Why I Keep Going Back,
and This is No Fish Story!!
By Duncan McLean
It has been over four and a half years now since I first inquired about Lake Nasser. Like many people, I saw Barrie Rickards ad in Pikelines Magazine, a well-known fishing journal in the UK, and I just had to find out more. Within a short space of time, Barrie had replied, and, next thing I knew, I had booked a week at the beginning of November 1996.
It was a totally different experience from anything I had tried before. I flew from Gatwick to Luxor, and on arrival met up with Guy from South Africa and Wim from Holland. It sounds like the beginning of a joke: Did you hear the one about the Englishman, the Dutchman, and the South African?
It was a great week. Will Wragg was our guide, along with Hamdy. The fishing was not at its best, but we all managed to catch a few. Wim had the biggest, a 50-pounder, caught at Wadi Abyad Island, on his favorite lure, the blue Rapala Super Shad Rap. This made me determined to return the following year not just for one week this time, but for three!
So in October 1997 I was at Heathrow for the return to Lake Nassar. At the airport, I met four lads from Norwich: Martin, Howard, Mike and Andy. They were going for two weeks, and what fun we had! I joined up with Will again, and this time he had a new guide with him, Shaban, a quiet man and a very good angler. The boys went with Mohammed and Ahmed, two very experienced guides. Second day on the lake, Mike caught perch of 101 and 109 pounds! He was soon to be known as Golden Bollocks. Fitting really: a few days later we saw him get a 50-pounder form the shore at Khor Mariya! The gods of angling were certainly on his side.
A record Breaking Catch on Lake Nasser
In the second week, Alan Jones, from London, joined me. Then the fun really began. His wife had packed his case, and she even put a deck chair in it! Then there was plenty of fun and games with the beasts beneath the surface. I had a 250lb-rated Sampo Swivel destroyed by an absolute monster. We caught some good fish, too, with Alans best going 64lb and mine 124lb. Howard was the one we felt really sorry for. He had lost at least five fish over 100lb two estimated at over 160. Then, on his last-but-one day, he had a 110-pounder. Martin caught a 56lb perch from the shore, and I managed a 60-pounder shore fishing, on a Rapala CD14 Fire Tiger. At the end of the two weeks, we all exchanged numbers to arrange a trip for the following year.
In my third week Alan and Ian from Essex joined me; and Bob and Guy from Portsmouth joined Mohammed. I think everyone lost some truly monstrous fish. Guy had a Russelure ripped apart, and I had a Super Shad Rap snapped in two!! Ian and Alan landed plenty of fish up to 60lb, and I managed a 144lb fish on a CD18. Things just couldnt get any better but they did. The same day I hooked and landed and 8lb tiger, and Alan lost one around the 15lb mark.. Guy and Bob also had some good tigers, taking fish to double figures. As usual, the safari ended too soon, but we had the next trip to look forward to.
In 1998, just a few weeks before flying out, I had a shock phone call from Alan Jones wife, Pauline. He had fallen at work and broken both legs and one of his arms. The boys couldnt believe what had happened, but not as much as Alan.
We met up at the airport, all a bit fed up that Alan wouldnt be with us. It was also Wills last safari before leaving to work in Fiji, so he wanted it to be special and it was. We had a new recruit with us, Duncan Redhead, nicknamed the plug. I was working with him at the time, and he wanted a big fish. He got it as well: a perch of 107lb on a Depth Raider, at Korosko. The good thing with this safari was that neither Andy nor Martin had caught a 100lb fish last time, but this time they did. Howard came out on top, with three fish over 100, the best weighing in at 155lb, from Korosko. Funny thing was that Korosko was not supposed to be fishing that well! Howard also managed a vundu, about 8lb, the first I had seen. I managed a 103lb perch on a Depth Raider, and that was trolling with a fixed spool! Mike landed a tiger of 9lb 12oz. an absolute cracker.
