Nubian Flats by Peter McLeod

When the Nubian Flats operation was launched after some exploratory trips reports began to trickle through of giant deserted flats teeming with a high density of Trigger Fish good numbers of Bluefin and Boha Snapper and a few GTs to be considered a bonus. I’m always on the lookout for new adventures and the thought of an untapped saltwater destination full of Trigger Fish thrilled me. What we found has me as excited as our early live aboard expeditions into the Indian Ocean in mid 2005.

The route in is extremely simple with a direct flight to Dubai on Emirates followed by a connecting flight to Port Sudan on the coast on Fly Dubai which was a brand new 737-800. We left on the Sunday night and on Monday afternoon found ourselves at the desert airport of Port Sudan. The three hour drive north was through wild desert huge jagged mountains visible in the distance through a haze of dust and heat. A few patches of scrub Goats and a few Camels wandering about were the only sign of life. Our bus drove down the jetty to the end where we laid eyes on our home for the week the motor catamaran Scuba Libre. Kit spewed out of bags as we took everything up to the top deck in allocated kit boxes amidst much chatter of latest toys purchased for the trip. We revelled in the gentle offshore breeze lapping of water and the total contrast to our normal lives as we drifted off to sleep.

One particular episode springs to mind that occurred on the afternoon of day four. Our little group motored back to deserted pinnacle off the coast called Angorosh and staked out each one of us taking a point on the compass and waiting for a GT to cruise past. There was amazing light with stacks of baitfish piled against the trough on the east side by the rising surf. I saw a big black metre plus GT coming along the edge tried to cast backhand into wind but could not get a reasonable shot in. Ten minutes later Phil came running down the beach towards me as another big GT cruised the edge with a big Bluefin Trevally shadowing him. Phil got the shot in and the fish chased the fly but infuriatingly turned off at the last minute as he came too close to the beach. We headed to the edge and got battered in the surf now coming in. While David and Phil put flies to the left I blind cast to right hand side dropping the fly into the much darker blue and let it sink a little before commencing my retrieve.

Bang! A colossal hole in the water as if someone had thrown a boulder in and I was nearly pulled straight off the coral bommie I had been standing on. I was pleased I had switched from my #11 Hardy Proaxis that I normally use on the flats to my #12 as I staggered through the surf to the coral drop off to stop being cut off on the coral. As I reached the lip I could look over the edge into 600m of water straight down and saw my GT swimming with a huge school fish. Federico my guide rushed to aid me and managed to free the fly line that was wrapped around a coral head. GTs are an incredibly powerful fish and in this position perched precariously on the cliff edge with the fish heading down it was difficult to get an advantageous angle on him.

It often amazes me how much pressure can be applied with that rod and as I locked the drag on the Hardy Fortuna X4 with one swift turn the fly line began to sing in the guides. After some grunting sweating and clenched teeth accompanied by encouragement from Federico I managed to crank it up and over the edge the large arbour contributing significantly. That reel is a beast. The fish did a big circle around me back onto the flats before immediately trying to head back to the drop off. That was not going to happen and I clamped down on the line and pulled. Finally I pulled it within Federico’s waiting hand and he pounced on it a lovely GT of 70 cm. Not my largest but certainly one of the hardest fighters I have encountered.

The Nubian flats are an extraordinary place untouched by man and a vast virginal saltwater playground. The rest of the week continued with epic Giant Trevally battles huge Blue Fin Trevally Boha Snapper and a host of other piscatorial adventures. If you would like to read the whole report please click here and for further information please contact Peter McLeod.

Hardy ProTeam member Peter McLeod is a saltwater consultant and runs Aardvark McLeod International Fly Fishing Specialists. Find out more about Peter.