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Laying Low in April

I’ve been quiet since returning from Sudan.  I came home to heaps of work.  If you look back at my 2014 schedule I’ve been home a mere 15 days.  That will put anyone behind in the normal day life.

 

blog-April-18-2014-Jeff-and-Charles-CurrierI also spoke to Boston Fly Casters in Massachusetts just the other night.  So I barely got home from Sudan then it was off to the East Coast.  Fun thing about speaking to Boston Fly Casters is that my dad belongs to this long historic club.  Due to his health he hasn’t been to a meeting in years.  This is a sport jacket and tie club and I had to borrow one from dad.  So why not bring him along also?

 

We had a great time.  My program was “Fly Fishing through Midlife Heaven”.  I’m not sure dad knew all the places I’ve been in the last few years.  He knows now and said he loved the show.

 

blog-April-18-2014-wolfeboro-new-hampshireAfter a nice weekend in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire I’m back in Idaho and settling in for a month.  I plan to work my butt off on my book, “The First 50 Years”, catch up on art, work in the yard and get some well needed rest.  I’m sure I’ll sneak out on the water a few times but runoff starts any minute and fishing isn’t the best once it starts.  As far as fishing I may just have to focus on packing for mahseer in Bhutan.  Bhutan you say?  I’m crossing my fingers – stay tuned!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Sudan Comes to and End

blog-March-31-2014-1-flyfishing-in-sudanI’ve made it all the way back to Victor since my last post.  Man that was a long trip around the world.  Going is always fun and the travel goes unnoticed.  But heading home – its grueling.  After a fun last night on the mother ship the route was boat to shore (15 minutes), bus to Port Sudan (3 hours because the bus driver stopped for lunch in Suakin) then a long 5 hour sweltering wait for our plane that was two hours late.  We flew 1 hour to Khartoum, Sudan and had a one hour stay on the plane layover.  Then 5 hour flight to Dubai.

 

blog-March-31-2014-2-flyfishing-the-nubian-flats-sudanI had a 23 hour layover in Dubai.  I wrote my blog and took it easy.  Then flew 16 hours to Atlanta.  Then 4 hours to Salt Lake City and 1 hour to Jackson Hole.  I was delirious on the drive home.  So delirious I chose a Dairy Queen burger over McDonalds – strange move.

 

blog-March-31-2014-3-Suakin-SudanIt’s all worth it however.  I’ve added two new countries to my fished list, United Arab Emirates (my 48th country) and the Nubian Flats of Sudan (49th).  I’m not sure on the new species number yet but there are at least ten.  Best of all it was a great trip with old friends and new friends.

 

blog-March-31-2014-4-tourette-fishing-fight-it-in-africaIf anyone wants the adventure of their lives contact me or Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa.  Perhaps you want to fish the Nubian Flats of Sudan, giant tigerfish of Tanzania, threadfin in Gabon or yellowfish in Lesotho.  Let us know.  You just might be sharing time with me.

 Here are some more pictures from the trip.

blog-March-31-2014-5-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsAlexey and Nicolay with a bohar double!

blog-March-31-2014-6-flyfishing-sudanThe Nubian Flats of Sudan

blog-March-31-2014-7-red-sea-surgeonfishA sohal surgeonfish (Red Sea surgeonfish)

blog-March-31-2014-8-flyfishing-sudanLife in Suakin, Sudan

blog-March-31-2014-9-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-triggerfishAh. . . . That yellowmargin triggerfish!

blog-March-31-2014-10-flyfishing-east-africaChris Rooseboom is ready!

blog-March-31-2014-11-peacock-grouperThe tale of a coral trout

blog-March-31-2014-12-flyfishing-with-tourette-fishingEndless flats in Sudan

blog-March-31-2014-13a-mark-murray-jeff-currier-and-milkfishThe fish of the trip – Mark Murray’s milkfish

blog-March-31-2014-13-flyfishing-in-sudanEric Heyns & Chris Rooseboom – bluefin trevally double

blog-March-31-2014-14-flyfishing-the-red-seaPort Sudan, Sudan

blog-March-31-2014-15-flyfishing-sudanLife on the Red Sea

blog-March-31-2014-16-snapper-flyfishingBlack Spot Snapper or Dory Snapper – (Lutjanus fulviflamma)

blog-March-31-2014-17-flyfishing-for-bluefin-trevallyBluefin trevally release

blog-March-31-2014-19-wrasse-red-seaRed Sea wrasse

blog-March-31-2014-20-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-snapperSmiling with the two-spot red snapper (bohar)

blog-March-31-2014-21-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsThe end of and epic trip to the Nubian Flats of Sudan

Thank you Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Last Day Fly Fishing in Sudan – Day 6

blog-March-30-2014-1-flyfishing-in-sudanToday’s the last day of fishing before the long journey back to Victor, Idaho begins.  We’re near mainland Sudan where the adventure started.  Therefore we fished off the beaches and flats of mainland Sudan.

 

blog-March-30-2014-2-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsThe place we started was a beach and flat against some sand dunes.  It’s different on the mainland.  I climbed up a dune to take a picture and Rob quickly informed me not to do anything suspicious looking because he knew we were being watched by the Sudanese Army.  Sure, taking a picture is nothing, but we’re dealing in Sudan.

