Guinea Bissau popper and lure trips

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richard s

New member
Aug 12, 2010
Hi all

just got back from 20 days in Guinea with 2 groups . 2 very different fishing trips . The first was a group of Uk clients and the second was the testing crew from Salmo lures determined to destroy their new sea range , I believe we duely obliged them.


From the outset we had some wind and big tides which meant coloured water , and for the life of me it was almost impossible to take any amount of fish on the surface. Maybe 6 jacks per boat per day on poppers but nothing like we would normally expect and the wrecks produced virtually nothing with either poppers or shallow runners.

However , the jigging and bottom fishing , that was something else .

The first day the uno channel our regular jigging spot { or should I say spots because the area is about 6kms by 9kms } was in good form . Clients several took jacks to 20lb and 2 really nice snappers . Then stephen dearing hooked what i can only assume to be a massive grouper . It took a sardine jig and proceeded to tow the boat 1.6kms back to a rock and then it swam around the same rock unperturbed for 55 mins , until angler and tackle gave up the unequal struggle and the shimano heavy boat jigging rod became a lot easier to get in my suitcase.


This is the 7th occasion that we have hooked one of these fish in 2 seasons , the fight is always the same , an incredibly powerful slow fish that really does not like the light and returns to one spot and swims around as if unperturbed . 7 times hooked , fought for a total of 11 hours , 4 broken rods and to date I havent even got one to the surface . No bite offs or teeth marks on the lure , so its not a shark { anyway I have fought enough sharks to know the difference } . On three occasions the hook has just pulled out after over an hour .

Maybe next time

The rest of the day produced , a whole bunch of 20lb Barracuda { maybe 15 + } and I belive one of 14kgs . Trolling also dragged up a decent snapper and 2 Jacks.


Day 2 .Off to the West wreck , 43 kms out , its a place for big fish , a huge vessel broken in three parts . We troll , popper fish and live bait it normally for Jacks , Snappers , cobia and anything else that comes along.

On arrival nothing on poppers , except one big strike that soaked me as it struck and missed close to the boat.

Then onto live baits , slow drifting live yabouys is absolutely killer method and as fast as you can get a bait close to the bottom , something rips it off . This is the land of many a big snapper and its roughly equivalent to fishing in a scarp yard , if you dont drop down into the scrap their will be plenty of volunteers to drag you there.

Unless you have experienced the hit and crash dive of a big snapper , its difficult to describe. Normally the first inkling is a wham as someone kills your bait , this is were most people lose the fish , because their immediate response is to strike . The skippers and myself will always try to quell this urge with "lesse manger " or let him eat it . this is followed by a series of almost impreseptable slow pulls as he inches your now dead bait towards his house , because they are so slow and tentative , you cannot belive that this can possibly the 20kg snapper that you have heard tell of so you ingore it . Then what normally happens is you just gently lift the lead to ensure everything is free and miraculously everyting has turned into a rock or a wreck , you then spend the next 5 minutes trying to extracate yourself from the bricks to no avail , break off and then stomp off up the front to rerig.


The second scenario is that your particular snapper is not alone, at which point he feels threatened that some other bruiser is going to take his hard won prize . At this moment he changes his tentative tugging to a smash a grab run that you will seldom feel from any fish this side of a 100kg Tarpon { more of that later } .

If the rod is in the rest , its all over if the fish is over 20lb , because by the time you have managed to fight the rod from the holder , he will be sitting in his house munching on your now dead livey and your hook will be hung up alongside the hooks of the last 20 anglers that have been silly enough to try.

If the rod is in your hand when the fish takes , it gives you the perfect opportunity to prove that even though you have been complaining about the gear supplied being too heavy all week , you really could do with 80lb Marlin outfit right at this moment , and your not even sure if thats going to stop it.

Anyway i digress , but in my humble opinion a big snapper { over 15kgs } in rough ground is the hardest thing to land anywhere . Tarpon , Marlin jacks etc very hard fighters but not down and dirty , if you know what i mean .

Anyway after feeding 30 livebaits to the assembled snapper and with a tally of 2 to the boat . we skulked off to the sandbank alongside for some less high risk fishing . As soon as we dropped down all hell broke loose , a screaming run but it didnt go in the wreck it came to the surface with a huge thrashing splash and then charged off . Cobia , it was Claires turn on the rod , after 15 mins it was obvious that this was no ordinary Cobia also reaffirmed by Max the skipper saying " Biiigg , very Biiiigg .

