April 5, 2014 Last Updated 11:54 am

* Fancy Some Action Abroad ?

Stan Ryan has fished in many locations around the world - He has had some good trips some great trips and some not so great trips - In the first of a series he gives to the benefit of his worldly angling trips...


One of our Charter Boats


You have seen the photos in the magazines and maybe watched the TV programmes. Lots of big fish everywhere throwing themselves into the boat; huge cod, stingrays and guitarfish being landed on beaches.  Maybe you have seen the rivers teaming with salmon, sturgeon and big seatrout.  Your appetite has been whetted and sometime you may just want to live your dream, you may just want to take that trip abroad for some angling. It looks so simple – To experience this magical fishing for yourself  all you have to do it pack your gear, book the plane and hotel. Right? Not so!.

My wahoo2

The Man Himself – Stan with a tidy Wahoo

No different from a fishing trip to your favourite marks at home, for a trip abroad to be successful a lot of careful planning is needed. In order to be successful you must either trust the information you can get from a travel agent or you will have to prepare yourself by finding out as much information as you can before formulating your dream trip away. There is one thing to get straight from the outset -Like all forms of fishing sometimes the fish will cooperate and you will have a catch of a lifetime. Of course, you can spend a fortune and blank! That is angling.


Huge58Lb cod&Martin

The lure of big cod…..

Information Hound

Your first port of call for information, before you even contact a travel agent, has to be friends or reliable sources that will tell you the truth and give you the correct information and have a decent body of experience in the area you are thinking about. Then you must listen to what they say! Some people only choose to HEAR the positive aspects of a trip and of course your source may only tell you about these. How many of us remember a poor days fishing? We all remember the day that we caught the BIG ONE!

What fish do you long to catch?  What type of fishing is involved to successfully target those fish? Do you wish to have an active holiday that may yield you a lot of fish or are you prepared to go trolling for several days in the hope of hooking a Marlin? Having experienced both successful trips and others that were simply a waste of time (and money) I now put a huge amount of work making sure that I stand a reasonable chance of getting value for my money and success in terms of catching the target species. To quote a well known saying “ by failing to prepare you are  preparing to fail”….compliments of Benjamin Franklin.

So let us start planning. Is this a serious fishing trip or are you going to do a bit of fishing while on holidays? The latter requires less planning because you have to keep “her indoors” or the family happy also. So lets look at this option first.


Mick & Dorado


There are loads of places offering fishing trips. Many of them are really offering a day out “fishing” for holidaymakers. This is fine so long as you realise that they are not treating the matter seriously. I have partaken in such trips in some of the Canary Islands and Florida. Both areas can offer great fishing but not all skippers will make the effort to put you on the fish. Generally, they presume that you know very little. Typically, they will troll out to a reef. Now and then they will hook a big Marlin, a tuna or a wahoo. Photos will be taken and these will put up on their advertising boards. The reality can be quite different. Someone on the boat may catch a small bonito or a lizard fish on the way out. After the troll out the skipper will anchor. Small pieces of prawns or squid will be placed on your hooks. You may catch some small snapper or bream. Of course there is always the chance of catching the big one.  One of your mates may tell you that he caught a giant stingray in Gran Canaria and show you a photo of the monster. The reality is that it may have been the only decent fish caught that week or even that month. In general the skippers will make sure that you do not blank. If you look disappointed they will tell you “that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching”.  That is fine so long as you have had a cheap trip.

Parrot fish (Large)

You not on the Ling Rocks now!

To give you an example: When my two boys were young we fished on a charter boat while on holidays in Lanzarote. I hooked a small bonito on the way out. My youngest lad was about 8 years old and the skipper gave him a small spinning rod when we anchored up. All the adults were equipped tuna sticks for big fish. Most of the time small unidentified fish were landed. Suddenly, John’s rod buckled as he hooked the “BIG ONE”.  The skipper was terrified that he would lose what was cheap rod overboard. What he did not realise was that this young lad had been fishing soon after he could walk. John took control of the situation. He played the fish and calmly landed a nice tuna. What a great outing that made a family holiday!