 

blog-March-30-2014-3-sea-turtle-in-the-red-seaFor the third day in a row its calm – only today is the calmest.  It was dead calm.  And the flats were dead also.  We could see for more than a mile and there were no tails, wakes or nervous water.  Just a happy turtle cruising the reef, literally under my fly line.

 

blog-March-30-2014-4-giant-clam-in-the-red-seaWalking the flats and prowling the coral heads was like snorkeling.  The water was so still you could see everything from the incredible varieties of Red Sea reef fish to filtering giant clams embedded in the coral.  Even though the fishing was lousy the exploring the last day surroundings was invigorating.

 

blog-March-30-2014-5-emperor-fish-red-seaI slowed down my walk and search for tails and went back to sinking flies on edges of coral heads.  I hammered away at the beautiful peacock groupers, tomato groupers and this juvenile  sweetlip emperor fish.

 

blog-March-30-2014-6-jeff-currier-flyfishing-the-nubian-flats-sudanWe dabbled with fishing in the afternoon.  Most of our time was consumed with driving the mother ship back to where we met it a week ago.  The fishing has come to an end.  What an incredible trip!  Tomorrow I’ll sum it up with more photos and final thoughts.  Stay tuned. . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Milkfish – Day 5

More photos coming to this entry in a couple weeks including feeding milkfish!

 

blog-March-29-2014-1-flyfishing-for-milkfishThe boat was moving before anyone got out of bed this morning.  Saltwater fly fishing wears you down.  Plus, everyone knew we had about two hours before we’d arrive at the island we saw on the map.  Once the sun came up we had nice breakfast and coffee in the cabin and got our stuff ready to explore a new area of the Nubian Flats of Sudan.

 

blog-March-29-2014-2-flyfishing-for-milkfishThe place we fished first today is an island that as we got about a mile away reminded me of the one I fish in Baja with Sammy and Grant Hartman.  I was gazing its shoreline when my eyes nearly popped out of my head.  An enormous school of milkfish were milling along not far from our cruising boat.  As I looked closer I noticed more and more.  There were schools everywhere!

 

blog-March-29-2014-3-milkfish-fliesMilkfish are crazy grass carp looking fish that feed mostly on algae.  They’re a rare catch on a fly but they are sought after, particularly in the Seychelles.  I’ve run into them several times, once at Christmas Island and once in Baja.  Both times I didn’t have the correct flies for them.  I want to catch one badly so these days I always carry a few algae imitating flies.

 

The plan was to split up and take the pangas to some flats that bordered the island.  After seeing the milkies the flats weren’t of interest to me.  I tossed out the idea of trying for the milkfish and Mark and Fed (our boat manager) jumped on the idea.  Before our captain even had our mother ship securely anchored we were stalking a school of milkfish from the panga.

 

The milkfish were everywhere. Once amongst them it seemed like we may actually catch one.  They strategy we used was Fed drove the boat towards a school then cut the engine before we got too close.  Then with the momentum we glided to the edge of the school and Mark and I got off some casts.

 

The milkfish were all huge.  I’d say they averaged about 25lbs!  Each time either of us got our algae imitating fly amongst them my heart jumped a few beats.  I get excited easily when casting to an incredible fish but these milkies were swimming right past our flies with their heads out of the water.  My knees were weak and my hands were shaking.  Despite trying every milkfish fly in our boxes the milkies were not the slightest bit interested.

 

By now we learned that our mother ship couldn’t get a good grab with the anchor and our captain wanted to head for a different area at noon sharp.  This meant if we were going to check out the island we needed to do it soon.  After two hours and many unsuccessful casts amongst the finicky vegetarians, Fed suggested we head to the island and hunt for trevally.  Honestly I wanted to keep up the milky pursuit but I went with the flow.

 

Along the way we ran into the biggest school of milkfish we’d seen yet.  I was drooling.  Luckily, Fed suggested we try once more.  Mark and I got after it and suddenly the school blew up and Mark screamed fish on!

 

blog-March-29-2014-4-mark-murray-flyfishing-for-milkfishWe’d been disappointed earlier this morning when I hooked up and the fish turned out to be a large orangespotted trevally.  But this was different.  The line and backing left Marks reel so fast it looked like an illusion.  He had a big milkfish on!

 

blog-March-29-2014-5-flyfishing-for-milkfish-in-sudanFed may not fly fish much but he has good feel and he had that boat in gear chasing the agitated milkfish in seconds.  It’s a good thing because I’m not sure Mark wouldn’t have run out of backing.  Marks reel was as close to empty as I’ve seen a reel in as long as I can remember.  Fortunately after that first mighty run the milky was under control.

 

blog-March-29-2014-6-flyfishing-for-milkfishI won’t bore you with the minute by minute account of the 45 minute amazing battle.  It was a tug-a-war and getting the milky on board was a thrill.  Fed put on gloves and grabbed the beast by the tail.  He got him half way out and his grip began to slip.  Our local boatman jumped in action and they hoisted the bizarre looking fish into the boat.  We had us a milkfish!

 

blog-March-29-2014-7-mark-murray-fly-fishing-for-milkfishWe couldn’t believe our own eyes.  There was talk of milkfish way before this trip began during the winter but I certainly didn’t have the guts to put the species as my goal of the trip.  Mark was shaking with excitement and we blazed off a heap of photos.  Unfortunately the hard fighting fish expended itself and we couldn’t revive him.  Not a bad thing really as milkfish are good eating and we dissected its stomach.  Mostly what we found was green algae soup with a touch of orange that could be spawning coral.  We also found some strange worms.  Not sure the worms aren’t part of the stomach digestive track but you can bet next chance we get at milkies they will see a San Juan worm type fly.

