Archive | March, 2016

Exploratory Fly Fishing Trip to Gabon comes to an End

blog-March-23-2016-1-flyfishing-for-longfin-jackMan, this over 50 crap is for the birds.  Yes I’ve fished hard this week and its saltwater beach fishing for the most part and it’s intense.  It wasn’t easy getting out of bed at 5 this morning and my body was in shambles.  That snapper last night may have busted my hand and every muscle in my legs and back are sore from that tug of war.  It’s kind of cool in a sick way.

 

blog-March-23-2016-2-flyfishing-in-gabonThe tide wasn’t close to right for fishing the mouth of the estuary so once again we fished the estuary itself for snapper and jacks.  I absolutely wasn’t myself.  I’m not sure what the problem was but I kicked back and watched Mike and the other boats much of the morning.  My left hand barely functions from the battle wounds this week and I simply couldn’t wake up.  It’s alright though.  I’m content.  This has been an amazing week with two fish I’ll remember forever.  Make that three.  I may not have caught that tarpon but I’ll never forget that jump in the moonlight.

 

blog-March-23-2016-3-flyfishing-for-longfin-jacksMike managed a very nice longfin jack and I of course needed one more before I return home.  These longfins are one of the best surprises of the trip.  Yes they are a jacks but they fight hard, take the popper and are one “bad” looking fish.  I may have to paint one of these when I get home.

 

John Travis photo

John Travis photo

After lunch I could’ve probably napped but instead it was jungle hike day.  All week we’ve talked about doing a guided hike through the rainforest but as on most fishing trips, we fish so hard these side trips never happen.  Well, it’s the last day.  It was now or never and several of us decided to go.  Who knows if I’ll ever make it back to West Africa?

 

blog-March-23-2016-5-hiking-in-GabonThe hike was just what I needed.  We boated up a piece of the estuary I’ve been curious about.  There were hippos and great birds.  It was very pretty.  Fishing where we were must be unreal but because we entered Loango National Park it is not allowed.

 

blog-March-23-2016-6-hiking-in-gabonWe parked and hiked.  We had a guide who knew the area but he didn’t say much.  We walked for about two hours from where the boat dropped us off on the estuary to the ocean.  Along the way we saw way too many ants, some great spiders and the tree tops were always shaking from fleeing monkeys.  This is the home to lowland gorillas and chimpanzees but no such luck seeing them.

 

blog-March-23-2016-7-loango-national-park-gabonWhen we hit the ocean we were about a mile down the beach from where we fish the mouth of the estuary.  It was one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen.  Definitely in my top ten.  There were elephants and we saw our first forest buffalo of the trip.  They can be dangerous but he was a loaner and took off.

 

blog-March-23-2016-8-jeff-currier-fishing-gabonWe hiked the beach all the way back past the point we often fish and met up with Mark and the guys who didn’t hike.  They arrived with the boats and brought out fishing stuff for us.  The tide wasn’t nearly right for fishing so we swam to cool off from the hike and sipped some Régabs.

 

While we relaxed a storm moved in.  By the time darkness set the moonlight was replaced with black clouds and light rain along with an incredible lightening show.   Some went to the point for tarpon and hopes for a threadfin while I and a couple of the guys stayed where I caught the big snapper last night.  It was so dark you couldn’t see your hands except for when the lightening flashed.  It was very ominous.

 

blog-March-23-2016-9-african-cubera-snapperIt was another one fish night.  Conrad hoisted in a nice African cubera to end the trip.  It happened as soon as we started and it felt as though we were about to test some fly rods but that was it.  The guys on the point never touched a fish.

 

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John Travis photo

The rain picked up around 9.  Mark walked back from the point with the guys and asked John and me how much longer we wanted to stay.  That was definitely the same as saying we’re ready to go when you are.  It seemed hopeless so I did my famous ten last casts but to no avail.  We returned to camp exhausted but it was the last night – that means some beer and also some Cuban cigars.  Life is so dang good!

 

I’ve made my last cast I Gabon for this trip.  Tomorrow I start the long journey home.  The adventure was a success thanks to lucking into my monster African threadfin on the first full day – awesome!  In the next day or so I’ll close the book on Gabon and show more storytelling photos that didn’t make the blog.  Stay tuned. . . . .

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!  Also a thumbs up for Mark Murray who has been head guide on many of my Africa trips.  Mark makes it happen!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Dedicated to a Big Cubera Snapper on the Fly

John Travis photo

John Travis photo

Tides run about 55 minutes later each day.  When we got to Sette Cama Camp here in Gabon sunrise was perfect for fishing the mouth of the estuary for tarpon and to try for giant African threadfin.  Now the best tides are well after sunrise and because that’s midday, those fish aren’t there regardless of the good tide.  This morning we fished the estuary for African cubera snapper.

 

blog-March-22-2016-2-flyfishing-in-gabonNo doubt my partner Mike wanted to try for tarpon anyway.  He’s got tarpon on the brain.  But after some convincing from me and Mark, he agreed to go full bore on a hunt for big cubera snapper.  When the fish you want isn’t happening in the salt, you must switch gears otherwise waste your time.

 

blog-March-22-2016-3-forest-elephant-gabonThe big cuberas handle the fresh or saltwater.  They keep life simple, they live in places where there’s plenty of structure whether it be against the bank in sunken trees and stumps or where there are submerged rocks.  As long as there are plenty of baitfish to prey upon you’ll find them.  They also thrive where there’s strong current so when you find both together it’s a prime location.  Of course, as long as there are no elephants!

 

blog-March-22-2016-4-jeff-currier-flyfishing-gabonOur boatman this morning was Paku and like the other boatmen he doesn’t speak a lick of English.  However, he too can find the fish.  The only issue we had with Paku was early on getting him to understand that despite huge schools of marauding longfin jacks in every direction, we didn’t want them.  This had to be confusing.  It was hard for me but I did my best to display some disappointment on this first accidental longfin.  Luckily we picked off a couple small snapper and with hand signals made it known, snapper was what we wanted.
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Once Paku understood the quest, off we went to his top snapper spots.  With the chance of a 50lber taking the fly, I fished my 12-weight Winston and my 450 grain sinking Sonar.  My fly was a big black and gold Brent Dawson Warpath Jig fly.  The bottom line here is you need to get down to the snappers.
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We hit a few structured banks and like each day the juvenile cuberas were abundant with the occasional gorean snappers mixed in.  About every mile or so we drifted through some riffle areas created by rock gardens underneath.  No doubt, these are the places that stand out and I could see Paku perk up with anticipation with each cast in these places.  An hour into our search I buried the Warpath fly into something strong.

 

blog-March-22-2016-6-african-cubera-snapperI know I’m repeating myself but snapper pull hard.  In fact the first thirty seconds attached to a 10lb
snapper will test tackle like you cannot believe.  Several times Mike went tight and he thought he had a monster only to learn it was another 5lber.

