Sea and river fishing is good all year round (see
particularly line-fishing from the beaches. Several sport-fishing
boats are available for sea-angling trips from a number of local
operators. Many boats are located and available for hire at
Bridge and in the estuary of the River Gambia.
Many are well equipped for deep-water sports-fishing trips.
Since the early 1990s, the growing popularity for recreational
fishing has now made The Gambia one of the most sought after fishing
holiday destinations in the world.
The Gambian beaches
play host to
the Masterline International Beach Fishing Festival every year and for
good reason, the surf casting is excellent during the period from October
through to May and beach fishermen can expect to take Large Guitarfish,
Stingrays, Captain fish, Jack Crevalle, Cassava, Groupers and many
coastal region of The Gambia is made up of numerous angling spots
such as inshore reefs
and sandbars, deep channels and rocky outcrops, as well as the mighty
Gambia River itself. A couple of great fishing areas can be found
further down the coast at Tanji
creeks and Kartung's Allahein River. Primarily an estuary region, the average depth ranges from 10ft to 100ft with tidal sub-tropical waters flowing into
the Atlantic Ocean. These features provide an excellent marine
environment for a number of noted worldwide Sport Fish as well as a
multitude of tropical local and colourful species.
The fresh water regions of The Gambia River on
the West African Coast
is the new destination for the travelling Sport Fisherman. In the
heart of Gambia, this truly African setting is home to a number of
noted fighting fresh water fish and a host of localised species which
include: Tiger fish, Vundu Catfish, Sharptooth Catfish, Zambizi Pike ,
Characins , Threadfin Salmon and many more. The lure of Gambia's fresh
water is the totally unspoilt nature of this huge stretch of river, untouched by commercialism , this area offers a taste of the real
Africa. Here fish species can live out their natural life cycle
without interference from the modern world.
Normal baits for bottom fishing include live Mullet and Sardines,
as well as dead baits of shrimp or bonga.
||Typical Fish Catches in
the coastal waters of Gambia are:
||• Tarpon 20-300lbs
Guitar fish 10-90lbs
Thread fin salmon 5-70lbs
Jacks 5-50lbs Cat fish 2-60lbs
The 3 day shoreline competition is now in its 9th year and attracts
fishing enthusiasts from all over the EU. Due to the high standard of
beach fishing and prizes worth around £50,000, the festival's
popularity is on the increase as anglers return each year. Other activities during the
week-long festival include practice days, social evenings, evening matches
and international charity fishing. Entries are open to all sexes,
abilities and ages.
||West African Shore & Boat Fishing Festival Competition:
It is possible to hire
land rover to take you from the main hotel
bush and beach along Gambia's southern seaboard. Here, you can
find plenty of sandy
bays lined with shallow reefs and rocky outcrops which provide
the ideal environment for the dedicated shore angler.
A day trip can last around 7 hours. Anglers can choose from a
variety of methods including both lure and bait fishing.
Shore angling in The Gambia is available at any time of
the year and any state of the tide. It is also so diverse that
almost any arrangement of tackle can be deployed. For
angling in the open sandy bays, a standard beach casting outfit
is frequently used to throw out the bait beyond the surf's edge.
Otherwise, lighter spinning outfits are also a common choice and are used
effectively when angling from the scar reef and rocks.
You are advised to bring your own tackle, otherwise you can hire
a set from your local operator.
Typical catches include species such as Barracuda, Shovel-nosed
Rays, Jacks, Stingrays, Cobb and a range of localised species.
Blue Water Fishing:
sea fishing up to 20 miles offshore on a 28 foot Glacier Bay
Catamaran using methods such as trolling, drift fishing, live
baits and sight casting to target Sailfish, Dorado, Marlin, Tuna
and many more pelagic species. The 'blue water' season in Gambia
runs from the middle of May to October. During the summer June
to Dec, large groups of migratory Marlin and Sailfish run down
the Senegalese and Gambian coasts, along with Dorado, Tuna and
Sharks. This adds up to an excellent sport fishery.
The Gambia's estuary is
fringed on its banks by dense mangrove swamps interconnected by
a maze of saltwater bolongs.
These splendid, wild waterways make an ideal habitat for a
range of tropical fish and an ideal marine environment for the light
tackle angler. Shielded from the Atlantic Ocean, the bolong's
meandering water-ways are perpetually tranquil and appealing to the boat
anglers who prefer to avoid rough waters.
Angling methods include both lure and bait fishing.
Target species include Barracuda, Butterfish, Ladyfish, Snappers Threadfin Salmon
as well as plenty of localised species.