 

Speaking of next chance – we brought the giant milkfish to our mother ship so the cook could take care of him.  He weighed slightly over 30lbs – a magnificent catch.  Unfortunately it was about 11:30 and the captain gave us strict orders to be back at 12.  We found another school of milkies quick but after a dozen casts we had to “walk away” from feeding milkfish – a brutal thing because today may have been the best milkfish opportunity of my life.  Maybe next year. . . .

 

blog-March-29-2014-8-flyfishing-the-Nubian-flatsWe celebrated what may end up being the most prized fish caught of the trip.  Mark, Fed and I enjoyed ice cold Egyptian Beer.  There is no alcohol in Sudan.  The crew snuck these in weeks before.

 

blog-March-29-2014-9-sohal-surgeonfishWe drove another three hours back to the flats where we started the trip.  While most of the guys spent the late afternoon hunting giant trevally and teased the reef, I opted for solo walking and dropping crab patterns around the coral heads.  I picked off numerous peacock groupers, black spotted emperors, black spotted snappers and a couple new species.  One is a striped snapper that I’ll have to look up; the other is this extremely unusual catch of a sohal surgeonfish (Red Sea surgeonfish).

 

Tomorrow is the last day – ALREADY!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Goals Met in Sudan – Day 4

blog-March-28-2014-1-bonefishing-the-red-seaI wasn’t the only one on this trip who came with a fish species catching goal.  Ed was determined to catch a bonefish.  In the two previous exploratory trips to the Nubian Flats a few bonefish were seen and Rob caught one.  But the boys of Tourette Fishing would like to see more to help promote this amazing fishery.  As for me, today was dedicated to the triggers.

 

blog-March-28-2014-2-osprey-flyfishing-in-sudanThis morning was glassy calm.  Calm sounds great to the inexperienced flats fly fishers but the truth is flats fish are always spooky and when it’s calm they’re ten times worse.  This area in particular has numerous ospreys hunting the flats so we were at a disadvantage before our first cast.

 

blog-March-28-2014-3-flyfishing-the-red-sesaEd and I each worked to triggers in the early hours.  Despite being calm I had an eat immediately but once again the hook pulled.  I changed flies several times, not to choose better patterns but rather I was picking through my flies for the sharpest hooks.  But all I managed to keep on was this strange camouflaged stocky hawkfish (Cirrhitus pinnulatus).

 

blog-March-28-2014-4-ed-truter-tourette-fishingThe flats went dead just as our light became perfect.  We could see a mile and there was absolutely no sign of a fish.  Ed and I realized our only hope to catch fish was teasing.  Despite being calm, the waves from the bluewater were treacherous.  We both reluctantly eased our way to where we could go into action.

 

Right away we brought in some giant trevally of a lifetime.  Seriously, three buses came in on five straight teases.  All were over 50lbs and one was black – a color phase trevally often take on.  Any of them would have been all my 12-weight Winston could have handled.  Unfortunately these monsters didn’t get huge by accident.  Soon it was lunch time and a basically fishless morning was behind us.

 

blog-March-28-2014-5-flyfishing-for-orange-spot-trevallyIn the afternoon Ed and I got dropped off at a new flat and I was on a yellowmargin trigger in a minute.  I cast to him and he came charging.  There was no doubt he was going to eat my fly and eat it good.  Then, out the corner of my eye another darting shadow appeared and attacked my fly before the triggerfish.  This fish took nearly all my new SharkWave line before he stopped and let me fight him back.  I landed a respectable orangespotted trevally.

 

By now Ed was off on the other end of the flat poised like he was on fish.  Between us another triggerfish tail emerged.  I crept into position and dropped a cast with my crab.  This trigger also charged my fly and ate it and I crossed his eyes.  So I thought.  Would you believe after one run he came unbuttoned?  Frustrating!  Too many opportunities blown.

 

blog-March-28-2014-6-ed-truter-bonefishingIndeed Ed was on some fish.  Just as I was cringing in defeat Ed yelled, “Bonefish on!”  I reeled in as fast as I could and worked my way to him.  I could tell by the runs he had a bonefish alright.  “Take your time man – I’m on my way!” I shouted back.  By the time I got there Ed caught his first Nubian Flats bonefish on the fly.

 

With Ed’s goal taken care of, now it was my turn.  Everyone has menacing fish that no matter how easy or how hard the species is, they just can’t land one.  I was beginning to think the triggerfish of the Indian Ocean might be one of mine.  I had three more chances at triggers during the next hour but they either ignored the fly or I spooked them.  I can’t explain how bummed I was.  I kept trying.

 

There was about an hour left.  Tomorrow we leave this place.  Sure, there will probably be more triggerfish wherever we end up, but what if there aren’t?  There weren’t many the first two days.  I had to get one now.

 

blog-March-28-2014-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-triggerfishThere weren’t many fish tailing anymore.  Ed and I had worked this flat heavily.  Just as I was losing hope I spotted one more.  He was in deeper water and although he was tailing he wasn’t breaking the surface.  He was very hard to see and I felt like I had a fresh contestant.  I did.  I made one cast and the fish came charging only this time I connected.  The yellowmargin trigger went screaming into the backing then he ran himself into a heap of algae.  Sometimes this can work to the fish’s advantage and they get the fly loose, but this time it stuck.  I took my time and beached my first Indian Ocean triggerfish.

