A Gambian Adventure

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Mar 9, 2002
Firstly I must apologise for the late addition of this article to the site, but as many of you are aware I lost my pc in a house fire and although I have been making contributions to the site I was not able to load any pictures. Well now it is here and I hope you enjoy the read.

This was an experience never to be forgotten from start to end it was not only a fishing experience but also an introduction to a different way of life. The fishing was so different to the normal Pole and Rig / Rod and line.

The holiday started by meeting up with Ward and Richard and travelling down to Gatwick for 07:00 take off. When we arrived at the airport it was showing our flight as being delayed one hour, not too bad I suppose so we went to a Caf and had a decent breakfast at the same time filling our pockets with Salad Cream, Mustard, Brown Sauce and sugar. When I asked why, I was told it helps to make the Gambian Sandwiches taste better. The flight was now posted as being 3 hours late. What a shame, off to the bar for a few drinks. We finally took off at 11:45, with 5hrs 45mins
Flying time in front of us.

Now several of you will surely remember the events I had before this holiday, fire, Car crashed into, and wife had her handbag snatched. Things come in threes no they dont things come in 6s.

1) Plane Late

As the plane took off I was chewing a sweet and thought that was a bit hard only to discover that one of my front teeth had broken off but thankfully there was no pain and a double scotch on top of the 3 pint of lager soon made me forget about it.

2) Broken Tooth

The Plane eventually arrived in the Gambia at about 16:45 and it was hot 35 degrees but it was a dry heat and it did not take to long to get used to it. We drove from the Airport to Banjul and went to an area called Senna Gambia where we changed some money. Exchange Rate we 1 to 50 ds. Then we bought some fags, which were 6.5 for 200, and I bought myself a fishing hat for a quid, its the hat you will see later in some of the pictures. I was beginning to like the costs of the Gambia.

We then went off to our hotel and got our gear sorted out, as it was too late to go fishing we went to the Come Inn for our evening meal and this proved to be so good it became our regular watering hole. By the time we had finished our meal I was shattered and decided to return to the Hotel. Richard and Ward had other plans and went off on the booze. I do not know when Ward got back you can drink through the night in Gambia but when I woke up he looked very rough.

The following morning Martin / no I mean Malcolm

Picked us up at 9:00 for a day, skiff fishing we went down to the beach and his boatman Francoise picked us up. The previous few days had been quite windy so the sea was not flat Francoise said that it may make it quite difficult to catch fish on the troll we were mainly after Barracuda, Jacks and Spanish mackerel. We trolled for a few hours with no success so Francoise anchored up and we started bait fishing. This did not do Wards constitution any good the swell caused him to add to the Ground Bait that Francoise was putting in. For bait we used Prawn and Fish. To me being primarily a course angler these baits were enormous but they we effective as my rod, soon, bent over and I was into my first fish in the Gambia. It was a small Lady fish I was to catch a much bigger one later in the holiday but at least I had started. During the session I also caught a couple of Catfish and a Frog Fish - all head and nothing else.

We then returned to Trolling and suddenly Wards Rod bent over hard and for a few moments he was into a very big fish but sadly it came off, did his state of health contribute to this?

We returned to shore in the late afternoon and I must complement Ward for being good enough to stay out despite his state of health. Back to the Hotel, quick shower and the off to the Come Inn well thats another storey. Richard asked Ward and I to be ready for 7:00 the following morning when Mr Kebe would be picking us up in the minibus to take us to George Town, this was to be, the first venue on the Gambia where we would troll for tiger fish. He and Mark were going to travel by boat.

After a good night sleep I awoke refreshed and full of the Gambia experience. Kebe duly arrived on time and we loaded our gear into the minibus. I had been warned many times of the stress of the journey but as we started out the roads were smooth a quiet. Then suddenly as if by magic the road changed Im sure that we had been beamed up to the moon as the craters were vast. The road was full of many large craters, ruts, animals, broken down & broken vehicles, this was to be the case for the next 250 kilometres, whilst the Gambia is a wonderful place to visit the scenery is consistent and after a while becomes very boring here follows the mandatory donkey, goat, and cow picture. These could have been taken anywhere in the Gambia.

We eventually reached the ferry, which would take us to George Town it was by now 15:00, and I was certainly p---sed off with the whole journey.

