well no. Not at least if my experience was anything to go by. Following a recent family holiday to The Gambia, it seemed a great opportunity for an amateur fisherman like myself to go in search of one the most infamous sport fishing trophies, the mighty Tarpon. Famed for its Tarpon, The Gambia is a fisherman's mecca, attracting enthusiasts from the world over, although this may be in part due to the glorious uninterrupted beaches and year round sunshine, not to mention world class hospitality and the most welcoming people I have ever met!
Tarpon are not the only prize catch around these shores either, the North African Tiger fish is another monster lurking in the deep with the IGFA World Record Tiger Fish caught on the very same stretch of river we fished back in 2009. The Tarpon however puts the Tiger to shame in the weight department with the largest fish reaching over 300lb in weight! That's more than double the average adult!
Setting out at 8am on the River Gambia, we were assured of a good days fishing, we had to get to the tide in good time and our captain for the day, Jedi, got us there with time in hand. All rigged and set-up all we had to do was wait. And wait.
Wait we did, but no sign of any tarpon. I did spot one a few hundred yards from the boat, but my fishing partner put this down to delusion in the mid day heat. The sun beating down on me for 5 hours and no sign of any reward from the tarpon.
The tides changed and that was that, we missed our opportunity. We did have a brief moment where we had a small fish hooked (catfish I am told by Jedi), but this came to nothing. We made our way back to the harbour trolling for Barracuda through the meandering marshes, but again nothing, not a sausage, let alone a fish.
So is Gambia's reputation for fishing justified? Well, probably - just not the day we were there.
To give you an idea of what we were after, here is a Tarpon caught by a lucky chap, estimated about 100lbs so just imagine what the 303lb one looked like!