 

blog-March-28-2014-9-abel-pliers-jeff-currier-in-sudanAfter knocking off a few hero shots with Ed I looked down the beach.  I wasn’t even on my feet yet and I thought I saw the largest triggerfish tail in the ocean.  It looked gymormous!  The strange figure was near the beach but in an area of deeper water off the flat.  Ed headed back out to the flat I crept down the beach.

 

blog-March-28-2014-10-dugong-in-sudanThe closer I got the more curious the protruding creature became.  It wasn’t a tail – or if it was, it was a huge fish and not a triggerfish.  By the time I got to the area it stopped but there was a heap of mud.  Naturally I dropped my fly in the area in hopes of something.  Then I saw it – the dugong!  One of the rarest mammals on earth was only a few feet away.  I froze and the dugong swam right to me and ate algae by my feet.  He was at least 8 feet long and I’ll guess him over 500lbs.  It was actually a little concerning having him that close to me.  At first I didn’t see any difference between him and a manatee.  But then I saw his tail.  The dugong’s tail was forked like that of a dolphin where as the manatees are round.  Dugongs are also entirely ocean dwelling which the manatees are not.  The pic is the best I could get!

 

blog-March-28-2014-11-jeff-currier-in-sudanAnother spectacular day in Sudan is gone and only two more days left.  Tonight we stuffed ourselves with fresh lobsters and crab.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  We move in the morning so the new waters should be exciting.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Sudan – Day 3

blog-March-27-2014-1-exploring-the-nubian-flatsWe awoke to the revving of the engines of our mother ship.  It was time to move.  The flats we’ve been on were fantastic but this is an exploratory so we must explore.  The place we headed for were flats we saw on a map about a six hour boat ride straight out into the Red Sea.  This is a place Rob and Ed wanted to visit last November but the weather wouldn’t permit.

 

blog-March-27-2014-2-rough-red-seaI can only imagine how rough it must have been for them to have not gone because today as we ate breakfast in the cabin plates of food slid and drinks were impossible as our mother ship heaved over enormous waves.  The ride probably took more than six hours due to the headwind and the waves.  Two of the guys got sick.

 

blog-March-27-2014-3-first-flyfishers-in-sudanWhen we arrived the sight of the new flats made the tiresome boat ride all worth it.  We anchored on the back side of an island that had a deep blue channel cutting through it.  We were sheltered but could see that a short walk would take us to a huge flat that went from the island to the wave busting reef.  Our tracks were about to be the first ever by fly fishers.

 

blog-March-27-2014-4-rob-scott-oftourette-fishingI fished with Rob.  He packed his 8-weight and the teaser rod while I stuck with what’s been working, my 8- and 12-weight Winston Boron III SX rods.  We didn’t get far before we found a huge titan triggerfish wallowing the edge of a flat.  I put the sneak on him and got three excellent casts with a crab fly.

 

blog-March-27-2014-5-triggerfishThe strike zone for triggers is small. I had to get my fly almost exactly in front of him.  Once he saw it I let my crab sink.  The colorful strange fish tilted and I strip set.  I felt him but he came off.  Triggers are hard to hook because of their small human-like tooth filled mouths.  He chased again and ate again.  But for a second time he wasn’t hooked.  I got three eats but no hook up before he finally bolted.

 

blog-March-27-2014-6-thornfish-in-sudanFor the next few hours Rob and I cast at triggers.  I had two solid hook ups.  One was a small titan triggerfish that I brought close to hand and the hook pulled.  The other was a huge yellowmargin that I should have gotten.  He was on the reef and I hooked him solid.  But I stupidly let him run too far and he made it over the edge of the reef and freed himself.  There were other opportunities but they were wrecked by other more aggressive crab heisting species such as this very attractive thornfish (Terapon jarbua).

blog-March-27-2014-7-jeff-currier-with-twospot-snapperI picked up two new species today, the thorn fish a bigeye jack (very similar to the horse-eye).  I also got this respectable bohar behind Rob’s teaser on the reef.  Overall, our fishing results could have been better.  Mark, Chris and Eric got into the triggers thick and landed five!  But we did experience something unique and incredible.  We saw a dugong.  The dugong is very similar to the manatee but is indeed different and unfortunately as close to extinction as a species can be.  There may be less than 100 on the entire east coast of Africa.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing the Reef of the Red Sea

blog-March-26-2014-1-flyfishing-in-sudanI don’t sleep well after an absolute thrashing from big fish.  Sure, I ended yesterday by landing a giant trevally, but honestly, I would have preferred to catch those fly line busting snappers.  After staring at the magnificent star filled sky most of the night I woke up very early and gave every inch of my rigs the onceover.

 

blog-March-26-2014-2-ed-truter-tourette-fishingEd and I fished together again.  We started by getting dropped off at an endless flat.  We walked the sand and grass flat slow and attentively for about a mile, all the way to where it ended at the reef.  There wasn’t much there.  I cast to a huge pufferfish that showed no interest in my fly and Ed and I both rolled our flies off the backs of several rays.  The mud rays kick up often attract other fish but none this morning.

