooked while using a fraction of the fuel and time it would normally take.

 

Involving woman from the Makhangoa Community in the Training Process

Involving woman from the Makhangoa Community in the Training Process

To ensure that the project grows from strength to strength the community have self imposed monitoring that the bags are correctly used.
This is a part of our work that not many people get to see, but these hidden aspects are often the most rewarding. There is no doubt that this initiative is going to have a massive impact on both the local community and the preservation of the natural ecosystem for the area. The knock-on affects of this project and the opportunities that the saved time present can be even greater. It is a win win situation.
Oh yes, there was also a 10 pound plus rainbow swimming around home pool below camp. Unfortunately we were too busy with the work we were doing to actually go and cast at it, but that can be for our next visit.

Jul 15

Fly Fishing Making a Difference

Sunrise over the Bokong valley. The hike to explore the water spring resources started out with a fine blanket of snow

Sunrise over the Bokong valley. The hike to explore the water spring resources started out with a fine blanket of snow

Fly Fishing is a magical sport. It often takes us to the most beautiful parts of the world, allows us to disconnect, and allows reflection and focus. For many fly fishing is so much more than a sport, it is the part of our lives that allows us to meditate. Those few moments of distraction that allow the world stresses to be put into perspective. There is so much that has been written about what fly fishing means to different people participating in the sport. This is just a small account of what fly fishing can mean to people outside of the sport.
For many years now we have been involved with developing fly fishing operations in the high altitude, rural reaches of the Kingdom of Lesotho. These remote corners of the mountain kingdom are as far removed from the comforts of western living as anyone could imagine. Despite this, the people are incredibly friendly, and a smiling face is never far away. Through the years of exploring this magical place, and being welcomed into the homes of so many Basutho families, it quickly becomes apparent that there are so many immediate needs and challenges that face these communities on a daily basis.

 

Rob and Labina take a much needed break after reaching the top of one of the valleys

Rob and Labina take a much needed break after reaching the top of one of the valleys

This is where fly fishing steps in and has the ability to make a very real difference. Many of these communities have world class fly fishing resources, literally, on their doorsteps. Three years ago we partnered with the Makhangoa Community in developing the Bokong River, to the point where we find ourselves today, with a fully operational fly fishing camp. The Makhangoa Community Camp
The difference that this partnership has made to the community of Makhangoa is nothing short of immense. Everything from the direct employment, creation of the opportunity for locals to start their own businesses, the development of skills, as well as the generation of direct community funds through tourism levies to spend on important projects that benefit the community as whole.
Recently, one such project has taken flight, and this is the aim to create a viable water delivery system to the Makhangoa community. The benefit of this is not just the fact that the people of Makhangoa will have running water in their village, but also the larger picture where this frees up time and further allows the opportunity for creation of their own businesses with the extra time that they have saved, that would have otherwise been spent on the endless task of collecting water. These business ventures include developing pony trekking trips for guests at the Community Camp, village tours, overnight hiking and camping trips, the growing of vegetables and fruit to supply the camp and nearby villages and markets, development of an environmental river rangers wing of the community responsible for monitoring of any illegal activities within the catchment area.

Rob and Labina celebrate reaching a small peak on route to a suspected viable water spring

Rob and Labina celebrate reaching a small peak on route to a suspected viable water spring

So, the improvement of a small aspect of the communities lives has the ability to have a knock on effect and allow the poor the chance to get ahead.
The water delivery project has started, and the first step involved a thorough visit to the community where a water engineer could assess what is going to be possible in terms of accessing some of the springs in the surrounding mountains.
This survey looked like an easy task to start with, but quickly turned out to be a mammoth physical undertaking. Each potential spring had to be inspected, and the only way to do this was to hike into each valley and take measurements, as well as estimates of water flow. What followed was an 8 hour hike to ensure that we had everything we needed to ensure that the feasibility of the project is correct. Upon return from the mountains we were greeted by hordes of questions from the community, as well as an elaborate speech and thanks from the community leaders.

Looking towards the snow capped mountains at the top of the Bokong Valley

Looking towards the snow capped mountains at the top of the Bokong Valley

There wasn’t even any water delivery yet, but it was extremely apparent at just how much of a difference this project is going to make to all those faces that greeted us from our epic hike into the mountains. It is moments like these that make what we do worthwhile. This is water is going to make a real difference. A real difference at the grass roots level for the community where it matters most.
This is why fly fishing is so much more than a sport. It definitely has the ability to change our lives that is without question, but it also has the ability to change the lives of those less fortunate.
After all this initial work, the first pipes and taps are on their way to Lesotho and should be in the ground in the very near future.

Jun 29

8th Week of the Nubian Flats Season 2015 – Guest Blog: Peter Mcleod

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When thinking of saltwater flats destinations Sudan is hardly a name that springs to mind. In fact pretty much the opposite. When the Nubian Flats operation was launched 18 months ago, reports began to trickle through of giant deserted flats teeming with fish. There appeared to be a very high density of trigger fish, good numbers of bluefin and boha snapper and a few GTs to be considered a bonus. I am always on the lookout for new adventures and the thought of an untapped saltwater destination full of trigger fish thrilled me. For anyone that has fished for triggers they will be aware what an obsession they can be, like an attainable permit. However, Sudan? My limited knowledge of this part of the world immediately made me nervous as most news reports of Sudan are hardly favourable. I began to research it further and discovered I was very wrong. Sudan is a huge country, and when I say huge, I mean huge. It is some 1200 miles across and the area which is troubled is an entirely different country; South Sudan. The distance from this area to the Red Sea is some 1100 miles which to put it into perspective is the same as the UK to the Russian border with Poland. The more I understood about the area the more I began to have any worries I might have had dispelled.

img_2911 The coastline being explored runs from the Egyptian border all the way South to the Eritrean border of some 300 miles and contains innumerable islands, flats and pinnacles surrounded by some of the clearest oceans and the best diving in the world. This coastline is for the most part deserted as it is the Nubian Desert inhabited by nomadic populations of camel and goat herders with no fishing communities. This is key as there is no commercial subsistence fishing apart from a handful of small open boats using hand lines. The pressure is effectively nil. This was beginning to sound more and more interesting by the minute. I therefore put together a small team of six anglers to go and continue exploring the potential this fishery might have. What we found has me as excited as our early live aboard expeditions into the Indian Ocean in 2005.

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The route in is extremely simple with direct flight to Dubai on Emirates followed by connecting flight to Port Sudan with Fly Dubai on a brand new 737-800. We left on the Sunday night and on Monday afternoon found ourselves at the desert airport of Port Sudan. Our team was met by Chico from the Tourette fishing’s ground handlers who met us coming through customs and showed us to a minibus. Our bags were loaded into the back and we headed off across the desert to the coast. A cooler of water bottles was on hand, a nice thirst quencher as our bodies adapted to the heat. A twenty minute drive had us in the town of Port Sudan where we picked up our chef and then we proceeded north along the coast for a further 2 3/4 hours through some of the most extraordinary landscape I have seen. Wild desert with huge jagged mountains visible in the distance through a haze of dust and heat, punctuated by a few patches of scrub, goats, and a few camels wandering about. As the sun began to descend behind the mountain range we turned off the road to the sea through the largest port in the north, Muhammed Qol. In effect this was a tiny community of sandy streets leading to a military outpost of two jetties and a handful of boats. The soldiers mostly wore football shirts from Arsenal, Barcelona and Real Madrid which was somewhat surreal.

img_7466Our bus drove down the jetty where we laid eyes on our home for the week, the 60 ft motor catamaran, Scuba Libre operated by the Italians Nicola Vitali and Federico Castignoli. As tenders she has two 23 ft fibre glass pangas equipped with 30 and 40 hp two stroke engines. Nicola had been on the flight from Dubai with us and had been excellent company giving us a large amount of background information on his explorations in Sudan and Socotra. They have just bought a new 28 ft boat with twin 200hp engines that he was commissioning in Port Sudan so would not be with us for the week. Our team was ferried across with our luggage, buzzing with excitement and met by the guide team from Tourette Fishing headed up by Mark Murray. Cabins were quickly allocated and then Mark briefed us on the week to come over a much welcome cold beer. That night we would stay in port before heading out to our first anchorage at Magarsum Island, and then continue to move around to further anchorages exploring the flats as we went. He introduced us to Federico (Fede) and Stuart Harley (Stu) who would be our guides for the week. We also had two boat drivers, Mahmoud and Ibrahim, our chef Adi and our Captain Adel. To look after us at meal times we had Mohamedino.

