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Guinea Bissau Popping

GUINEA BISSAU POPPING

 

Jack Crevalle from the beach on popper

Jack Crevalle from the beach on popper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny thing titles, didn`t know how to describe the experience I have just been through but as it`s on real lure fish, none of this soft plastic stuff, here goes

 

Bissau is the third poorest country in the world, an ex Portuguese protectorate standing between Senegal and Liberia on the West African coast

keep bailing chaps

keep bailing chaps

 

 

 

 

 

An accumulation of  estuaries and creeks merge into a sandy delta with Islands known as the Bijagos Islands a spattering of 88 palm-fringed-islands in the Atlantic Ocean, only 23 of them inhabited

A tidal bottleneck full of Jacks and Snappers.....

A tidal bottleneck full of Jacks and Snappers.....

 

 

 

 

To just say that these verdant tropical specks have miles of deserted, spectacular beaches, peculiar feats of nature like a rare herd of saltwater hippopotamuses, and unusual customs like one of the world`s few functioning matriarchies women have traditionally chosen their mates, with little right of refusal, on the island of Orango is to do them an injustice. Because to arrive in the Bijag`s after the three-hour ride in a small speedboat from the decrepit yet ingratiating capital of the country, Bissau, is to enter another world and another century.

Beaches to die for

Beaches to die for

 

 

 

 

Organised through World Sport fishing to get there is a flight to Lisbon and then a connection to Bissau.

An overnight on the side of the creek you then take the boat from and the 3 hour trip to get you to Accunda, a small island only a few hundred meters away from the larger Island of  Orango

loading up to go from the mainland .A 3 hr journey at 20knots awaits...

loading up to go from the mainland .A 3 hr journey at 20knots awaits...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrival at Accunda

Arrival at Accunda

 

A base camp of thatched cottages, a bar and a table to eat from is all you need, all looked after by a French Host, Nico, complete in his faded Tenryu t shirt

Base camp lodge at Accunda,bar next to beach

Base camp lodge at Accunda,bar next to beach

 

 

 

 

It was high tide, with a rise and fall of over 3 m, and Sierra Mackerel and Jacks were busy in the channel between Orango and Acunda crashing the bait

First fish isnt always the biggest,but within 10 minutes of arriving it will do

First fish isnt always the biggest,but within 10 minutes of arriving it will do

 

 

 

 

What a welcome

It a little Island ,away from the mossies, a private peice of paradise

It a little Island ,away from the mossies, a private peice of paradise

 

 

 

 

The fishery itself is a lure fishermans paradise with shallow water, sandbanks, rocky promontories and shallow wrecks

Popping is the most popular method, with shallow runners and stick baits a close second.

Popping is the most POP ular method,the enerjigger braid the perfect reel

Popping is the most POP ular method,the enerjigger braid the perfect reel

 

 

 

 

I also used buck tail jigs for there durability and speed jigging the deeper faster runs between the Islands is very effective.

There is no need to use bait to have a good day but believe me a few hours popping a 200mm or 150mm popper at fast speed soon puts you the mood for a rest and a bit of lay down to do something else

There are vast shoals of baitfish on the banks and collection of bait is a straight forward affair using sabikis with all the hair cut off so only the hooks show.

Less straight forward is getting the correct type of bait as fish showed definite preferences and can afford to be as choosy as they want in there chose of prey.

a very big jack is the toughest of opponents,this one was seen and cast for on a rough sandbank

a very big jack is the toughest of opponents,this one was seen and cast for on a rough sandbank

 

 

Species include 3 species of jack in the Crevalle, Long fin and African Pompano as well as Leer fish

Leerfish,not common on our trip but faster than Jacks

Leerfish,not common on our trip but faster than Jacks

 

 

Various kinds of  Snapper and Grouper inhabit the rocks and a fish I had come across before bait fish in Namibia called Kob there but also called Corvina,A fish related to the American Redfish.

Corvina or Kob caught on a chartreuse bucktail and light gear,great fun

Corvina or Kob caught on a chartreuse bucktail and light gear,great fun

 

 

Barracuda abound and there large amounts of sharks and  rays for those who want to target them

Popping

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I suppose you could call this HRF with knobs on.

I used 100g Alcedo Modularis spinning rods in 2.4 and 3.0m length. Together with Pro jigger reels and 300m of 60lb braid.

Leaders are 100lb to a ball bearing snap swivel

On recommendation I used cost effective Tsunami 150mm and 200mm poppers or Hokkaido super shad 180mm shallow runners.

All lures need there hooks and split pins removing and Owners ST trebles put on.

This is absolutely necessary as any other hook becomes the weakest link.

Very fast and fight on the surface, a beautiful Cobia from a shallow wreck on livebait

Very fast and fight on the surface, a beautiful Cobia from a shallow wreck on livebait

 

 

 

 

 

On the sandbanks it is as if you are casting into a washing machine of waves surf and foam.

The technique is motor the boat, a rugged 30ft twin 100hp open top about 50 m from the shallows and cast ahead and across the banks, cranking hard on the retrieve and giving the lure all the noise and pop you can.

