Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 1 - Wise Old Perch

April 20, 2010  

blog_april_20_2010_1[1]Morning came early today after a late night of celebrating the fact that we made it to Aswan, Egypt. This was one of the rare times that the hotel wakeup call startled me from a deep sleep. It actually took  me a few seconds to realize I wasn’t at home anymore. I whipped open the curtains and saw the morning sunshine illuminating the desert palm trees around the swimming pool of the Basma Hotel. Mikey and Warpath groaned when I said let’s get some coffee and breakfast. Then I tossed in the fact that we would be casting for Nile Perch in a few hours and their feet hit the ground fast. 

After a great breakfast and tasty coffee we found ourselves in a mini van with the South Africans headed for the village of Garf Hussein on the banks of Lake Nasser. Garf is about an 11/2 hour drive straight south towards the Sudan border. Sure enough as we pulled into the old port our
boats and guides awaited.

blog_april_20_2010_2[1] The African Angler Guide Service set up works like this. First of all, we are on what they refer to as a Safari. We travel around the massive lake never fishing or sleeping in the same location twice. A worn houseboat carries supplies of food and drink and serves as the dinning room for us and has a community bathroom and shower. At night, rather then us sleeping on the houseboat, the guides and employees sleep there under the stars. We sleep and live off our actual fishing boat. Each fishing boat has two small beds in the bow. Being there is three of us; Mikey is sleeping on the roof. There’s little worry of rain as it rains in southern Egypt only once every two years! 

I’ve fished here twice and was one of the first anglers to come here specifically to fly fish. Previous to my first visit, nearly all fishing was done by trolling huge lures on heavy pop gear. On that first trip, my guide had great difficulty understanding the concept of fly fishing. It’s harder to catch the Nile Perch with a fly than it is to troll, and when you do catch fish they are typically smaller. Nile Perch have been taken from Lake Nasser up to 240lb! With the fly, our average fish runs about 4lb and my largest to date, although nothing to gawk at is around 40lb. I’m not even sure it was 40lb, but it did bottom out my 30lb Boga. I can see how the guides really don’t understand fly fishing. Fly fishing is much more difficult, requires tons of energy and we catch tiny fish relatively speaking. 

blog_april_20_2010_3[1] I escorted the first ever fly only anglers group in 2007. That was my second trip to Lake Nasser. During that trip the guides had no choice but to kick back and watch and learn. Of course we were learning also which is what makes this so damn fun; we are pioneering fly fishing for Nile Perch in Egypt. In this day and era, pioneering anything to do with fishing is a rarity. In any case, we proved to the guides that anglers can have fun working their butts off and catching smaller than average fish using this method. And to be honest, I think it was refreshing to the guides because it is different and involves walking rather than trolling which can get old day after day throughout an entire season.

During that second trip my guides name was Suka. Suka was a great observer and by the time the second trip came to an end, Suka had learned a lot about what it takes to catch Niles on a fl
y rod and how I approach fly fishing for Nile Perch. Therefore, when I saw Suka this morning, I made a beeline to him and declared him as the guide for Mikey, Warpath and I.

blog_april_20_2010_4[1] Our group consists of nine anglers, the three of us and six South Africans of Jonathan’s group. Once everyone settled on their boats, we all set off on the lake. It was a warm 100 degrees (standard of southern Egypt) with blue skies as far as the eye could see. We traveled for two hours and met up with the house boat for a quick lunch. Then we fished throughout the afternoon. Fishing was slow to say the least. Not one of us landed a single fish. However, the fish were there because we saw them. Huge schools of tilapia hovered around shoreline weed beds. Logically, when tilapia, the main food of the Nile Perch are tight to the weeds, large Niles are near. That proved true as I heard Mikey excitedly call my name to come cast to a 20lb plus cruiser he could see below him as he stood on a cliff filming the amazing Nasser scenery.

blog_april_20_2010_5[1]On my last trip, if you saw a cruising perch and showed them the fly before spooking them they often ate it without hesitation. Today the giant perch showed little interest. Other than a few nonchalant followers, the perch either weren’t hungry or have been harassed by anglers prior to our visit. Regardless, sighting fish is encouraging and I suspect we are going to have a fine week of fishing. 
Now, as I make this entry, I am barely in need of my headlamp. The moon is near full and the stars are so bright in the clear sky that I could read a book. I’m camped in Egypt again. That’s about it for today. Hopefully tomorrow will bring us good luck.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

