Nubian Flats – Two Week Extended Expedition – 2019
We set sail out of Port Sudan with the exciting prospect of have two weeks to go where ever we wanted and the luxury of having only two guests.We welcomed Corey Knowlton from Texas back to Sudan, joined by his good friend John Lewton from Montana.
We got together the first night and feverishly put together a two-week itinerary that would best suit the weather and wind conditions for the time ahead.Having already caught their fair share of triggerfish on their previous trip to Sudan, we knew that this trip would largely be focused on the trevally and extra special species. Speaking of the extra special! On our first day, we hooked two fish that are shrouded in legend in Sudan. That is the Giant Sweetlips tailing on a few of the flats. The first one of about 20lb made it all the way to the net and in a final surge popped the leader. Devasted, but inspired by the thought of it being possible! We pushed on and after an amazing stalk hooked a second much larger fish. With this fish entering the ring at about one meter long and weighing in at about 50lb we did everything to try to keep it on the flat with myself even running the edge of the flat smashing the water to try to chase it back inside. Tragically with one last surge, it got its head of the flat and into coral bommie cutting us off. Sadly, that was the last real shot we had on sweetlips for the rest of the trip. But that’s how it goes sometimes. We continued to walk the windward side of the island and landed two very decent GT’s sighted in the waves.
The next few days we fished multiple pinnacles. The pinnacles all have the same features more or less, which is a small island (sometimes just shells) with a lagoon running along the long leeward side with a narrow hard bottom flat surrounding, followed by a surf zone and then a 40 – 60meter vertical wall!
This meant that at any one of these pinnacles you could find almost every time of target species in the Red Sea.
And Find everything we did! Like I mentioned Corey and John were not overly keen on the triggerfish, but on some of the flats, we waded through “clouds” of triggers, casting at schools as opposed to single individual fish.
We had a few really good shots on permit that did not oblige. We caught many bluefin trevally and snapper each day with a boast of at least two GT’s landed each day with many more hooked and lost.
We had one amazing day on a particular island. We landed 13 GT’s in one afternoon and hooked many more sadly as it goes, we lost all of our very big Geets, but we did hook 3 fish that in the 115cm department but they were just a bit too much GT for the spots that they were hooked.
We continued with the plan knowing that we had time as our Allie and that by order of odds we would land the GT that we were after. Our weather report said that we had two days of north winds to look forward to which we knew would give the flat that we had seen the sweetlips and permit the waves that it needed. So, we made a night navigation back to the island and decided to put two days into permit fishing. This proved to be a great decision as of those two days we had 22 really good shots on multiple permit all ranging from about 10 to 25pounds.
On the first day Corey and I spotted a school of six permit working the coastline and after some careful planning,g we hooked one of about 15 pounds which proved a little big for the flat and after putting everything to its breaking point the fish managed to get off the flat and cut us off. The second day Corey and Nicola headed up the coast and around the corner. A few hours later the return with two stupid looks on their faces. They had finally done it and landed to our knowledge the second Indo-pacific permit on fly in Sudan.
With the huge burden lifted we move all our attention to a huge GT for our final five days. Unfortunately, we had a small hole develop in the head of the main engine, so we had to change boats. This was by no means a compromise and it all worked out that we even gained a bit of fishing time. We move back out to some new pinnacles and reefs. Dedicating our days to walking lagoons and teasing for the GTs. We found exactly what we were looking for and sometime a bit more than we bargained for with some of the teasers bring in up to 15 fish at a time, all jostling for the front position. Often in an amongst the GT’s we had multiple bluefin and snapper and quite often even a big shark or two. Of the third to last day, Corey and Nicola landed a tremendous fish over a meter and so the pressure was off.
We decided to try put one morning into finding a bonefish on the coast. We had terrible light and some strong wind. So, spotting bones was very difficult. John and I found a truly massive Permit tailing in about half a meter of water with 5 smaller fish. John made a great cast and the big fish moved on the fly, but the fly was snaked but one of the much smaller permit. In all the excitement the small fish broke john off and the shot was gone.
It was an absolute pleasure in the last few days with incredible fishing. John hooked two GT’s sighted in one of the lagoons that were both 115cm plus. Sadly, we had catastrophic line explosions on both of these fish. John did lad two fish of 95cm, that were both sighted and caught on the flats. With Corey landing many more.
So, to conclude with a few stats: between two anglers over two weeks; roughly 700km sailed; 46 giant trevally landed; one Indo-pacific Permit; a genuinely unknown amount of Bohar snapper and Bluefin Trevally; a couple dozen triggerfish and many more incredible fish hooked, landed or lost.
leaving the Nubian Flats each year, one can’t help but get excited about applying the ever-growing pool of knowledge in the seasons to follow on this Vast, untouched and unique fishery.
cheers for now Stu.