Will had a personal best of 90lb on a Cisco Kid, near Afia. We also had an experience with a big crocodile. It was at the same beach where we had weighed and photographed Wills fish, just a few days later! He was about 12-14 feet long! Normally crocs run a mile from the sound of outboards, but not this one. Shaban was taking the line off the prop, when the croc appeared underneath him! He broke the high jump record by several feet, a feat for which he is now a legend within the Nubian community. The holiday was a total success: eight 100lb+ fish, at the time a new safari record, and we all caught well. The only problem was we had to go home.
I arranged to return with Alan when he was fit and well, so at the end of May 1999 we went for a one week Nubian, with Yousef and Bibi. As usual there were plenty of fish. The lake was very different, though: at least four meters lower, so all the winter venues were very, very different. Also the land around the lake was very green. This surprised me, as I would have expected it to be very dry in the summer. The land actually had grass on it, and for the first time we met Bedouin farmers, grazing their sheep.
Alan had some real big fish on, and lost them. One jumped out of the water, hit the boat, and knocked out the hooks. Another took a lot of line and broke him on rocks. Shore fishing was better: we both caught mainly this way. CD14s and the rubber fish scored well. At Kalabsha I witnessed a pack of Niles hunting tilapia through a weed-bed. It was amazing. The speed at which they move is similar to pike, but they were working together in packs of maybe six.
Alan landed a Perch of 54lb (on my lure) trolling one day. I had one of 55lb on a CD14 Fire Tiger, shore fishing, and another the same size trolling with a Super Shad Rap. One afternoon, fishing for tigers, Alan took one of 5lb, and I landed a 15lb perch on an 8cm Rapala Rattlin Rap it took some doing on a 6ft 6in baitcaster!
The highlight of this safari for me was my first vundu catfish, caught on meat. I always remember Will saying how strong they are, and this one was no exception. It weighed 26lb and the fight was awesome. It left me a nervous wreck. God can only know what a real big one fights like! It must have had 100 yards of line off at one point. Incredible.
I have just returned from my fifth trip. Again I teamed up with Alan for a week. At the airport we met five other anglers: Mark from Norwich, Steve from London, and Smoke Bloke, Fat Bloke, and Baldy Bloke, the Sea Anglers from Luton (you know who you are!). The fishing was quite difficult at this time of year the weather conditions are still changing.
Our guide was Shaban, and we had Bibi and Mohammed the Black Crocodile as supply boat staff. We took off to head down south, and the fishing was quite tough nothing on the first day. Second day I had a 93lb perch first troll, followed by a 60-pounder then a 4lb tiger fish! The weather was good, so Alan was happy; he loves the sun. We lost some good fish on our way to El Madig. It is a good area to fish and it was worth the traveling. I landed fish to 102lb and Alan landed a 35lb perch at night on a Depth Raider!
As we moved up the lake we met Tim and Steve. They reeled in fish up to 132lb, but didnt know how the other safaris had done. Eventually we met up with the other boys, and they had taken fish to 70lb. By now the trip for next year had already been planned, this time for two weeks.
So, we are back out in November 2000 for my sixth trip. As regulars will know, it is not just about the big fish. It is also for the good company that is out there. The staff people are all excellent, and do anything to help. Nothing is too much trouble. The food, too, is quite special considering the conditions. Bibi makes about the finest bread you will taste anywhere, and Morsi can create cakes that are to die for.
On top of all that, the African Angler guides take great pride in us catching the biggest fish its almost an obsession with them. They do try their hearts out. All these are reasons why I keep going back.
Story provided by:
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Why I Keep Going Back, and This is No 'Fish Story'! By Duncan McLean
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Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
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Book Reviews Various Editors
Hotel Reviews By Jimmy Dunn & Juergen Stryjak
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
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Egyptian ExhibitionsBy Staff
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Nightlife Various Editors
Egypt On Screen By Carolyn Patricia Scott
Restaurant Reviews Various Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek
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