 

blog-March-22-2016-7-jeff-currier-with-cubera-snapperThe idea is to not let the snapper run.  They beeline for safety which are the rocks or the sticks.  Once they bury you in the sticks you can’t pull them out and in the rocks the leader abrasion eventually leads to a break off.  This snapper turned out to be only slightly better than ordinary which is why I was able to hold tight.  But even so, he left my forearms quivering for a few minutes.

 

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John Travis photo

We didn’t touch anything big this morning yet we got pulled around, dragged around and got our arms stretched out for a few hours with Paku.  It was an absolute blast.  We shared the estuary with the forest elephants, exotic birds and we saw monkeys several times.  The primates are too fast for my point and shoot camera but John Travis put some time in with the long lens and got this amazing shot of this red-capped mangabey.

 

blog-March-22-2016-8-sette-cama-camp-gabonThe day turned into a scorcher.  You can only imagine what that means here almost directly under the equator.  After our beers and lunch I tried to nap but couldn’t.  I took a short hike through the forest behind camp and arrived at a piece of beach I hadn’t seen yet.  The surf was too big to consider retrieving my rods but it was a beautiful piece of water nonetheless.

 

blog-March-22-2016-9-regab-beerAt 5 PM we left for the estuary mouth.  We were early yesterday but today we were way early.  We tossed a few flies but to no avail.  From 6 till dark we relaxed and sipped a few Régabs while we waited for the tide to drop.

 

blog-March-22-2016-10-flyfishing-for-cuberaWe’re getting close to the full moon which means the change from high tide to low tide becomes more extreme.  This also means the current during the dropping tide is getting stronger by the day.  Tonight it was like a roaring river where Conrad caught the snapper last night.  The area seemed alive with the tidal rip and I got one of those feelings as I cast into the darkness between Arno and Garth.

 

blog-March-22-2016-11-mark-kuhn-mullet-flyI was fishing one of my favorite Baja roosterfish flies.  It’s a mullet imitation tied by my friend and coffee mug business partner, Mark Kuhn, better known by his nick name, Milkfish.  This was a huge one of Marks flies so I had to be careful not to cast too hard or it would tail wrap.  But man, in the water it looked so alive there was no doubt I was about to get my Winston nearly jerked out of my hands.

 

It’s a weird and hard to explain feeling that few anglers experience, but I made my cast and I knew the **** was about to hit the fan.  And what made things more exciting is that I was wading thigh deep and it was a short cast into the darkness.  Two strips in and I got a jolt like I’d hooked a hippo.  In fact for about five seconds this was a legitimate fear.

 

blog-March-22-2016-12-jeff-currier-flyfishing-gabonBut I had a snapper!  And I’d already been snagged while fishing in this spot earlier in the week and I wasn’t going to let this fish hang me up and get away.  I pulled my rig tight to my belly and though the drag was set so tight I couldn’t move it, I put my left hand completely over the top of the face of the reel spool just to be sure I could keep it in place.  The fish pulled so hard that as I tried to lean back and went for the beach, I was pulled forward and dragged into the water.  Scientific Anglers new 80lb shock tippet material is stronger than you think!

 

blog-March-22-2016-13-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-cuberaAll that and the snapper still won round one.  I held with all my might until finally the spectacle of power pulled me deeper than I wanted to be at night.  The reel handle slipped from my hand and started slowly spinning.  Once it started it picked up speed.  I knew the fish was headed for trouble so in one last ditch effort I used my hand to stop him and then came the knuckle bashing that happened on the tarpon earlier this week.  I don’t remember the pain but Arno and Garth said I was grunting like a wounded hog!

 

I never saw the line leave fast but evidently it did.  When the reel finally stopped spinning and I was able to start reeling I was 20 feet deep in my backing.  It’s no less than a miracle that this fish didn’t find a sharp rock to break me off on.  It was then I knew this fish was mine and I cranked and reefed hard and fast until the fish thrashed near the edge.

 

blog-March-22-2016-14-african-cubera-snapperArno and Garth moved in to corral the African cubera.  I had him shallow enough however that his weight alone had him beached.  Big fat fish like this after a fight like that don’t have it in them to flip around much out of water.  I dove into place to hold the fish I’d worked hard for all day.

 

blog-March-22-2016-15-jeff-currier-fly-fishing-gabonThis was a good one on the fly rod.  Cuberas get more than twice this size but much bigger than this and you may be reading a much sadder fish story like last year’s Africanus blog.  Mike and our friend Jeremy that works here at Sette Cama Camp came for the excitement.  We admired the ferocious predator.  His half-dollar sized eye looked at us all while the jaws opened and closed with such power you could hear the grinding of his massive canines.

 

After a few pics I released him then collected high-fives from the guys.  They went back to dredging and I retreated to a log and enjoyed a Régab.  My day was done and unfortunately that would be our one fish off the beach for the night.

 

John Travis photo

John Travis photo

Meanwhile, John and Conrad went out on boat duty.  After Garths incredible session in the boat last night the boys had high expectations for jumping numbers of tarpon.  Instead the tarpon fishing was dead slow, however, Conrad caught the highly prized Senegalese Kob.  I would have loved to have seen this beautiful species in person.

 

blog-March-22-2016-16-flyfishing-in-africaIt was another great day fly fishing in Gabon.  We ended like the previous nights with dinner on the beach.  We took turns casting in hopes for the illusive giant African threadfin but it’s becoming apparent they aren’t cooperating this week.  No one really remembers the boat ride back to camp – we are getting tired!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Gabon for the Slugging Longfin Jack

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Mark Murray photo

There was a lot of rain through the night.  And I woke up with a sore bruised left hand from taking the reel handle many times over on that first ginormous tarpon run last night.  We sped to the estuary mouth under ominous skies before dawn.  We had high expectations but the only fish caught was this striking longfin jack that I picked off out of the one and only feeding frenzy we saw.  There were no tarpon and the tarpon tide was over before 7 AM.

 

 

blog-March-21-2016-2-tourette-fishing-gabonThe sun came out and the six of us headed for the estuary itself in three boats.  Mike and I were with the non English speaking boatman Ted.  No English may sound bad but there’s always good communication in fishing.  And Ted gets it.  What I mean is when we could barely see jacks busting a half mile away, Ted started the motor and worked us quietly into position to cast to them.

 

blog-March-21-2016-3-flyfishing-gabon-for-jacksAs strange as it sounds, when I first started fishing in Belize in the late 80’s jacks were considered a trash fish.  Jack crevalle for instance simply took too much time to land because of their powerful circling manner of fighting.  I was in my 20’s and fell in love with them and it’s never ended.  I’m happy to say that finally anglers have woke up to the fact that jacks are superb fish on fly.