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Kit spewed out of bags as we took everything up to the top deck in allocated kit boxes amidst much chatter of latest toys purchased for the trip, benefits of other pieces of kit and fly selection. The guides set up rods, patiently listened to theories and then everyone was called down for dinner followed by bed. Although everyone had a cabin, when it comes to sleeping the guides and crew all sleep topside along with most of the fishermen. Although equipped with fans it can get very hot down stairs and most prefer the open air and sleeping under the carpet of stars. We revelled in the gentle offshore breeze, lapping of water and the total contrast to our normal lives as we drifted off to sleep.

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Day 1 – Trigger time

The first morning dawned crystal clear and flat calm. We motored over to our first anchorage Mesharifa while having a delicious breakfast of omelettes, pancakes and freshly baked bread. I teamed up with Chris and Phil guided by Mark and Stu. Mahmoud ran us south down the side of Magarsum to the bottom which took approximately 45 minutes. The clarity of the water was astounding and as we stepped out onto the beach I felt a thrill of excitement pulse through me. The flat was some 150 – 250 yards wide from the beach edge to the reef and dropping off into aquamarine water with the contrasting red mountain of the island climbing up to our right. Almost immediately I had a shot at a small titan trigger off the beach, but in my excitement I slapped the fly down on his head and spooked him. As we lined up across the flat and proceeded to wade slowly north what ensued was staggering. The flats was crawling with triggers, titan and yellow margin tailing on the mixture of coral and weed. However those who have fished before for trigger fish will be fully aware that even though there are many fish it does not necessarily mean you will catch many! They are tricky little guys, each one with an individual personality. Sometimes it is not about finding the right fly but sometimes about finding the right trigger.img_7487 The three of us had many shots, follows and near misses. Some of the titans especially were huge, there orange spade tails waggling in the morning sunlight like small flags. Although I saw fewer in the shallows, Phil and Chris had many in the slightly deeper water. Chris did get two shots at GTs that appeared along the edge, but no interest. The yellow margins although numerous were behaving oddly. Pairs chased each other around and daisy chained that Mark thought was their spawning behaviour making them especially spooky. (Apparently the reverse had been the case earlier in the season with the titans behaving that way in March and early April). I spotted two titans tailing in a small depression and dropped the fly off to the right. After letting it sink I gave the Gumby Crab one small twitch and one large titan charged over to investigate. It tailed on the fly three times as it followed it towards me and I could feel it nipping as I maintained contact with slow strips. Finally everything went tight and he was on! I felt the weight and then as if on purpose the fish spat the fly back at me nearly hitting me in the face.  To change the pace we moved out to the drop off to throw a few teasers and see what might be lurking in the depths. A large bluefin came charging in on the first attempt, inhaling the fly with only the leader stuck out of the rod tip. After a quick lunch of pasta, fruit and coffee the team continued moving up the flat line abreast. fu9a3398

Wading up we saw at least 15 tailing triggers along the edge, some the size of footballs. Again the excitement of follows and near misses. Finally I found a lovely titan tailing between myself and the bank. I moved into position and dropped the Gumby crab 10 ft to the left on a back hand cast across the breeze. The aggressive titan did exactly what it was supposed to and charged over and hit the fly like a ton of bricks and I was in! This one was not getting away as it tore off to the coral edge and I began to pump it on my 8 weight Hardy Proaxis. I was on a Rio Saltwater tapered leader to a 20 lbs point with two feet of 19 lbs Seagur tippet so I knew I was safe. I quickly landed my first Nubian Flats trigger of about 6 lbs. fu9a3430

We swapped around and I now took the outside line. Suddenly Mark indicated for us to stop, and there just ahead of us was a school of tailing permit. Although I could not see them myself due to the angle of the sun the other guys stood like statues and Phil cast out a stunning line that dropped the fly gently near them. One of the fish dropped its tail and scurried over immediately and tailed on the fly. No one uttered a word and our hearts were thumping in out chests… Phil took up the slack… and nothing… Arghh! Permit are the same where ever you are in the world, but that was about a good an opportunity as anyone would have. We continued up the flat and as I was scanning around I had a quick look behind me and suddenly there was an explosion of water. A GT had snuck up on me, probably thinking I might make a good meal before charging off the edge of the flat. As the light faded we had another quick tease off the off the edge and Chris landed another nice bluefin. During the session Chris had hooked three triggers that parted company and we estimated we had had between 15 – 20 shots each. We had tried every fly in the box.. Sometimes it’s not the wrong fly but the wrong trigger.. a saying that would be coined on this trip.fu9a3382

Arriving back at Scuba Libre, now moored up at the bottom of Little Snake Island, we caught up with Andrew, David and Fede who had fished the North West edge of Margasum. David had lost a yellow margin and had a shot at a bluefin, and Andrew landed a lovely 6 lbs yellow margin. They too had seen lots of tailing fish along the edge and had similar numbers of shots. David had also had the excitement of a big GT on the flats that had chased his fly but not connected, and crowned it off by landing an octopus on the fly. I snorkelled off the back of the boat over some coral bommies with Stu for a quick refresher. That evening Fede indoctrinated me into catching batfish off the back of the boat which became a bit of an obsession. We all collapsed into bed that night and drifted off dreaming of little flags waving in the ripple.fu9a3612

Day 2 – Little Snake

The sun jumped into the sky like an orange football against the back drop of the red sand mountains as the groups took to their boats like some kind raiding party. Phil, Chris, Fede, Stu and myself headed for Little Snake Island. The island very much reminded me of some of the undercut petrified coral outcrops of Cosmoledo, although the centre was covered in red sand and dotted with Osprey nests.  Chris, Stu and I picked our way up the west side, sighting for triggers from the higher ground. We saw some huge double figure titan triggers from the higher ground but they proved extremely spooky with the light not in our favour. Stu then spotted two yellow margins tailing under the overhang and manoeuvred Chris into position to try and get a cast in. Chris dropped the tan crab in, but they snuck round the corner as they continued to tail annoyingly. He managed to bend a cast round the corner but the fish unfortunately spooked. img_7535

We encountered a couple of blue holes in the flats and although we stripped flies across them nothing appeared other than a small grouper, but you never can tell if a GT might be in residence. As Chris and Stu continued up to the north I suddenly caught sight of Fede and Phil running up to the north point stripping line off as they went. I ran up to join them thinking it must be GT for sure. As I arrived panting I found Phil in the water and Fede directing from above. Fede had heard something smashing bait, but it transpired to be a massive cuda that Phil was frantically trying to get a brush fly to. The cuda followed a couple of times, but then turned off and cruised north around the small island like a submerged submarine. A tank of a titan trigger also came wandering round the other corner and after following the fly a couple of times also decided to shun us and cruise off nonplussed into deeper water.

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Turning around we began to retrace our steps down the island until Fede spotted a yellow margin tailing against the coral outcrop. With Phil at water level we directed him onto the fish and his Cuban shrimp dropped invitingly five feet from the twisting trigger. He gave it one small twitch and the fish rushed over to eyeball the perspective meal. It tailed nipped, followed the fly as Fede and I held our breath with a perfect view of proceedings. Finally it got to close and saw Phil before spooking off. Heading out onto the flat below Phil and I had plenty more shots amongst the herd of trigger looking box fish that had taken up residence and I hooked another briefly before heading back for lunch. Andrew and David had fished with Mark on the Eastern side of Margarsum. They reported a couple of shots at tailing triggers, but the water had been deep and slightly green that had made spotting tough.  I should point out that fishing in the Red Sea is very different to fishing in the Seychelles. There is very little tidal movement, and the only wave action is generated by the wind. Therefore on a calm day you can fish the edges with no waves at all which is somewhat surreal and takes a little getting used to.

