Guinea Bissau Nov 16th – 26th 2013

On December 10th, 2013, posted in: Guinea Bissau by Comments Off on Guinea Bissau Nov 16th – 26th 2013

Guinea Bissau Nov 16th – 26th 2013 

Been back just over a week now and finally got the time to sit down and get a report up!

Flight out from Heathrow is with TAP and thought they were pretty good for a budget airline.

GuineaBissau2013004_zps2daab9caWe didn’t get charged for our rod tube (which was actually two daiwa tournament tubes taped together) but some other guys checking in a bazooka tube did get charged 100 euros. Neither of us was charged on the way back either. Richard included a handy little form which informs the check in staff that no visa is required until arrival in Bissau, stamped with the official seal, so no issues with that either. Flights were on time for both the inbound and outbound and Lisbon certainly isn’t the worst airport to have to stopover in so all in all not too bad. Bissau airport on the other hand was a bit hard work! Took a long time to get through passport control and get our visas, then there is the hassle of leaving the airport with every man and boy in sight trying to “help” with your bags. At 2:30am it was the last thing we needed but we were soon on our way to the hotel for a short stopover. The Artissal hotel ( or number 7 Djourson as its officially known) is about 25mins from the airport and is clean and comfortable and it was great to get a few hours kip before breakfast.

 

 

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After egg rolls, tea and coffee it was time to get going. A short drive down to the boats, load up the luggage, fuel and supplies, and we were away. After a 4hr 15min boat journey (due to the tides, its normally about 2 and a half hours) we were greeted withthe Orango shoreline! After coming ashore and settling into the rooms ( basic but adequate. Room fans were provided as the ceiling ones either where not strong enough or didnt work!) we had a nice lunch of spag bol (food was very good all week, lots of variety and really tasty) before the guys who had them picked up their tackle packs. I had hired one just in case i forgot something and only ended up using the jigging rod and reel which performed fine, as did all the rods which are perfect for the fishing you will do. However unfortunately most of the reels had various problems and some where unusable. A lot of the end tackle/lures were also showing signs of rust and in a pretty sorry state and i would advise anyone going to definitely take your own reels and terminal gear, it will probably end up cheaper that way as its £20 per day for the tackle hire and some of the lost charges seemed a bit steep.

After lunch we were invited to do some complimentary fishing from a sandbar just across the channel and the majority where absolutely chomping at the bit to get over there and wet a line! I think 7 of us ended up going over and a couple of hours popping yielded two jacks around the 7lb mark and it was nice to see some fish come ashore so early in the trip. After heading back for a cold shower (no hot water unfortunately but you soon get used to it) and another lovely meal, it was an early bed for most before the boat fishing began in earnest.

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The regime on Orango is as follows: breakfast 7.30, fishing 8.30 – 6/6.30, dinner when all anglers are ready, beers for as long as you want, sleep, repeat. It works well and you really do not have to do much other than fish, eat, drink and relax. perfect!

Heading out on the first day we where met with cloudy weather, strong tides and a bit of a chop. The day was spent doing a mixture of baitfishing and trolling, and our boat managed around 9 species including Barracuda, various snappers, couple of different sharks and some grouper. Nothing particularly big (although we had a cuda of around 12lb bitten clean in two on the retrieve) and not a huge number of fish, with a fair few quiet periods, but not a bad start to the fishing and as nearly all the species were new ones it made for exciting times to see what would come into the boat next. Tues and the weather was much the same as the day before, we headed out to a sandbar but the water was far too coloured for poppers to be effective so switching to dexter wedges we managed a few spanish mackeral and small jacks. Baitfishing produced catfish after catfish with a couple of small blacktip sharks and the jigging, apart from a nice jack of about 10-12lb, was barren. This was by far our worst day and i was really hoping that things would improve soon! Weds was even rougher and it was a bumpy ride out to the livebait mark, where we picked up plenty of yabouy before heading in to pompano hole. Here the fishing really picked up! Drifting and then anchoring in approx 4m of water, every yabouy that went down had approx 10 seconds to live before being engulfed by a cassava, pompano, barracuda, jack or snapper. It was teeming with fish there and the cassavas where all a really good size, the majority being 20-25lb. As the tide eased we put down some deadbaits and although the fishing slowed a little we were still catching fairly regularly. I had a small knock which i connected with and a large heavy fish just took off away from the boat. Captain and deckie both said big cobia and for ages i was unable to gain anything on the fish. As the line came off the reel, down to stuff that had never seen water, i was dismayed to see a loop of line which was going to prevent the spool from turning. Soon after the inevitable happened as the spool locked and the line parted. In my haste to get the line on the reel to get out fishing i had not wound it on tightly enough and i will forever kick myself for this and and am still totally gutted now. A harsh lesson learnt! After leaving pompano hole we punched out to a wreck where, apart from a large fish which pulled into the wreck and parted the line, we had no further action and the rough sea made for very uncomfortable fishing so it was soon time to start the slog home.