 

blog-March-21-2016-4-jeff-currier-mike-lasota-flyfishing-gabonNot only that, jacks love the popper, they’re good looking, cooperative and usually plentiful.  Although they still wear you out, with today’s equipment we land them a lot faster.  I’ve caught many jack species from around the world including many of the trevally, but these longfin jacks, unique to the equator section of West Africa, have been a real eye opener.  Mike and I boated at least ten big longfin jacks – enough that my shoulder could use a massage.  These are truly a stunning new species I’ve experienced this week.

 

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Mark Murray photo

It wasn’t only our boat.  All three boats chased the jacks around and caught a bunch.  I looked over at John and Conrad and several times they were doubled up.  It was a fun fish-busting-break after three days working for a fish a session at the estuary mouth.

 

blog-March-21-2016-6-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-grunterThe busting jacks settled as it became scorching hot around 9 AM.  That’s when Ted took us against the jungle banks to throw streamers for snappers and grunter.  The grunter here is almost the same as the one I tried hard for in South Africa back in November.  The most obvious difference is that this one is a lot easier to catch.  His name is the sompat grunter (Pomadasys jubelini).  Anytime we saw a sand flat we’d bounce a Clouser along the bottom and sure enough you’d see their shadow tailing on your fly.  It was really fun.

 

blog-March-21-2016-7-flyfishing-for-snapperThe snapper fishing was stellar as well.  I love the snapper family of fishes and if you read the blog you’ve seen me smile with some beefy pargo from Baja and bohars from Sudan.  You need a strong leader and a rod angle that allows you to stop the fish dead in his tracks.  Let him run and he’ll break you off in the rocks and snags every time.

 

 

 

blog-March-21-2016-8-Lutjanus goreensisThe snappers we caught this morning were small but gorgeous.  Most were baby African cubera snapper but we also caught the Gorean Snapper (Lutjanus goreensis) and me possibly a brown snapper.  I’m working on the identification with my friend Ed Truter who not only spent more time fishing the waters of Gabon than anyone I know but Ed knows his fish.

 

blog-March-21-2016-9-sette-gama-camp-gabonWe fished an extra hour on the morning session and returned to camp around 11.  We were starved and thirsty and we crushed a few Régabs over a delicious lunch.  I haven’t mentioned it but the food here at Sette Cama Camp is absolutely delightful.

 

blog-March-21-2016-10-flyfishing-in-gabonOur tides are not as favorable as they were when we arrived and some tweaking to the usual fishing program is in order.  Mark broke out some maps and we all hovered around and planned the evening fishing based on species.  There’s nothing more exciting than breaking out the map on an exploratory mission.  We have an incredible group here and some great plans developed.

 

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Arno Van Dernest photo

Heavy rain fell during afternoon nap time.  It’s hard to wake up after the pitter-patter off a metal roof for an hour.  Luckily the storm downed to a sprinkle and we left at 5 for the mouth of the estuary.  We had a similar plan to last night only Garth anchored in the boat and Conrad, John and I worked an area that just came right tonight to try for big cubera snapper.  Mike and Arno went to the point for threadfin and tarpon.

 

blog-March-21-2016-12-regab-beer-gabon-fishingWhen we got there however, the tide was still coming in.  This pushes lots of clear saltwater into the estuary.  Mark has learned that this is the opposite of what the Gabon fish like.  We had one hour before the tide changed to outgoing so rather than waste energy fishing when it wasn’t happening, we relaxed and patiently waited.  A good tip here for all my readers.

 

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John Travis photo

Prime time started at dark.  I was sitting on a log getting splashed at high tide one minute and ten minutes later the water dropped significantly and a huge current back out to sea ripped.  This current line in particular is where Mark’s clients have caught huge cubera snapper on plugs over the years.  We went to work with our 12-weights, sinking lines and bushy flies that resemble some of the commonly used plugs.

 

blog-March-21-2016-14-conrad-botes-flyfishing-for-snapperIt didn’t take long for hook up.  Conrad went tight and like we often do John and I ran over to help.  It was too cloudy for moonlight so it helps when friends show up with headlamps.  We knew right away this was a snapper on because Conrad was nearly getting pulled out to sea.  We try as hard as we can not to let these brutal cuberas run much because guaranteed, they will find something to shave your leader on.  Soon Conrad was posing with his prize cubera.  Notice the fly creation from lunch worked!

 

blog-March-21-2016-15-flyfishing-for-bubera-snapperAn hour went by after Conrad’s cubera without any action at all.  We migrated to the point where Mike and Arno hadn’t touched a fish all evening.  We began dredging hoping for a threadfinJohn pulled out a solid and spectacularly colorful cubera but that was our only fish for the next two hours.  We reeled it in and like last night hovered around the cooler for dinner on the beach.

 

 

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Mark Murray photo

Meanwhile, while we worked out tails off on the beach, Garth was at work anchored from the boat like John and I did last night.  He not only landed a tarpon from the boat but jumped ten others and landed a threadfin!  We were starting to think my threadfin was a miracle but they actually do still exist.  More hope for everyone for the next two days!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Day of the West African Tarpon

blog-March-20-2016-1-fly-fishing-for-giant-tarponOur sleep was short but for me solid for the first time since I arrived in Gabon.  I hopped from bed and headed for coffee at 4:30 then before I knew it I was in the boat enjoying the stars on the way to the mouth of the estuary.  When we got there we parked the boats and walked out to the point where the ocean waves collide with the mouth of the estuary.  Daylight was overtaking darkness and the tarpon were rolling off the point.

 

blog-March-20-2016-2-flyfishing-for-tarpon-in-gabonWhile my target fish on this trip is the giant African threadfin, I know when to take advantage of opportunity.  I walked to the point with multiple rods and one was my favorite tarpon set up:  12-weight Winston, a big reel (in today’s case the Hatch 12 Plus Finatic) and the Scientific Anglers Intermediate Sink Tarpon Taper WF12I.  I grabbed the fish stopping rig and went to work alongside my friends.

 

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Mark Murray photo

Before I hardly stretched out enough line to cast Arno hooked up but on the tarpons fifth jump the huge silver slammer shattered his leader as we watched in awe.  This sent him running up the beach for a re-rig.  The rest of us continued casting with a gleam of confidence you can’t believe.  That’s when Conrad went tight and yet another tarpon went airborne.  This one stayed buttoned.

 

blog-March-20-2016-4-flyfishing-GabonConrad Botes is from Cape Town, South Africa and an expert on handling a fly rod from shore against some of the oceans most serious gangsters.  He knocked his tarpon down from his thrown so fast it was unreal.  Granted, we’re all fishing very heavy leader of 80-100lb and this is a huge advantage.  But you still need to know how to use it.  Conrad landed this fantastic tarpon in less than 15 minutes.  May I add that a fast landing is of utmost important for a healthy release.