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As we had lunch Scuba Libre motored over to an outer area called Shambaya. This is a huge sand flat dotted with areas of broken coral and the green snot weed found on some of the flats in the Seychelles. In the afternoon we all went to fish this flat as there was more than enough room for five of us to wade line abreast. The water level was deep, up to our chests at some points, but this did not stop the guides spotting triggers all around us. Phil and Chris both landed lovely yellow margins , and as they both knew that this particular species has eluded me over the last 15 years began to  heckle me about it. Andrew and I left them to it and broke right to avoid the abuse while David brought up the rear with Mark

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We took alternate shots (yes, there were more than enough triggers to cast at to make this feasible) and we both managed to land some lovely titans.. and the yellow margins continued to give me the fin, spooking off, following and refusing to hook up. As we neared the sandy Island the density increased and Andrew and I were astounded by the size of some of those fish. I found a massive fish in the deeper water that came in furiously on the rolling bead Gumby Crab I was using and proceeded to chew the hell out of it without hooking up. Infuriating! But that is why trigger fishing is so exciting…

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As the light began to dip Andrew and David teased the north side of Shambaya, while the rest of us had a crack at the eastern edge. I will also draw attention to the coral edges of these flats which are some of the most uneven, slippy and tough edges I have ever waded, and not for the faint hearted. The guides have taken to wearing felt soled leather wading boots for this destination, and I quickly discovered that my normal Simms Flats sneakers although tough enough were pretty slippy. All our boots took a pounding over the course of the week, and my Simms neoprene bootie/ gravel guards protected me from a lot of cuts. When I return some kind of neoprene coral gaiters will be called for.

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While teasing a large boha came out of nowhere, snaffled Phil’s fly and disappeared from whence it came. Wow! Yay!.. oh…. Stu (nicknamed Aqua boy after his consistent donning of mask and disappearing to retrieve fish) came to the rescue. He swum out over the edge and as Phil braced himself to resume battle Stu suddenly erupted from the water like Poseidon holding the enraged boha over his head. Shortest battle known to man.

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That evening after dinner the “bat attack” continued. These strange fish are incredibly strong and as soon as you latch on they try and tear you straight down into the coral. I landed three on my 8 weight which was an incredible test of its strength, and Phil and David both landed them on Phil’s light spin outfit. Chris continued to fish properly with light tackle off the back. Finally he hooked something proper which smoked him in the coral. We retired..

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Day 3 – Nubian GTs

With unfinished business on Shambaya, Mark, Andrew, myself and David headed back to the open flats. The weather was crystal clear and a flat calm on the water. Some current was pushing in from the Red Sea producing even higher water than the previous day. While using the boat and Mark as a human pole in the deepest bit we encountered one of the largest GTs I have seen on the flats that was being followed by a shark.. not the other way round.  I got one shot off, but the fish did not see it and continued unperturbed. It did however leave me shaking for ten minutes or so afterwards. As the water level dissipated it was time to wade. With a flat calm and no ripple the triggers were seriously on their guard and would spook within a 30 metre window making it very frustrating. We did see a school of milk fish cruising around which also spooked everything in their path. I managed to land a lovely yellowspot trevally on my 8 weight which was a first from me. David also landed a specimen Picasso trigger on the edge which was pushing to be the size of his palm. For those that know about Picassos that is a real monster!

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Chris, Phil, Fede and Stu headed off to an edge flat called Merlot. Here the coral edge that you can wade to drops away to 600 ft and creatures live down in the depths. The edge is interspersed with dark blue crevasses and holes which can be treacherous if you don’t watch your step. What ensued was mayhem and unexpected. First tease Chris got a hit from an enraged GT and Phil connected with a giant barracuda which cut him off. Then Phil hooked up with a nice bluefin that yanked him off the coral bommie he was standing on, submerged him completely and tried to pull him off the edge. The fish then wrapped itself around another bommie over the edge that Aquaboy Stu dived over and retrieved and landed. A cracker of 12 lbs. Phil then decided to take a breather and blind cast a bit at which point a massive coral trout came from nowhere and reefed him immediately cutting his line. They continued south along the edge dodging crevices as went. Behind them they suddenly saw a huge Goliath grouper tailing on the flats estimated at 50 kgs surrounded bluefin. What it was doing there no one knew. Chris caught one of the bluefin there. As they headed for the Southern tip six really hot GTs charged in on the tease, Chris hooked one and trout struck losing it. After some severe abuse his next cast hooked and landed a stunning GT of 85 cm. As if this was not enough they rounded the corner to be faced with a herd of bumphead parrot fish, the smallest of which as estimated at 60lbs and the largest at 150lbs. They gave chase and Phil managed to hook one. After one long run he managed to turn it and was just beginning to get line back on the reel before everything went slack as it had bitten clean through getting line on reel and bitten clean through hook shank. What a morning! They returned to the boat looking like troops returning from the front line.

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Their afternoon did not prove any less eventful as Phil, Chris, Andrew, Fede and Mark went to a tiny pinnacle of land called Angorosh. On arrival they immediately spotted a massive black GT cruising the edge of the small island. Angorosh is a tiny pin prick of an island some 100 yards long with a rough coral edge around before dropping off the edge into the dark blue. Chris hooked a GT immediately which corralled him and cut through the 150 lbs leader. When I was first advised that we would need 150 lbs leader I really thought this was excessive.. Now that I have seen the edges it is not I can assure you. Phil staked out the island and suddenly from stage left appeared another beast GT. He managed to contain the excitement and put a cast out. The GT missed it, turned and he cast again stripping the black and purple semper past its nose. It accelerated to attack speed, planed and savaged the fly before heading for open ocean… and the edge. Unfortunately Phil had not retightened his drag after the cast and was desperately trying to palm the reel, his fingers taking a massive pummelling. Andrew began to run towards him figuring out what had happened, but by then it was too late and the fish wrapped him through several coral heads and severed the connection. The action continued as Andrew had shots at two cruisers and while Phil re rigged another four came in and Andrew had another shot but did not hook up. They then began to tease off the edge. While blind casting with a NYAP of the edge Chris hooked up to another GT and immediately ran to the edge to try and prevent being sliced. All was going well and he thought he was in the clear when out of nowhere his fished got taxed by large silky shark. The shark then came up the wall onto the flats looking for another meal, but finding nothing headed back into the depths.

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Meanwhile… on Merlot….. David and I went with Stu to have a crack at the bumpies. We saw them appear on the flat on the lagoon side, huge bluey green tails in the air. Stu pushed the boat along as a platform and both David and I had shots at the giant bumpies. They were substantially large than anything I have seen in the Seychelles. David had a couple tail on his crab with Stu guiding as I pushed the boat. After a while the bumpies wised up to us and headed off to deeper water so we walked over to the edge. On the first tease a GT comes in hot and I managed to get a fly in just behind as Stu whipped the teaser away. The fish annihilated my black and purple brushy and I ran/ fell/ swam to the edge and started grinding him. After a short battle where I refused to give any line I managed to get it up onto the flat. At one point the line grated dangerously along the coral, but Stu pushed it away from the edge and we tailed it in the shallows.

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A little while later a big fish came up from the depths and smashed David’s fly. It tore off in the blue water and David managed to get to the edge in time.

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While I hung onto him to prevent him nose diving over the edge, Stu went for the boat and we continued the battle from the floating platform. Finally it tired and David was clutching his first ever GT of 88 cm. Exhausted but totally elated we returned home for cold beer and medals.

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Day 4 – GT Fever

After yesterday’s adventures everyone woke feeling a little sore and beaten up. Phil was sporting more coral cuts. David, Phil, Mark, Fede and myself headed for Angorosh in the morning, looked around and saw a couple of fish, but it was all quiet. We turned back to Merlot and while David chased bumpies with Fede, Phil, Mark and I tried our luck along the edge. I landed a nice boha that came up and over the edge, but again other than that it was quiet. The three of us waded back to the middle of the flat, picked up David who had hooked a bumpie that had also bitten through the hook and went back for lunch.

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In the afternoon our little group motored back to Angorosh and staked out. There was amazing light with stacks of baitfish piled against the trough on the east side by the rising surf. I saw a big black metre plus GT coming along the edge, tried to cast backhand into wind but could not get a reasonable shot in. Ten mins later Phil came running down the beach towards me as another big GT cruised the edge with a big bluefin in tow. Phil got the shot in and the fish chased the fly but infuriatingly turned off off at the last minute. We headed to the edge to tease and got battered in the surf now coming in. While David and Phil put flies in the tease stream I blind cast to right hand side, let the fly sink and started to retrieve.

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Bang! A massive yank and I was nearly pulled straight off my bommie. I staggered through the surf to the edge to stop being cut off on the coral. Fede rushed to aid me and managed to free line that was wrapped around coral head. Looked over the edge into the blue I was astounded to see that the fish I had hooked was just one of a school of nearly 50 fish! After some grunting, sweating and clenched teeth accompanied by encouragement from Fede I managed to pull it up and over the edge. The fish did a big circle around me back onto the flats before trying to head back to the drop off. Finally I brought it to hand, a lovely GT of 70 cm. David and I then chilled watching Phil fish. He hooked one more but got torn through the coral and his loop ripped to pieces… Time to head for home.