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Part 2

Thursday was to be our day at the chimneys wreck. The guides assured me the night before that it was going to be calm enough to fish the next day. How wrong he was! easily the roughest day of the week and it took ages to get there, ages to get back, got absolutely soaked to the bone and caught hardly any fish. I really think that these guys should have some way of checking the forecast with the mainland as i would not have gone out there had i know. When we arrived we tried popping but the howling wind made it impossible. We tried drifting with bait but the drift was far too fast so we tried putting the hook in. Whilst the anchor never actually set, this did manage to slow the drift sufficiently for us to get a few fish. A leerfish of around 20-25lb, a stingray of 70lb and a lovely red snapper of 30lb plus. This was a magnificent fish which not only nearly managed to pull the angler over the side, but impressed the deckhand enough for him to stop throwing up over the side! We trolled around the wreck for nil result and then it was time to be on our way and by the time we got back it was almost time to go in and i think we may have trolled halfheartedly for a bit but again this yielded nothing.

GuineaBissau2013065_zpsac7f528bFriday finally saw clear blue skies and calm weather (although the guides had predicted a rough day again? hmmm?) and we had a great day trolling behind the islands with more barras than you could shake a stick at, a bit bigger than our previous ones. Popping again produced nothing before we anchored at slack water over a snapper hole. This was another “fish a drop” mark with plenty of good red snapper landed (and plenty missed or dropped too) and these fish really do pull hard. A really good day which helped make up for the day before.

Saturday was again nice weather and we were fishing local to orango today. We started off trolling pretty close to shore near some mangroves and the obligatory cudas were out in force with all of us picking up up a few. After my dad landed yet another one he dropped his lure back in and no sooner had he re-set the drag than he had another screaming run. But this one was different to the usual cuda runs, it didn’t stop and the rod had a very deep bend to it. After much huffing and puffing, diving and running, a fantastic jack of over 40lbs came abroad! A real fish of a lifetime.
We continued trolling for another hour or so before settling down for lunch and bait fishing. Excellent fresh jack carpaccio (a real delicacy, wish i could have it everyday) was served whilst we picked up a few snappers and spanish mackeral. Then we headed of for some more jigging which hadn’t been the most productive method all week and after blanking at the first three spots we all felt like this method was not one to stick with. however the fourth mark really produced and it was pretty much a quadruple hook up on every drift, with jacks all around the 8-10lb mark. This continued for some time before the skipper decided that the tide was getting too much for the drift and it was time to anchor up and let our jigs drift back onto the mark. For the first 5 minutes this was completely fruitless but that was soon to change in a big way. The sea around u

s flattened off like a sheet of glass, with small eddys and whirlpools as the water passed over the rocks below and I heard a loud splash behind me. As i turned i heard another in the opposite direction and i realized that jacks where breaking the surface all around us. We where anchored smack bang in the middle of a hunt! Baitfish where flying out of the water as i put away my jigging gear and hurled a red and white Halco Roosta 135 in the general direction of the commotion. Having not had a single fish on a popper all week, i felt that surely this would be the time for it to happen. What followed was hands down the best fishing experience of my life! Very rarely in the next couple of hours did mine, or anyone’s, popper return to the boat without an angry jack hanging off the end of it! And these fish where much much bigger than the ones we had been catching on the jigs, hardly any where under 20lb with a good few in the 25-30lb mark. It was back breaking, arm aching enjoyment of the highest level and we all returned (a lot later than usual i might add!) that night very tired boys and the cold beer was very welcome indeed!

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The final fishing day saw us head back to pompano hole. It was a very similar day to our previous visit with lots of good cassava, a few pompano and jacks, another leerfish and another big cobia lost, although we did see this one at the boat before the line parted and it was a good 50-60lb fish. In the afternoon we tried the washing machine but it was pretty quiet fish wise, although the acrobatic manta rays kept us entertained! All too soon though the 7 days fishing came to an end and we walked back up the beach for the final time.