We crossed the ferry and finally arrived in the Bird Safari Camp where we were to stay for the night. Richard introduced me to Mark who runs a fishing business down at Denton Bridge in Banjul. Richard and Mark said dump your bags were going fishing. So we literally did that and jumped in the boat and setting off down the Gambia at great speed. Within about twenty minutes we were trolling for Tiger Fish. I produced my intended lure only to be laughed at; Mark lent me a Repala Fire Tiger, which is thought to be one of the best lures. We trolled for about 2 hours and in that time we jumped 3 tigers but did not get any of them to the boat. This surprised me but later in the week when I caught my first Tiger I realised just how hard their mouth are.

When we returned to our camp we had a shower and then an excellent meal, while we were eating our meal, the chef received a Captain fish from a local fisherman the fish had been caught off Banjul that morning, it was too big to fit in the fridge, After our meal we went down to the boats, talked up for some night fishing ledgering prawn. As soon as the lines were in the water you would feel this jink and when you struck there would be nothing there I was having significantly less luck than Richard or Ward. I then suddenly got the hang of it and realised that you had to ignore the jink jink and wait for the bump. In came my first Catfish, it was very spinney and Richard showed me the technique for unhooking them. Line back in the water and another species of Catfish was in the net in the days when I kept tropical fish it would have been called a Talking Catfish. We fish late into the night and I finally called it a day at 01:30 in the morning

After breakfast it was back in the minibus as we were heading further up the Gambia to Senegal. I soon remembered the stress of the journey yesterday and questioned my judgment on going again. Richard, Mark, and Ward did not appear to be suffering in the same way and soon neither was I.?????????: Ill say no more on this. On the journey we passed through a number of towns and I realised that the Women always appeared to be immaculately dressed and the men were somewhat scruffy.

After a few diversions and 7.5 hrs in the minibus we finally arrived at the gates of the Senegal National Park we were going to stay at Camp Simenti at the gates we had to have a guide and he was to be with us for the next 6 days His name was Abdul and his charge was 6 per day. The picture below is 45 minutes from the destination on roads that were a nightmare.

Once settled into our rooms Abdul was sent in search of the boatman who we needed for our trolling they were not used to fishermen and it was difficult for him to understand, but he was not keen and he kept saying he was booked by the army for tomorrow. I should add that there was a French Army post at Simenti. We were by now happily settled in the bar and who should come it but the French Amy Troops soon the boat was no problem and we were fixed up for the following morning. By now I was exhausted and went to bed.

The following morning I was not 100% so did not go out on the boat. Instead Adbul took me to a lagoon and we watched the wildlife. Meanwhile Ward Richard and Mark went fishing and Ward caught his first Tiger about 8lbs in weight. They also jumped about 4 other fish.

Some views from our camp

When they returned we fished from the bank near where the boat was moored. I used a popper and was getting regular takes from small tigers but could not hit them. Then bang my popper was hit hard but a pied kingfisher that was duly landed and then flew off. This terminated my popper fishing as I realised that this was going to be an issue.

We then went out on the boat again and Trolled for Tigers Richard, Mark and Ward all had takes but none of them succeeded in bringing a fish to the boat. TIME FOR BEER

The following morning we did another hours trolling but again this failed to put a fish in the boat, although there were several exciting takes.

When we returned Abdul said that he knew a good place so we piled in the minibus and headed off. When we arrived it was certainly a great venue and I finally caught me first Tiger on a Mepps Spoon. Saddly there is no photograph as it was taken on film and I have no scanner. However, I did get a group picture

Ward - Richard - Mark

Later in the day we had another troll down river jumped a few fish and came to an Island were we span and fly fished for a couple of hours.

the picture shows Mark holding a pike like the one I caught

I caught this pike like fish on the fly which was to be my only fly on the trip because: -

That evening we decided we would go to camp Kidagoo which is further up the Gambia and I was breaking down my Fly Rod, in my room, when there was this sudden tug which grew in force looking up I saw my leader had tangled in the fan the rest is history.

More drink that night to dull the effect of the horrible roads. The morning dawned bright and beautiful and we set off to Kidagoo We did not need to keep Abdul with us but he had been such a good guide and it was only 6.00 a day we decided he could join us.

We arrived in Kiddago about 16:00 hrs and headed for the bar, the beer in Senegal is just as cheap as the Gambia. We were all feeling a little tired after the journey but a few beers soon put that right. We then went in search of a boat, a search that was not too successful but one was eventually found, so to bed with an early start the following morning.