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Chris, Andrew and Stu had gone to another rock pinnacle with a large tower on it called Abington and sight fished and teased for GTs. Having staked out the tower and seen little they walked to the edge with Andrew hooking and landing one of 60 cm blind casting. Chris then caught another about 65 cm blind casting with a NYAP off the edge. The team then walked on the north side and had shots at two more big GTs cruising but they did not see the fly. They walked a further 100 yards and saw two more big GTs which spooked so headed home for lunch.  In the afternoon they had returned to the edge of Merlot and Andrew landed a lovely GT of 80 cm. This appeared to be the theme as after snapping his rod and landing the fish with the rod butt and the reel, Chris also had one of 80 cm. Having landed yet another 80 cm GT Andrew was then slightly surprised to see a large moray eel come across the flats and eye him up. Not something you see every day, but luckily it decided Andrew did not look appetising and headed back down one of the crevices.

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That evening the cost of tackle and damage was weighed up and numerous battle stories related. We were all too tired for evening fishing but were hugely surprised by the number of GTs we had encountered. We all agree though that many of these fish would have been lost if we had not been fishing with the new RIO GT line with the 50 lbs cores as we would have lost far more lines otherwise… and the guides and their swimming abilities.

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Day 5 – Damn you Yellow Margins!

In the morning Andrew, myself, David and Fede went to Shambaya to look for triggers again. Casting a 9 weight was a joy in comparison to the previous days of whirling a heavy 12 weight around. This time we began quite far north and did a few drifts looking for triggers and GTs but it was quiet. As we hit wading depth and began to move across the flats the depth was considerably shallower than the previous day combined with some wind on the flats. We saw many triggers, but they were still quite spooky. The yellow margins were engaged in their spawning dance around the flats and chasing each other.

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I had shot after shot after shot with most fish spooking, but I lightened up the fly and had a couple of follows and nibbled from yellow margins on the Sand Prawn. Andrew was experiencing similar issues. Finally I made it up to the island to find two massive yellow margins tailing against the sand drop with a nice current flowing over them like trout in a stream. I successfully spooked both and was beginning to feel I was cursed with this species. As I very slowly waded down to bottom of island there, on the white sand was a yellow margin tailing happily away. I switched to a light Cuban Shrimp hoping the light presentation would make the difference. As soon as the fly landed the fish came straight over following the fly, nipping at it. I continued to slowly draw it towards me and finally hooked up! Yes! The trigger looked very confused, did a big back peddle with its pictorial fins and spat the hook back at me. Argghhh!

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As I was down on one knee the fish did not spook, so I cast again. Again, it charged up, chased the fly and everything went tight. I raised the rod tightened up and it was on! Yes, got the yellow margin….. or so I thought…. after a few seconds the trigger did exactly the same thing, did a back peddle with its pec fins and spat the hook back at me. I have to say I very rarely lose my temper when fishing but in a moment of extreme anguish I MIGHT have uttered some bad language and I MIGHT have thrown my rod ion the water…. Andrew had witnessed the event and tactfully turned around to “Check something” while I had my temper tantrum. I calmed down and as the fish was now headed towards him I requested politely that he catch it for me as I appeared to be inept. He turned round and after a couple of minutes and some follows he hooked up and managed to land the fish, a lovely yellow margin. He unhooked it, and almost immediately cast at a titan and hooked and landed that as well on a small lead eyed Beck’s shrimp. I was delighted that he had caught that cursed fish!

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During lunch Scuba Libre cruised back to Snake Island and I opted to join Andrew and David to fish little snake. Andrew caught another nice titan at the top in deep water with Mark guiding from the rocks, and I fluffed more shots at yellow margins under the overhang… cursed fish…. We finished the evening by staking out the top looking for GTs but saw none.

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Chris and Phil had returned to Merlot in the morning with Stu. The currents around it were still perfect so it seemed the right thing to do, take advantage when you can. Chris had landed two GTs and massive bluefin. One tease had been chased by a boha, bluefin and a GT. The GT ate Phil’s fly before spitting it out, the bluefin hammered Chris’ fly and the boha had been left confused before sloping back off the edge. Chris ran to the edge, fell down a coral hole, landed on his back with his line ripping through the coral. Aquaboy leapt in to the rescue unclipped the line and landed the fish. It was an astounding 20 lbs bluefin.

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More GTs had piled into the flats and Phil landed one bluefin that went bananas. While he was fighting the bluefin a GT was head butting it trying to make it disgorge the fly. Chris then landed another 78 cm GT on a brown brush fly. Phil hooked a little snapper and during the fight it spat the hook to be eaten by a small GT which he landed. In the afternoon fishing Snake Island, the biggest excitement was a big Cuda caught by Phil. The big barracuda turned sideways and hit the fly so hard it came clean out of the water.

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Day 6 – The final hour

For the final day the wind had picked significantly and as we headed out for the final sessions on the pangas spray jackets would have been helpful.

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Chris, Phil, Mark, Stu and I fished together on west side of Margasam where we had been that first session, but this time we went much higher up the island and fished it the other way round with the wind at our backs. The wind strengthened with gusts of 20-25 knots, but the sun was clear and we began to wade line abreast down the flats. Although there were not as many triggers as we had seen on the very first day we still saw some really good sized fish. My first cast was to a large titan that chased the sand prawn straight in, bit the fly two or three times but then spooked and flew off. Phil went high, myself in the middle and Chris on the edge. Chris hooked and lost two bluefin trevally on his 9 weight on a natural crab fly before landing a lovely bluefin of about 10 lbs.

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As Chris continued down the flat a good sized yellow margin tailed on the edge and he put an excellent cast in. The fish reacted but he recast. At the moment the fly landed another bluefin came past that tried to compete with the fly so the trigger savaged the crab. A lovely yellow margin which produced further scorn down the flat to my tender ears about yellow margin triggers being easy.. Another yellow margin tailed on the inside and Phil put in an orange crab and stripped it back fast. The trigger launched itself and actually came into the shallow water on its side to eat it, unfortunately coming too close and spooked. I was beginning to really feel the pressure, but it was obvious that with the wind cover and choppy water the fish were being far more aggressive than before, and were also charging orange. Chris had about 10 shots with follows, Phil 12 shots and myself 10 shots all of which I spooked.  After lunch I switched back to the orange version of the Gumby crab I had had success with before – my last one. I at last found a yellow margin in a slight weed depression. This time I landed the fly five feet away to the left. It then totally surprised me… and did what it was supposed to do! The trigger charged in hammered the fly. After a brief battle where not a word was uttered I clutched the fish. Finally I landed a yellow margin with 10 mins to spare. On that note it was time to head back to Scuba Libre as we needed to be back at Muhammed Quol by 5.30pm. What a way to end!

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Back on board we met up with the others. They too had had a fascinating last session fishing the North West of Margasum. Andrew and David had some good shots on the beginning, encountering triggers every 10 – 15 mins. David had been fishing for a titan that chases his fly but had refused. The “Trigger Sensei” Andrew then turned around as it moved into his area and presented an EP spawning shrimp and dropped the fly close. The trigger played the game of cat and mouse. One strip and miss, kept following strip and he was on. The trigger knew better and ran into a hole in the coral but Fede went swimming and winkled him out.

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Further down the flat the group saw a big barracuda of approximately 30 lbs in the shallow on the edge. Fede stripped line off the 12 weight and handed the rod to David. He made two casts, second landing just on the right. The cuda turned his head and ate the fly with Fede shouting he was on! However the dastardly cuda continued to swim towards them and David could not tightened. Finally he took in the slack and stuck him. The enraged cuda charged off across the flat and jumped three time on its first run taking 50 m of backing. David’s reel began to make screeching noises… not a good sign. They regained the fly line when they were nearly within leader range the fish finally bit through the leader. Not wanting to finish on that note Fede pushed on to find one last tailing yellow margin trigger close to shore. David cast the spawning shrimp and everything went according to plan. David finally landed a yellow margin with 10 minutes to go.. While Fede was taking pictures, Andrew hooked another yellow margin, but it fell off. Oh for one more tail! But alas, it was the end and time to head for home. That night was spent tucked against the mainland at anchor as we began to pull all our kit together while reminiscing the events that had transpired.