 

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John Travis photo

As John, Garth and I wrapped up the photo session then watched Conrad release his tarpon, Arno was back in the game and already hooked up.  His tarpon was sailing through the air down the beach towards us with Arno trailing behind.  John, Garth and I looked at each other like we should be charging to the point to start fishing ourselves but this huge tarpon’s acrobatics were too splendid to stop admiring.

 

blog-March-20-2016-6-tarpon-in-west-africaSoon the jumps stopped and it was a tug a war.  Arno backed way up the beach for height and leverage and put his straight 80lb leader to work literally pointing the rod towards the fish and reeling.  It’s an incredible test of tackle especially because this was a fish of over 100lbs.

 

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Mark Murray photo

Despite the great battle tactics used by Arno, his fish was big and the jumps came to an end early.  When your tarpon doesn’t jump enough the battle often goes on longer than you like.  We all gathered round in suspense to see if Arno could beach the beast.  After 30 minutes he did – UNREAL FISH!

 

Nearly an hour passed watching Conrad and Arno land their tarpon.  By the time I got back to fishing the low tide ended and slack tide was in place.  Naturally the tarpon called it a day at this time and the rollers were long gone.  We worked the point for 30 minutes but saw nothing so Mark pulled the plug and off to the estuary we went with the elephants.

 

blog-March-20-2016-9-forest-elephant-gabonThere was no wind and it was scorching hot and rainforest muggy.  There were some random pods of longfin jacks busting mullet and we chased them around for two hours.  I landed an average sized one, my first of this unique species while Mike put another nice one in the boat.  At 10 AM we called it and returned to camp for a late breakfast.

 

blog-March-20-2016-11-arno-van-dernest-fliesWe have fun afternoons here at camp.  Everyone is pumped after the morning session so we eat and drink Régab beers for about two hours then take short naps.  Today the theme of course was tarpon and Arno cranked out some big dark flies.  Most our memorable fish have so far come on dark flies including my threadfin.

 

blog-March-20-2016-12-flyfishing-with-john-travisAt 5 PM we returned to the mouth of the estuary.  Tonight we anchored one boat in the channel at the mouth.  Anchoring here is a sketchy move in a dangerous place.  Currents rage through here during prime time which is the dropping tide and big waves kick up.  The anchor doesn’t grab well and when it does the boat gets tossed viciously side to side.  If the boat flips or if an angler goes overboard, its likely to be a sad ending to a fisherman’s life.  The current would sweep you to open ocean so fast you couldn’t blink.  And realize, this not like America where the Coast Guard comes to the rescue.  John Travis and I volunteered for tonight’s shift.

 

blog-March-20-2016-13-longfin-jack-GabonThe danger factor did not let us down.  Immediately after we set anchor I swung my fly into a small jack.  During battle I nearly went overboard.  I think I was ok but just to be sure our boatman Paku grabbed me.  After I released the jack all of us put our lifejackets on and I adjusted my footing.

 

I nailed two more of the small jacks but after that things went dead.  We watched the guys on the point fish hard as well but nothing.  Worst of all not one tarpon rolled.  But the great thing about fishing a place like Gabon, there’s always something to keep your interest.  Tonight was this magnificent sunset.

 

blog-March-20-2016-14-sunset-in-GabonAbout a half hour after dark the light of the moon took over and I thought I heard a tarpon roll.  I hadn’t been fishing hard due to the lack of activity.  I looked that direction and as I did Paku, who speaks hardly a word of English, simply whispered, “Tarpon”.  I chucked a cast and at the end of the swing I hooked up and a gargantuan tarpon hit the air.  It wasn’t one of those straight up head shakes.  This was the full body jump completely out of the water and parallel to the water.  This was an unbelievable sight with moonlight reflecting of his scales – an image I will take to the grave.

 

The monster remained on and ripped me 100ft into the backing and jumped again.  This time he was far away and we could hardly see but the splash sounded like the sinking of the Titanic.  Next, the angry fish rode the current and took off faster than any fish I’ve ever hooked.  I had my Hatch drag set tight but once the tarpon got it spinning there was no stopping him.  Line sizzled off and it was one of those rare times where I smelt things burning.

 

Lifting anchor and chasing is not an option here.  Paku put his headlamp on to see what I had left for backing.  There wasn’t much and miraculously the tarpon stopped.  We could hear a distant jump session take place then off he went again.  Rather than get spooled, I stopped the spinning reel spool with my hand.  I took a knuckle bashing before I stopped it but finally did.  It was all I could do to hang onto my rig when the fish surged and he almost pulled me overboard.  It was terrifying and I prayed for something to break.  Finally, it did.

 

It took me five minutes to reel everything back.  It turns out my 450 grain fly line snapped two feet back from the tip.  I was lucky to only lose this much.  I shook for about five minutes then fired up the flashlight and re-rigged.  The first cast back in I hooked up again!

 

My forearms hadn’t recuperated from the first round but I knew I needed to fight differently than before.  This time I attempted to stop the tarpons run sooner.  Instead of breaking me the hook pulled on the second jump.  I wasn’t bummed because I got to see these jumps just as clearly as before.  I reeled in and took another five-minute breather.

 

blog-March-20-2016-15-night-fishing-for-tarponEither John’s position in the boat, sink rate of his line or perhaps his fly wasn’t doing it.  I offered to switch places but he was comfortable.  In all reality I desperately wanted him to hook the next tarpon so I could watch someone else face the behemoths.  Back I went into the depths and sure enough I was on again.

 

This was the one I wanted.  He looked to be under a 100lbs unlike the first two I hooked. Unfortunately, after about five fantastic jumps my hook pulled.  I was disappointed because after all the commotion I wanted to catch and release one.

 

At 10 PM fishing died and Paku told us to reel in.  We parked at the beach and joined the guys.  Not one fish was hooked by any of the four of them.  I was the lucky guy tonight I just wish I could have landed one.  To avoid the late dinner scene at camp, Mark brought a huge cooler packed with dinner and beer.  John and I got comfy and crushed several ice cold Régabs while watching the guys dredge for a threadfin.

 

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Mark Murray photo

Nothing happened beyond a tasty dinner and a few cold beers on the beach.  I loved it though with the moon bright and a sky full of stars.  I badly want to see more threadfin caught but I knew mine was lucky.  At 11:30 we returned to camp, had one more beer and hit the hay.  Gabon is incredible!

 

It A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Storms Slow Fly Fishing in Gabon

blog-March-19-2016-1-sette-gama-camp-gabonIt wasn’t Mark Murray that woke me at 4:30 AM it was a major thunderstorm at around 4.  Thunder shook our cabin and flashes of lightening were like strobe lights.  The rain came with it and let’s just say, they don’t make rain like this in Idaho.  It came down like you can only imagine if you’ve been in the rainforest.