Nice grouper

Fishing abroad – Grouper!

As a complete opposite- A few years later we fished out of Clearwater, Florida, with a well known skipper. We all were issued monster rods for huge fish. I paid a lot of money for the 3 of us. All we caught were small trigger fish and other tiddlers.  Sure we were just “holiday makers”, “Googans” even! It is possible to have a family holiday combined with some good fishing trips but you really must put in the effort to plan accordingly.

Kingfisher club shark 3 (Large)



Generally a group of fishermen will go together on such a trip. This can make preparation easier. However, sometimes the trip is led by one or two individuals and other members just join in. I have been involved in the planning or lack of preparation for such trips. To be honest I would say that failure is a great teacher and I have learned the hard way!

The first item worth mentioning is that an hour long TV programme or even a media article may have taken several days or even weeks to shoot. You must remember, at this point, that a huge amount of research will have been done to try to make sure that adequate numbers and sizes of fish are caught during the filming. The best skipper/ guide, top class boats with the best of gear, right tides, best time of year and other factors all combine to produce a stunning bit of film or magazine feature.  Added to this any skipper or guide will also make sure to have everything in his favour to give him a chance to show how good both he and how good the fishing is in his area. Marketing is important! Likewise with magazines, time is precious and they will do their research to make sure that they are given a reasonable opportunity to have the success that will enable them to write an article. When you think of it, this is the way that we all should approach our fishing plans.

Loading up for trip to Sanyang (1)

Gambia – The fishing might have gone downhill but the experience will live with you!

Successful preparation for the Dream Trip:

(1)Ask friends that have experience of angling trips abroad.

(2)Search angling websites. I do not mean skippers or guides sites. Have a look at www.sea-angling-ireland.org There is a section on POSTCARDS FROM AFAR.   Another good website is the international section of www.worldseafishing.com . You will usually find that there is a forum based around the area or the species you are chasing – Stripers Online would be typical of this for striped bass fishing. Be careful when you are reading reports on forums. For example, if you check out Gambia fishing on WSF you will see some good reports and others pretty poor. Take note of the dates that reports were made and posted. Gambia had spectacular fishing once upon a time and if you read an old report you could easily be convinced that it still is great.  You can be blind to the truth.

(3) Check with some of the angling shops that you may use. Many of the proprietors may have fished abroad. John O’ Brien of Waterford Angling and Outdoor Centre has experience fishing in many places. He was a member of the Irish team that won the world angling championship in S Africa a few years ago. Henry Lynham of Henry’s Tackle , Dublin has fished abroad at many locations and can give you advice also. Eddie Roe of Mikes Bikes, Dun Laoghaire is another useful source of information. As well as having decent information these shops can also supply you with the gear required. This could be as simple as showing you lures or how to make up traces. They may also know other anglers who can give you an honest opinion of a particular place.



Not all about the fishing – Safari in Kenya

Booking with a Travel Agent or Booking Yourself

This is really determined by several factors.

(1)The Destination

If you are going to a destination such as the Canary Islands then it is probably as easy to book the flights yourself.   For example I have fished Fuerteventura twice. On the first occasion I was with my wife and so only intended to get a little fishing in. Having done the research I settled on Caleta de Fuste. Flights were booked with Aer Lingus and I booked the Hotel Geranios. Of course it was just a coincidence that the local fishing tackle shop, Gone Fishing”, shared the same building!!!!   The owner, Aram, is very helpful and he supplied me with the necessary bait and areas to fish.

If you are going to Africa you will most likely book a package with a specialist angling tour operator. They may also book the flights and organise transfers. You should bear in mind that you will definitely need local help in Africa and it is not easy to organise this from Ireland. I would be very wary of arriving in any airport without having accommodation and transport set up.

