Belyounech Morocco May 2017

sami G

Jan 19, 2008
Princeton, NJ
Sami Ghandour
whatever get me out there
8 strikes, 6 hook up 0 landing! that is how I recall my trip to Morocco.
I got invited to fish the North of Morocco with Moha where I encountered one of my best Bluefin Tuna trip ever with fish airing up for 2 consecutive days feeding on flying fish.

I Flew from New York to Casablanca. That flight took only 6 hours – such an easy flight comparing to other destinations. Upon my arrival, Moha and Jamal were waiting for me at the airport and together we took the 4 hours’ drive to the North to Moha’s village (Belyounech).

Belyounech is the frontier town situated at the Strait of Gibraltar along the North African side of the Mediterranean. The aroma of fresh air and pine trees while going down to the village from the main road is still stuck in my brain! I haven’t noticed the beauty till I woke up in the morning and took a glance from the balcony, on my left I had the Mujer Muerta Mountain or what is called in English the sleeping lady, Septa to my left and literally 200 yard away from the house, looking straight I could see Gibraltar, such unique place that I found to be a great for retirement, once you’re born in the Med you really want to be buried in the Med…

From my window, we saw birds diving at the point and tuna jumping inside the bay, this is all happening within 400 yards away from us, such a magical unique place to target those fish close to the shore; we dressed up and ran to the rock to see Bluefin tuna in the rip airing out feeding like crazy.

I was chattered between the camera and the rod but deep inside I was boiling to see such a huge fish close to the rocks. Seeing it in person was different than the way I can express it. I put around 20 minutes of casting and I was worried that if I hooked up the fish I won’t be able to land it as we were not prepared whatsoever; we had no gaff and I was totally new to that terrain.

So, I took the initiative and asked Moha to get us a boat. After a couple of phone calls we ended up launching from the beach on a panga with 15 horse power engines. Now, remember we’re in Morocco! By the time we made it to the point the action slowed down and we end up calling the day.

Moha prepared a better boat for the next day and we ended up at the Medig in the marina at 5:30 AM fishing on Hesham’s boat.
It took close to 40 minutes to make it to the point passing through the historic canal of Septa where we were surrounded with walls on both sides that gave me the impression of being present in the medieval period.

The weather was cloudy with heavy rain and chops which made it ideal to target Bluefin tuna. We saw a bit of birds and a couple of fish airing. We stopped the boat and took a cast and it was on my second cast where the fish came in charging on my Amegari Dzanga 50 Cup. That was done with such velocity and beautiful strike while Jamal was side to side watching the fish out of the air smashing the popper. I set the hook and off she sounded to the deeper water to loose it due to an open hook. It was the beginning and I wasn’t worried much but things did not get any better, by all means that fish was between the 300lb to 400lb.

Under the heavy rain and the gusting wind things started to get better and better with more opportunities.

Again, the Dzanga got destroyed by a monster fish that swallowed the entire lure and shaved me from the leader leaving me puzzled and saying what else could go wrong, oh wait a second, it was just the beginning!!

I was testing a new Hollow line from Momoi while using that heavy set up so I decided to switch caliber and use the new Prototype rod (Monster Ledge) being an ideal rod for stickbait. I paired it with a Moutoukenmaru 23mm in Abalone color which took a couple of minutes to get inhaled by a descent fish. That was 15 feet away from the boat while Jamal was shouting at me (did you see that!), I set the hook and I enjoyed every bit of the fight and again right at the boat side the fish shook it head and became unbuttoned leaving me with a big smile on my face….

More scenarios like that kept on happening but as they say - leave the best for last!

It was late in the afternoon and we were about to call the day off when a huge school of fish irrupted charging on flying fish close to the rocks. Hecham went parallel to the rocks and put me in perfect position.

I casted my stickbait (Hot’s Keiko 260 Abalone) and saw a missile launched out of the water giving me its tail while I was setting the hook in the air, the fish went 15 feet airborne and it was one of the most memorable strikes ever! I recall my fish with Mogi-san to be one of the greatest strikes but this one literally smoked everything! The guys on the rock could easily jump on it for a rodeo ride.

I asked Hecham to nose the boat toward the outside while communicating with the depth. She settled at 150 meters only to be dragged again to the inside. I didn’t pay attention till I saw the boat close to the rock and when I asked Hecham about my depth, the reply came in - 31 meters.

Right away I felt my line getting tangled while Hecham shouting watch it, watch the rock! I had never thought I could be reefed by a Bluefin Tuna, it was my first and most memorable fish to end the day! A big thank you for Hecham for being at the wheel the whole day.

From there the bite start to fade away but I did not give up and I put up my time and effort on a daily basis. I enjoyed the country and its people and paid a visit to Tangier for dinner at a local restaurant.

I loved Morocco and its people, a big thank you goes to Moha, Jamal and Hesham, I have an unfinished business and I will see you soon!

Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 300, Monster Ledge Prototype
Reel: Shimano Stella 18k & 14k
Line: Momoi Hollow prototype, JB hollow
Lure: Moutoukenmaru, Amegari, Siren, CB One Prototype, Hot’s Keiko
Hooks: BKK, Shout Kudako
Belt: Hot’s Prototype

Tight lines

Monster Ledge Prototype rod in action

Race Point 300

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I Should Upgrade My Account
Jun 20, 2008
Bodega Bay
Karl Kobler
2008 World Cat 320 EC twin Mercury v8 300 Verado “Freedom”
That picture across the straight of Gibraltar is awe inspiring!!! What an incredible report and an incredible destination!!!
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