This years Anglers World Holidays group trip to Belize was based at Roberts Grove, Placencia. The perfect location to run offshore to fish the plethora of flats and small cayes in Southern Belize, Roberts Grove proved to be an excellent choice providing wonderful accommodation, great food and outstanding service. Certainly Roberts Grove will be our choice for accommodation for all future trips to Belize, which I am sure will be many!


One of there swimming pools at Roberts Grove.


Location on the beach 5 miles north of the village of Placencia, Roberts Grove is the perfect location to fish in Southern Belize

Always the fishing in Belize is excellent, but this year was our best trip ever. May is one of the very best months for tarpon in Belize, and fly fishing for these amazing fish was high on our agenda. We had six full days fly fishing and myself and boat partner Andrew Leaves caught tarpon on every single day. The average size of the tarpon we caught was between 25-50lb, with Andrew catching the largest of the trip, a superb 80lb fish. The most productive fly was the Gummy Minnow, and luckily we had brought plenty of this perfect baitfish imitations, supplied by Fulling Mill and all tied on high quality, strong hooks.


One of the tarpon I caught on fly, an especially acrobatic 30lb fish.


A baby tarpon of around 5lb caught on fly in Monkey River, great fun on a 9wt fly rod!


Fishing poppers for baby tarpon in the jungle rivers of Belize is superb sport.


SET! Andrew Leaves gets hit in Monkey River.

Anyone who has caught a tarpon will know that these fish are amazingly strong, and the fight is never over until the fish is brought to the boat. Even when the fish are successfully brought alongside getting good photographs is difficult. We don’t lift them aboard as this can easily cause considerable damage both to the fish and tackle, so we attempt to work them onto the edges of a flat, where we could get out of the boat and safely hold the fish in the water. The trouble is the fish very quickly revive themselves and in almost all cases a final explosive display of defiance as we attempted to get photographs resulted in a refreshing shower and a broken leader.


We wanted a photograph, the fish had other ideas!

As always I fished with my very good friend and outstanding guide George Garbutt, who without a doubt is one of the finest fly fishing guides I have had the pleasure of fishing with anywhere in the world. George’s knowledge of the flats is second to none, and of course this is an essential requirement for the success of any trip.


George Garbutt, an outstanding guide.


One of many bonefish caught on fly.


Jack Crevalle caught on a chartreuse Clouser Monnow, these fish certainly test both your knots and the drag on your reel

While tarpon were our primary interest we also targeted other species. Bonefish are prolific throughout Belize and we caught plenty, even though we spent very little time fishing for them. On a few occasions we looked for permit and while we found one or two, on this occasion the main population of fish seemed to have moved offshore to spawn. Variety was provided by catching some great jacks and snapper of various species, but with the tarpon fishing so good, naturally these were the major focus of our attention on every day. Derek ‘Del’ Elliott caught a specimen 16lb snook of fly and a stunning 21lb African Pompano on bait, and along with boat partner Ray Jennings also got plenty of tarpon and other species.


Looking for permit on one of countless stunning flats in Belize


Hard at work in last weeks ‘office’, somewhere in Belize!


Almost there, George wades out to land one of my fish.

We will be returning to Belize in May 2017 and there may be a place or two left on this trip. If you think you might be interest contacts Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit:  George Garbutt can be contacted via email at:


Don’t forget to pack plenty of Gummy Minnows, but make sure they are tied on good quality hooks.


Andrew Leaves slugs it out with a big tarpon.


Trying to keep a big tarpon away from the mangroves.



Just home from what has become an annual two week trip to Tulum on the Yukutan Peninsula in Mexico. I fish throughout the extensive, productive saltwater flats within the beautiful Sian Ka’an biosphere. The flats around Boca Paila are one of the few places I know where you can experience good self guided sight fishing for bonefish with a fly rod, though in the years I have been visiting I have noted that the number of anglers fishing here has increased, despite the presence of saltwater crocodiles, and not surprisingly the fish have become very spooky.


Anglers fishing the flats at Boca Paila. It’s starting to get crowded on the best flats you can reach on foot, but there are plenty of fish.


Self guided bonefish on fly caught at Boca Paila.

This trip I managed to average a fish a visit, never fishing more than just a couple of hours in the afternoon. Last year I met Capt. Eduardo Gomez, take a look at my earlier blog, one of the best saltwater fly fishing guides I have fished with anywhere. Eduardo has 45 years experience fishing throughout Sian Ka’an, most of it as a full guide at the famous Boca Paila Fishing Lodge, which is no longer in operation.


Eduardo Gomez poling a flat with the Sian Ka’an Biospere.

