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In the United States, where the majority of Angling Report subscribers live, we tend to think US booking agents know about all of the great places to go fishing around the world. Similarly, French anglers think their agents have an equally comprehensive view of world angling. Ditto Italian anglers, and so on. The truth is, all advanced countries that have a community of anglers who travel are more provincial than is commonly supposed. The reasons why all nations’ anglers are myopic to some extent are varied, but linguistic and cultural barriers play a big role and so does the colonial history of a nation. Yes, there is broad international awareness of some fishing areas such as the Bahamas for bonefishing, New Zealand for trout fishing, and Iceland for salmon fishing, but beyond those places are literally thousands of places to go fishing that are not on the radar screen of international anglers. Many are familiar only to anglers in a single nation or followers of a single agent.
Ferreting out all of the great places to fish that are not currently on the international radar screen of anglers around the world is an impossible task, of course – impossible because places to fish continually wax and wane in quality. Some disappear because of local environmental disasters. Others emerge because of the efforts of a local travel entrepreneur. Consider the tarpon fishery in Trinidad. Who had ever heard of this fishery until several years ago? And consider, too, the peacock bass fishing in Colombia. It used to be the best in the world, and probably still is, but it has largely dropped out of sight because of security concerns. So don’t expect this series of reports to be a definitive guide to world angling. Think of it as a series of intriguing snapshots taken to encourage you to expand your fishing horizons.
This first installment of World Angling Update focuses on an agent in London, Go Fishing Worldwide (www.gofishingworldwide.co.uk), which offers some destinations we have never covered in these pages, along with a cross section of well-known destinations we have covered extensively, and some we simply haven’t kept up with on a regular basis. Go Fishing Worldwide has been in operation since 1989, offering what marketing manager Philippa Westwood describes as “tailor-made and hosted fly fishing trips to some of the world’s finest freshwater and saltwater destinations.” The firm is owned and operated by Maggi Smit, who was unavailable for comment as this was written, but Philippa indicated that she has a wealth of destination knowledge, having traveled extensively to prime fishing locales around the world. “We do our best to personally visit as many of the destinations we represent as possible,” Philippa said. “Plus, we have a team of skilled anglers who host our fishing trips and introduce us to new locations. We only work with reputable lodges and guides.”
One of the more intriguing destinations we found on the Go Fishing Worldwide Web site is British Virgin Islands, where the firm says it works with a skiff guide who offers bonefishing on the island of Anegada, while also offering less formal bonefishing on Virgin Gorda. We covered the Anegada opportunity back in the early ’90s and published a subscriber report on it (no. 3792 in our database) in 2007. It is a positive report, in case you are wondering. At any rate, here is what Go Fishing Worldwide says about bonefishing on Virgin Gorda and Anegada.
“If you are looking for a beach holiday with a couple of on-your-own bonefish days, this can be done from Virgin Gorda,” the Web site says, going on to mention some places to stay. Turning to Anegada, it has this to say: “on Anegada, you will be able to fly fish for bonefish and a number of other saltwater species, dine under the stars, and relax on white sandy beaches. Surrounded by the third largest coral reef in the world, Anegada is well protected from the sea and its waters remain calm all year round. It has a variety of breathtaking flats and mangroves which hold large bonefish, tarpon, and permit. These can all be targeted on the fly either from the skiff or by wading the crystal clear flats. There are little more than 200 inhabitants on Anegada, which really does give it an untouched, desert island feel.”
Go Fishing Worldwide recommends that anglers stay at Anegada Reef Hotel, which is “situated on a beach and is surrounded by crystal-clear seas where turtles glide elegantly across the flats, bonefish tail, and tarpon roll. The food is fresh from the sea and there is a great selection of local dishes to try whilst relaxing under the stars at the candlelit beach restaurant. The rooms are modern with private bathrooms and are very comfortable with air conditioning and maid service. The transport to Anegada from Tortola is by boat and takes approximately half an hour.”
Go Fishing Worldwide gives the price of seven nights’ lodging, half board, at Anegada Reef Hotel, plus six days of guided bonefishing and the ferry from Tortola as £1,890 per person ($2,929.50 US at press time). The cost of a seven-night stay at the Bitter End Yacht club on Virgin Gorda, full board, is £1,520 per person ($2,356 US). That does not include the bonefishing, which can be done on one’s own, or deep-sea fishing, which must be arranged privately.
Over in South Africa, Go Fishing Worldwide offers a trout fishing trip in the Drakensberg Mountains southeast of Johannesburg that is completely new to us. It is based at Tenahead Mountain Lodge, where the trout season runs September to May. Another species that is popular locally, yellowfish, can be pursued from October to March. “Tenahead Mountain Lodge is located high in the Drakensberg Mountains on 3,500 hectares of unspoilt mountains, valleys, and streams,” the Web site says, indicating the lodge and the activities available there will appeal to nonfishing partners. “Accommodation is in very comfortable rooms with private bathrooms. The area around the lodge boasts some of the finest rainbow trout, brown trout, and yellowfish fishing in the country. Rhodes, Barkly East, Maclear and surrounding areas offer more than 1,000 kilometers of fishable water on more than 12 different rivers. Trout were introduced into these river systems over 80 years ago and now breed naturally. They average between 10 and 14 inches, but fish of six to ten pounds have been caught.”
The website does not give the cost of this trip, as that depends on the number and type of ancillary activities one pursues, as well as the number of days of guided fishing one wishes to book. Here are some additional destinations the company describes on its Web site:
• Zell Am See in Austria. The fish available include grayling, sturgeon, and Arctic char.
• Frantiskovy Lazne in the western Bohemia region of Czech Republic. Fish available are wild brown trout and grayling.
• Laguna Larga Lodge on the Cinaruco River in Venezuela. Principal fish available are peacock bass.
• Various places in Sweden. Glamour species available are Atlantic salmon, but there are also places to catch pike, trout, and grayling.
• Numerous areas in the Falkland Islands. Principal game fish are sea trout, or sea-run brown trout, which was introduced into various local rivers in the 1940s, but there are also fish known locally as Falklands mullet or rock cod (Eleginops maclovinus), which are a species of icefish. They are a predator species, and specimens weighing over 20 pounds have been caught.
• Various lodges in the southern African country of Mozambique. Mostly a big game-fishing destination, but Go Fishing Worldwide mentions bonefish as being available. It’s highly unlikely they are available in a flats environment but huge bonefish are found in this region of the world. The IGFA All-Tackle World Record bonefish (a 19 pounder) was taken just south of here in Zululand, South Africa, in 1962.
The list of unfamiliar destinations listed on the Go Fishing Worldwide Web site goes on and on: Dubai, Madagascar, Tanzania, the Azores, Cape Verde, Grenada, and Madeira. If you visit one of these destinations, be sure and file a report. Tell the rest of us what we have been missing! Write [email protected].