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Day 7 – Homeward bound

Having settled bills and said good bye our bus driver headed south and once more we travelled though the unfamiliar desert landscape to Port Sudan. As we re-entered the trappings of civilisation we stopped for lunch in Port Sudan before heading back to the airport. Once again the ground handlers aided us through the rather chaotic process and soon we were on our way back to Dubai, Wi Fi, 3g, emails and text messages and air conditioning. I think it does the soul good to unplug every so often, become a sea gypsy and dream of tails in the air.

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For me this was an extraordinary trip that far exceeded my expectations, but there are some important points to note. Trigger fishing is not easy. That is the same anywhere you go in the world, there is no quick fix in catching numbers of them. Each fish has its own personality and behaviour, and they are smart. The fishing is technical and can be frustrating, but you will have more opportunities here over a prolonged period of time than anywhere I have encountered previously. The lack of tidal flows expands the windows of opportunity dramatically, and there are some truly massive triggers here. Triggers are the prime target, and the GTs I believe should be considered a bonus and not a certainty. Fishing for them is tough in difficult conditions, and expect to bleed kit. The coral is extremely unforgiving so this is not a trip for those not prepared for that. Our tally for the week was roughly 15 triggers, 16 GTs, an excellent number of bluefin to 20 lbs, 2 boha, 8 bat fish and a few other miscellaneous species. We hooked probably the same again that ended in tears. Although teasing can be a contentious issue the guide team DO NOT tease on the flats. They only tease the drop offs, and in reality this is about the only method of effectively fishing these areas.

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The guiding is outstanding. Mark, Fede and Stu work incredibly hard to get you on fish and are extremely knowledgeable about their fishery. They go above and beyond the call of duty to land your fish. Many of those we landed would have ended in tears if it were not for them. I would like to thank them for all their hard work.

Accommodation on Scuba Libre is basic but functional. Be prepared to sleep up on deck which is an experience in itself. The marine toilets are electric, there are fans in the rooms and the communal areas are shared by everyone. In my opinion this is part of the experience and part of the adventure. The crew looked after us very well and are very much part of the team. The food was good considering where we were and although quite carbohydrate heavy was more than sufficient in quantity.

With this being one area we fished along a 300 mile coastline I am extremely excited about the fishing opportunities that Sudan holds for the future. This could just be the next major saltwater fishery to be discovered, and being also the closest to the UK to reach could prove very popular. This trip is by no means for everyone, but if you love triggers and the possibility of some GTs and other trevally species this could just be the adventure you are looking for.

Jun 22

Final Week of the Nubian Flats Season 2015

So for the final week of the season we were joined by 4 anglers from South Africa. Jay, Steve, Leonard and Jeff. They were teamed up by the duo of Ryan and Dave from Tanzania. The days leading up to the week were quite windy but after a nice week’s break, the guides team were keen to get going again and end the season off on a high.

The weather forecast for the week however looked grim. With a cyclone moving in over from Oman, it was clear that the week would be windy and that the fishing would be tough. The plan for the week was to head out north to Shambaia , spend the first couple days there while the weather was good. Then when the big winds arrived, head down to more sheltered Play Station.

So with no time to waste, the mothership headed out at first light on the first morning while we sorted out all the tackle etc along the way. Once within reach, everyone hopped onto the skiff’s and raced ahead. One boat heading to Merlot (looking for GT’s on tease and big Bumphead Parrotfish) while the other went straight to Shambaia for Triggers.

The weather seemed to behave but the fish did not play along entirely. The teasing off Merlot was slow and the bumpies weren’t playing ball either. They kept hanging in the surf, staying just out of reach. On Shambaia though thinks looked up. By mid-morning the triggers started to come onto the flat and by midday, the flat was flooded with both tailing Titan and Yellowmargin triggerfish. They weren’t planning on handing out gifts however and the lads soon realised that pinpoint accuracy would be the minimum requirement for the day. The guys persisted however and by the end of the day and a number of follows, Steve managed to land a very nice Titan. Hats off to legend South African vice maker Jay Smit, who persisted and manage to hook a big titan. He soon learned the power of these crafty fish though and got handled quickly. In the meantime the guys on Merlot went to the neighboring atoll where they managed to raise some GT’s on the tease. The guys worked hard and Ryan managed to end his day with a nice 70 – 80cm GT.

Steve was beyond exited when he landed his Titan Triggerfish

Steve was beyond exited when he landed his Titan Triggerfish

Ryan Wienand with his first Red Sea GT

Ryan Wienand with his first Red Sea GT

On the morning of Day 2 the wind was still absent but judging by the scattered cloud that was around, one could tell it was coming. The visibility was not so great at the start of the day so everyone started off with some teasing. One boat teased the reef close to Shamabaia before heading to the flat, once the light was better, while the other boat headed to Abington, looking for GT’s cruising over the atoll and do teasing off the edge.

On the big reef the teasing was slow but once the guys hit the flat, the fishing heated up considerably. As the day before, the triggers rolled onto the flat at around midmorning and by midday they were out in their numbers again. Leonard Flemming hooked into a nice trigger which got away right before they could land it and had a couple more descent shots. We also saw 6 really good GT’s but could not get a proper shot at them plus shoals of really big milkfish. The latter giving both guide and guest a proper fright! The sight of 1,5m blue shape cruising right towards you just after you sighted some giant trevally is enough to make any man suffer a severe case of buck fever.

The Guys on Abington weren’t having much luck with the trevally either. They raised some brutes and saw some GT’s cruising over the atoll. One  that was so big, it had a shark trailing it. Not something you see everyday. Ryan however managed to land another nice 70-80cm fish and lost one to a shark as well. Unfortunately by lunchtime the wind picked up dramatically, gusting 30knots+, and disrupted our afternoon plans. Leonard and Jeff braved the wind and had a couple more shots at triggers but came home empty handed. We opted to do some late afternoon teasing off the reef close to the boat and manage to raise some really big bluefin trevally. Dave Aitken landed a tank bluefin that was in the region of 7-8kg and got smoked by a very angry GT. Ryan got handled as well by a big Bohar snapper but managed to land a smaller bohar.

Dave Aitken with a beast Nubian Flats bluefin trevally

Dave Aitken with a beast Nubian Flats bluefin trevally

Over the next couple days the wind grew even stronger and continued right through till the end of the week. Needless to say the fishing became really tough! We snuck in one more session on Shamabaia before making our way down to the sheltered side of the Playstation and the Big Island where we fished the remainder of the week. We got some more shots at triggers and gt’s, with both Jay Smit and Leonard Flemming landing really nice yellow margin triggers but the story of the second half of the week undoubtedly goes to Jeff Tyser.

Over the course of the season we have raised a number of Dogtooth Tuna while teasing off terra firma. But almost every time the tuna would either get hold of the teaser and then run like hell, or go completely airborne behind the teaser and then loose interest.

This time round, Jeff was walking and blind casting his 12wt over the edge of the reef when he went tight with what was first thought to be a big trevally. The fish took off like a freight train and went straight back into the deep. At the rate this fish was diving, any thoughts of trevally were quickly erased however and the guys started dreaming of the impossible. Jeff managed to hold his own against all odds and after a solid tug of war, landed a beautiful Dogtooth Tuna. This is not the first dogtooth tuna to be landed on fly……. BUT…On fly, while walking on Terra Firma?? This should be a first of some sorts??? Either way this is a catch that will go down in the record books of the Nubian Flats and will be remembered for a very very long time.

To say both guide and guest was exited would be an understatement (Photo Credit: Leonard Flemming)

To say both guide and guest was exited would be an understatement
(Photo Credit: Leonard Flemming)

Jeff Tyser with his Dogtooth Tuna taken on fly while blind casting off terra firma (Photo Credit: Leonard Flemming)

Jeff Tyser with his Dogtooth Tuna taken on fly while blind casting off terra firma (Photo Credit: Leonard Flemming)

Unfortunately unseasonal winds really pestered our season on the Nubian Flats this year. The wind blew most weeks and some weeks it really got out of control but despite all of this, we still managed to land some really amazing fish and share some unforgettable experiences.

From the guides team in Sudan, we would like to thank all the guests who fished with us this season and we are looking forward to the 2016 season. Who knows what it will hold in store for us.

Till next season

The Tourette Fishing Nubian Flats 2015 Guides Team

Leonard Flemming with a solid sized Nubian Flats yellowmargin trigger

Leonard Flemming with a solid sized Nubian Flats yellowmargin trigger

Legend South African vice maker Jay Smith with his first triggerfish

Legend South African vice maker Jay Smith with his first triggerfish

Dave Aitken really fell in love with the teasing and gave this snapper a proper hiding

Dave Aitken really fell in love with the teasing and gave this snapper a proper hiding

May 29

7th Week of the Nubian Flats Season 2015

For the 7th week of the Nubian Flats season-2015, we were joined by a group of 8 anglers all the way from Germany, led by Lutz Schepers.