 

blog-March-26-2014-3-flyfishing-in-sudanWhen we got to the reef Ed stashed his fly rod and broke out the teaser rig.  It was time for me to get revenge on the bohar snappers (also known as the two-spot red snapper).  Unfortunately, just like the flat, the reef was deadsville as well.  I picked up a weird fish while blind casting at the coral heads.  He’s the redmouth grouper (Aethaloperca rogaa).

 

blog-March-26-2014-4-titan-triggerfishWe meandered along the reef teasing on occasion while keeping a watchful eye on the flats all morning.  We saw one titan triggerfish.  The beautiful fish tailed once but we never saw him again.  There are at least three species of triggerfish here, the titan, yellowmargin and Picasso.  All three take flies but it’s the titan and yellowmargin that get big enough to excite fly fishers.  In fact, I make a fish catching goal before every trip I go on.  On this trip, the one fish I must catch is either of these two triggers.  I’m not sure why they “wow” me so much but they do and I’ve got my eye out.  Word is they don’t come easy.

 

blog-March-26-2014-5-flyfishing-for-coral-troutIt was almost time to meet for lunch and other than the strange fish I caught we hadn’t hooked anything else.  Not one fish chased in the teaser.  But Ed is just as persistent as I and we kept on going and sure enough we had a chase on the teaser.  The grouper looking fish wasn’t aggressive on the teaser; in fact he turned off about ten feet shy of Ed.  You don’t wait around when it comes to saltwater fly fishing so I fired out my cast anyway and stripped hard and fast.  It was a good move because my first coral trout burst from the reef and devoured my fly.  Just like the snappers, these guys are known to dive for any hole they see in the coral so I clamped down on my line.  This beautiful fish was going nowhere.

 

blog-March-26-2014-6-coral-trout-sudanThe coral trout will likely go down as one of the most gorgeous looking fish of all time.  When I was landing him the striking spots on his back indeed reminded me of a trout.  They were much like those of a brown trout.  But once in my hands Mr. Coral Trout took on his own look. (Look at the change in the color of the spots in this picture and the one above)

 

blog-March-26-2014-7-jeff-currier-with-coral-troutMany saltwater fish change color with excitement.  For instance look at pics of dorado (dolphin fish).  The coral trout may top all.  The inner part of the black spots that resembled the spots on a brown trout turned blue before our very eyes!  Then they enlarged.  They shrunk.  They went all dark and then again back to blue.  Meanwhile, the sides of the fish switched from light to dark several times and he even flashed some stripes.  The coral trout is an amazing fish.

 

blog-March-26-2014-8-flyfishing-for-bluefin-trevallyAbout the time I released the coral trout we heard one of the pangas headed our way to pick us up for lunch.  Based on yesterday, when one fish chases the teaser there are usually others around.  Ed and I ignored the oncoming boat and launched another tease.  Sure enough, two large bluefin trevally zigzagged behind the teaser.  They too veered off before reaching Ed so I fired a long cast.  Instantly the largest of the bluefin was on!

 

blog-March-26-2014-9-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-bluefin-trevallyI had quite the rodeo with this guy.  I couldn’t clamp down on him and he stole line right up to my backing knot.  Then he went sideways and although I held my 12-weight Winston tip high I could feel my line ticking the coral.  Too many bumps like that and the line should sever.  Each time a wave rolled in I surfed the tiring bluefin our way.  Finally he was in and in a quick swoop I tailed him.

 

You should always carry at least a glove in your pocket when wading for trevally.  Unlike jack crevalle, they have vicious spikes in their tail and although I sometimes do them without a glove, a glove is better.  By the time I held him the lunch boat was here and Rob hopped out and took these very nice pics.

 

blog-March-26-2014-10-jeff-currier-fly-fishing-for-snapperAfter lunch Ed and I booked it back to the reef in hopes the teasing was still on.  It was and it was bohar time – time for my revenge.  Once again, the bohar is the two-spot red snapper.  His range is from the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean and throughout the Indian Ocean.  Their maximum size is about 20lbs but trust me, hook one half that size on the coral reef and good luck – even with 150lb leader.  If you don’t believe me, read yesterday’s blog!

 

blog-March-26-2014-11-jeff-currier-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsToday was different.  My rig was perfect and my head was in the game.  The very first bohar that came in hot annihilated my fly and I crossed his eyes with a firm strip set.  Then, I not only kept the line from slipping through my fingers (unlike yesterday), I backed up.  The strength of this bohar was no less than shocking.  He nearly pulled me off my feet twice, but the stamina of snappers is short lived.  30 seconds of tug-of-war and I had my bohar.

 

I ended up with two bohars before the afternoon session was over.  This first was a beast of more than 15lb and the second just slightly less.  What a day!  I added three new species to my list today, the unknown, coral trout and the bohar.  Good stuff!  And I haven’t yet tallied up the fish from Dubai or yesterday.  What a trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Exploratory Fly Fishing on the Nubian Flats

blog-March-25-2014-1-bluefin-trevally-in-sudanThis is an exploratory fly fishing trip with my friends at Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa to what is called the Nubian Flats of Sudan.  A year ago Rob and his partner Keith Clover invited me to help explore this spring.  Obviously new places this exotic are rare so without even looking at my 2014 calendar I said yes.  In return I’ll spread the word through my blog with stories and photos as well as in my future presentations at clubs and fly fishing shows.  If the adventure goes well I may even host a few adventurous Americans back next spring.

