Monsieur Kamal Arsalane was my fishing guide during my stay in Morocco. If you want to catch a fish on the Atlantic coast in north Africa this is the guy you need. In just two days he showed me 100 km of coast between Rabat and Casablanca, two river mouths and a harbour in a quest for good conditions for fly fishing. You can find mister Kamal Arsalane at http://www.jpc.ma/
But as I said before the ocean was not calm at all. High waves on a rocky shore, underwater rocks sharp as knives made my fly fishing very difficult.
Short deep holes were the perfect traps if you were not aware…
… full with sea urchin
My guide caught a fish to show me where they stay
I’ve also learned that in the Atlantic every 5th or 7th wave(depends of the ocean level) is bigger than the previous ones. That’s me fishing in a little golf and in the background is the 7th wave coming…1 minute after this picture I was soaking wet.
Another fisherman on the other side of the golf…fighting a fish
…this fish is known by the name ” le sar”
Walking on the beach
At the entrance of Mohammedia harbour, eating what they call ” the poor man sandwich”
With mon ami Kamal during a coffee break
Fishing in the afternoon around the old city Kasbah of the Udayas
Fisherman getting out in the ocean for night fishing
..another coffee break…
Another day…driving to the Atlas mountains
Into the Atlas mountains
Traditional Moroccan food named tajine. Tajine, a Moroccan dish named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
The oldest 4×4 for mountains
and the 4×4 for desert
Thanks to our new friend Geoffrey, we have pictures of the last battle
Tomorow is the last day of the year, the weather is perfect, guys are waiting … see you on the water!
After I crossed the corn field…
…found the small valley…
…headed to the swamp…
…after 45 min of hiking(with all the gear and waders)…the river at 8 am
Nice weather, sunny with clouds, temp -3 C, wind 15 km/h. Low, clear water, spooky fish. I used nymphs only, natural colors, fished at 10-12 m distance.
Still waiting for heavy rains…
Finally low temperature and snow. Now you see only real steelheaders on the river banks.
Last time there were 50 “fishermen” now only three.
Nice sunny morning, temp low -6 C , wind 30 km/h
Before the battle
Temp low -15 wind 50 km/h
The steelhead love this weather…the proof…
The water was cold and clear…again big streamears for big guys
Somone’s postal box…
Thanks to a “Jedi” brother we have a group picutre
Good water level these days and many steelheads get into the system.Egg flies and medium size streamers in black, red and blue are the best. Don’t use light tippet these fresh fish are very strong.
Landing rate is less than 10%. Everybody’s story these days is like: ” Oh, I hook up five and I was lucky to land one” folowed by a picture on cell phone, were you can see a 40 inch monster.
Except the little ones…code name “shakers”
I am curios how it will be after Hurricane Sandy strikes… I guess we will have enough water 🙂
The “secret” trail
and the mighty river
We need more rain
Scars from last year storm
…but if you look carefully
Dark shadows…on the gravel beds
Many straightened hooks…and broken tippet.
Don’t worry is Paris- Ontario not Paris- France 🙂 . Still… a nice place to live…
Good people gathered along on Grand River banks. Many instructors, from Scotland, BC and USA, lots of demonstrations.
Long belly/ short belly demonstrations, and all you want to know about it.
…when you see these guys
But you need some practice to shoot the line out like that.
You could find everything you want to see/try about spey fishing
Boats, rods ….BBQ 🙂
Fly -tying demonstrations
…and Tim Rajeff.
We talked more than one hour about spey lines and … “transylvanian guru” staff 😀
Also Loop guys were there and I tried the new Cross S1 in spey versions #9,#7 and switch #7. The switch rod was impresive. Probably the best all-arroud rod for this area.
Looking forward for next year clave.
The last contest I attended in Romania was Amida Open.I care very much about this contest because we fish pikes.Pike fly fishing is a continuous challange.You never know where the pike lies hidden among the grassess, what does it eat , at what depth does it stay. There are a lot of questions and it’s up to you to find all the answers. It’s not an easy thing to fish pikes with lures but fly fishing pike it’s a little bit complicated.Besides the flies which must be lested or not you need to know also how to use different flylines from sinking to intermediate .You have to know also how to use floating lines or floating lines combined with sinking leaders. You have to fish depending on the place you fish.
At Cehu Silvaniei I met a deep lake with a maximum of 1 m, full of submerged grass, which forme some true underwater islands.The water was crystal clear towards the dam and a little bit muddy to the lake bottom.Some areas were large mats of algae and were covered by only 10 cm of water. The conditions were difficult if you had never fished before in such conditions.
The technical meeting was scheduled on Friday evening.Everybody was talking phrenetically about techniques and mounts.Some of us were drinking beer and some of us were smoking .We begin to make the groups and of course the draw was made .This time everybody had a contribution to the draw.It lasted until midnight until all have left to their rooms and begun to tie with passion. We managed to sleeep at 4.30 am.