The wind from the previous week seemed to settle down, and the forecast for the week looked really great. The prediction showed calm winds for most of the week with stiffer breezes towards end. Most of the guys had never really fished for triggerfish before, so were all super amped and really keen for the week that lay ahead.

On the first day, both boats headed for the Big Island for the day. One group to the north, while the other headed down south. The flats had a good current flowing  and it did not take long before the first provocative triggerfish tails showed themselves. The calm conditions made approaching these fish quite tricky, but a good stalk and well presented fly was accepted with gusto, with the fish eating hard (more like destroying) the flies we put in front of them. It is not often you get days where the triggers want to almost ‘kill’ anything that moves, but when you do, you certainly make the most of it! The guys fished really well and despite loosing many a trigger to coral and hooks being bitten in half, we managed to get 4 really nice fish to the net. Special mention goes out to Ben, who got absolutely man handled by a massive GT on the right before the end of the day.

Steffen giving this Nubian Flats titan triggerfish a goodby smile

Steffen giving this Nubian Flats titan triggerfish a goodby smile

With the good weather still hanging around we decided to do a half day at the Playstation before making our way even more north. The morning session was productive, we saw some triggers, landed one, and also got a nice bluefin trevally on the flat. The afternoon session however, really fired! The flat was completely flooded with triggerfish, and they were in a really bullish mood, showing a real preference to very light tan coloured crabs. The triggers were destroying flies wholesale!!!!! You see a tail, you put the fly down (sometimes as far as 1 – 2m away), trigger darts over, tails hard on the fly and eats. This has then results in a few different scenarios:

  • Sends you back with a bare hook
  • Bite your hook in half
  • Manages to get hold of your tippet and clip you off
  • You get a sold hook up, and the game is on!

In the case of point 4 and the hook finds purchase, guests are quickly shown what their backing knot looks like before the guide is left to chase the fish over the flat in an attempt to land the fish before it comes off, or finds a piece of coral to hide in. If the latter, then the guide dons his mask to try and fetch the menace from his hole underwater. Trigger fishing at its best. The group had a real ball with these fish and by the end of the day, managed to land a solid handful of triggerfish.

TF Guide Stu Harley diving for a trigger

TF Guide Stu Harley diving for a trigger

This great trigger fishing continued over the next couple days and the guys continued to land some really nice triggers. In between all the trigger mayhem, we ran into some solid sized milkfish, a couple bonefish and some really good sized trevally as well. Both bluefin and giant.

Special mention goes out to Joern who landed a brute 100cm GT on the flat. After eating the fly, the fish took off at the speed of light, heading straight for the coral edge. Joern thankfuly brought his A-game to the Nubian flats and dominated this GT it in spectacular fashion.

Joern showed some real angling class and dominated this massive GT on the flats

Joern showed some real angling class and dominated this massive GT on the flats

There was some serious current in the area as well, and made the teasing sessions exceptionally good. Some session were so wild that we spent more time re-doing leaders and tying on new flies than actual fishing. Shoals of trevally would come in on the tease, all three guys would go tight, then chaos! We landed some really good fish and got smoked by even bigger fish in access of 100cm. The guys landed several GT’s and bluefin trevally with Lutz taking the honours by landing a superb 90cm GT in one of the most tricky and rocky areas.

Lutz(left) and Ben(right) with guide Fede, cashing in on the aggressive fish on the tease with this great GT and Bluefin double

Lutz(left) and Ben(right) with guide Fede, cashing in on the aggressive fish on the tease with this great GT and Bluefin double

On the final day the wind started to pick up again and we were back fishing in the sheltered areas of the Big Island. The triggers were still out in good numbers but this time round, even more aggressive than earlier in the week. In complete contrast to the rest of the season proceeding this week, they were showing a real liking in hot orange crabs, fished fast. On any given day the triggers of the Nubian Flats avoid orange like the plague, but when they do change their minds, it’s crazy how aggressive they become to this colour. Again our flies got destroyed one after the other, but by the end of the day, we managed to bag 4 really big triggerfish bringing a very successful week, to an end.

Nothing beats sharing a wonderful fly fishing experience with your buddy. This yellow margin trigger was reason to celebrate

Nothing beats sharing a wonderful fly fishing experience with your buddy. This yellow margin trigger was reason to celebrate

A big thanks to the wonderful group of fly fishermen from Germany. It was a pleasure having you with us, and we look forward to having you back in the future.

That’s it for now but be sure to check in again next week for another update. If the conditions continue, we are in for another cracker week!

Till next time

The Tourette Fishing Nubian Flats Guides Team

Triggerfish left overs

Triggerfish left overs

 

May 27

Sixth Week of The Nubian Flats Season 2015

John with a Nubian Flats GT

John with a Nubian Flats GT

We were joined this week by John, Richard, Platon and the film crew of the popular South African fly fishing TV show, WildFly.

The forecast for the week looked okay, with good weather for the first three days, followed by two windy days and then calm conditions again for the final day.

So after setting up the rods and a tasty Italian breakfast on the morning of Day 1, we headed out for the day very excited. One boat headed to the South Eastern corner of the Big Island, while the other boat, with the film crew, headed for the North West.

Unfortunately the water on the flats was really warm right from the start and carried on heating up throughout the day. The fish were really scarce and the going was quite tough.

We found some triggerfish but they were really tricky. The majority of them were very skittish and spooked for almost anything we presented to them. This left both angler and guide very frustrated, but that is what makes fishing for triggerfish so interesting and addictive…just when you think you have got them figured out, they bring you back to reality very quickly and you have to almost start all over again.

Towards the end of the day however, the wind started to pick up and so did the fishing. We started to see some more positive reactions from the triggers and on the tease some really big fish decided to join our party. Bohar snapper, bluefin trevally along with some very angry GT’s to name just a few species. Platon cashed in handsomely and ended the day with a solid 10kg Bohar Snapper, a big bluefin and a very good sized GT.

Happiness is a flats GT

Happiness is a flats GT

After finishing the first day on a high, the guys were super amped to get cracking on Day 2. Unfortunately the bad weather predicted for the second half of the week came early and by dawn of Day 2, it was thumping already and did not look like it was about to die down any time soon either.

Regardless, one boat headed to the Playstation while the other boat headed back to the Big Island for the day.

We found some triggers but the drop in air-pressure really put them off the feed. Most of them showed zero reaction to the fly and by midday the flats were fishless.

We resorted to teasing for the rest of the day but with the frontal system moving in fast, it was clear that we were out of luck. We could see GT’s, bluefin and even boar snapper free swimming in the blue water but they did not react to either the tease or the fly.

Luckily, Platon managed to save the day and convinced one small bohar snapper to eat his fly, bringing an extremely windy and frustrating day to an end.

Over the course of Day’s 3, 4, and 5, the wind shifted gears and came howling even stronger out of the north, reaching speeds of up to 35-40knots.

with a Nubian Flats Titan Trigger

with a Nubian Flats Titan Trigger

Needless to say the fishing came to a halt. We had to take shelter in the lee of the one Island, as the sea became dangerously rough. We did, however, manage to sneak in some fishing here and there, when the wind and seas allowed, and got rewarded nicely. John and Richard both landed some really nice bohar snapper on the tease, as well as a good 85cm GT , two more that wrecked some fly lines, and some big bluefin trevally.

Luckily the weather Gods decided to smile on us on the final day of the week and we got treated to a nice calm atmosphere and a very beautiful sunrise. The wind was still blowing but after days of 35 – 40 knot winds, a day with 5 – 10 knot wind felt like glassy conditions. One could almost feel the excitement around the breakfast table.

Both boats headed back to the Big Island for the day, one headed to the northern section while the other headed for the southern edge.

Platon finishing off the week with a solid Nubian Flats GT

Platon finishing off the week with a solid Nubian Flats GT

The day started off slow but it did not take long before the flats were alive with triggerfish tailing into the distance while the bluefin and giant trevally gangs harassed anything that was small and swimming.

Platon went straight into a small GT and followed it up immediately after with a 85cm GT on the flat, before hooking into some nice yellow-margined triggerfish.

