They'll give you a run for your money, but you'll have infinite bragging rights.
Egypt's many fish, much like its people, can be quite stubborn. If not, they have what is literally a knife as a bill, or can swim at speeds of up to 110 km/h, or have 10/10 vision, and the list goes on. Let’s not forget that some can even take hours to reel in. Each of them have certain characteristics that make them a pain in the ass to catch, so don’t think you’re even gonna get close to one if you’re going on a casual fishing trip.
So in an effort to try and document some of the strongest denizens of Egypt's seas and rivers, dive into only some of the most stubborn catches you can hook onto in Egypt.
People come from all over the world to catch the storied Nile perch, and Egyptians have been fishing for it since the dawn of civilisation. They were portrayed in Egyptian hieroglyphics, along with crocodiles and falcons, all highly respected figures in ancient Egyptian life. You can find them in Lake Nasser, the largest man-made lake on its earth, and this spot is famous for its spectacular fishing. The Nile Perch is a super predator, a specimen capable of reaching over 200 kilograms in weight. Due to its massive size and weight, it’s difficult to reel in. The most challenging part is transportation, especially when done in bulk quantity. This guy eats just about everything – in fact, its diet is so diverse that it has been referred to as the cause of extinction of many small species in its habitat. Sharing is caring, you little shit.
Sailfish in the ocean are like Jamaicans in running competitions. Ain’t no stopping them. These magnificent, slick looking guys are about 3 meters long, can reach speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour, a weight of up to 90 kilograms, and in their natural habitat, it’s an intense, grueling challenge to catch one. ‘’The hardest fish to catch in Egypt are the bluefin tuna, along with the sailfish. The sailfish is rare in the Red Sea, but if you do manage to get a strike, you must be very experienced to catch it as it might get rid of the bait line as its lips are boneless, and if you over drag it, the line cuts. Also, this fish has a trick – it keeps turning its head left and right to get off the line and get away. They weigh around 10 to 70 kgs”, said Abdallah El Kahal, who has been fishing in the Red Sea for 53 years.
Don’t get too excited if you get one hooked; these pointy-nosed, super-fast underwater dwellers won’t let you walk all over their fins. Instead, they will repeatedly dive in a fit in order to try and break the line. You’re going to need patience with this one, as it can take several hours to finally reel it in.
Our next one is yummy as hell (their meat’s like steak), which makes the challenge of catching it all the more rewarding. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the kingfish is one of the most welcomed and celebrated catches on fishing trips and safaris in Egypt. They’re delicious, and they’re boosting Egyptian tourism! You gotta love ‘em. But not when you’re trying to catch one. The kingfish is known to be a smart fish that can easily run away after being hooked. It’s so tricky, in fact, that the fisher needs to coordinate with the boat skipper to use the boat's movement in case it outruns the reeling speed, or is close enough behind the boat that it can get beneath it and tangle itself to the propeller. The kingfish is highly opportunistic; any slack on the line, and the king will know it can find the golden chance to get away. You little bugger.
As mentioned earlier, the Bluefin tuna, along with the sailfish, are the hardest fish to catch in Egypt, according to Abdallah. Forget your gym sesh, cause this guy’s going to give you a real physical fight as well as massive adrenaline rush trying to catch him. A large one can take up to 200 yards of fishing line as it tries to get away from your evil plot, swimming at speeds of up to 65 km/h. Fishermen try to gradually whittle them down by tiring them, slowing their speed down to around 5 km/h.
It’s important to note that bluefin tuna populations are decreasing at a wicked speed. Today, they are at a quarter of the level they were at in the 1950s.
Swordfish are not ones to play games with. Just look at their bill (their nose, for the uncultured). Not only is it sharp as all hell, they use it for defense. So when you think about it, they’re basically a fish roaming around with a knife stuck to them at all times, just a nudge away from going on a murder spree. They use their bill to occasionally attack boats and to kill or stun their opponents in the deep blue sea. Swordfish are hard to catch because they’re finicky and get scared really easily. Their soft mouths increases the chance of pulling the hook during battle. Swordfish are truly the thugs of the sea.
The yellowfin tuna is one sharp fella. “The tuna comes from the Indian Ocean in winter, around February in big sizes (around 40 to 300 kg), and it swims really deep, like 300 to 400 metres deep, so we throw big amounts of sardine and wait, sometimes for hours until it surfaces, and that’s when the fight begins, because you need a lot of strength to reel one in”, said Abdallah.
While smaller ones can be encountered close to the shore, these specimens usually chill around offshore banks, canyons, and man-made structures, like oil platforms. They range in size; they can be the size of a football, just like they can be massive 200-pounders. They’re hard to catch due to where they congregate, and also because they’ve got amazing speed and 10/10 eyesight. The current world record for the biggest yellowfin tuna ever captured is a 427-pounder. I mean, all that matters is that he’s comfortable in his own body.
“The amberjack is a beautiful, very strong fish that comes in various different sizes, from 1 to 20 kg in the Red Sea. It’s a strong fighter, just like the tuna. It’s always travelling in schools of fish, actually, I think the name might come from that”, said Abdallah. The amberjack’s known for its speed – as soon as it snaps your bait, it’ll immediately dive deep and swim for home. If you allow it to make it into the wrecks, reefs, or rocks that it calls home, it’s game over.
Though Egypt's multiple bodies of water hold many a stalwart sea creature, these are only a handful and a half of what any would-be fisherman can cast their line at. Feel like offering your own suggestions? Let us know in the comments, or don't, no scales off our back.
Main image from tforods.com