Vast amounts of sand bank go by without a touch and then all hell breaks lose as a pack of jacks crash the poppers, often in the face of wave and in full view.

Those without a fish need to get there poppers into the maelstrom as quickly as possible to get a hit as the pack will follow the hooked fish often trying to tear the lure from the fish`s mouth.

How big to you want your Jack,one from the washing Machine .a swirl of white water on a bank

How big to you want your Jack,one from the washing Machine .a swirl of white water on a bank

 

 

Runs are hard and fast and long over shallow water with rods often having to be run all around the boat over and under other hooked fish.

Fights are long and fierce with the Jacks showing no mercy of the slack and weak.

Rods often snap and reels burn out .

Braid gets twisted and frayed and knots give way

The technique is short pumps and winds ,do not put the rod up too high.

Eventually the fish circles the boat pumping its tail in beat distinctive of Jacks. Before being tailed by armoured glove into the boat due to the blades on the side of the tail.

Some are released but some are kept for sushi lunch and for the village, which often rely on the camp for supper.

Fresh raw pompano for lunch.Sushi African style and really nice

Fresh raw pompano for lunch.Sushi African style and really nice

 

 

The local fisherman mainly targeting the mullet and smaller species for drying and smoking.

 

 

 

 

 

Rock fishing

 

 

 

Is drifting over patches of volcanic reef casting over the heads.

Snapper hit hard and fast and return with lure to the rocks with huge paddle tails even faster.  Crash,bang,snagged €¦Ã¢‚¬¦as fast as you can say it

Shallow runners in white are preferred to poppers but again these fish crush lures and hooks like matchsticks.

A 20lb snapper is probably the hardest target available to lure anglers

Don`t even think about the 40 and 50lb fish that just play with you before spitting out the remains of your lure€¦..

Leerfish inhabit the sandbanks where you can catch them and the wrecks where you probably can not€¦..for the same reason as above.

Fairer game are Cobia ,a mix of catfish and shark that fight fair by screaming off on long and fast runs on the surface much like a lunatic Tope on steroids.

Living next to structure such as wrecks and rocks these are caught on lures but love a live drifted baitfish which they first kill with a fierce bite before returning to suck the victim in.

Other fish seen on the wrecks were Permit seen on the fin which are quite catchable on a calm day with fish bait on the surface or even a well presented fly.

Most spectacular of all was popping from a beach .

A spot discovered when a call of nature was urgently required earlier this year by one of the skippers.

Caught on a falling tide  the trick is to look for activity along a large section of prime beach

Casting below Sierra Mackerel or baitfish activity produces spectacular results with pods of Pompano and Jacks ripping hooks off the lures as they fought for the honour of the fight

This is where I tried fly fishing  by waiting until fish chasing the popper come in close

I have a video of a fly caught fish which shows the fight lasting over 45 minutes

This was on a 10 weight and over 300m of backing across the tidal stream was taken before the fish was turned and slowly pumped back over rocks and banks.

The fishery is full of different ways to fish and will satisfy the keenest type of angler, whatever preference or method he chooses to use. I even caught a 10 kilo Corvina at night beach casting in front of the camp restaurant.

Costs are very reasonable and you can even chose a shore fishing option only.

 

Its all a bit different from Bass and Wrasse but is a spectacular way to go fishing,which is what we all enjoy.

Hope you enjoy the photographs

Don`t hesitate to get in touch on sales@italiafishing.co.uk for more information and advice on Bissau

 

 

Enerjigger reels suvived the bashing and high work rate that popping and speed jiiging put on the internal parts no sweat

Enerjigger reels suvived the bashing and high work rate that popping and speed jiiging put on the internal parts no sweat

an Avet reel for trolling on a green line jigging rod

an Avet reel for trolling on a green line jigging rod

Modularis 100g spinning rods were even used for speed jigging with 300g jigs,they didnt break...

Modularis 100g spinning rods were even used for speed jigging with 300g jigs,they didnt break...

An aluminium pro reel isnt supposed to catch this type of fish but it was fun..

An aluminium pro reel isnt supposed to catch this type of fish but it was fun..

Not all the permit were big...

Not all the permit were big...

A local fishing boat,probably hundreds of year old and made from one tree.

A local fishing boat,probably hundreds of year old and made from one tree.

a little neach for lunch

a little neach for lunch

Sushi anyone

Sushi anyone

Oh No a big fish on a small 50g rod and aluminium pro,slowly does it

Oh No a big fish on a small 50g rod and aluminium pro,slowly does it

Half an hour later...... a 15 kilo fish

Half an hour later...... a 15 kilo fish

The famous chimneys wreck as seen in Robson Greens programme, a algae bloom spoiled our day

The famous chimneys wreck as seen in Robson Greens programme, a algae bloom spoiled our day

this guys sought us out from miles away and wanted to play,I samw turtles and dougons too

this guys sought us out from miles away and wanted to play,I samw turtles and dougons too

enerjigger braid ,modularis 100g and master fight braid all put to the test

enerjigger braid ,modularis 100g and master fight braid all put to the test