In the meantime John and Richard were bringing the heat to the fish as well. Both managed a number of really nice bluefin trevally with the latter also landing a very nice titan triggerfish. Unfortunately John was having no luck with the triggerfish. He had a number of fish follow his fly all the way to the rod tip, and when he finally managed to hook into a really big yellow margined triggerfish the hook pulled before the guide could land it.

All in all the weather, again, made the going quite tough this week but in the end it was still a great week with a really great group of guys.

Hopefully the weather Gods will smile on us this week but only time will tell.

That’s it for this week but check in soon for another update from the Nubian Flats.

Ciao,

Tourette Fishing Nubian Flats Guides Team

May 19

Fifth Week of the Nubian Flats Season 2015

Great yellowmargined trigger on the Nubian Flats

Great yellowmargined trigger on the Nubian Flats

After a short two week break, the second stint of the 2015 Nubian Flats season kicked off again, and to say that we were excited to get back out there is a huge understatement.

For Week 5 of the season we were joined by a group of friends of South Africa.

The weather forecast really looked good with only 5knot winds predicted for the week before dying down completely towards the end of the week.

The first morning we woke to a slight breeze and clear skies and as planned, we headed out for the whole day. Upon arriving on the flat, it did not take long before the first tailing triggers revealed themselves. Most of these triggers were pretty aggressive and with a delicate approach were interested in almost all the fly patterns we cast at them. August managed to land two very nice triggers in the process and although we hooked a few more they unfortunately got away. Some medium size bluefin were in the area as well and kept the guys entertained. We finished the day off teasing in the low light and raised some really good sized GT’s and bohar snapper but unfortunately no one could convert.

Titan Trigger on the Nubian Flats

Titan Trigger on the Nubian Flats

The second day the weather improved even more, glassy water and no wind, rendering the day almost completely calm. One boat headed out to the PlayStation while the other headed back to the Big Island for the day. We quickly found triggerfish in crazy numbers and some really good sized ones as well. However, as with any trigger fishing, they weren’t handing out any gifts. In almost near perfect weather, ones approach and presentation had to be top notch, almost extraterrestrial level like. We had countless opportunities but by the end of the day, the triggers won the battle and left us empty handed. Again we finished off the day with some teasing but only managed to raised a couple GTs and the odd bluefin.

Over the next three days some heavy clouds rolled into the area and made sighting fish extremely tough in the early morning, especially with the extremely glass conditions. We still managed to find a good number of triggerfish tailing, but as soon as they dropped their tails they went completely out of sight. All was not lost however as by lunchtime each day the clouds would burn off and we found ourselves surrounded by countless triggerfish, both titan and yellow-margined specimens. They were being slightly fussy, although Shayne and Simon kept the scoreboards ticking over and brought some nice triggers to the net. One of the highlights was when we managed to stalk right up close to an estimated 25lbs permit tailing in skinny water, in the overcast conditions. The fish was tailing hard, but lady luck was not smiling on us as before we could get a cast in, a bird flew in low and spooked the fish.

Tailing Triggers

Tailing Triggers

Some guys opted to fish offshore during these lowlight conditions and caught some really nice Spanish mackerel, barracuda along with some yellow spot & bluefin trevally.

On the finally day the sea was completely flat and not a breath of wind or clouds in the air.
Both boats headed back to the western side of Big Island for the day.
It was not long before the flats were crawling with triggerfish again and we had fish tailing all around us. Two to three fish tailing right next to each other and at some stages the guys were almost spoilt for choice at which fish to cast at. The triggers however were still not handing out any gifts and if the fly was not presented delicately, they gave you the fin before darting into the distance. We did manage to hook into some very nice yellow-margined trigger but the fights always ended with a mangled hook or broken tippet.
In between all the trigger tails we had shots at some very big GT’s but failed to convert any of these. The sight of a meter plus giant trevally coming right at you in knee deep water with speed, can be very unnerving. It’s not always about the fish you land though and being granted the privilege to witness these spectacular beasts hunting in such shallow water is an absolute wonder of nature and left everyone in awe.

Redsea Sailie

Redsea Sailie

We finished the day off with some mind blowing snorkelling before heading back to the Port, bringing a very fun week to an end.

A special mention goes out to Warren Pretorius who managed a spectacular 45kg Sailfish he hooked and landed behind the mothership while we were moving to a different anchorage. The fish unfortunately died during the fight but what great catch!

Thats it for now but check in soon for another update from the Nubian Flats.

Till next time

Mark, Fede and Stu.

Apr 30

Fourth Week of the Nubian Flats Season, 2015

Week four, also the final week of the first stint of the 2015 season, came within a blink of an eye. We were joined this week by a group of friends, Piet, Christo, Riaan, and Johnathan from South Africa. They were also joined by Thomas from Holland and Leo from Italy.

Unfortunately the weather seemed that it’s still had some cards to play and the forecast for the week seemed gloom! Two “sort-of” decent day’s followed by what looked like to be winds from the movie Twister for the rest. Nonetheless, we had two days of predicted fair weather and were keen to make the most of them. A positive attitude will always bring positive results.

So at the dawn of the first morning, we had a quick breakfast before heading out for the full day on The Island. The wind started to settle down again but was still fairly strong. One boat headed to the eastern side while the other boat tackled the west.

The day started off with really cold, high waters and the fish were scarce. However, as the day grew older, the water temp started to rise and so did the numbers of fish. Soon we were casting to a good number of triggerfish although they were beyond tricky. Spooking for almost anything you cast at them while some just plain ignored your fly. The lads persisted though and managed to lift some nice fish for the camera’s. Piet and Leo took the spoils with two triggers each and Thomas came very close with two bluefin and a solid GT on the tease, but got dealt a bad hand and lost all three of them.

Wind, wind...and some more wind!

Wind, wind…and some more wind!

On day 2 we woke to beautiful weather and one could feel the excitement around the breakfast table among the guests and most certainly the guides. One boat headed back to the big island while the other headed straight to the PlayStation.

It did not take long for the fish to make an appearance and soon the flats were crawling with triggerfish! So much so that at one point guide and guest were spoilt for choice with tails all around them. To make things even more complicated, in-between all the trigger tails a couple shoals of bonefish decided to crash the party along with some bluefin trevally, barracuda and two really big permit. Thomas managed to hook one of the big bonefish but his run of bad luck from the previous day continued and not long into the fight his hook pulled again. He quickly followed up though and finally put his bad luck to rest(or so we thought) by landing a very nice titan triggerfish right before lunch. By the end of the day however the fish still came out tops and we got showed again that triggerfish deserve a lot of respect. Just because they are tailing hard doesn’t mean they are easy fish. Pinpoint accuracy and delicate presentation is required and even when you gets these right, they will still decided if you are worthy.

Thomas fooled this trigger into eating a tan merkin style crab with rolling beads

Thomas fooled this trigger into eating a tan merkin style crab with rolling beads

Day 3, as predicted, the weather went really fowl on us. We woke to heavy winds and rough seas. We decided to give it a go anyway. One boat opted to rather go an do some popping offshore while Thomas and Riaan braved the one small flat close to the mothership. We found some triggers on the flats but one, the wind made casting incredibly tough, and secondly the change in weather really put the triggers off the feed. One could just see in the body language that we were out of luck in a big way! We opted to do some teasing in the late afternoon but after 2hours of teasing and not a single fish showing interest, we decided to call it a day and head for a steamy cup of Italian coffee on the mothership. Meanwhile the popping boat had some success. Piet got some smaller GT’s, a nice barracuda and bohar snapper while Johnathan got a new PB 85cm GT.

Day 4 the weather got even worse with winds almost in access of 40knots. It was pretty clear that fishing was not a real option but we did manage to sneak in at least 2 hours of teasing in the morning which got us one small bluefin but that was it. The rest of the day we took shelter on the mothership as the wind got even stronger, ripping the canopy on the mothership to shreds!

Over the next two days the weather gods decided to smile on us a little and the wind started to die down. 15knot winds is not considered as ideal fly fishing conditions but after days of 30+knot winds it felt like a slight breeze and more than manageable. So for Day 5 we split again with two guys heading for the flat while the rest went popping offshore. The flats were icy cold from all the wind and water levels very high but at least we could get out and fish. We managed to find some triggers but they were extremely skittish and near impossible just to get a fly close to. The teasing session in the afternoon however produced the goods. After a couple teases, we had a solid bohar snapper come in and wreck  complete havoc. After eating Riaan’s black semper at his rod tip, it took off in spectacular fashion, breaking his rod in the process. Riaan ended up fighting the fish by hand but managed to land a beaut 7-8kg fish. We were running low on daylight and decided to squeeze in five more teases. On the second tease, a monster GT exploded behind the teaser like a grenade and came in very, very angry! It followed in all the way and when the tease came out, ate Thomas’s fly in one massive explosion, again at his rod tip, before making his way back off the flat and popping his loop on the coral. A very unfortunate end to the day for Thomas. Meanwhile the popping boat had some success landing 4 GT’s with Piet taking first prize by landing a whopping 20kg fish.