 

blog-March-19-2016-2-jeff-currier-flyfishing-gabonWhen Marks knock came I felt lousy.  We didn’t get to bed till 1 AM and I’m still struggling with sleep.  I took 1/4th of a sleeping pill in desperation for some sleep at 2 and even that didn’t help much.  Mike was on the toilet so Mark popped the door and put on the light.  I must have looked haggard because the first thing out of his mouth suggested I take the morning session off.  With the rain pouring and pinging on our metal roof – Marks idea was music too my ears.

 

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Mark Murray photo

I can’t ever recall skipping a session of fishing on a trip of this caliber for any reason but looking ahead at extreme fishing hours for another five days, missing a session to get the body right should pay dividends.  Plus, I accomplished my goal last night catching my giant African threadfin on fly off the beach.  I slept another two hours then relaxed with coffee and worked on the blog.

 

It turns out fishing on the beach was slow and sketchy with threatening lightening and a hefty Nile crocodile that patrolled the surf.  Needless to say they left for fishing the estuary early.  The estuary produced some hawg longfin jacks including this dandy that Mike caught.  I’m sure to get my jack fill soon.

 

The rain fell until 3 PM and it put a smile on Marks face.  He’s learned over the years that the big flushes of freshwater into the lagoon get the tarpon and the threadfin on the feed.  We left for the mouth of the estuary before 5 under fairly nice skies.

 

blog-March-19-2016-4-flyfishing-gabonWhen we got there we saw some rolling tarpon but all required underwear ripping casts.  No one could reach them.  We hoped for some to pass closer but the only fish caught was a longfin jack by Mike.  As we fished the skies cleared and as the sun set a bright moon rose.  Well into the night we could see without light like I do at home in the full moon over snow.

 

blog-March-19-2016-5-flyfishing-for-african-threadfinWe all worked hard in hopes of another threadfin but he didn’t come nor did anything else.  Despite the heavy rains all day the fish were not there.  We packed it up at 11 PM and it was all anyone could do to keep their eyes open on the boat ride home.  We put down some dinner and barely a beer each.  Morning will come soon.

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Giant African Threadfin on the Fly

blog-March-18-2016-1-flyfishing-gabonIf you look at a map of Gabon we’re on the southern coast exactly at the border of Loango National Park.  It’s a long way from Idaho and takes a few days to adjust to the time change.  Because of this I slept like garbage last night.  It was miserable waking up at 4:15 AM.  But then I realized I was fly fishing in Gabon and filled my Yeti tumbler with coffee and stimulated my brain on the 20-minute boat ride to the mouth of the estuary where we fished last night.

 

 

 

blog-March-18-2016-2-tarpon-fly-fishing-in-gabonIt was plenty dark when we arrived.  The winds were soft and the surf and waves easy to handle.  Today I brought my flimsy stripping basket and it made line control for casting slightly easier.  The skies were full of puffy tropical clouds and moon and stars poked through every hole.  By the time I got done being the weatherman John Travis hooked up.

 

Mark Murray photo

Mark Murray photo

John got his fly on the water first and several casts in his reel started screaming and saw him against the moonlight backing up the beach.  He had a tremendous fish pulling him around and things looked hectic.  Next we heard the splashes out in the darkness.  John had a tarpon on.

 

blog-March-18-2016-4-hatch-reelsLanding a tarpon on a fly from a flats boat can be a chore for two guys working together.  Hooking and landing one off the beach here in Gabon seems impossible especially when you consider the ripping currents and a reef not far from where we cast.  But stronger than ever fly rods, reels and lines make the once impossible now possible.

 

Furthermore, the monsters we’re after aren’t likely stopped on traditional leader systems of class tippet breaking strengths of 20lb.  Certainly not a tarpon when there’s a rocky reef near.  I’ve learned from my African friends to fish straight 80lb Flouro.  This system stirs alarm with old-timers that feel the leader “must” have a weaker breaking point than the fly line and backing.  No doubt they’re correct and I emphasized this in my Saltwater Fly Fishing Book.  But times change and the modern philosophy is use heavy tippet and hold the fish close so he never reaches the backing and count on the newer stronger than ever cores of fly lines not to break.

 

blog-March-18-2016-5-flyfishing-for-tarpon-in-africaTourette Fishing carefully selected the anglers for this fly fishing exploratory trip to Gabon.  John wasn’t only fishing straight 80lb tippet but he knows all the tricks to break a tarpons spirit fast.  He had his fish on the beach in a notable ten minutes.  The quick battle was a sight to behold!

 

blog-March-18-2016-6-conrad-botes-flyfishing-gabon

Mark Murray photo

There was more action as well.  As we photographed Johns tarpon Conrad Botes hooked another but lost him after several jumps.  As he was reeling in to check over the rig he hooked and landed a longfin jack and Mike LaSota beached a nice jack as well.  As for me, I better put down the camera and get my game face on soon.

 

blog-March-18-2016-7-flyfishing-gabonBy 7 AM the tide was useless for fishing the estuary mouth.  Mark Murray knew 7 was the end of it so he had a plan and we paired up in the boats and headed in the estuary to fish for snapper and jack.  I picked up my 9-weight Jungle Rod and heaved some Clouser’s at the mangroves from the front while Mike did the same from the back.

 

Arno Van Dernest photo

Arno Van Dernest photo

There was action on almost every cast with snappers and grunter.  I caught a new species called the mangrove jack.  He’s a snapper not a jack.  What’s nice about this catch for me is that I lost a huge one of these in Sudan in 2014 right as I reached for him.  Finally, I can add one of the handsome fellas to my list.

 

blog-March-18-2016-9-guinean-barracudaI also added the Guinean Barracuda (Sphyraena afra) to my species list.  This one’s a baby but the species gets gigantic.  Unfortunately, the aggressive fish have made themselves too vulnerable in the area and the big boys are rare these days.  I noticed the difference from other cuda species immediately with all the beautiful colors on this fishes back.

 

Mark Murray photo

Mark Murray photo

We packed in the morning session around 11 and headed for camp for lunch and beers.  I adjusted my beach set up while Mike napped and the South Africans tied flies.  The fun breather lasted until 4 PM when we left for the evening session during prime tide.

 

blog-March-18-2016-11-forest-elephant-gabonThere’s a ton of wildlife in this area including lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.  I can’t tell you how cool seeing one of these primates would be.  The chances are slim though because they’re wild and have more jungle to hide in than anywhere.  There have been lots of elephants however enjoying the estuary and we saw several on the boat ride to the fishing tonight.  These are a smaller African species called the forest elephants.  Last night we had two walk right out on the beach while fishing.