This year I booked three full day trips with Eduardo and experienced some of the very best fly fishing I have ever enjoyed. We started off each morning focussing on bonefish, which generally feed best in very shallow water before the sun gets too hot. On the first day with four bonefish successfully caught and released Eduardo suggested we move and try for permit. I very nearly said I would rather stick with catching bones but luckily I listened to Eduardo’s advice, reeled in my 8wt and rigged up a 10wt Thomas & Thomas with a large crab pattern.


A nice bonefish caught on my first days fishing with Eduardo Gomez.

It was a windy day but luckily there was very little high cloud so the light for spotting fish was perfect. I soon got my first shot at a permit, but not surprisingly that fish showed zero interest in my fly, which is pretty much normal when attempting to catch these most spooky fish on fly. The second fish I cast at reacted very differently and as soon as the fly hit the water it turned to look at it and did everything but actually eat it. The fish did not spook and when I recast it once again turned and closely examined the fly, but refused to actually eat it. By now the fish was moving away from the boat at my extreme casting range and at an angle that meant the third cast would be directly into the wind. In my mind I had given up on catching it but cast anyway, and quite unbelievably the fly landed perfectly right in front of the fish; and this time it ate it. Ten minutes later Eduardo slid the net under my first ever permit caught on fly.


Eduardo Gomez hold’s my fly caught permit.


My first permit on fly.

With bonefish and permit now in the bag I only needed a tarpon to complete a coveted I.G.F.A Inshore Grand Slam on fly, a lifetime achievement for any angler, and one that has been at the very top of my personal bucket list for many years. Eduardo knew a good place and with the crab fly swapped for one of my home tied Black Death tarpon flies I started casting. Within ten minutes I had hooked the first tarpon, which came cartwheeling directly towards the boat before throwing the fly, ditto the second fish. The third fish stayed hooked throughout three spectacular series of acrobatic jumps and as Eduardo reached out to grab the leader all looked done and dusted, until the line went slack. By now the clock was ticking but undeterred Eduardo took us to another spot where I connected with another tarpon, that remained hooked all the way to the net.


Grand Slam complete, tarpon an the fly!

With my inshore fly caught slam in the bag my day was done and I made it back to the hotel in time for the 2 for 1 Margarita happy hour, the start of a most memorable hangover! Eduardo Gomez can be contacted through the following emails, his son’s at or


Eduardo holds one of several jack crevalle I caught on fly during my trip.


Another day, another great bonefish, I’ll be back very soon…


Recently I have had several enquiries about plans for future hosted trips, but sadly everything we have planned during the next 18 months is already fully booked. Very occasionally we do get a last minute cancellation opening up an opportunity for someone to join us, and if you would like to be contacted in the event of short notice availability, please get in touch and I will add you to my contacts lists.

Hosted trips currently scheduled include Belize May 16, fly fishing for tarpon, bonefish, permit and snook; Mongolia, August/September 16 for lenok trout and grayling; Nicaragua October 16 for tarpon, snook and rainbow bass; Argentina March 17 for freshwater dorado; and finally Christmas Island in July 17 for GT’s, bonefish and numerous other species. The next hosted/group trip I anticipate we will be planning will be a return to Nicaragua in October 2017, almost certainly followed by Panama in early 2018. Of course private trips can always be booked at these and many other exciting destinations offered by Anglers World Holidays, for more information visit: or Tel: 01246 221717.


I love tying flies, and Vismar had many excellent tiers demonstrating their craft.

A couple of weeks a spent an interesting couple of days at Vismar, the big Dutch fishing show held each year at Ahoy, just outside of Rotterdam. I had been invited by Peter Dohmen, editor of the top Dutch sea angling magazine Zee Hengelsport, for whom I have worked for the past 12 years or so. It was a great trip during which I got to meet several old friends, and make a few new ones. Sadly we no longer have any similar shows here in the UK, so why not consider a long weekend at Vismar next year? Given low cost air and ferry crossings this need not be overly expensive; I’ll probably see you there!


One of the most popular displays was a really interesting demonstration of various ways to fillet and prepare different species of fish.

Last blog I revealed I have been working extensively on my latest book, and finally the last of 25 chapters has just been sent to the publisher. I’ve been kicking various ideas around for this particular book for several years, and I hope the format I have chosen has something of interest for all anglers who have an interest in travel. Most of the book relates to fishing in saltwater, but several chapters feature freshwater fishing, notably for tigerfish, Nile perch and South American dorado. There are several chapters that focus on popping and jigging, with others looking at fly fishing, both inshore over shallow water flats and offshore for billfish and trevally. Each chapter features a minimum of 6-7 full colour images, which in addition to fish and fishing include many of my favourites illustrating the spectacular flora and fauna in those countries I have been fortunate to have visited; choosing which images to use has been one of the hardest elements of this project.


Rig tying was just one of many demonstrations of interest to sea anglers.