Piet with his 20kg fish taken offshore while popping

Piet with his 20kg fish taken offshore while popping

The final day the wind dropped some more and so did the water level, at an alarming rate. The water was still icy and fish were few and far between. We found some triggers in patches of warm water but they were still fussy and not planning on handing out gifts either. Thomas’s bad luck continued though. He managed to hook the only trigger for the day but the fish took him right off the flat and straight into the coral. The guide at hand was so desperate that he went in pursuit, diving between the coral, trying to get the fish out but was left with only a tan merkin stuck in the coral, and no trigger.

A very unfortunate end to a really tough week. The weather made the going beyond tough and hopefully this was the last of it for now. The “calm” days really showed the potential of the Nubian Flats and if this unseasonal weather decides to leave us alone, we will be in for a cracking second half of the 2015 season.

Thats it for now.

Till next time

The Tourette Fishing Nubian Flats Guides Team

Bohar and broken rod, teasing is not for the faint hearted!

Bohar and broken rod, teasing is not for the faint hearted!

IMG_0237

Apr 22

Third Week of the Nubian Flats Season, 2015

It felt like the season has only begun and we were already into week 3 of the Nubian Flats 2015 season.

We were joined this week by Jeff Currier(for the second straight year), Mike La Sota, Mike Murray, Andrew Early, and famous Capetonian artist, Conrad Botes.

The first morning we woke to a beautiful sunrise and almost mirror like ocean. So after setting up all the rods and a quick breakfast we headed out for the day, eager to go find the tailing fish the Nubian Flats are so famous for.

The calm weather did not last long unfortunately and soon the wind was howling again, making the going quite tough. The visibility on the flats decreased and so did the water temperature as well. The triggerfish were really hard to see but some of the ones we found tailing were super aggressive. Mike La Sota in particular had two fish follow his fly so far that by the time they ate, he literally just pulled the fish onto dry land on the hook-set.

The story of the day however had to go to Andrew Early who hooked into a brute of GT while walking back to the skiff for lunch. This fish shot straight off the flat and after some serious diving by guide Federico, managed to land a beautiful 100cm fish, bringing the first day out, to a very successful end.

100cm GT, not a bad way to start your Nubian Flats trip with

100cm GT, not a bad way to start your Nubian Flats trip with

On the second day the weather seemed to settled down again and we tried to make the most of the good conditions and headed out for the whole day again. The one boat headed out to the big island while the second boat, with Jeff and Mike, headed for the two small islands also known as the Playstation by the guides.

The conditions were really favourable and this was reflected by the numbers of fish that were crawling on the flats. Not even 5 minutes into the walk thee guys found triggerfish on the big island but quickly realised that unlike the day before, they were beyond tricky and spooked almost instantly. These weren’t the only fish that acquired some “Jedi Level” presentation however. We had two good shoals of permit come in that spooked, as well as bonefish, in shoals and big single cruising fish, refusing everything we tried to feed them on the fringes.

This left guide and angler equally frustrated but on the Nubian Flats, nothing falls on your lap.

Mike Murray realised this very quickly after getting his ass kicked by a 30kg+ GT just after lunch. This monster was hustling baitfish in such shallow water that half of his body was out the water and after eating the fly in spectacular fashion, it was only a matter of seconds before he was off the flat and heading for the horizon. If this was not enough, he took Mike right onto his spool, pulled him literally off the flat into deep water before cutting him off.

By the end of the session the guys managed to fool some triggers into eating though. Both Conrad and Andrew landed some really nice yellow margined specimens.

Conrad Botes with a solid yellow margined triggerfish

Conrad Botes with a solid yellow margined triggerfish

Meanwhile the guys fishing the Playstation was also knee deep in the action. The triggers were equally difficult but Mike La Sota kept the scoreboard ticking over and landed two really nice yellow margined triggers before lunchtime. Unfortunately our luck with the GT’s continued. Jeff also hooked into a brute right after lunch. He really brought the heat to this fish but unfortunately it was not enough and not long into the fight, this fish also found reef and got away.

The gents ended strongly though and Jeff landed a beautiful 8kg Bohar Snapper right at the death on tease.

After the GT action of the previous day, on day three, both boats started the day teasing off the edges, trying to make the most of the trevally in the area before walking for triggers. We raised some GT’s very early on as well as some solid sized bohar snapper and one very angry dogtooth tuna that went airborne before getting hold of the teaser. Both Mike La Sota and Jeff capitalised and landed some nice bluefin trevally as well as a nice bohar snapper and one GT. After the teasing we carried on walking the flats and found some solid sized triggers feeding as well as some bluefin that were out on the prowl.

The triggers were stilly very difficult but by the end of the day we managed to land 4 triggers with both Mike Lasota and Conrad Botes bagging two each. The latter also got to experience exactly how strong the jaws of a triggerfish were when the one he landed, got hold of his index finger. Fortunately it did not brake his finger but left him with a severely bruised finger and loads of pain.

"Trigger Finger"

“Trigger Finger”

Unfortunately by day the dawn of Day 4, the wind picked up drastically from the north and by lunch time was reaching speeds close to gale force. We managed some fishing but the wind made the going very tough. The water was murky and rough and made seeing triggerfish near impossible. The lads persevered and by the end of the day managed to land one trigger and three small triggerfish.

Over the next two days the wind grew even stronger and we could only managed 1,5hours of fishing over these two days. We found a couple triggerfish but only managed to land one bluefin and present to one small GT bringing the trip to an unfortunate end.

The weather forecast for the next week looks pretty similar with even stronger wind forecasted for the last couple days. Hopefully the weather will still improve but so far it seems we will be in for a really tough week.

Thats it for this week but check in next week for another update from the Nubian Flats.

Checkout the full gallery on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153178415788798.1073741860.90837823797&type=3

Till next time

The Tourette Fishing Nubian Flats Guides Team

fish ON

fish ON

Beautiful bohar snapper taken by Mike La Sota on tease

Beautiful bohar snapper taken by Mike La Sota on tease

Heavy wind made the going really tough the last few days

Heavy wind made the going really tough the last few days

Apr 21

Second week of the Trout Trekking Season

Into a solid Lesotho Rainbow

Into a solid Lesotho Rainbow

After meeting Michelle, nick, pat, Pierre and Rhys at oxbow, we headed up the heavily under construction road to letseng, where we all bundled into the Hilux and snaked our way down into the khubelu valley. We made it as far as we could by vehicle where we met the horses and proceeded on foot to the camp for the first night. The guest were understandable very keen to hit the water, leaving a trail of dust behind then as they raced off to squeeze a couple minutes in before dark.
The first evening confirmed that we were in for a good couple days on the river, with everyone getting stuck into several fish each.

The next morning, beat 1 lay ahead of us and after waiting for the sun to hit the water we set off upstream, we soon noticed that we had been a dash premature with our departure and had to change to nymphs while the water warmed up.

Fly Fishing for Rainbows in Lesotho

Fly Fishing for Rainbows in Lesotho

Throughout the day we had good solid action, with 3 fish around the 16” mark finding their way to the bank and probably two dozen fish of 10 to 12”
A bit of rain in the night cast a looming sky over us the next day. We cracked on none the less and sighted some really big fish despite the wind and cloud. Unfortunately a lot of these fish required a long cast into the wind which made things very tricky. But I take my hat off to everyone for prevailing and still catching a number of fish of 16”.

 

After walking out of the valley - Trout Trekking Lesotho

After walking out of the valley – Trout Trekking Lesotho

We continued fishing our way up over the next two days in some very miserable weather, which meant nymphing almost all the time as it became nearly impossible to spot fish. On and off rain in the days and rain every night had us leaving absolutely nothing to burn at the various campsites. Luckily this weather although tough and depressing didn’t seem to affect the fish, which made coping with the wet and cold more than bearable.
Once again hats off to everyone especially after our walk out the valley into a 80km/h headwind.

From me personally I am looking forward to seeing you back in Lesotho for the Yellowfishing season.

 

Cheers for now, Stu

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