April 19, 2010
11:55 pm
Aswan, Egypt

blog_april_19_2010_3[1] Warpath has just arrived! The three of us have made it despite the Icelandic volcano and travel hell. We are drinking beers with my South African friend Jonathan Boulton and his group that we will be spending the next week with on Lake Nasser in pursuit of Nile Perch. It’s amazing how the most difficult of situations often work out. This should be a great trip! We head for the lake at 8 am. Can’t wait!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Volcano's Can't Stop Us

April 19, 2010
5 pm
Cairo, Egypt

blog_april_19_2010_1[1] I must say I’m a little surprised, but Mikey Wier and I are sitting here at Cairo Airport waiting for our domestic flight down to the southern city of Aswan, Egypt near the massive Lake Nasser. We are going to be fishing tomorrow! And to top it off, Brent Dawson (Warpath) is rolling into Cairo in about three hours. Warpath officially could not make the Delta NYC to Cairo flight that Mikey and I flew on last night, so he bought a one-way ticket from San Fran to Amman, Jordan and then to Cairo at the airport! He spent a fortune but I guess it was kind of like, “I need to catch some Nile Perch” and he just flat out bought it. I like his spirit!

That’s about all there is to say on the trip so far. We are a little exhausted from the stress of worrying we wouldn’t make the trip and then of course the 26 hours of flying. That’s all behind us now and hopefully tomorrow night I will be reporting from our camp on Lake Nasser after a great day of fishing.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fly Fishing in Egypt

April 18, 2010

blog_april_18_2010_1[1]No recent posts on the blog are a sure sign of two things. First, I have done little or no fishing. That’s bad news. Second, I’ve been working and had little time to fish and write the blog. That’s sounds bad, but it’s really good. To sum things up, I spent most of the last month at home catching up on art projects. I had one quick trip out of town in which I spoke to Mid South Fly Fishers in Memphis, TN. That was a fantastic trip. On any normal club visit, I would stay and fish a few days, but after a walk down Beale Street and some outstanding barbeque I returned home and kept up on my work goals. 

Lucky for me, periods of hard work generally lead to a major fishing escape and today I find myself on the long journey to Egypt’s Lake Nasser. I will be fishing through the African Angler for Nile Perch, tigerfish, vundu and bagrus catfish. This will be my third trip to this incredible and unusual fishery and I can honestly say it is one of my all time favorite fishing destinations.

Joining me on the adventure are American anglers Mikey Wier and Brent Dawson (Warpath). Mikey is the genius behind several popular fly fishing movies including the very popular “Soulfish”. In fact, Mikey will be filming on the trip for a segment for his next flick. Warpath is one of the most talented custom fly tiers of our times. If you want high quality flies, Warpath is who you want to make them. We all became close friends on an epic exploratory float trip in Mongolia in 2008.

Mikey's movie and stripping Warpath Flies all depends on us getting to Egypt. The volcano in Iceland has played havoc with our travels. The three of us were supposed to meet in Amsterdam today but with nearly all flights to Europe cancelled including ours, we find ourselves a day late praying to board a direct flight to Cairo out of NYC tonight. At present, Mikey and I have our boarding passes for the 11 hour 30 minute flight, but Warpath is desperately fighting for his. It would be a huge disappointment for us all if Warpath gets left behind.

The host of this trip is my South African friend Jonathan Boulton. I was fortunate to get our threesome on board because Jonathan had some extra spots. Jon and I first met when he and his friend Craig joined my group to Egypt in 2007. I’m also looking forward to spending time with Tim Baily, owner of the African Angler and the pioneer of this magnificent fishery. Tim is full of information about Nile Perch and their behavior as well as many stories ranging from 200lb monster perch to 18ft long Nile crocodiles!

If you look at a map, Lake Nasser is the massive lake in southern Egypt formed by the famous Aswan dam on the Nile River. We will be living out of a houseboat armed with several smaller boats in which we sleep on and travel to our fishing locations. I personally prefer to get out on shore for most of my fishing. It is not uncommon to see huge Nile Perch foraging the shallows in search of spawning tilapia. Our group consists of all fly fishermen and I’d say the Nile Perch are in trouble. I will not have access to the internet during the trip. Therefore, I will launch my day by day accounts upon returning home on April 28th. For those who kept up on the March Amazon trip, it will be done the same way. Be ready for some incredible fishing stories and photos to come.