The first addition published, which includes a forward by Chris Tarrant, will be hard back with dust wrapper, with each of the first run being individually numbered. Destinations featured include The Florida Keys, Kenya, Norway, New York City & Cape Cod, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Namibia, Nicaragua, River Zambezi, Turks & Caicos Islands, Mozambique, Argentina, Madagascar, The Maldives, Mfangano Islands Lake Victoria, Belize, Uganda, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, The Andaman & Nicobar Islands, South Africa, Panama, Morocco, Sierra Leone & Sri Lanka. I’m not sure of the actual publication date yet, but hopefully it will be sometime around August this year. Numbers of this first addition are limited. If you think you might like a copy please let me know & I will put you on the mailing list for publication updates.


Peter Dohmen, second from left, presenting Irish Specimen fish awards in the show’s ‘Irish Pub’.


Welcome to my first blog of 2016, long overdue but as you will see I have been extremely busy. The year started off with a two week cruise around the western Caribbean with Alison, a great opportunity to visit a few new places and explore future fishing opportunities. We started off in Barbados, calling in at Aruba, Roatan and Trujillo in Honduras, Port Limon in Costa Rica, Colon in Panama, Cartagena in Colombia, Grenada and finally back to Barbados for the flight home. I had hoped to sneak in a bit of fishing here and there but these days the ships are in port for the absolute minimum of time, so this was not possible.


A sloth seated high in the tree canopy near Port Limon in Costa Rica

During my time in the Merchant Navy I spent 6 months on the P&O cruise ship Oriana and almost always we would arrive in port at 0700 and sail at 1900, and usually had an overnight stop once per cruise. Seemingly that is not the case today. Often we didn’t get ashore until 0900 or even 1000 and then usually the ship sailed around 1600-1700, which was very disappointing, and something you might like to look at if you plan on taking a cruise. However I have some great leads to follow up for fishing in Honduras, Colombia and Aruba.


Colourful fruit seller in the streets of Cartagena. Check out the hot sauce; now thats my kind of fruit seller!


The old town in Cartagena, Colombia, a truly fantastic city

Barely had I got home and unpacked when I was driving back to the airport to again fly across the Atlantic to Panama, this time with a  group of 11 friends all eagerly anticipating a week of popping, jigging and live baiting. Most of these had joined me the previous year when we had fished at Paradise Fishing Lodge on the countries northern Pacific Coast. That year the fishing had been outstanding, this year we had to work for our fish.


Sunrise near Coiba Island, Panama. One of our crews catching live bait for the day ahead; what will they catch?

The eastern Pacific is in the grip on an especially strong and protracted El Nino, with much warmer than average temperatures that seem to have slowed the fishing down. That said ‘slow’ fishing in Panama is the equivalent of excellent fishing at many destinations I have fished, and during the week everyone in the group boated some memorable fish including several sailfish, cubera snapper to over 50lb, roosterfish to 35lb along with school sized yellowfin tuna and numerous other species. The weather was fantastic, the rum, food and company even better; what else could you want from a fishing trip in the tropics in February?


A 50lb+ cubera snapper caught off Coiba Island, Panama. Check out the AFTCO shirt; cool eh!


Business end of my big cubera, not a good place to be if you are a fish!

During this trip I was able to try out some of the extensive range of technical fishing clothing manufactured by AFTCO, for whom I am now a pro-staffer. Most offshore anglers are aware that the companies rod hardware and deck equipment are widely regarded as being the industry standard, few realise just how extensive their range of technical fishing apparel is. Their tropical fishing shirts in particular are beautiful to wear, especially the Ultra Performance ‘Fish Ninja’ range which feature a built in buff and hood. The AFTCO Solarmar UVS gloves are comfortable to wear all day long, providing excellent grip when casting or fighting fish, the wearer all the time benefitting from SPF 50 protection. Check out the full AFTCO range at:


AFTCO Solamar UVS fishing gloves offer great grip, plus SPF50 protection


A nice little rooster caught off Coiba


My biggest rooster of the trip, again caught off Coiba Island

Part of the reason I have not blogged for so long is that I have been working full time on my latest book. Back in the autumn I was introduced to a publisher who immediately became interested in the ideas I proposed to him, and within the week a contract had been agreed and I had begun work on the project. Can’t reveal too much at the moment, but basically the book will feature around 25 chapters featuring some of the many wonderful locations around the world I have been fortunate to have fished. Key to my original idea was to maximise the use of some of the many thousands of images I have stored, and each chapter will have a minimum of 6 colour images, which I hope will give a ‘feel’ of the destinations featured. I plan on finishing my part of the work in March, so hopefully the book will be published sometime this summer.