More than 70 different species are regular catches in the reefs
- these include Barracuda, Cubera Snapper, Threadfin Salmon,
Cassava, Jack Crevalle and Stingrays. Bottom fishing and
trolling with 12, 20 and 30lbs gear, it's amazing how hard these
fish will fight. The
coastal region of The Gambia is made up of many inshore reef sandbars,
rocky outcrops and deep channels, as well as
the Gambia River. Primarily a tidal estuary, these
features provide an ideal marine ecosystem for a number of
renowned sporting fish as well as numerous local tropical
The shallow clear waters of the islands at Tanji are home to
numerous predators including Queenfish, Jack Crevalle,
Barracuda, Snapper and Tarpon. If you fancy yourself as a bit of
a Rex Hunt this is the trip for you, lure fishing on light gear
is the name of the game. You may also catch a glimpse of the
Using this method along the Gambian
coastline gives the
travelling angler the chance to try out a variety of baiting
methods including lure fishing, bait fishing at anchor using a
variety of dead or live baits.
Moored close to the rocky outcrops and reefs using a simple
stainless steel paternoster rig with quite
light tackle and local fresh prawns for bait will create many hours
of enjoyment for the angler.
The exhilaration of
battling with a number of tough fighting reef dwellers is
increased by not knowing what you're going to catch on your next bait!
It is common for over a 12 local species to be caught in this
way. On the same fishing grounds, near to the sandbars and reefs
you can also aim the larger species. Typical catches include
African Pompano, Angel Fish, Moray Eel, Hardhead Catfish, Trevelle
Jacks, Grouper, Tropical Wrass, Cubera Snapper, Ladyfish (Nine
Bones), King Threadfin as well as other colourful tropical
Using heavy duty
fishing gear, baits such as herrings are gently dropped
into the depths to lure some renowned hard fighters. Fishing slightly off the reefs, the West
African King Threadfin (locally known as Kujeli)
can be hunted down. These recognised sporting fish have become a
favorite with anglers. Although a shy feeder, the Threadfin once
hooked, will give a lengthy powerful fight
all the way back to the boat. Other local species such as
Ladyfish react in pretty much the same way.
Apart from the diverse bottom fishing that is available,
lure fishing or trolling
from a traveling boat is a well known method when targeting Barracuda.
Moving along the Gambian coastal region,
fishing with a selection of artificial lures, it is an anxious time
for the fisherman as he passes time in anticipation for his rod to
bend over and line start screeching from reel. Believing them to
be fleeing fish the Barracuda will strike at the lures. Once
hooked, these fish resist being caught hard often emerging from
the water's surface in an attempt to release themselves from
your hook. Other predatory species such as the Large Pompano,
Mackerel are also favourites.
A typical full days' sport fishing will often include a
combination of different techniques to suit the type of fishing on that
day. The ever changing tidal coloration and flow of the currents often
determines which fishing methods are used and which fish are to be
sought after. This decision is best left to the boat's captain and crew whose
invaluable local knowledge of fish behaviour and grounds will
put you onto what's taking the bait.
Belonging to the Elopidae family they are by far the most powerful gamefish in The Gambia!
Do battle with the Silver King or more accurately the Silver
Queen as most Tarpon over 150lbs are females. The Gambia is home
to some of the world's largest Tarpon; the unofficial world
record fish of 303lbs was landed by a UK angler in 1995. The
weight of a tarpon in The Gambia can range from 15lb to 250lb,
with numerous fish having been caught weighing in excess of 100lbs. A day
sport fishing for one of these 7-foot fish off the coast can be
the experience of a lifetime.
These amazing fish can
be targeted using a
variety of techniques such as live and artificial bait, rods and
The tarpon give away their presence when they occasionally rise
to the sea surface. The
'Silver Kings' as they are sometimes known owe much of their
reputation to their often enormous size
and their habit of making, spectacular leaps after being
hooked on the line.
Although these giants can be caught throughout the year the best time to catch the larger specimens is November through to May. Despite having some
of the largest tarpon in the world these fish can prove elusive so
aiming for the best tides is a critical factor. In Gambia tarpon
are mostly targeted over the rise of the high tide in the mouth
of the River estuary given good weather conditions. Calm sea conditions
are needed to fish the tarpon for the best results and you must
be prepared to look at alternatives if the weather turns for the
A chance to travel inland and catch one of the top
freshwater sporting fish (Hydrocynus Vitattus). The average weight is 12lbs but
in the 2006 season fish up to a massive 23lbs were netted.
Superb fishing is available in the waters all around
Janjangbureh (Georgetown) on
McCarthy Island which is 180 miles up the
Gambia River. Angling
is done at various spots around prominent features; deep
channels and sandbanks, sunken trees and rocky outcrops. Fishing
for Tigerfish is usually done in two sessions; early evening and
early morning with lure fishing; slow trolling a variety of
lures along the edges of the river banks and around marked
features provide the most consistent strikes. Once hooked, this
formidable predator will break from the water with a display of
powerful turns and twists.
You can stay in a secluded
bush camp called the
Bird Safari Camp which is equipped with a restaurant, bar
and swimming pool.