Q&A: Morocco Bass Fishing Pioneer, Abdel Sabon

January 3rd, 2014| No Comments

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

There are few finer things in life (for some of us, at least) than that moment when a new fishing destination comes on to your radar. It could be a virgin flats-fishing Eden in a far-off land populated by record-sized fish, or a lake right under your nose that you’d never heard of until a chance conversation with another angler. But as soon as you hear of it, you know you have to find a way of getting there. Right now, that place is Morocco.

If you live in the UK, there’s a chance you’re familiar with Henry Gilbey’s bass-fishing blog. If so, you’ll be aware of his recent trip to this North African country, and the impressive potential for shore-based bass fishing. Having read his report, we were intrigued, so we set about tracking down the man who made the trip possible – Abdel Sabon.

In terms of bass fishing in Morocco, Abdel is very much the man. He runs tailored fishing trips, specialising in lure fishing from the shore, taking in remote locations on a vast coastline.

The seas are big and the conditions require steely nerves – but the rewards, which come in the shape of bass that dwarf what we regularly see in Europe, can be spectacular.

If you get to the end of this Q&A without wanting to jump on the next flight, you’re a better man than us…

You’re developing a reputation as the go-to man for all bass fishing matters in Morocco. Can you describe what makes the fishing there so special?
The Moroccan coast is varied and stretches over 2,300 km, giving Morocco the largest coastline in Africa – every kilometre contains very different and varied spots with access that is often difficult – this affords natural protection, reserves and shelter for the bass. The Atlantic coast’s many currents support abundant nourishment, allowing the Moroccan bass to reach record sizes meaning that fishing in Morocco can hold big surprises, especially bass fishing.

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

Have you fished elsewhere in Europe? If so, how does it compare?
I have fished in France many times. What I see is that most fisherman in France need to use boats and electronics – we get best result from shore when the conditions are good in Morocco!

Lure fishing in Europe is much more popular and developed than in Morocco and has been for many years, long enough for the French coast to be fished to the limit. In Morocco, shore lure fishing is very rare and the coast is unspoilt and wild.

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

Here in the UK, the chances of running into a double-figure fish from the shore are pretty slim. How likely is it in Morocco?
A 10lb bass is common in Morocco, if you know the right spots and the conditions are good of course. Bass here can reach 20lb and more…

Can you describe a particularly memorable day you’ve had fishing in Morocco…
I have many memories of great days fishing in Morocco, of big fish, abundant quantities of exceptional bass and record sizes, but if I were forced to choose one or two, I would choose the day I caught my biggest bass, a beautiful 20lb fish on a 20lb line, or when I caught 17 bass of 6-8lb in 25 minutes. This is Morocco, if you are in the right place at the right time you may have some pleasant surprises…

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

Right, with that in mind, let’s say I’m thinking of catching the next flight to Morocco. What tackle should I have in my bag?
For bass fishing in Morocco it is better to have two rods (one medium and one heavy), shallow 90mm to 140mm lures with colours similar to those of sardines, anchovies and mullet, some soft lures, 20-30lb line, solid wading shoes and a good pair of polarized sunglasses. This gear will provide you with a good foundation for bass fishing in Morocco.

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

Can I go fishing with you? If so, how much will it cost and what type of trips do you run?
I prefer to organise fishing trips together with my clients so that I can provide them with a service as close as possible to what they want and what they expect. Following requests from some clients I also organise 4×4 raids and bivouacs with Explorer tents and fishing in remote secluded areas. The prices depend on the number of fishermen and the service, and above all on the area to be fished.

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

When is the best time to go?
Bass are present throughout the year, with a decline in activity during the months of March, April and May. For lovers of freshwater fishing, the black bass can also be found throughout the year except during the close season months of February, March and April. Other species may also be fished with lures, such as leerfish, bluefish and sometimes meagre, but an expedition to the far south of Morocco is necessary to fish these.

You’re part of a group, Morocco-Lurestrikers. Can you tell us about the group?
The Morocco-Lurestrikers group was created in 2010 at the request of some Moroccan lure-fishing enthusiasts. The objective of the group is to modernise and popularise lure fishing, and to convey the ideas of preservation and respect for Moroccan fishing resources. We have come a long way since I created this group, for which I must thank members and everybody else who has contributed to its birth, its advancement and its ongoing existence, especially Azridou Abdellatif and Abdelilah Ezzaouaq.

The Fishipedia Q&A: Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer

Is there a big sport-fishing community in Morocco?
There are a lot of fishermen in Morocco (it would be difficult to say the opposite) but to this day the lure-fishing community remains quite small. However, in the last three years the numbers of lure fishermen has experienced a meteoric rise and is still continuing.

The decline of bass stocks in Europe has been well documented in recent years – have you noticed a similar trend in Morocco?
Morocco covers a large area and the coastline is immense, and a lot of spots have been discovered, especially around large cities, but the limited number of lure fishermen and the vastness of the coast mean that the fish that are still fairly well preserved compared to Europe. All we hope is that the expansion of this technique and the number of practitioners in Morocco will be accompanied by legislation aimed at assisting the preservation and protection of game fish in general and of bass in particular.

Abdel Sabon - Morocco Bass-Fishing Pioneer>>If you’re interested in finding out more about bass fishing in Morocco, contact Abdel directly on either sabon.abdel@facebook.com or lurestrikers-maroc@hotmail.fr 

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