 

Mark Murray photo

Mark Murray photo

It was nice on the beach at the mouth of the estuary.  There were a few rolling tarpon we couldn’t reach and Garth Wellman took down this enormous longfin jack.  But this brute was our only fish in daylight.  Things got so slow that we considered calling it an early night until Mark assured us after dark is the best time for everyone’s dream fish for the trip, the giant African threadfin.

 

blog-March-18-2016-13-flyfishing-the-surfIt was dark before 7 and that’s when the relentless blind casting began.  Six of us lined the beach around a point where the water rushes past in the dropping tide.  Mark feels the giant African threadfin are mostly deep and far from the beach except every once in a while they move close and this is the spot.  The problem is keeping a fly down deep in the zone for more than a few seconds.  The tidal current rips so hard that even with my 450 grain Sonar sink fly line the fly gets swung back to the surface too fast.  I envision literally needing to bump a threadfin in the nose in those short seconds much like hitting the lottery.

 

blog-March-18-2016-14-scientific-anglers-flylineMy technique was cast as long as I could which isn’t far with a 450 grain from a beach at night.  Then mend some slack line out as the system sinks.  The second I felt the current swing against my fly line I made a strip then fed it back out.  Then another and another but by the time there was hope for a fourth strip and feed my fly was slamming into the beach down current.  You can see how short a time the fly is in the zone.

 

If you read this blog however, you know I’m a believer and my persistence is that of an insane man.  I traveled 9,000 miles for a threadfin and dang it I’m not going home without a fight.  At 9 PM, two solid hours of relentless casting in the dark began to wear on me.  It was so black I simply stared at the opening of my stripping basket being sure my strips of line made it in there for a productive next cast.  Honestly, I was falling asleep standing up in thigh deep water.

 

Forty feet away I could make out the silhouette of John and slightly further I could see Conrad.  Beyond them but too dark to see was Arno and Garth.  Mike was on his own mission tonight somewhere searching for less surf to contend with.  I made a deal with myself to be the last guy to call it quits but dang everyone was fishing hard.  At last, I could hear John reeling in followed by Conrad.  Their silhouettes met and up the beach they went.  Then Arno and Garth met them – the night was coming to an end.

 

blog-March-18-2016-15-jeff-currier-african-threadfin-fishingI told myself ten more casts, something I’ve been doing at the end of every hard fishing day since I was a kid.  On my third cast my heavy fly got hit with the strangest thump I’ve ever felt from a fish in my life.  So strange that at first I wasn’t sure it was a fish.  But after a good strip set and a lift of the rod, without any doubt it was a fish.  The strange thump was followed by heavy and violent headshakes.  The kind that sever a 40lb tippet.  The kind of power that if you’re squeezing your rod to tight the thrust could break your wrist (very few anglers have any idea what I’m talking about but I promise you it’s true).  I just knew and yelled “threadfin on!”

 

blog-March-18-2016-16a-giant-african-threadfin-fishingAs the guys came around to see the fight, the fish steadily cleared my reel of fly line.  I was using my Scientific Angler demo reel – not exactly my first choice but it was too late to second guess my decision.  SA lined the attractive reel with the 450 grain Sonar at the factory to help me save time packing.  The run was powerful yet not speedy and my drag was tight and my backing crackled off the reel in a strange sound.  Undoubtedly the fish had size.  By now some of the guys suggested big snapper while others a jack, both of which I am more than familiar with their fights.  I kept saying, “No.  This is a threadfin”.

 

The hard pulling fish never went more than about fifty feet in the backing.  He fought back and forth around this distance for a good five minutes.  Then he started to give up.  It was a huge relief when my fly line returned to the reel but it took another five minutes to get in my running line and finally see the sinking head of the line.

 

Ten minutes in the fish had taken me a hundred yards down the beach.  Bad for me was here the surf was big and the beach was steep.  I made my first attempt to surf him in on the beach but the lip at the sand drop was too much.  The big fish, although tired now, anchored himself in the trough.  Each time a big wave came I timed it to lift hard and although the first few tries failed I could feel him start to budge.

 

blog-March-18-2016-17-jeff-currier-flyfishing-gabon

Mark Murray photo

The anticipation for everyone was no less than thrilling.  While I still knew I had a threadfin the South Africans weren’t so sure.  Finally, the wave I needed came just as the fish let go of bottom.   I lifted and felt him give and with my rod over my shoulder pointed towards the sea I ran up the beach.  The lunker of a fish rode the wave perfectly and when it receded the fish stayed on his side on the beach.  A giant African threadfin on the fly off the beach!

 

Garth stood over the mighty threadfin to be sure the next wave didn’t release him.  I ran down to see my prize and was in instant awe.  This giant African threadfin was a giant!  At first I could hardly handle him.  His strength pushed me away twice before I finally got my hands under him enough to lift.  He was easily 40lbs!

 

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Mark Murray photo

I’d have thought differently but Mark was quick to announce that threadfin are delicate and our photos session must take place fast.  The last thing I wanted to do was hurt this magnificent creature any more so I lifted for a couple shots then John pulled the fly and I ran him down to the water.  Waves crushed me at the edge of the beach drop but I held my breath and enjoyed the power of the threadfin one last time as he yanked himself away with one swift kick of his massive tail.  Mission accomplished!

 

We stayed fishing on the beach until 11:30 PM.  While I relaxed shooting the bull with Mark most of the time I did put in a few more casts that led to something quite humorous.  My unlit headlamp was tight over my Yeti ball cap.  It was uncomfortably tight and I continued to adjust my hat.  Eventually I forgot the headlamp was there and ripped my hat off to shake it around to make it more comfortable and off went my headlamp out to sea.  First full night – headlamp gone.  Not good.

 

A full ten minutes later I saw a red light flash off the drop-off far down the beach.  It didn’t register with my spinning mind at first but the second time it flashed I charged the direction.  It kept going off but each flash of red I got closer till finally I lunged and dove and miraculously retrieved my lamp.  I forgot to take off my hat though and in trade for the lamp I lost my Yeti hat.

 

While my dumb moves were stacking up it seemed like a good trade – the hat for a lamp (even though it’s not waterproof and may not ever work again).  Then low and behold when we finally gave it up for the night, John came up the beach with my Yeti hat in hand.  It washed up against his feet in the blackness of the ocean.  Tonight was indeed my lucky night!

 

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Mark Murray photo

There was one last stellar fish taken after the threadfin and that was a cubera snapper by Conrad.  The big fish for sure cruise the beach after dark.  It’s just that tonight there were not many and it was a lot of hard work to capture what we did.  We returned to camp for a very late night of beers and dinner.  We made it to bed slightly before 1 AM and Mark is knocking on our doors at 4:30. This is going to be one of those “hardest core” weeks that I thrive on!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Final Leg to Sette Cama Camp in Gabon

blog-March-17-2016-1-sette-cama-camp-gabonI’ve referred to traveling from one side of the earth to the other as entering the “time warp” many times before.  I left the Midwest Fly Fishing Show in Detroit on Sunday night and I’m finally at my destination, Sette Cama Camp in Gabon.  I’m struggling to shake off one of the biggest time warps ever.