 

blog-March-25-2014-2-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsThis is not the first trip to the Nubian Flats.  We’ll certainly visit some areas that have never seen a fly rod, but for owner Rob and guide Ed Truter, it’s the third trip to Sudan.  In fact today’s staggeringly beautiful flat, scattered with a few islands and bordered with miles of coral reef, is one they fished last November.

 

blog-March-25-2014-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-sudanThe report from last November is that the wind blew harder than normal.  If you haven’t wet a line on the flats, they’re almost always windy.  This is why everyone should practice casting beforehand and be absolutely sure you know the double haul.  But in November the Red Sea was tortuously windy.  They caught fish, including some nice bohar snappers and bluefin trevally, but overall the flats were frothing in whitecaps and the fishing was hardly touched.

 

blog-March-25-2014-4-flyfishing-sudanIt’s too hot for sleeping down below the deck so I slept outside up top of our boat with the crew.  At first, even outside was too hot and I tossed and turned, however soon after I fell asleep, I awoke freezing from the cool breezy desert night.  I always pack my light sleeping bag so I jumped in and slept till the first glimmer of morning light.

 

blog-March-25-2014-5-fly-fishing-sudanOur “mother ship” isn’t a ship at all.  It’s more of a 60 foot cabin cruiser.  It’s a beautiful old boat that coincidentally was built the year I was born, 1965.  And despite the fact that Sudan is a mostly desert covered country of Africa, there’s no doubt our crew is sea worthy.  Our captain is calm and cool and his mates maneuver around this boat like Belizean fishing guides.

 

blog-March-25-2014-6-sunrise-in-sudanI was the first up this morning and well before sunrise.  Put me on new water 7,000 miles from home and I wake up like a kid on Christmas.  With the help of my headlamp I set up a couple of Winston’s.  My rods of choice were the 9 ½ foot 8-weight Boron III SX for the flats and a 9 foot 12-weight SX for the coral reef and giant trevally on the flats.  On my 8-weight I attached my long-out-of-action lava colored Super 8 Abel Reel with the new Scientific Anglers (SA) Sharkwave Saltwater WF8F line and a tan shrimp pattern.  On my 12-weight I latched on my Ross Momentum LT #6 with an SA Intermediate Tarpon Taper WF12I and a size 4/0 purple and black streamer.

 

blog-March-25-2014-7-flyfishing-the-red-seaBy sunrise everyone was up chomping to get on the water.  We slept closer to civilization than we need be so as we ate breakfast our crew fired up the boat and headed south to where they fished last November.  The sea was calm so kicking back and catching up with Rob and Mark as well as getting acquainted with the rest for about two hours was relaxing.

 

blog-March-25-2014-8-rob-scott-and-ed-truter-sudanOnce the flats were in sight everyone lit up.  As Rob and Ed discussed a game plan based on their November visit the rest of us stepped into our flats booties.  We’re towing two pangas for eight of us and the idea is to split up, get dropped off and walk.  Today I matched up with Ed.  Although I don’t know Ed personally, he guides and helps with the Tourette business and I’ve seen him in photos on their website for years.  It’s great to finally hang with him.

 

blog-March-25-2014-9-jeff-currier-flyfishing-the-flatsIt took only a few minutes on the water to realize Ed knows his stuff.  First off he helped me manipulate a way to carry a second rigged rod on the flats.  The way I had my 12-weight hanging off my pack was a nuisance for casting and I couldn’t get to it quick.  With Ed’s tweaks I can switch rods in seconds without taking off my pack.

 

blog-March-25-2014-10-ed-truterof-tourette-fishingEd’s also passionate about all species of fish.  His knowledge goes far further than the salt as well; Ed is a geologist and has found himself stationed in nearly every corner of Africa at least once.  And yes, he always packed fishing stuff making him an invaluable source for African fishing.

 

blog-march-25-2014-11-flyfishing-for-grouperWe began on a flat around three small islands.  It was unusually calm so we could spot waking fish and nervous water from a mile away.  There was action immediately and I couldn’t get the line off my Abel fast enough.  Two strips and I had a fish.  A fish on the first cast certainly makes a statement about the Nubian Flats!  I caught these in Madagascar in 2011 and the cute fish is likely a baby Malabar.

 

blog-March-25-2014-12-flyfishing-for-peacock-grouperThe nervous water continued and all kinds of neat fish turned up.  My favorite of the morning was this spectacular peacock grouper (blue-spotted).  This little guy isn’t a baby; the species just doesn’t grow big.  I simply couldn’t get over the fact that his spots were exactly like the electric blue/green spots in the tail feathers of a peacock.  He’s truly a fine piece of art in nature.

 

blog-March-25-2014-13-black-spotted-emporor-fishNine times out of ten when we hooked up it was a black spotted emperor fish, another species I met in Madagascar.  These scrappy little fighters can be a pest because they steal the fly from the fish you’re actually targeting.  Nonetheless they’re a fish on the flats and were a welcome tug as I worked out the kinks on day 1.

 

blog-March-25-2014-14-fly-fishing-the-nubian-flatsWe regrouped for lunch on a small island.  With the exception of small species, the flats were slow for all.  The most action was when Mark teased in some trevally and bohar snapper for Alexey and Nicolay but they didn’t connect with any on the fly.  The teasing sounded like fun so Ed and I set up for a session in the afternoon.

