When visiting Sudan and the Nubian Flats in 2019, it was my 40th tropical fishing trip. Sudan was something I kind of stumbled into by coincidence, after meeting an Italian in Oman who had fished there. He was immensely excited about the Sudanese fishery, and all that it had to offer. Of course, this was something that needed some looking into. After numerous trips to different flats fishing, and coast/beach fishing locations, I wanted something new, something different, I wanted to fly fish Sudan.
Now, 1.5 years and three trips later. Having fly fished Sudan for about forty days, walking a crazy amount of miles on the flats there, I feel like we have just barely scratched the surface.
Living on a ship for a couple of weeks, sailing from one great location to another every day, is at least to me, as good as it gets.
One day you’ll wade coastal flats, walking the seemingly endless shallows, all protected by a long barrier reef. Fishing both the actual flat, but also the reef, which is a bit more challenging. The reef can undoubtedly be extremely rewarding in terms of big fish.
The next day fishing off an island, with different habitats such as turtle grass, reef, coral, rock, with sandy areas in-between. Then onto another stretch of sandy flats, beaches, and rocky coast the following days.
We are always covering new interesting ground, teeming with marine life. Fishing in these ever-changing environments is hugely fascinating, and you often feel like you’re in an episode of Blue Planet, almost hearing sir David Attenborough narrating the scenes playing out.
The Fish Species of Sudan:
Most days you’ll find yourself casting at Titan and Yellow Margin Triggerfish, two fish that are guaranteed to make your brain boil.
Hardly any trigger is the same, and when you think you have figured them out, they will slap you in the face.
Of all fish I have targeted, I’d say the triggers are the ones that most often put me on an emotional rollercoaster. Lots of love and hate, all packed into a very compressed package.
The Bluefin Trevallies are also very much present on the shallow flats and are usually more than willing to eat anything that comes their way, be it a crab, shrimp, or a brushie. Greedy and fast as lightning, hard strikes, and even harder runs!
Then there’s, of course, the Giant Trevally and we always walk with a rod dedicated to the “gangsters of the flats”, usually armed with a 130lbs leader, and a fly tied on the strongest fly hook you can find. These fish will put both gear and the angler to the test! The stories of broken lines, broken hooks, broken rods, and broken men are endless.
I guess the craziest grand-slam of GT fuckups I’ve ever heard of, happened to a friend of mine on our March trip last year. When he pulled the spectacular stunt of breaking his rod, his line, and his hook, ALL on the same fish!
The GT has a reputation of being a mean bastard for good reason, making overpowering these brutes on a fly rod feel even greater.
In addition to the “usual suspects,” the Nubian Flats also offers a multitude of other species such as Bonefish, Indo-Pacific Permit, Milkfish, Bumphead Parrotfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Bohar Snapper, Barracuda, and more species than you can shake a fly stick at.
For those feeling adventurous, there’s also the possibility of targeting Dogtooth Tuna with heavy sinking lines and dredging flies. The doggies are abundant near the reef drop-offs and will hit a fly with unmatched brutality.
History of Fly Fishing in Sudan:
Divers have been coming to this part of the Red Sea for a long time. But it wasn’t really explored by anglers until Nicola Vitali and Federico Castignoli, of Wild Sea Expedition, set their eyes on this untouched area in 2011. An area which still to this day is pristine.
Sudan is not really a fishing nation, and the only “commercial” fishing we ever see is a couple of guys in a panga, with hand-lines, or cast-nets. Something that is in stark contrast to the raping one, unfortunately, see many other places around the world. Since the Sudanese coast is full of reef and coral, it is not an easy place to be netting or long-lining. So nature’s natural “walls” of the reef is helping to keep it free from pesky intruders.
Travel to Sudan:
Traveling to Sudan has been very easy. And Sudan should not be confused with South Sudan, which is a different country, with kind of a bad ring to it.
There’s a direct flight from Cairo to Port Sudan. Visa and paperwork are taken care of by a Sudanese agent and it is handed out upon arrival in Port Sudan. Then, after a short mini-bus ride to the port, you’ll find yourself on the yacht, ready to sail off to the realm of the Giant Trevally.
If you want to plan a trip to Sudan, feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.