 

blog-March-17-2016-2-flyfishing-gabonMy friends, Mike LaSota (longtime pal and partner on this trip), and South African friends Garth Wellman (I competed against in the World Championships of fly fishing in 1990’s), Conrad Botes (I met last March in Sudan) and John Travis and Arno Van Dernest (I met for the first time last nightblog-March-17-2016-3-tourette-fishing-gabon) left our hotel in Port Gentil, Gabon before 6 AM for an 8 AM flight to Gamba, Gabon.  Unfortunately, we were bumped from that flight and our rescheduled flight was delayed.  We finally departed at 10:10 AM and arrived in Gamba at 11.

 

It was scorching hot and as humid as it can possibly get when we got to Gamba.  We loaded our heaps of fly fishing gear into two vehicles and shuttled across town to two waiting boats.  It was a one-hour boat ride to Sette Cama Camp through what is a massive estuary surrounded in immense jungle.

 

blog-March-17-2016-4-fishing-guide-mark-murrayAt camp we were met by South African friend and traveling head guide of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa, Mark Murray.  I met Mark chasing tigerfish in Tanzania in 2013 but have since fished with him twice on the Red Sea of Sudan and most recently in Lesotho last November.  Mark welcomed us with ice cold Régab beers then gave us orientation then we settled into our cabins before setting up our gear.

 

blog-March-17-2016-5-giant-african-threadfinThis is the first ever fly fishing only trip to Gabon and will be a true exploratory adventure.  There’s one fish we’re all after, the giant African threadfin.  None of us have ever caught one before and most have never seen one other than in photos.  The species is one of the most unique fish of all resembling many kinds from corbina to sharks but in the end he’s his own deal.  There are also opportunities for huge tarpon, cubera snapper, longfin jack, Senegalese kob and Guinea barracuda to name a few.

 

Sadly, this is the least prepared I’ve ever been for a trip.  The show circuit consumed every minute of my time since the first of the year.  There was little time for researching or proper packing.  Furthermore, that appalling flu-like sickness I got a month ago took me down so badly I’ve arrived in the worst physical shape in my life.

 

blog-March-17-2016-6-hatch-glavan-reelsWhen you don’t have a strategy in advance for a trip you bring tons of tackle.  I’m loaded but suspect my 12-weight Winston’s and sinking Scientific Angler lines will take the bulk of the workout.  For the first time I won’t be fishing Abel or Ross Reels.  After 29 years of the sturdy reels being a staple of my gear the new owners opted not to continue the relationship I’ve shared with both companies seemingly forever.  Fortunately, Hatch and Galvan Reel companies generously offered their newest and greatest reels for me to take to Gabon.  I even have the new Scientific Anglers Reel.  All are gorgeous and I have a hunch I’ll be extremely pleased with their performance.

 

My final rigs after setting up with the guys are two 12-weight Winston’s.   One has a Hatch 12 with the Scientific Angler Tarpon Taper WF12I and the other the Scientific Angler reel and a 450 grain sink Sonar warm conditions.  I also rigged my new 10-weight Winston Boron III SX with the new Galvan Grip Reel and the Scientific Angler Titan Intermediate WF10FI.  The weakest part of my gear is my stripping basket.

 

blog-March-17-2016-7-fly-fishing-in-gabonWe left for fishing at 4 PM sharp in two boats.  You should’ve seen all the rods for six guys!  We had plans to fish into the darkness.  With any saltwater fly fishing, tides play a huge roll.  For beach fishing the tides are most important and it so happened that around 8 PM tonight was prime.  We traveled 20 minutes by boat to the mouth of the estuary.

 

blog-March-17-2016-8-flyfishing-for-african-threadfinFrom here we hiked ten minutes to where the ocean broke over reef and waves rolled gently to the beach.  Freshwater was emptying to the sea with incredible force.  Mark is our host/guide and he pointed out some locations he thought we should try.  But keep in mind, this place has almost never been fly-fished.  Weeks of spin fishing and bait casting has taken place but lures and long cast are much different than fishing close to the beach with flies.  Even with Marks experience here the fly fishing twist is a punt.

 

blog-March-17-2016-9-stripping-basket-flyfishingJet lag had me on the ropes.  I always fight through it and this was no different but man was I out of it.  Even worse, I haven’t fished in way too long and fly fishing the surf is the most challenging of all.  Line getting covered in sand and sucked by surf is what gets you as you battle the waves.   I hate the use of a stripping basket and although I had one with I maneuvered the evening without.  It wasn’t easy and just watching the South Africans use a stripping basket has me rethinking tomorrow.

 

blog-March-17-2016-10-flyfishing-for-longfin-jackAll lined up along the beach we fished diligently and watched the sunset.  There were marauding jacks and the occasional rolling tarpon.  Its apparent long casts will be crucial as most fish we saw were out of fly cast range.  Like with the stripping baskets the South Africans have a handle on this and they each have a spey rod for beach casting which gives them at least an extra 10 feet of distance.   Arno was quickest with his long cast for the first fish of the trip.  This is a fish unique to west Africa – the longfin jack.

 

blog-March-17-2016-11-flyfishing-with-john-travisOut of the six of us there were three fish caught.  Arno caught the jack knowing the jack family, we’re likely to see more in days to come.  This fish however we may not see again despite the fact both John and Mike caught one.  The reason I say this is because this was the first ever that Mark has seen in several years of guiding Gabon.  It resembles the family of fishes known as sweetlips but I’ll hope to have the official name in days to come thanks to our friend Ed Truter.

 

It wasn’t just myself that was tired tonight.  At 9 PM after at least two hours of no action we all agreed to reel it in.  We hiked to the boats in darkness then motored back for camp for a late dinner and naturally, a few tasty brews.

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for inviting me on this unreal trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Long Road to Fly Fishing in Gabon

There are few fantastic easy-to-get-to fishing destinations these days – particularly when it comes to saltwater fly fishing.  Its Wednesday night in west Africa and I’m in Port Gentil, Gabon on the way to fishing Sette Cama Camp with my friends of Tourette Fishing.  I won’t make my first cast until tomorrow afternoon yet it’s now been about 50 hours since I left the driveway in Victor, Idaho.  Man it’s a long haul!  But Gabon has been on my radar because its home to the giant African threadfin.

 

The giant African threadfin is a fish hard to describe.  He’s nothing like the name sounds or anything like a threadfin shad of North America.  For now, you need to click on the link provided for a picture.  Hopefully by the end of this trip I’ll be posing with one on the blog.