 

blog-March-25-2014-15-flyfishing-the-coral-reefWalking a reef requires some endurance.  First of all, you always want to do your best not to walk on the reef which means you navigate around it on sand patches.  When you do this the reef often catches you in the shin and I’ll tell you it hurts like heck.  You’ve heard the saying “sharp as coral” before?  Toss in the waves rolling in from the bluewater and it’s a struggle to stay on your feet.  Fall down and the stuff tears you to shreds.

 

blog-March-25-2014-16-flyfishing-the-reef-sudanEd loves teasing so he chucked a large chartreuse teaser while I waited with my 12-weight.  There’s a lot of different ways to present the fly behind a teaser.  Ed likes to bring the teaser all the way in then I cast less than 15 feet into its wake.  Normally the fish charge right to Ed’s feet.  He yanks the teaser and as the fish returns to the deep upset that whatever he was chasing disappeared, they run right into my fly.  The idea of a short cast limits the amount of exposure for the fly line and leader to the coral.  Coral has cost anglers many a big fish and severed more than enough fly lines.

 

Action was slow the first part of the afternoon.  This was surprising because we could see hundreds of reef fish swimming in the waves. Most were surgeons and parrotfish but there were some colorful little guys as well.  We even saw many turtles.  Where were the big fish?

 

blog-march-25-2014-17-saltwater-flyDuring our last hour the predatory fish began to show.  First, a few small bluefin trevally chased the teaser.  I’d drop a cast but no eat.  I changed flies a couple times from black to white to various combos but the speedy strikingly blue colored fish wouldn’t seal the deal.  We also had several bohar snappers chase, but they too weren’t aggressive.

 

The sun was getting low and we were getting ready to pack it in.  As you know if you read this blog, this is when things happen.  Ed teased in two large bohar snappers and finally I hooked up.  We cheat when we fly fish the reef.  We fish four feet of straight 150lb test for a leader.  Anything less in strength doesn’t stand a chance when it brushes against the coral.  The other strategy is to literally stop these freight trains from taking any line.  I mean clamp down and point the rod at them and see if they can break the line.  Snappers, grouper, coral trout and trevally pull so hard it’s shocking and holding the line is easier said than done.

 

blog-march-25-2014-18-bohar-snapper-sudanMy first snapper of the trip won the battle in less than two seconds.  I don’t care how mentally prepared you think you are for the first strike on the reef from a bohar, chances are you probably aren’t.  Despite clamping down with all my might, my first bohar snapper line burnt me bad and stole about ten feet of line and snap!  The end of my fly line lost about three feet off the end.

 

I re-rigged – and it wasn’t pretty – a perfection loop in the end of the fly line then the 150lb leader.  Then Ed teased.  Not three casts and in came another bohar.  This bohar was bright red and looked like a meteor whizzing towards us.  Ed yanked the teaser and I cast to the agitated snapper.  He too ate the fly and the line slipped from me again and even my Momentum #6 with the drag cranked 100% couldn’t hold the fish.  This time the 150lb leader brushed against too much coral.  Snap!

 

blog-March-25-2014-19-jeff-currier-with-gt-in-sudanThe feed was on and about three more teases by Ed and this time we had a baby giant trevally (GT) chase in the teaser.  My fly landed and the undersized GT grabbed it and ran.  This time I didn’t let any line slide . . . at least for the first few seconds.   About the time we identified the fish as a GT the line slipped away.  Unlike the snapper and grouper that dive for the corral every time, some of the GT’s fight you high in the water and you can survive the coral.  I lucked out and five minutes later I posed with this baby (yet respectable) giant trevally.

 

blog-March-25-2014-20-chris-rooseboom-and-gt-sudanThat last hour wasn’t just good for Ed and I.  Just about everyone got tore up by something tonight.  Eric landed a bohar and Chris caught this fantastic giant trevally.

 

 

Day one was magnificent.  Yes indeed, I got my butt handed to me.  But that’s what fuels me.  Tonight I’ll sleep on it and be ready in the morning.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Arrival in Sudan

blog-March-24-2014-1-flying-to-port-sudanThe flight, drive and boat ride were long and tedious from Dubai to Sudan, but I’m pleased to say I’m listening to the waves slap our 60ft mother ship as I get ready to sleep.  Tedious because I had a middle seat on a plane where the rows were knee-banging closer together than I’ve ever experienced.  That’s just life, but when the cart came and I was in need of a Coke, they charged me 5 AED (About $2).  Tight quarters and nothing’s free.  Even with my own headphones I flicked on the entertainment only to learn it required a credit card just to listen to the music!  I put on the flight map and put myself in a trance for four hours.

 

blog-March-24-2014-2-port-sudanWhen we arrived in Sudan the flight disembarked down a long stair onto the runway.  There aren’t airport gates here like in the US.  There was a strong wind blowing 100° heat in my face.  The desert terrain was striking in a haze of dust and I backed up to click off a photo before following the line of people to customs.  The camera was my second mistake of the day.  Three airport officials corralled me shouting, “No photos!”

 

blog-March-24-2014-3-rob-scott-&-mark-murray-tourette-fishingI’ve never had my camera confiscated but the moment had good potential to be the first.  I played stupid (easy to do) and apologized as I put the camera in my pocket.  Before officials had time to consider confiscation I slipped into the line for the terminal.  Once in, to my delight I met up with my South African friends Rob Scott, owner of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa (also with me in the tigerfish segment of the film “Connect”) and his top guide, Mark Murray (Mark was guiding and managing tigerfish camp in Tanzania last November.  Mark was in fact the one nearly taken by a croc as he was netting my clients tigerfish!).