Terry Thomas with a good mullet snapper caught off Coiba Island


Andrew Leaves with a stunning bluefin trevally caught on a Shimano Waxwing lure

Something different now. Recently I was contacted by Mail Speed Marine, an online marine chandlery company and they have generously offered anyone referred to their site from here a discount of 5% on products from their vast range. Take a look at what they sell here:


One of our crews fishing & hooked up off Coiba Island


Continuing the process of adding digital versions of old 35mm slides to earlier articles on my blog, I have now updated the sections on Uganda, beach fishing in Namibia and my first trip to Benguerra Island Lodge, Mozambique. You’ll find these and many more articles under the Memorable Trips section of this site.

Not a great place to slip and fall in!

The Devils Cauldron below Murchison Falls, not a great place to slip and fall in!

It’s hard to think that my first trip to Namibia was 20 years ago next April, it seems like only yesterday. You don’t hear so much about this excellent surf fishing destination these days, but the fishing is still good-provided you have a good guide. Johan Burger is still guiding here & he is widely acknowledged as being the very best. You can contact him at:

An average sized bronze whaler caught surf fishing in Namibia

An average sized bronze whaler caught surf fishing in Namibia

Likewise in recent years Uganda has gone very quiet, but this is hardly surprising considering it’s location & the amount of civil unrest and militia activity throughout the region. Certainly if planning on fishing here you need to take security very seriously. When John & I fished here our camp was guarded by troops from the Ugandan army.

My best perch of the trip, caught at The Sesse Islands

My best perch of the trip, caught at The Sesse Islands

That first trip to Mozambique was also a long time ago, not long after the end of the civil war. The fishing was truly outstanding, and as you can see we caught a lot of great fish. I’ve been back to the same area, though not the same lodge, on three further occasions now, and sadly each time I have noted a marked drop in the standard of fishing. I am sure there is still good fishing to be had in Mozambique, but like most other destinations you need to do your research thoroughly & really pinpoint optimum times of the year.

Big black tip caught from the beach at Benguerra Island Lodge

Big black tip caught from the beach at Benguerra Island Lodge

I am supposed to be trying to ease back a little with traveling, but next year already I have trips confirmed to Panama, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica & Nicaragua and Canada. And thats not including a two-week cruise around central & South America with Alison, during which I daresay I’ll get to fish. Further, it looks like I will be traveling to Mongolia in August to fish for lenok trout, grayling & hopefully taiman. There is a possibility two or three other anglers can join me, contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 if you think you might be interested. We are also looking at possibly traveling to Guinea Bissau in March, prime time for big tarpon. I need to clarify a few issues before confirming this trip, but again one or two places should be available.

Well I had to take the photographs, didn't I...

Well I had to take the photographs, didn’t I…


In my last post I explained how recently I had the opportunity to have a large selection of my 35mm slides scanned into a digital format, and that now I would be able to work my way through several early essays listed under the ‘Memorable trips’ section and hopefully bring them to life with illustrations. Well the process continues and I have now had the opportunity to update Cape Cod & New York City striped bass; South Africa marlin and Sierra Leone, a particularly ‘interesting trip’ where Bruce Dickinson, lead singer with Heavy Metal rock band Iron Maiden, flew us down to Freetown in a commercial Boeing jet, just after that countries particularly vicious cvil war,: hope you enjoy reading about it!

Striped bass, undoubtedly one of the worlds great species of inshore sport fish

Striped bass, undoubtedly one of the worlds great species of inshore sport fish

My black marlin caught on 30lb class stand up tackle off Sodwana Bay, South Africa

My black marlin caught on 30lb class stand up tackle off Sodwana Bay, South Africa

With Bruce Dickinson, lead singer with Iron Maiden: "let's go fishing-in Sierra Leone!

With Bruce Dickinson, lead singer with Iron Maiden: “let’s go fishing-in Sierra Leone!

The new Anglers World Holidays website is now up and running, take a look at it here: It’s October 1st tomorrow and already I have a more than full schedule of group/hosted and research trips planned for 2016.

Little old lady with a hat full of live iguana's, only in NYC!

Little old lady with a hat full of live iguana’s, only in NYC!

It is not too early to express interest in our regular trips which will no doubt be repeated in 2017, especially Nicaragua, Panama & Belize. If you have any questions you can get in touch with me via this site, or contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717.




Dad shot Pumba! Day two was cancelled so we went hunting.


I switched from shooting 35mm slides to digital images in 2006, and I don’t think I have loaded and shot a roll of film since. The thing is I still have a massive selection of slides that is counted in the thousands, and many of these are un-replaceable. Throughout the 1990’s I travelled extensively throughout Africa visiting and fishing in around 15 different countries on that continent, along with numerous other exciting destinations around the world. Aside from catching some truly memorable fish I saw and photographed some spectacular wildlife invariably amidst a National Geographic setting, be it Africa, Central America, The Caribbean or Indian Ocean.

A magnificent male lion , Masai Mara, Kenya

A magnificent male lion , Masai Mara, Kenya

Who says leopards only hunt in darkness!

Who says leopards only hunt in darkness!

