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Expert Q&A- Nubian Flats

Until recently, North Africa, and especially the coast of Sudan has never been considered a viable fishing destination. Political unrest in neighboring Southern Sudan has cast a dark image that has dampened the potential for Sudanese tourism. Along the Red Sea coast of Sudan there are countless islands and wide expanses of shallow water flats. These offer the adventuresome fly angler a treasure chest of fly fishing opportunities. In 2013, Tourette Fishing began the long process of exploring as much of the coast as possible in order to evaluate the fly fishing potential. It didn’t take long to see the massive potential, as the flats were home to incredible numbers of triggerfish, bluefin trevally, GTs, Bohar as well as bonefish and permit.

Despite the bad reputation of the country, Sudan is a very inviting, friendly, and safe place to travel, and for years has been the center for an exploding diving industry. In the future, there is no doubt that the Nubian Flats of the Red Sea will become a well-recognized flats destination as fly fisherman experience the magic of the Sudan coast.

Expert Interview with Tourette Fishing’s Mark Murray


Top 5 reasons to go to Nubian Flats:
1. Affordable saltwater flats fishery with outstanding South African guides.
2. Arguably the best triggerfish fishery one can find.
3. Logistically easy to reach from Port Sudan.
4. World class diving/snorkelling.
5. Fairly new fishery with lots to discover.

When should I go?
 March to mid June.

Where do they fish?
Mainland flats as well as islands,offshore reefs, and atolls north and south of Port Sudan.

Who is best suited to the destination.
Enthusiastic fit anglers with a sense of adventure.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
The mothership/live-aboard Scuba Libre is a 18 meter (60 ft)steel catamaran.  Guests stay in two main cabins in the front of the boat.  Each cabin sleeps  three people with space for your luggage. There are three bathrooms on board, each with a toilet, shower, and a basin. The mothership is quite rustic but very comfortable and fits all the needs of the angler.  Meals are mostly Italian style and consists of pasta’s, fresh caught fish dishes, as well as vegetables and fresh salads.

What is the atmosphere and style of the lodge/boat?
As mentioned above, the Scuba Libre a 18 meter (60 ft)steel catamaran. There is a big deck at the top of the boat outside where guests spend most of their time when not fishing.  All the tackle neatly stored here. Lots of guests also use the extra mattresses (stowed away on this deck) to sleep under the stars and watch the magical sunrise over the Red Sea each morning. Behind the mothership there are also two 23 ft fiberglass tender-boats equipped whit 40 hp engines that are used to go to/from the flats plus for offshore fishing.

Is the owner on site?
The boat has two partners and one will always be on the boat during the season along with the team from Tourette.

Is there internet and cell service?
There is very little connection at the Port and zero when we are offshore. There will be sat phone on board in case of emergencies.

How do they fish?
The fishing is done while wading the flats looking for cruising and tailing fish. Deep water dredging off the tender boats is also effective with a fly. Conventional anglers can do some vertical jigging offshore and popping over specifically earmarked reefs. No conventional fishing is allowed on the flats and the reefs surrounding them.

What fish will I catch?
On the flats you will target triggerfish (yellow margin & titan), bluefin trevally, giant trevally, orange spot trevally, bohar snapper, grouper, bumphead parrotfish, greater barracuda, some permit and milkfish. We also get some opportunities at big bonefish but its important to keep in mind that the Nubian Flats are not a bonefish destination and shots at these fish are more a bonus than anything else. Offshore there are also lots of dogtooth tuna in the 10-25 KG range, sailfish and a whole variety of reef species.

How many fish will I catch?
This all depends on the skill level of the angler. Casting accuracy and being able to fish in knee-to-waist deep water with some wind is very important. We see lots of triggerfish everyday and one will get opportunities at them. Nailing the cast, and getting these fish to see the fly is a different story. Same counts for the bigger fish species. I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice your casting with the same rods and lines before the trip. This will definitely help you convert more opportunities.

Will we see other anglers?
You wont bump into any other anglers while fishing the Nubian Flats. The only people you might see will be some local subsistence fisherman fishing offshore in small shambuk boats. These fisherman are controlled by the local Sudanese navy to ensure they stick to their allocated catch as per their weekly permits.

Do the guides speak English?
Yes. The guides can all speak fluent English.

What are the guides like?
The guides team is both professional and passionate about the fishery. They are South African with the addition of one Italian guide who is also part-owner of the boat. The guides will be on hand to look after every need of the angler and will make sure that each guests gets the best possible outcome from their time spent on & off the water.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
We do have rod and reel rentals that can be prearranged. We also stock a selection of trusted flies designed&tied by the guides that can be ordered before the trip. We also carry stock of fly line + terminal tackle.

What are the physical demands?
The majority of the fishing is done on foot, wading the flats. So the angler must have a reasonable fitness level. The terrain can also be hard at times as some flats have areas of very sharp uneven coral. The days can also be quite hot. Generally the older folks tend to get quite fatigued towards the end of the trip. There is no age limit on this trip but older folks should asses their fitness before booking.

Are their special skills required?
Only thing we asks of our guests is to practice their casting before coming on the trip, regardless of their skill level. Practice with the same rods and lines that you will be using to get a good feel for them. By doing this, you will increase your catch-rate and make your trip much more enjoyable

Danger and annoyances:
The only danger is poisonous shells and certain reef species. The guides will run through all of this each day reminding guests to not pickup shells etc.

Are there health concerns?
There are no major health concerns.