With a deal of grunting and screaming after 30 mins the fish was within 10mts of the boat , and there it stayed resolutely for a further 10 mins . Biiiggg , very very Biiigg emitted from steering dept . I said 50kgs , he said bigger but anyway it was a huge Cobia , the biggest ive ever seen and it went on to win the biggest fish of that group.


The fish was duely subdued and then we contrived to lose it as we attempted to lift it from the water . I will post a full set of photos as soon as we compile them .

So half way through the second day and my typing hand is aching.
Ok The west wreck is a big fish venue and after landing and losing the big cobia , we hit what I think must have been a run of decent snappers , most of which found sanctuary in the wreck , with just 2 smaller ones ending up in the fish well destined to be baked in rock salt .

Having exhausted the livebait , we started trolling round the wreck . A pair of Storm deep thunders and 2 Salmo whitefish fished in a spread

Nothing happened for 20 minutes , then at the north end of the ground the surface erupted . Chasse!! shouted max , meaning hunting in french , a huge pack of sized jacks hitting bait fish passing across the wreck. Had we not been trollling we would normally charge across to cast at the school as fast as possible , but instead we sped up slightly and turned to troll through the area .

Just as we neared the group a massive bottle nosed dolphin made a clear 10ft leap into the middle of the jacks , smash , thrash and down went the group . 20 secs later up came the dolphin taunting us with his catch , I his mouth was a 10kg plus Longfin jack and he proceeded to swim around displaying his prize for the next 5 mins.

Just as we were all rushing around trying to get a camera to get a shot of flipper showing off , one of the trolling rods went off , then a second . We went through a quick knitting session whilst we worked out who was going were and how fast , then Dean was at the front and stephen was at the back . After about 7 mins Stephen had a decent Jack of about 10ks beaten at the side of the boat , this one went for the fresh sushi the crew prepared for us every day.

It then became apparent that whatever Dean was attached to wasnt just another Jack . The fish ran off for some 200mts and then slowed , we approached with the boat regaining line , then as he began to put more pressure on the fish from directly above the fish , off it went again . This carried on for an hour and 45 mins , Max and I concluded that in our opinion it was as mid sized bull shark maybe 250kgs . We had caught them before on rapalas but using much heavier gear . This one was on a 300gram jigging rod and a Daiwa Saltist multiplier and even though its good gear , the chances of stopping a 500lb shark was pretty slim . He fought it manfully but even a big lad like Dean knows when hes flogging a dead horse. Anyway the decision was taken away from us the 80lb braid cracked off like a gunshot , and it was gone.

We set off on the 40km run back to the island , on route we saw a school of spanish mackeral hitting bait with birds working above , and with the aid of 2 deter wedges the clients added to their species count , " seven barred mackeral and Senegalese Jacks . { we have a 10 per angler sweep for biggest fish and the same for most species } .

As we approached the island , Max and I chatted over the possiblities for the last hour , we had managed to pick up a few live baits on the way back and we decided on the "quarante sept" a huge mass of hard rock about a kilometere off the island , I call it the washing machine because thats eactly what it looks like when the sea is running onto it.

A quick drift round the rocks , casting poppers produced a follows but no fish , so as the light was fading we dropped the anchor and prepped the bait rods.

Well to says the action was fast and furious was an understatement , as soon as the live baits hit the bottom , bang at one point we had 4 rods all hooked up , a combination of Cassavas and Snappers were ripping at the baits as fast as we could get them to the bottom.

In maybe 40 mins we caught between 20 and 25 decent Snappers { 5-7kgs } and Cassavas { biggest 13kgs } , finally we just ran out of bait , dead, live , everything we put down had been taken . So a quick dash through the darkness to the island and a cold beer.

More later . Lure testing and lure wrecking .

Ive just taken over the camp so if you wany any info on the trips email me on > Trips start in oct and are normally 10 days costs 2500 all in , including flights , food , boats , skippers , deckies 8 days fishing


its alright catching fish for clients , but its nice to catch one yourself every now and then


One of the biggest Pompanos ive ever seen


Everybody in !!!
Last edited:


Regular member
Mar 10, 2005
Makes the Tuna I caught in Cyprus look like minnows!! Great post and fantastic pics. Must remember to do the lottery!!
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