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Featured Article
'Fishing Tales from The Gambia'
Daddy Chabi (Trevor Key)

Jack The Ripper

In the dark and misty streets of the late 19th century London the mere mention of that name was guaranteed to set your heart pumping and your adrenaline racing.  Here in the 21st century Gambia with blue water and clear skies we experience similar heart thumping moments, but the name that triggers our adrenaline is that of: Jack Crevalle - one of the toughest fighters that never gives up.

During my misspent-youth, and in common with most red blooded young men, 'bird watching' was one of my favourite pastimes.  Thankfully over the years the habit never left me.  But sadly, nowadays it is no longer mini-skirts that grab my attention but rather the seabirds and diving terns.  Seabirds are often referred to as the fisherman's 'eye in the sky', and rightly so, for since man first hunted fish , seabirds have been some of the most important natural indicators of where fish and action should be.  Though I rarely set out to specifically target Jacks, like the good boy scout I used to be, it pays to 'be prepared'.  So I normally have an old casting rod plus a weighty surface 'popper', 'Dexter' wedge or a large silver spoon somewhere close at hand.

One of the enduring joys of angling is that very often the unexpected does happen, like when a calm and normal sort of day suddenly turns into a cracking exciting day that you will remember for a long time. Recently I experienced that kind of day, the weather and sea conditions were idyllic although the fishing was slow.  One of those days when you either lie back and light a 'Hamlet' or head home in a huff to sell your rods and buy a set of golf clubs!!.  Seabirds had been passing by all morning in ones and twos, heading off into the wild blue yonder.  When suddenly I noticed a small group of eight or ten had gathered and appeared to be circling over one spot about 600 yards away, and as I focused on them, the sea beneath suddenly erupted in a mass of foam and the birds began diving in.  It was of course a school of Jacks forcing bait fish up to the surface and then ripping through them like the 'razor gang'.  I didn't exactly press the panic button, but rods were in, the anchor was up and my casting rod was to hand all in about 30 seconds.  The engine was fired up and I began a slow steady approach from up-tide.  When Jacks are in this feeding frenzy mode they tend to smash through the bait fish for a minute or so, then they dive to re-marshal the bait fish bringing them back to the surface two or three minutes later.  This is when the seabirds are invaluable, for they wheel and circle over the bait fish giving you a pretty good indication of where the Jacks will reappear. 

The secret of success in this game is to position yourself within casting distance of the anticipated spot, cut your engine and drift down-tide onto the fish.  Charging around with your engine screaming is frustrating and counter productive, for this only serves to drive the Jacks down, and off they head for more peaceful feeding grounds.  On this occasion I was lucky enough to boat three nice 14-16lb Jacks, but I also lost at least five more, two of them right alongside the boat - one even managed to straighten the 'eagle claw' hook on my Dexter wedge ! As I mentioned before these are the most incredibly tough fighters that will battle every inch of the way right up to the boat.

However, on the plus side, chilled, sliced thinly and drizzled with lime juice they make an excellent 'sushi' or alternatively, season the steaks, brush with olive oil and char-grill them.

Bon Appetite.



Daddy Chabi



  'Jack the Ripper'



Fishing in The Gambia - What's Available
General Descriptions


Fish for giant Atlantic Tarpon  in The Gambia river estuary.
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Sport Fishing on the inshore reefs & sandbars
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Light tackle species fishing in the oyster mangrove creeks..........
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Shore Angling Safari's along Gambia's unspoilt coastline..........
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    THE BOAT - Skippers - Location
Our Boston Whaler boat will get you to all major fishing grounds within 30 mins................................
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To name a few...........

West African Pompano....Barracuda, Guinean Barracuda. Butterfish....Cassava-Croaker....Catfish.... Cobia..... Grouper.... Giant West African Threadfin....Guitarfish.... Halibut....Nine-Bone (Ladyfish).... Long-neck Croaker.... Jacks (Trevally & Crevelle)......Snappers......Spanish- Mackerel....Large Rays....Tarpon....Tigerfish.
















Read other featured articles written by Daddy Chabi

Beautiful Butterfish
Cassava 'chaos'
Summertime Blues
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