Many of these memorable trips are recorded on slides, but up until now I have not known what to do with them. Phill Williams, a fellow angling photo/journalist based in the north of England will be no stranger to readers of sea angling magazines, and he’s been a good friend of mine for 25 years. Recently Phill offered to scan many of my favourite slides on his high resolution scanner, and when finally I got around to sorting out a few hundred of my favourites, this is exactly what he did. Visit Phill at his excellent website at:

Wildebeest migration, Masai Mara, Kenya

Wildebeest migration, Masai Mara, Kenya

The results are amazing and I have since spent many hours looking through the recently revived images while reliving memories of dozens of trips. Many of these trips are recorded in essay form under the Memorable Trips section of this site, but up until now I have been unable to illustrate them. Now, thanks to Phill, I have images of my first GT’s, Sailfish and yellowfin tuna caught on fly, my first blue, black and striped marlin, broadbill swordfish and many other very special fish.

One of my first & biggest GT's, 100lb+, caught in Kenya, one of 5 of similar size all caught in one day

One of my first & biggest GT’s, 100lb+, caught in Kenya, one of 5 of similar size all caught in one day

Over the course of the next few weeks I am going to uploaded dozens of these special images, which hopefully will help bring many of these previously un-illustrated pieces of work to life. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and I’d love to hear what you think. I have started off with Kenya Broadbill Swordfish, Tanzania tigerfish, Mfangano Nile Perch and Turks & Caicos bonefish; why not take a look, you’ll find these and many more under the Memorable Trips section of this site?

One of the hardest fighting, most elusive game that swim, the broadbill swordfish

One of the hardest fighting, most elusive game that swim, the broadbill swordfish

Next year already I have fully booked group/hosted trips to Panama, Belize and Nicaragua, all favourite and highly productive destinations that we’ll likely be returning to again in 2017. In addition, we are planning hosted trips to Guinea Bissau, probably in March-prime BIG tarpon time, and Mongolia in August. If you think you might be interested you can obtain more details from Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717.

GT caught on fly!

GT caught on fly! Mozambique

Yellowfin tuna caught on fly, Kenya

Yellowfin tuna caught on fly, Kenya

Finally my good friend and editor of Sport Fishing Magazine, Doug Olander, recently sent me this link to information about angler friendly airline Copa, which any of you planning trips throughout Central or South America should find of interest. Take a look at:

What are you looking at!

What are you looking at!


In recent blogs I have written about trips to Iceland and the San Blas Islands off Panama’s Caribbean coast. If you found these interesting you might like to click on the following links that will take you to the excellent Sport Fishing Magazine website, where you will find photo galleries featuring additional images from each trip. Take at look at: and:

The beach and backdrop at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria.

The beach and backdrop at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria.

My most recent trip was to The Canary Islands, more specifically Gran Canaria to fish with Roger Burston who runs Reel Escape Sport Fishing Charters based at Puerto Rico. Easily reached with around a four hour direct charter flights from pretty much any UK or European regional airport, The Canary Islands have long been a popular destination with holiday makers from all over Europe. Consequently you will find a massive tourist infrastructure with a huge range of accommodations to cover all budgets, and near guaranteed sunshine.

The sport fishing fleet based at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, 'Reel Time' sits second from right.

The sport fishing fleet based at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, ‘Reel Time’ sits second from right.

I’ve been aware of various sport fishing operations throughout The Canary Islands for some time, though I thought mostly these concentrated on short tourist trips, and that the few billfish I had heard about were little more than lucky catches. My understanding was that the only serious sport fishing was based on the island of La Gomera, how wrong I was. Roger runs two excellent big game boats, both equipped with the highest quality Shimano Tiagra reels and rods.

Boats are equipped with quality Shimano Tiagra reels.

Boats are equipped with quality Shimano Tiagra reels.

The season starts in March fishing for tuna; albacore, bigeye and bluefin, with the first marlin, usually whites, generally showing in May. The main billfish season runs from July through until the end of September, when in addition to white marlin and big blue marlin, good numbers of elusive longbill spearfish are caught, along with dorado, wahoo with always the possibility of tuna. Take a look at his website:

Big blue marlin are caught off Gran Canaria, along with La Gomera and other islands.

Big blue marlin are caught off Gran Canaria, along with La Gomera and other islands.

To give you an idea of just how prolific this fishery can be, a recent Billfish Report rated The Canaries as being the 10th best location anywhere to catch your first marlin, many of which average over 500lb. Last year Rogers boats caught 24 blues, biggest fish 350kg and 14 white marlin, along with a lot of tuna. Local commercial fishermen have landed fish well in excess of the I.G.F.A world record. The women’s 50lb class record Atlantic blue marlin was caught off Gran Canaria on August 9th 1986, and weighed 802lb, and both the mens 6lb and 8lb class records are held by fish caught off La Gomera. Further, both mens 80lb and 130lb class records for bigeye tuna, 392lb and 363lb respectively were caught off Gran Canaria, with the women’s 20lb class record, 173lb, being caught at La Gomera. Numerous I.G.F.A Atlantic spearfish records have been caught off Gran Canaria and La Gomera.

