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Gambia Sport Fishing Guide
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Sea and river fishing is good all year round (see seasons chart), particularly line-fishing from the beaches. Several sport-fishing boats are available for sea-angling trips from a number of local fishing tour operators. Many boats are located and available for hire at Denton 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 more.

The 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
Snapper 5-110lbs
Grouper 5-10lbs
Guitar fish 10-90lbs
Thread fin salmon 5-70lbs
Jacks 5-50lbs Cat fish 2-60lbs
Barracuda 5-70lbs
Rays 5-400lbs

West African Shore & Boat Fishing Festival Competition:
The 3 day shoreline competition attracts fishing enthusiasts from all over the EU. Due to the high standard of beach fishing and and top cash prizes, 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.

Beach Fishing:
It is possible to hire a safari land rover to take you from the main hotel resorts over 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 beach 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:
Blue MarlinDeep 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.

Creek Fishing:
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 species.

Skiff Fishing:
SkiffThe 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 giant turtles.

Sports Fishing:
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 species.

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, and  Spanish 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 particular 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.

Tarpon Fishing:
TarponBelonging 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 line

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 worse.

Tiger FishA 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 has a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.

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