Guinea Bissau – Popper and Jigging Paradise

The variety of available fishing is in large part the appeal of the Guinea-Bissau experience. What makes the Bijagos so unique is three -fold. First is its sheer size. As Africa’s largest archipelago, the region encompasses 30,000 sq. km. of largely protected saltwater wilderness. Of the 78 major islands, only 20 are inhabited with a total population of less than 5,000 residents. Second, the region is one the largest estuarine environments in Africa, fed by four massive hyper trophic river systems.

fishing of the Chimmneys in Guinea Bissau

40lb Ruby Snapper off the Chimenees , Joseph Brown

The result is a biological marvel where in places clear waters team with brown clouds of plankton attracting incomprehensible quantities of baitfish, and an all-star cast of predators that prey upon them, and lastly the region has a remarkable diversity of water and habitat types that include murky rich tarpon waters, sand spits surrounded by crystal clear waters, mangrove channels and immense inner bays, mud flats covered with molluscs, and beautiful white sand beaches studded with rugged dark lava outcroppings. When seen in its entirety the role the region plays as one of Africa’s most significant spawning grounds for baitfish and sport fish alike is easily understood.

A partial list of worthy game fish to be found is equally as impressive: five species of barracuda, six species of snapper, twenty species of shark (five of which commonly exceed 400 pounds), amber jack, Senegalese jack, incredible numbers of jack crevalle, cobia, drum, bonefish, permit, pompano, grouper, guitar fish, ladyfish, leer fish, sierra, sea bass, blue runners, tarpon and triple tails are all caught most every season. There are sandy beaches, rugged lava points, mangrove inlets, river-like channels, and barren sand spit islands. While there are numerous places that qualify as “flats”, it is hard to categorize the region as a quality flats fishery as the tides average 6-12 feet.
As a result much of the fishing is done from boats . During low wind conditions there are numerous sight-fishing opportunities for Jacks, barracuda, large needlefish, Snappers, African sierra and Corvina. In less favorable conditions the same species are targeted by blind fishing points, edges, shorelines, and submerged structure.

Some of the most exciting fishing centres around the region’s remarkable Jack Crevalle fisheries. These fish can often be seen crashing bait in what the locals refer to as “hunts”. Jacks can also be targeted from the beach. Sometimes you will see large black pods of fish cruising in the waves, or single fish chasing bait. While the region has the world’s largest tarpon, the fishery is not ideally suited to the fly. In the most productive regions the water is dark with plankton making sight fishing difficult at best. On the optimistic side, the vast majority of tarpon are hooked with baits that are suspended only 3-4 feet beneath the surface. Typically there is significant current, so flies could be left to hang in zone and stand a fair chance of being taken. Needless to say the tarpon fishery is a high stakes game where the fish average over 200 pounds.

A huge Tarpon caught in 2010

John Joyce 220lb Tarpon Nov 10

Guinea-Bissau Equipment:

Spin – Stiff action spinning rods in the 60 – 120gram range are ideal.

Popper – 50lb Braid   Jigging – 80lb Braid


pin – Good quality Saltwater spinning reels with at least 300yds of 50lb braid

Popper – 120lb heavy mono   Trolling 80lb wire traces

Deep divers , shallow runners and surface poppers will all work , due to the varied environments you will be fishing . Heavy long casting wedges can also be deadly.

Waders & Boots:
Standard flats boots are fine for the beach fishing and many beaches and sand spits lend themselves to fishing barefoot or in water sandals. Many beaches transition quickly from white sand to rugged dark lava.

Sturdy saltwater pliers, a heavy glove for tailing jacks , hook sharpener, , polarized glasses with retainers, good hat, headlamp and flashlight, mid-weight raincoat for choppy boat rides, water proof sunscreen, spf lip balm, waterproof bag for all day gear on the boat, energy bars, and things like spare hats, T-shirts, and assorted items to leave as gifts with the locals

World Sport Fishing Ltd would be happy to help you source any tackle items and also can put together a tackle pack for this destination.

A cracking beach caught Jack

Jani Himanko with a Cracking 30 plus Jack from the orango shoreline

Guinea-Bissau Travel:
Travel to Guinea-Bissau typically entails departing Gatwick or Heathrow to Bissau via Lisbon or Cassablanca . After being met in the airport, almost all groups will transfer for an overnight in a pleaseant coastal hotel . The 2 1/2 hr boat crossing to Orango island allows you to take in the Guinea coastline and you will often encounter Whales , Dolphins and Manta rays along the way.

A valid passport (minimum 6 months left at date of travel), and a Yellow Fever certificate are required to enter Guinea-Bissau. Visas can be obtained prior to travel, we can also arrange for all necessary visas and paperwork.

Guinea-Bissau Currency, Cash and Gratuities:
During your travels in Guinea-Bissau, Sterling and traveller’s checks and credit cards are virtually useless. We recommend that all travellers exchange a minimum of £ 500 into Euros .While CFA franks are the national currency for Guinea-Bissau, Euros change hands regularly for larger transactions. Change will likely be given in CFA francs