 

Threadfin are not easy to catch.  My Tourette friends have been fishing Sette Cama Camp for several years but rarely with fly.  They offer spin fishing trips and generally catch lots of jack crevalle, longfin jack, cubera snapper and also tarpon.  But the threadfins randomly show up and a few are caught each week.  Although a few have been taken on the fly, it’s not normal that they are targeted this way.

 

Friend Rob Scott is one of the owners of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa.  Rob and I talked about the potential of a fly only trip to Gabon several times over the years but he felt the surf and wind on average are simply too big to reach the fish with flies.  But while with Rob in Lesotho back in November we talked more and he shared some good news – 2016 was the year he was willing to send a group of experienced fly only guys.

 

I learned from Rob shortly after our chat of the dates and finagled it into my jam packed schedule.  While most of the other anglers are friends from South Africa, I was able to invite my friend Mike LaSota to be my partner.  Mike and I have been friends for over 20 years and fished my home waters together forever.  We’ve done a few exotics as well including last April in Sudan.

 

Mike and I relaxed at the Hotel Tropicana all day.  Gabon is seven hours ahead of Idaho.  The long flight and time change stress the body.  At 6 PM the South Africans arrived in Libreville and after they cleared customs we boarded a one-hour flight from Libreville to Port Gentil.  We just finished dinner and beers and we’ll catch yet another flight in the morning to a place called Gamba.  From there we take a one and half hour boat ride to Sette Cama Camp.  If all goes well, I’ll be making my first cast late tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned. . . . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Arrival in Libreville Gabon

blog-March-15-2016-1-flyfishing-africaIt was gutsy flying home for a mere ten hours after the Michigan Midwest Fly Fishing Show Sunday night instead of heading directly to Gabon.  I nearly didn’t make it back to Idaho because of high winds and snow.  But the fish gods were watching and I landed in Idaho Falls around midnight then made the drive home.  An oncoming Dodge pickup whacked a moose on Pine Creek Pass.  It was after 1 AM.  Thankfully it wasn’t me.  When you travel like I do every night in your own bed is like gold.

 

blog-March-15-2016-2-flyfishing-gabonI rested a couple hours then sipped a coffee with Granny.  Granny headed for work and I for the West African country.  I was so tired from the exhausting show season that the 30-hour journey from Jackson to Atlanta to Paris to Libreville, Gabon went by in a blink of an eye.  Between sleeping and looking at the flight map to see where we were.

 

blog-March-15-2016-3-libreville-gabon-ariportI met up with my friend Mike LaSota in Paris.  Then I didn’t see Mike again until we immigrated into Gabon.  Immigration was a circus!  As Americans you must get your VISA in advance but getting the VISA paperwork transferred to your passport upon arrival took more than two hours and cost $100.  We made it though and good news, our luggage was waiting.

 

blog-March-15-2016-4-jeff-currier-flyfishing-gabonThis Gabon adventure is through my friends of Tourette – Fight it in Africa.  As you know by now, my South African friends run a good show and once Mike and I left the rigors of customs we were met by a Tourette agent named Habiba.  Habiba grabbed a cab and took us to overnight here in Libreville at the Hotel Tropicana.  Mike and I nailed some dinner and I sampled the local brew called, Régab.  We managed to stay up till 10 PM before collapsing to our rooms.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Things We Do for Fishing

I fly a bunch and I appreciate how incredible flying is.  I love it.  And this is a good thing for me.

 

blog-March-13-2016-1-fly-fishing-gabonAt 4 PM I finished the bulk of my speaking tour at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in Warren, Michigan.  The shows were excellent this season and the people and the amount of fun I’ve had was incredible.  But I was a little tense today because tonight I start the ridiculous schedule of flying all the way back to Idaho then leaving home tomorrow morning for West Africa.

 

The fine folks running the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo knew my schedule and the minute the show ended they took me to airport to catch my 7:10 flight.  Along with us was one of my speaking companions, 87-year-old Joe Humphreys.  Joe is a childhood fly fishing hero of mine and longtime friend.  To be working on the same stage as Joe this weekend was surreal.  Best of all we got to the Detroit airport with time enough to enjoy a couple drinks together while waiting for our flights.

 

blog-March-13-2016-jeff-currier-and-joe-humpreysI said goodbye to Joe then boarded my 7:10 flight.  The weather was dismal in Detroit.  Rain, rain and heavy rain – enough that I could just feel a delay.  Fortunately, my Delta flight was on time and we left the gloom of rain in Detroit to the sunset above the clouds.  There’s nothing more fantastic than exchanging horrible rain for a sunset gleaming off puffy clouds minutes later.

 

I’m presently high in the sky over Iowa.  My schedule for the next 48 hours goes like this:

 

In two hours we land in Salt Lake City.

 

Then I board the 9:50 PM for Idaho Falls.

 

At around 11:30 PM I should be in my 91 Exploder with my luggage headed for home dodging elk, deer and moose.

 

March 14

 

At 1 AM I should be hitting the bed at home in Victor.

 

I’m 95% packed for Gabon but will sort things out one last time around 6 AM over coffee with Granny.  She’ll head to work and I’ll head out to do some last minute vitals for the trip.  This weekend I got an email from Africa requiring I arrive to Gabon with a certified copy of my passport.  I didn’t know what this was but have arranged to get my passport copy notarized at my bank tomorrow in Victor on the way to the airport (cutting things way too close).

 

There’s a winter storm warning for tonight and tomorrow back home so “knock on wood” I get in tonight and out tomorrow.  I’m scheduled on the direct flight from Jackson Hole, WY to Atlanta at 12:58 PM.

 

Land in Atlanta at 6:30 PM.

 

Depart Atlanta for Paris at 7:15 PM (cutting it close!) (If all goes well and I make the flight – at 8:15 I should be cruising at 40,000 ft., sipping red wine, watching a movie and getting ready for my first good sleep in days)

 

March 15

 

Arrive in Paris at 6:30 AM.  Meet up with one of my best friends, Mike LaSota.  (Get some good Euro coffee!)

 

Depart Paris for Libreville, Gabon at 10:45 AM.

 

Arrive in Libreville at 5:20 PM

 

March 16

 

Spend the day in Libreville.

 

At 5 PM head back to Libreville airport to

meet up with my arriving South African friends and immediately board a flight for Port-Gentil, Gabon.

 

Arrive in Port-Gentil at 8 PM and overnight.

 

March 17

 

Leave the hotel early to fly to Gamba, Gabon.

 

Meet boat taxi and then a 90-minute boat ride to Sette Cama Camp.

 

Then finally – six days of fishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I will struggle with internet on this trip but as always expect day by day accounts to appear when internet is available.  Now begins the journey to a new country and hopefully several new species.  Number one on my list for this trip is the giant African threadfin!

 

Like many times before – this trip is possible because of my South African friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa.  These guys are the best!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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