A selection of marlin lures.

A selection of marlin lures.

Not surprisingly I was eagerly looking forward to my first trip to Gran Canaria, especially as it was scheduled for mid-August, prime marlin season. I was looking forward to four action packed days out on the water, but if you travel to fish occasionally you must expect the weather and local conditions to completely disrupt your plans, and this was that trip. Very strong north-westerly winds resulted in day one being cancelled, and even though we managed to fish the remaining three days, often conditions were very rough. Choppy seas aside, the biggest problem was that the water temperature was several degrees below what is ideal for marlin fishing. 22˚c is regarded as being the minimum suitable for marlin, with 24˚c being the magic number. During my trip the warmest water we found off Gran Canaria was 21.8˚c, and all the time I was there only one white marlin was caught on another boat. A little over 100 miles away at La Gomera however the water was warmer, and the fishing excellent. One boat, we heard, had released over 20 blue marlin in 8 days fishing. I guess I’ll have to go back!

Reel Escape in the harbour at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria

Reel Escape in the harbour at Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria

Package trips trips to Gran Canaria including flights and accommodation to fish with Reel Escape Sport Fishing Charters can be booked through Anglers World Holidays. This really is one destination offering serious blue water fishing a relatively short hop from Europe, along with plenty to do for all of the family. For more information Tel: 01246 221717.


Just home from a weeks fishing around the idyllic San Blas Islands off Panama’s Caribbean coast with Panama Yacht & Fishing Charters My trip came by way of an invitation from Doug Olander, my good friend and editor of Sport Fishing Magazine, with the rest of our crew including Bill Shedd CEO President of AFTCO, Marc Mills from Shimano US, renowned underwater photographer Jason Arnold, and David Morel, publisher of Sport Fishing Magazine & Saltwater Sportsman.

Tropical paradise, just one of countless white sand beaches you'll find in the San Blas Islands.

Tropical paradise, just one of countless white sand beaches you’ll find in the San Blas Islands.

We were based aboard the truly luxurious live aboard boat ‘Miss B’ Haven’, with a choice of fishing offshore aboard one of two excellent offshore game boats, or inshore from either a flats skiff or a small inflatable. Normally prior to an overseas trip I have at least some idea of which species I will primarily be targeting, along with which methods we will be using to catch them, but this was far from the case on this trip. Little is known about sport fishing around San Blas, other than this little fished corner of the Caribbean has close access to deep water, some magnificent reefs, and a plethora of rich flats from which to fish. In essence this was an exploratory trip, and prior to leaving home I had faced the somewhat unusual dilemma of not knowing what tackle to pack.

Home for the week, the truly sumptuous 'Mis B Haven'.

Home for the week, the truly sumptuous ‘Miss B Haven’.

Eventually I chose a medium spinning rod, a 20-30lb class bait rod and an 8wt fly rod, all multi-piece travel rods, along with reels to suit and a modest selection of lures and other bits & pieces. Other than the fly rod none were needed as Marc Mills had generously provided an incredible amount of Shimano product including dozens of rods and reels, in addition to a mountain of lures and everything else we might need to cover every conceivable eventuality. As things turned out the biggest problem was selecting a rod and reel and a few lures suitable for each fishing session, the choice really was immense; talk about being set loose in a chocolate factory!

Spoilt for choice!

Spoilt for choice!

The great unknown on any fishing trip is always the weather, especially on trips such as this one that by necessity are planned many months in advance. Late July and August in this sector of the Caribbean should have given hot, settled and sultry weather with occasional heavy afternoon rain showers, the rainy season having started in late April or May. This year the rains in Panama are several months late and rather than the grease calm seas we anticipated, we were faced with constant, strong, north-easterly winds, which were compounded by a hefty onshore ground swell. As a result our fishing options were almost always limited to fishing within the lee of inshore islands or at least inshore of the main barrier reef, then on occasion whenever conditions improved quickly changing tack and running offshore.

Bill Shedd casts his lure into some interesting water from the fleet inflatable.

Bill Shedd casts his lure into some interesting water from the fleet inflatable.

A nice jig caught Nassau Grouper for me.

A nice jig caught Nassau Grouper for me.

And a fine dog snapper.

And a fine dog snapper.

Venomous Lion fish caught on a Shimano jig, these are now widespread throughout the Caribbean.

Venomous Lion fish caught on a Shimano jig, these are now widespread throughout the Caribbean.

