I am a very keen fisherman, so take every opportunity I can to fish wherever I am in the world. With over 2000 km of coastline, Morocco offers some great opportunities for beach fishing, boat fishing and even inland fishing for carp or bass on the many reservoirs and lakes.
But where to fish in this abundance and what methods to use? This is always the question and for the answers, it is quite simple, speak to the locals and watch what they are doing.
Amongst anglers of all nations, a common language seems to exist and we all speak it. No matter where you go in Morocco, even in the most deserted places, you always seem to get a fisherman appear a soon as you start to fish. Rather than be a nuisance, they all just try and help you catch fish.
This time I just wanted to go a bit further up the coast from Agadir and try my luck about 30km north. So taking the N1 towards Essaourira, we travelled from the villa in Aourir, past Tagzarout, the famous surfing village, and on up the coast to a deserted stretch of rocky outcrops,which looked great for fishing.
We passed quite a few fishermen on the way, so knew this would be a pretty good spot, so came off the road and down a few tracks to the coast. It is important not to leave your car with any valuables on show and to check it regularly if you leave it out of your sight. Whilst crime is relatively low in Morocco, it does happen and quite frankly you do not need the hassle with the hire company and the police.
Anyway, I got the rod out, set up a popular rig, basically a heavy 2oz lead on a 2ft leader, then a hook dropper tied to the main line with a water knot so as to keep the bait off the bottom slightly , a basic paternoster rig in effect (sorry, gone off into one there!).
For bait I was using prawns bought frozen from the local supermarket, but squid is a favourite as well. I was told that Corbière (a large hard fighting bass type fish) were crusing the coast so was hopeful of at least a small take.
As I sat there, from nowhere a local fisherman appeared. He was very friendly and chatted away in berber, which I cannot understand, I responded in English and broken French, which he did not understand either! Despite this, we spent a good few hours just being. The other amazing thing is that all fishermen across the world all use the same knots. How can this be? From Thailand to Morocco, and to South Africa – all the knots are identical – this just puzzles me!
He did show me a few things and changed the rig about a bit, but today was not a good day for the fish. We parted company and exchanged farewells, and a small gift for his help of course!
The next day, Hassan our guardian and I went back up the coast to fish almost in the same place. We have a friendly rivalry between us and Hassan is always keen to help, but not too much as he loves to catch more than me.
Today we had squid, and Hassan was on good form. Within the first 1/2 hour, he was into a fish, well more of an eel actually. I though he had hooked a lump of weed as it seemed to just give up as he landed it, but then this thing came to life! Whilst very pretty in colour, this fish was just wanting to bite everything it could, and it was angry at being caught. It was soon despatched as Hassan assured me it is excellent eating.
I was getting a few small bites, but Hassan hooked into another fish, but it went straight into the rocks and was eventually lost. From the brief fight, it was a good fish.
About an hour later, Hassan had another one, but it did the same thing and was eventually lost.
After another hour, I still had nothing, but it is more about the company you are with and spending time with a good friend than the quantity of fish caught and so we called it a day and returned to villa Ramalah to cook our prize for lunch.
The main thing about fishing is not to waste anything. If you catch and kill something, you must eat it, so Hassan cleaned the eel, and proceeded to cook it once we got back.
Hassan is an excellent cook and soon had a pan on the go with portions of eel frying nicely in olive oil and garlic. I did smile when he put his sunglasses on to stop the oil spitting in his eyes – classic Jamie Oliver stuff!
Once ready, we adjourned to the roof terrace to look out over the sea and enjoy our lunch and talk about the ones that got away…or rather the ones I did not catch – next time Hassan! I have to say I have not eaten an eel before and it was rather nice!