In the morning there were minus 4 degrees , a cold wind, quite sharp, but clear sign that if the sun would arise it might warm outside.We went on the lake, we assembled our boats, we changed lines between opponents and jokes between friends, some of us were drinking coffee.
The lake was divided into 2 parts: the tail of the lake with a side full of reeds and less water and the lowerdown part ( at the overflow) with slightly deeper water and less cane. The monsters were there..they were waiting for us. The contest started..after 10 minutes I had an attack..but I missed it..no problem..I was fishing with the right flies…I launched three times in the same place..I had an attack again..I hooked..I drilled..and off it goes into the underwater grass..I didn’t like that.It was not a big pike but I would have scored at the bigining of the first round of competition. I looked to my right and left. Nobody had seen anything at all.They were all fishing phrenetically. Ok !I changed the streamer. I had fished with a double tail of rabbit zonker 2 hacks one made of buck tail and one maid of a white with orange marabou.I replaced it with one streamer made of flashbou and I begun to fish slower. I had seen that the water was very cold and they did not attacked very voracious.That was a sign that they were apathetic. It was a correct decision.In about 10 minutes I had a stronger attack.I was drilling..I was keeping the fishing wire streched..i was raised the pike from the water bed…I was able to see it. I saw it somewhere in the 50-60 cm. I put my hands on the fish landing..and the pike detached from the hook…I swore…I shaked… I did not know what was wrong because I did everything correctly.That was it.I tried to calm down. I looked around me.This time they had seen …I had a drill…they started to fish more motivated. Ok!I changed the direction of fishing towards the left bank.I was fishing with the same streamer.I had not had not even one attack for an hour and a half.I kept changing retriving styles and streamers.At one point a pike was hanging on my hook. I got it out of the water.. I called the referee.It was about 45 cm.Someone next to me caught a pike about the same size.Until the referee came I got another pike out of the water.Two contestants were already heading to where I was fishing.They had seen that I caught better than in the other places.When the referee had about 5 m to reach me I got another one out of the water.They were all amazed.This pike was smaller than the others but I still put it in the net.. I measured all the pikes with the referee. Only two pikes scored. The guy to my right had one pike and I had two pikes. The score was one to two for me.My neighbour was moving towards the middle of tha lake. After about 15 minutes he pulled out of the water a pike of 72 cm…great..nice fish.But I saw that he had not a very good casting. He had not covered all the right side, plus he had had several failures.Therefore I moved to the right. A light wind started and when there were 25 minutes until the end of the first stick I hooked a 50 cm pike .I measured the pike and I told the referee not to came because I didn’t want him to bother my water.I put it in the net and I started fishing again. When there were only 10 minutes until the end of the first stick I hooked another one.That was it. There was a two hour break.We ate and then we came back to the lake for the second stick.This time I competed in the other side of tha lake where were reeds and shallow water.In that morning there were more contestants who hadn’t caught any pike.So it was going to be difficult.We begun to fish and I hooked a pike in 15 minutes… I driled and I droped the pike into the grass..not again…I didn’t discouraged. This had happened before. But this time it was not quite the same. In the morning there had been intensive fishing.Pikes were disoriented and frightened.Until the end of the stick I did not hook anything and nobody else did.The sun was going down. I knew it would be a drastic change at sunset.I was waiting for it. And so it was. When the light begun to fade the pikes were out for attack. Shoco was fishing right in front of me and at one time he had an attack..he dropped it…then Zoli had an attack from the reeds..he drilled full of emotions…he pulled it out of the water..64 cm…nice.I had an attack at the surface too but the pike missed the streamer.I launched again. The pike made a wave. I could have seen its head from the water coming to me.. I hooked.. it jumped out of the water with the streamer in its mouth..it felt and it detached from the hook..unbelivevable.Everybody was shouting like they were at a football game. Zoli came closer and he pushed out of the water another one..50 cm.It was 2-0 for him.There were only 15 minutes left.It was getting dark very quickly.The chance to catch anything was decreasing. I had two more attacks as spectacular as the first one.Suddenly a huge wave came to me from a submerged bush.It was coming directly to my streamer.I slowed down the retrive.It was really close…maximum speed. I stopped the streamer because I wanted the pike to catch it…it was hooked…yes!!!..I was drilling ..cheers from the back…the boys had seen what happened.The pike was coming to me.I turned to another submerged bush.I succed to turn it back.I was looking for my fish landing but I could not find it..oh my God it was in the water and I was not allowed to put my hand on the fish.The rules were: I had to take it out of water with a fish landing.Otherwise I did not score in the contest.The boys wanted to give me their fish landings, but again they were not allowed.So , with the rod in one hand and with a oar in the other I begun rowing .I thought I saw my fish landing but it was just a reed..so it was all in vain.The boys were shouting : ” Use samething from the boat “…good idea…I took the life jacket from the boat and I put it on the water.That’s how I took the pike out of the water…everybody was shouting. It had 67 cm and I had the second place.