Despite the problematic weather some good fish were caught each day. Popping and jigging produced some great snapper action- school master, cubera, mutton and dog, however when fishing shallow inshore reefs casting lures at range many, indeed most of the better fish were lost due to lines getting cut on the coral heads. Variety came by way of various species of jack, small tuna, barracuda and various reef fish. At least one tarpon was lost, again cut off on the reef, and several good sized bonefish were seen tailing on the flats. Big permit were seen at close range on several occasions, and during one of those brief trips snatched offshore our crew saw free jumping sailfish along with shoals of surface feeding tuna. If only the weather had been kinder to us!

Doug Olander hold a good Horse Eye Jack caught on a Shimano Orca stick bait.

Doug Olander hold a good Horse Eye Jack caught on a Shimano Orca stick bait.


Marc Mills with a colourful Schoolmaster Snapper caught on a Shimano popper.

Bill Shedd & Marc Mills display a brace of bragging size Dog Snapper.

Bill Shedd & Marc Mills display a brace of bragging size Dog Snapper.

Dave Morel holds a fine Dog Snapper.

Dave Morel holds a fine Dog Snapper.

The thing was regardless of how any fishing session panned out, we knew beyond any doubt that as soon as we stepped back aboard the mothership we would be pampered beyond belief. Open the door and step inside the main saloon and we were greeted with a welcome blast of AC and our favourite cocktail. Trays of appertisers demanded our immediate attention; imported Spanish Palma hams, fine French and Italian cheese’s, paté along with numerous other culinary delights. Each and every meal was a sumptuous sit down banquet that would have impressed the most discerning of connoisseurs had they been dining at any exclusive 5th Avenue restaurant. Just how the ships chef, Erica, managed to single handedly produce such a huge range of memorable meals from her small galley defies belief, but she did-as my waistline can now bare witness!

Erica working her magic; guess whats for dinner!

Erica working her magic; guess whats for dinner!

One of several hard pulling Bar Jack's I caught on fly.

One of several hard pulling Bar Jack’s I caught on fly.

Truly Panama Yacht & Fishing Charters provide a world class and positively unique charter fishing service. We were based in the Caribbean, but the fleet regularly transit the Panama Canal and fishes much of the year amidst the time proven sports fisheries off Panama’s Pacific coastline including Pinas Bay, The Perlas Islands and Coiba Island. PYFC really must rank as one of the most amazing live aboard operations you’ll find anywhere in the world, the perfect choice for all members of the family. Meanwhile I’m off to the gym now to start trying to work off a week of over eating!

The locals made sure we never went hungry!

The locals made sure we never went hungry!

Kuna village on one of the islands.

Kuna village on one of the islands.

A family group of Kuna in colourful, traditional dress.

A family group of Kuna in colourful, traditional dress.

Gigantic japanese car carrier transiting the Miaflora Locks on the Panama Canal.

Gigantic Japanese car carrier transiting the Miraflora Locks on the Panama Canal.

For more information visit: Fishing trips to Panama along with numerous other Central American destinations can be booked through Anglers World Holidays. I am hoping to host a trip with PYFC in the near future, based in the Pacific, most likely The Perlas Islands. For more information Tel: 01246 221717 or visit:


I have recently returned from my 10th or possibly 12th trip to Iceland, a location that undoubtedly ranks as one of the worlds great cold water angling destinations. I have fished in Iceland extensively over the past 20 years, and prior to this most recent trip I would have said that the fishing here is more about catching quantity rather than quality, with boat loads of small to medium sized cod, haddock and coalfish comprising the majority of most days fishing; how very wrong I was.

My first fish caught at Sudavik, a 30lb plus coalfish.

My first fish caught at Sudavik, a 30lb plus coalfish.

My trip had been arranged by ‘Iceland Sea Angling’ and began with a couple of days based at Sudavik in the far north-west of the country, a short 15 minute drive from the airport at Isafjordur. Guests stay in well equipped apartments and houses a short walk from the harbour, fishing aboard self-drive boats. A small pub and restaurant, and a well stocked shop are close by, and all necessary items of tackle can be bought on site. Rods and reels are available for hire, as are good quality flotation suits. Without a doubt the boats provided by Iceland Sea Angling are the most sea worthy, comfortable and well equipped self-drive boats I have fished aboard anywhere in the world, and I have fished aboard a lot of self-drive boats. Powered by 130hp Volvo Penta stern drive’s, the boats will fish four anglers in absolute comfort and safety, even as many as five or six. Each boat is provided with an automatically inflating life raft, 25 watt VHF-DSC radio with built in distress calling facility, A.I.S (Automatic Identification. System) tracking, a quality Garmin fish finder/chart plotter, and everything else you need for a safe day afloat.

The excellent self-drive boats as supplied by Iceland Sea Angling.

The excellent self-drive boats as supplied by Iceland Sea Angling.