The next matter is to get a reputable agent. Many agents organise trips to various countries. However, they are really just getting commission from angling companies in these locations.  It is important that whatever agent you use they must have intimate knowledge of the country or area that they are sending you to. For example, Richard Sheard, of World Sport Fishing, is a specialist in W Africa. He may even accompany your group on a trip that he organises there. So you can rest assured that he will want your trip to be successful. That is why he gets a lot of repeat business.

(2) Price

Sometimes angling companies have deals with airlines and hotels. So you may save quite a bit of money by booking everything with them.

(3) Transfers

Some of the better destinations are not easy to get to or get around. You will need help and an agent may be the only way of getting this.

(4) Fishing Guide

If organising everything yourself bear in mind that in many places you will need a fishing guide .It is worth putting in time either through friends or online to get a reliable one.

Kenya group 2 (Large)

Bringing Your Own Gear

I must admit that I like to use my own gear as much as possible. Over the years I have built up a good collection of rods, reels and tackle suitable for most destinations. I am not a “Tackle Junkie” ……..honest!!!

Most good boat angling companies will supply you with whatever equipment is needed. Being honest it is often too expensive to bring most rods on planes.

You may also do several types of fishing. One day will be spent lure fishing, the next trolling, the third shark fishing etc. Each day will require a different type of gear. It would simply be too expensive to buy it or even if you have it to bring it with you.

If you intend to shore fish then you will most likely need to bring your own equipment. I have travel rods that fit in my suitcase. Shakespeare and Shimano both have excellent travel beach rods. I use a Shimano Exeage spinning rod and it has landed lots of big fish. However, it does not have enough backbone in it for any decent size poppers or divers. Some of the newer parabolic rods are suitable for larger lures. Buying these rods can be a little expensive but the money that you will save paying the airline, for ordinary rod transport, means that they will usually pay for themselves in 2-3 trips.

The reel required is determined on the fish that you target. Cheap reels will not withstand the pressure that a big fish will exert on them. However, you do not need to spend a fortune. Most good Penn or Daiwa spinning reels will tame a good fish. The two factors that determine a good reel are strong gears and an adjustable drag. If you intend to catch big stingrays you will need a reel that can hold at least 330M of 50lb braid.

The type of lures to be used will be determined by the fish that you are likely to catch. Generally, a supply of poppers, divers for different depths and good old fashioned tobies and wedges will catch most fish. If targeting big fish you may want to increase the size of your treble hooks or they may be straightened out.

Finally you will need braid, good fluorocarbon leaders and possibly wire traces.

One final item…bring tip rings for your rods. You may not be able to buy a replacement if one breaks.


Fighting chair (Large)

Everybody dreams of a session in the fighting chair!


Fuerteventura.  Less that €850 for 4 days shore fishing, including flights, accommodation, food, car hire and bait.

Gambia. Travel plus accommodation, B&B, around €900 plus whatever charges are incurred for bringing fishing gear. You will probably need a guide. I am unsure of rates at the moment but would expect to pay about €50-€60 per day which should include bait. This may or may not include transport.  This presumes a 7 day stay. Eating out is cheap with a typical meal €5-€7 and beer about €1 per bottle.

Florida. We go for 9 days. Last year we did 5 days boat fishing. Our price per head for the whole holiday including travel, accommodation, car hire, eating / drinking out and hire of boat with everything supplied was €2700. It is possible to do this cheaper.

Guinea Bissau all in worked out at just under €4000. This included extra drinks , loss of lures, breakages of rods and reels.

Eddie, Moses, Marti and Stan (Large)

Kenya was 8  years ago and so I cannot give an accurate price but here is an estimate. Daily rate of Kingfisher boat in high season €700 with 3 people per boat. Flight and transfers approx €1000 each. Accommodation is very cheap in Malindi at the moment and €200 per person would probably cover a weeks accommodation. Eating out is cheap. However, I cannot find accurate figures online at the moment. In 2006 we got an excellent meal such as lobster for €10. It probably has not increased much since then.

Stan Ryan is an normal angler like the rest of us! He has no affiliation to any holiday provider – he just like to take a trip abroad fishing every now and then!

Over the next few issues he will give honset accounts on his different trips abroad.

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