The venue looked very good but it was soon clear that it was not going to produce any fish. So we returned to the camp for lunch. Lunch was a bit special, as Kiddago is a hunting camp. We sat down and we had quail to eat which was wonderful.

Over lunch we decided that we should return to Simenti for the last two days. Oh no back in the minibus.

When we retuned to Simenti I finally jumped my first Tiger but unfortunately it was soon gone. Out of 14 Tigers jumped when trolling we only succeeded in landing one. But when they hit it is the most exciting experience.

After the trolling Abdul said he knew of another venue that he thought we should try. We arrived there and it was certainly the most picturesque of the venues that we had seen, the fishing was excellent. I dropped into the fist swim and was soon into a fish but it had soon gone. Bites were regular and I was soon in again and this Cona-Cona came to my net.

Some more sceens from this venue

My Swim

Richard Poaching from my swim

In fact during the three hours we were there I caught five of these all on a small lure. A great days fishing to end our time at Simenti - now for the journey back to Banjul.

The journey started uneventfully but when we got to the gates of the park there was a funny noise coming from the back of the Minibus. Richard (an engineer had a look and said that the spring which held the back axle was coming out of its retainers and that we would have to find a garage Where do you find a garage in deepest Senegal?

We dropped Abdul off in his home town and gave him a significant tip because our week would not have been so god were it not for his excellent guiding. We then headed for the capital of Senegal in search of a garage. We arrived at 19:00 and found this garage who said he would do the work through the night, it did not quite work like that but by 11:00 the following morning we were on our way and the job only cast us 30.

We eventually arrived back in Banjul at about 22:00 hours and we had a full days fishing ahead of us perusing the mighty Tarpon.

The following Morning we were down at Denton Bridge where we were to go Tarpon fishing. The morning was spent trolling for Barracuda and we had an excellent time our boat man Hassan seamed to know exactly where the fish were.

Hassan our guide

In all we boated 7 Baracudda and one Cassava. Unfortunately the fish are killed and they become the property of the boatman this hall would have been equivalent to a weeks wages for Hassan. Having trolled till about 14:00 we set off to the Tarpon mark. The bait was to be little live mullet, unfortunately we did not get a Tarpon but I caught this Lady Fish, which was a good size for the species.

Here is Ward with his Casav and one of the Barracuda that we caught

Here is the whole days catch

Looking down the mouth of a Barracude

The next two days were similar sadly no Tarpon they seamed to have departed the area and when they aint there you aint going to catch them. On the Thursday I caught a Turbot Trolling !!!!!! and Hassan let us take it back to the Come Inn where it fed both Ward and I and some of the other regulars.

This saw the end to a really great fortnight and some fishing I will never forget.
I certainly hope that this will not be my last Gambian Experience. Writting this has made it all real again and I hope you enjoy reading the events that i enjoyed


Great info, great guys, great fun, thats Maggot Drowners
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Staff member
Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
A superb report from what must have been a memorable trip.

Well worth the wait, though I'm sure that there are more than a few that will be green with envy after reading about your exploits.[:D][8D][;)]


You can't weigh it in
If it's not in the net.


Nick what a cracking report,great picture.
A most memorable trip i bet.

Nice to see you back safe and in one piece, ops sorry, minus a tooth
Those baracuda's have a fine set of choppers



Account Locked
Jan 24, 2002
looks like you had a good time nick
glad your back in your house & on line

tight lines.

talk fishing flip football


Regular member
Aug 11, 2001
Nick just saved it to read when i'm off line but it looks just as good as you said last time we met.


steve wilson

Regular member
Oct 16, 2001
looks like a great trip Nick

and the report is excellent,feels like i was there myself

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
May 19, 2002
Cracking read Nick (no pun intended)

Its funny how when John Wilson fishes these far-away places he never mentions the state of the roads.



Account Locked
Feb 28, 2004
Really enjoyed reading that Nick,,thanks very much .Sozz but I did chuckle regarding the fly rod and the fan.Do Tiger fish attack bathers???


Regular member
Jul 28, 2003
great report nick sounds like you had a really good time. i look forward to reading about your next expedition were ever that is going to be.

Give a man a fish and it will feed him for a day. Give him the knowledge to fish and it will feed him for a lifetime
Ian(the fish)Boden
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