Further, the company insist that each time you set sail you book out with the local coast guard, confirming the boat number, how many persons on board, and that you then contact them again on your return to harbour. Top speed was around 18-19knots, with an ideal cruising speed of around 15 knots. On our first session afloat we were joined by Henri Karier, the camps excellent head guide, who took us to a spot inside of the fjord just twenty minutes run from harbour. Here Henri and my friend Terry Thomas fished a selection of pirks and large shads in the usual style in 120m of water, while I rigged a 120g Storm Ultra Shad on a four-piece Shimano Blue Romance travel spinning rod matched with a Shimano Saragossa 5000 fixed spool loaded with 20lbBS PowerPro.

My Shimano Saragosa 5000 and 120g Storm Ultra Shad lure.

My Shimano Saragosa 5000 and 120g Storm Ultra Shad lure.

In no time at all lures fished near the bottom were catching decent cod weighing well into double figures, while my Storm Ultra Shad was almost immediately nailed by a fast running, deep diving fish that I quickly guessed was a decent coalfish. That first coalie weighed over 30lb and was one of five 30lb+ coalfish I caught in just two hours fishing, the best a new personal best that went 35lb 4oz. Henri soon switched to similar tactics to me and also caught some very big coalfish. A move inshore to fish bait on the drift over rough ground very quickly produced big wolffish, frozen squid are available at the camp.

A brace of 35lb+ coalfish for myself & Henri Karier

A brace of 35lb+ coalfish for myself & Henri Karier.

We fished at Sudavik for three days, with our boat and most others based at the camp catching impressive numbers of quality fish each day, notably big coalfish that were averaging well over 20lb, along with many over 30lb. Cod to over 30lb, lots of big wolffish, haddock and redfish were also caught. I had taken a few packets of frozen worms with me, and these very quickly produced nice dabs from the boat. Fishing from the harbour pontoons also produced lots of big dabs.

Hooked up in Iceland!

Hooked up in Iceland!

Halfway through the trip we set off on the three hour drive across the mountains to our second camp at Talknafjordur. It’s a beautiful drive during which you get to see some truly breathtaking scenery. The accommodation at Talknafjordur is 5*, guests staying in new and superbly equipped wooden chalets overlooking the fjord, perfect for families. Once again a restaurant and shop are close by, and the harbour is a two minute drive away, where guests fish from identical boats to Sudavik.

A big wolffish for Terry Thomas, one of many caught every time we targeted them.

A big wolffish for Terry Thomas, one of many caught every time we targeted them.

Beautiful Icelandic scenery on the drive to Talknafjordur.

Beautiful Icelandic scenery on the drive to Talknafjordur.

On our first days fishing we were joined by Kai Biala, the camp head guide, who took us to fish a patch of ground lying in 80-90m of water two hours run out to the west. Within seconds of our lures getting anywhere near the bottom they were taken by cod; invariably big cod averaging well over 10lb, with many better than 20lb and several weighing well over 30lb. Terry caught the biggest cod which weighed just over 38lb, but 50lb plus fish had been caught just the day before, and the camp record stands at over 70lb. I honestly don’t know how many cod we caught that day, but the number was considerable.

The boats fish four anglers in absolute comfort, and as many as five or six.

The boats fish four anglers in absolute comfort, and as many as five or six.

As soon as Kai, who is another truly excellent guide, revealed that the tide was right for coalfish I switched to my Storm Ultra Shad/Shimano spin outfit that had been so successful at Sudavik, and once again I was very quickly tight to a big coalfish. We boated several over 30lb, outstanding fish for sure, but Kai tempered our elation by saying the camp coalfish record is held with one that weighed 50lb, equalling the world record! As I have explained I have fished many times in Iceland, and these in addition to more than 30 trips to Norway, along with numerous others to Denmark, Sweden and The Faroe Islands, but never have I seen such consistent fishing for trophy coalfish.

A 38lb plus cod for Terry Thomas.

A 38lb plus cod for Terry Thomas.

Kai Biala holds one of many big, shad caught cod.

Kai Biala holds one of many big, shad caught cod.

The cod fish off Icelands north-west fjords is outstanding.

The cod fish off Icelands north-west fjords is outstanding.

The cod fishing I found in north-west Iceland is the equal of all but the very best days I have experienced in Norway, and I am reliably told by other anglers we met in Iceland, some of whom were on their forth or fifth trips with Iceland Sea Angling, that it can be much, much better. Considering the extremely high quality of the self drive boats and Iceland’s easy accessibility from the UK, I honestly feel that the north west Fjords are a strong contender for the title of Europe’s ultimate sea angling destination. Certainly this is a destination any serious sea angler must add to his bucket list. Of course I am going back, already we have reserved a week at the same time of year in summer 2016. If you are keen to join us on this trip or book a private trip then you should contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717. This trip is perfect for individual anglers and small groups alike.

A colourful Icelandic  harlequin duck.

A colourful Icelandic harlequin duck.