In that night I tied other kind of streamers on same other hooks.It was samething wrong with the others because I lost so many pikes.
Next morning I was fishing on the tail of the lake.After an hour and a half of fishing I caught the ” crocodile”…77 cm.
And that was it. I took the first prize and the prize for the largest catch. I have to tell you that it was a friendly competition but the atmosphere was tense.I hope that Shoco is going to organise some more pike competitions because they are special and I hope that you will enjoy them too.
“This translation is a dedication to Jordan”
Winter came . Besides the cold weather and the wind the snow has come.However we went fishing.You can not sit at home and think that the steelhead swim in rivers increasingly more.I think we got a nice weather considering that last week the wind blew at 30-40 miles.
The river was quite clear and slightly lower than last time.However, water frozen in the rings pretty quickly and the streamer turned into an colorful icicle in less than a minute.We had to use a good equipement ( thick fleece underwear, windstopper hat and neoprene gloves) otherwise you might just not last a full day. But Canadians have a saying: ” Crazy weather , big fish, good friends. Sametimes it hurts, but I love it” I fished the river in the same area last time.I now insisted more on each site.We were four fishermen: me, Jordan, Brent and Josh…so we split into teams of two.Me together with Jordan went up the river.We have left to the others about 500 meter of river untouched.We entered the water.I fished with nymphs one side of the river and Jordan fished with streamers the other side of the river. After we changed several flies we went further up the river.I had the first attack on a large and deep eddy. It was very strong but I missed.Jordan had an attack too but he failed to sting. He was fishing with a black wooly bugger with orange ball on a hook rod 6 with 3 long.I kept on fishing and in five minutes I had a new attack.I sting and there it was…I felt it straining..it was swiming down the stream as they usually do..I let it go…It was taking fishing line..then it came out of the water and shook its head nervously…it felt with powerful sound and my fishing line broke….that was it…it was gone…the fishing line was 0.16 mm thick. It shouldn’t break but it was obviously too thick for this fish. ” I have the satisfaction that I saw it” I said to Jordan…we laughed both and we left further . I changed the tippet with another one. This time I put 0.18 mm.I had to be sure that it won’t break again.I put on a black stonefly hook 8 with two balls in a tungsten 0.3 mm. At the end of the fishing line I put a little orange and yellow eggfly hook right type of rod 12.We arrived at another eddy.It was deeper.It had about 2 m depth.We applied the same strategy. He was fishing upstream downstream with streamer. I was fishing from the side in cehesc downstream classic style with nymph. As I was fishing I got immersed in water up to waist.Half a meter under the water in front of me was a black silhouette, about half a meter ….it swam lazily without truly care abuot me.I cried ” What a hell?” and I was immediatly out of water . “Calm down! It’s just a muskrat…We don’t have aligators here” said Jordan laughingat me.The muskrat went quietly and above 10 m it come to the surface.I can tell you that it’s not nice at all to see such an animal passing by you, although they are so cute at first sight.When swimming under water looks quite fierce. Because there was no movement we followed the stream upwords..Instead of nymph I put on a streamer .After 15 minutes of fishing in a place with only half a meter water I had a strong attack…It was pulling the fishing line out of my hands. I stung and the reel begun to make noise. The reel wire ran…It was a strong fish. I expected him to jump out of water but it did not…instead it took the hill with speed…after a while I managed to stop it. It counters me…I’m not impressed. It changed immediately its strategy and it started coming to me quickly.It was climbing the river like a undermine. .I was collecting desperately the fishing line to keep the line streched hand…It changed direction towards the opposite bank..I was finally able to see him…That was it..it could not make it any more. It raised to the surface . I pulled him to shore and Jordan helped me as he always does. He caught the fish tail gently but firmly.The first fish we caught that day was pulled ashore. We took some photos and we released it quickly.We moved forward but now we were fishing more enthusiastic. We found a place with deep water. The water was quite fast.There was a large tree felt across the river .We begun to fish and we covered carefully every half a meter of water. The weather conditions worsen, the wind was blowing stronger,more snow was falling. We kept on trying.I had an attack again. A fish decided to bite and the denim started.This time my partner was more agile…it had a better rhythm.It crossed the river zig zag several times…it was struggling nervously…It jumped out of the water twice …it could not excape..it bite the hook well. In several minutes ( which always pass yery quickly) I managed to remove a fish from shore. . It was smaller than the first one, but it fought as well as the first. It deserves its name :steelhead.We took a few photos and then we released it. We shook the snow and kept on fishing. The weather conditions worsen.The wind was not joking with us .The fishing lines frozen faster. The rings were full of ice all the time. It was no use cleaning them.During recovery of the wire rod the forefinger gatherded ice..It was becaming harder to fish , but we kept on fishing.I said to Jordon “I have the impression we have to stop because we might not find our car”.He agreed and we disasembled the fishing poles. I won’t tell you anything about the way back through snow knee. But I can tell you that we were able to find our car.This is the winter steelheading and I can tell you that I like it a lot