 

blog-March-24-2014-4-flyfishing-in-sudanSeeing friends for the first time since I left home Thursday was a welcome site.  Also along are five other anglers, three gents from South Africa, Ed Truter, Eric Heyns and Chris Rooseboom and two gents from Russia, Nicolay and Alexey.  All are great guys and just like with Nick Bowles the other day in Dubai, it seems we’ve been friends for years.

 

Clearing customs was like none ever before.  Here in Sudan authorities actually take your passport and keep it telling you it will be returned when you leave – not when you leave the customs area, when you leave Sudan!  I don’t like the routine one bit.  If I were entering Sudan by myself I’d be freaking out.  But they took all of our passports and Rob says that’s the way they do it.

 

blog-March-24-2014-5-bus-ride-in-sudanAfter about two hours of sorting customs (a true junk show) then waiting for luggage that we thought would never come through the rickety conveyor belt, we walked from the airport to a classic Sahara Desert mini bus.  There was no way to fit the group and luggage inside so we hoisted duffels of fly fishing stuff to the roof and strapped it down.  Then we loaded up and drove for nearly two hours straight south past the desert city of Suakin.

 

blog-March-24-2014-6-people-of-sudanThe terrain of Sudan reminds me of Egypt.  What’s different is that there are far more people living on the desert.  Their huts would shock most the world.  But honestly I’d say the women walking their goats, men sipping tea and children playing look remarkably laid back and happy.  What was also of notice were the herds of camels along the road making a living chewing up dried up bushes.  This is about as hostile an environment you can imagine but creatures have learned to survive it.

 

blog-March-24-2014-7-flyfising-nubian-flats-sudanAs the sun set we arrived to a primitive military camp by an old shipwreck at the edge of the Red Sea.  We unraveled our luggage and loaded it onto a panga and headed to our mother ship.  There, our boat captain, several mates and cook anxiously awaited our arrival.  We moved into our tight cabins below the deck and settled for dinner to make plans for tomorrows fishing.

 

blog-March-24-2014-8-flyfishing-sudanI regret that I don’t have much in the way of photos from today but I was shooting through dirty glass windows and when we did stop, it was at check points.  Some think a check point in Mexico is a bit unnerving – they should experience one in Sudan.  I wasn’t taking out my camera at the wrong time again!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Near Paperwork Crisis for Sudan

blog-March-24-1-2014-1-flyfishing-in-SudanToday I came as close to completely screwing up my entire trip as you possible can.  I made the most incredible travel blunder I’ve ever made.  Luckily, thanks to a deep (very deep!) breath and a cool head I resolved the near catastrophe.  And only because I did something remarkably smart last week.

 

You remember my friend Mike La Sota had to bail on this trip at the last second?  Well, when I travel with a friend to a remote foreign country I make sure we each have copies of each others essential documents.  In the case of Sudan, there are several and it took my friends at Tourette Fishing months to organize them.  They consist of an invitation letter to Sudan and a hard to get one time entry VISA.

 

Before Mike cancelled I had his and my documents packed in my carryon and a back up set in the luggage.  When Mike cancelled it sent my head spinning.  You can only imagine planning such a trip for months with a close friend and then they must cancel less than a week out.  So while frazzled, I took his papers out – that’s what I thought anyhow.

 

blog-March-24-2-flyfishing-the-nubian-flatsWhen I got to the airport here in Dubai this morning and arrived at the flydubai counter, I proudly handed the desk my passport, my Yellow Fever vaccine card, my invitation to Sudan letter and last, the copy of my Sudan VISA.  The attendant tapped away on the computer going through the paperwork.  When he got to the VISA he asked, who is Mike La Sota?  I HAD MIKES VISA!  Mine must be sitting by my desk in my house in Victor, Idaho!

 

Pure terror swept through my body.  My knees went weak.  I snatched the VISA copy and sure enough, I saw Mikes name.  Okay I thought, I had my back up.  I dug into my luggage and pulled out my backup set of papers.  My hands were shaking.  There was the VISA.  I handed it over.  Whew I thought to myself.  But the attendant looked at me like my hair was on fire, “This is also Mikes.  You as an American can not go to Sudan without a VISA”.

 

Being a somewhat normal human I started pleading that I had my VISA and a bunch of desperate useless blab.  But I know that just because I know I have a VISA doesn’t mean anything.  Without the VISA copy I was out – not going on the trip.  But as I stared at my carryon I remembered, I put a Sudan file on a computer stick drive and my VISA should be there.

 

The flydubai attendant was good.  I pulled out my drive and told him my VISA was there and he called for higher authorities.  A manager came down and took me to his office.  Just as I thought, my VISA was there and he printed the vital document and checked me in!  Not only that, I’m a bit heavy in my luggage and he let me slide for next to nothing.

 

From the ultimate disaster to back on track!

 

Things look good now but I’m still not there yet.  In fact, I’m at the gate here in Dubai with another hour before boarding.  Interestingly, the neighboring gates are Kabul and the other Baghdad.  Pretty cool eh?  But then – where the hell am I going?

 

It’s a four hour flight to Port Sudan.  Upon arrival I’ll have to produce all the paperwork again.  Only then it will be official.  The documents are glued to me.

 

No more news will mean I’m there and fishing tomorrow.

 

Day by day reports and photos to come upon return to civilization.

 

One more deep breath!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing