So at last we arrived in Akhfiner.
After our refreshing mint tea, we decided to go and explore. Yves and some other fishermen departed for a late afternoon fishing session off the cliff, with instructs to us to be ready for aperitifs at 7:00pm, followed by dinner. The village itself is tiny – I guess its about 1/4 the size of Aourir, with a single street running though the middle. Shop-wise, just the usual really but with the addition of several very well stocked fishing shops! Anyway, 7:00pm arrived and the drinks started to flow. As previously mentioned, Yves spoke almost no English, the other guys who were staying at the hotel were French and only Abdul spoke a little English. Our French, whilst improving all the time, is still rubbish, but amazingly, as the aperitifs flowed, the conversations seemed to get better and a common language seemed to emerge – very typical of fishermen across the world!
The hotel has a resident chef, who is just superb. All the food is cooked fresh and the kitchen and dining room adjoin so the smells of all the great food waft over to the lounge area whilst you wait to be called. As you can guess, fish is the speciality of the house – and believe me it is amazing! We had sardines which the chef cooked in his secret mix of spices and honestly I have never had better.
The other guys did not really drink much – Abdul did not drink at all as he is a Muslim – so it was down to Yves and me to get stuck into the wine etc. The stories of large fish and the ones that got away just seemed to get more outrageous as the evening went on, but eventually, with an early start planned at Naila Lagoon, we departed to dream of even bigger fish to be caught tomorrow!
After breakfast and a few sea sick tablets, we set off to Naila Lagoon, about 30 Km south of Akhfiner. There was quite a strong wind blowing in over night which pushed lots of sand over the roads making driving a little challenging to say the least. Anyway, we soon arrived at the Lagoon, getting some grat views of the nature reserve which was teaming with bird life and of course fish!
So we gathered up all our gear and loaded it onto the 2 boats that were waiting for us. Karen and I shared a boat with Yves and our guide Hassan, whilst Abdul and his mates piled into the other one. Even at this time of the day, it was baking so keeping your self loaded up with sun screen, having a good hat and sunglasses was vital. Each boat soon headed off in different directions and we anchored up to fish for the famous “Dorad” – a Sea Bream type of fish, famed for its hard fighting and great taste. Yves soon hooked into one – we had not even cast out! The bait we were using was a small sand worm which unbeknownst to me, defended itself with a set of very nasty mandibles. Everybody seem to be delighted with me squealing like a girl trying to get this pathetic looking work off my finger!
It was not long before I had my first one too – Karen however was struggling a bit, but this was really only her first time fishing, so with a bit of coaching, she soon got the hang of it and caught one after the other!
We stopped for lunch – fish cooked on an open fire as well as some more wines and a great picnic prepared by the chef for us. By now, the temperature soared to way above 40 degrees, so we were very grateful of the shelter.
We fished for the rest of the day then retired to the hotel for a shower, some more drinks, a superb dinner of chicken and tales of the excellent fishing trip we all had. The French guys literally caught bucket-loads of fish – well over 40Kg. They did of course rib us at our lack of fish…but we caught enough for us and had a fab time. After a good night’s sleep, we said our fair-wells, loaded up the car and prepared to head back to Aourir. Before we left, Yves took us to see his new venture – a 24 room hotel and 8 self contained chalets, with plans for a large swimming pool and restaurant, right on the beach. This venture will take about 2 years to complete, but will be amazing when its finished. We thoroughly recommend going to see Yves and the team for a fishing trip in Akhfiner – you will not be made more welcome. I am looking forward to going again next year already!
Here is a video of the Lagoon and surrounding area – Enjoy!