These were pretty much the instructions for my fishing trip, Get onto the Nouadibhou road going north, after 100 kms you will see three tyres on the left hand side, turn left there, follow the track until you’re about to drive into the sea. We’ll meet you there.
To be fair, the instructions were excellent, and so my first sea fishing trip in years began. It was a touch fresh first thing (we were there for 8 in the morning) but it soon warmed up, allowing us all to take off the outer layers.
The beach was empty, not another human being as far as the eye could see, our tyre tracks the only sign of life, but just offshore were many little fishing boats. This didnt bode well for us, as each boat indicated the presence of nets, left to work the rising tide.
I needn’t have worried too much, as soon as the sun came out making the spinners flash, a couple of fish were landed.
The shoals of fish could be seen moving back and forth behind the breakers, breaking the surface with the occasional jump. They were about 50 yards out of our reach so after trying for an hour or so with no further success we moved further along the pristine sands. We tried here for a bit, now lovely and warm but no joy here at all.
All back into the car and drove another 20 minutes along the beach, where we came upon a shanty town fishing village. The villagers were very shy, didnt want their pictures taken, (quite possibly because they were here illegally) but it was a scene of abject misery. Delapidated boats, rubbish, abandoned nets and all manner of general detritus abounded, all enveloped with an almost visible odour of rotting fish.
We drove further along the beach, once again isolation abounded, with only the occasional sign of civilisation nearby. I’ve lived near beaches for large parts of my life, and I still love seeing only my footprints on the virgin sand.
Another move, this time to where we could see fish moving, but we could also see a line of fishing boats. Logic said we wouldnt be lucky with the amount of boats here, but no, a goodly haul was ours.
The final haul of bass, mullet and a seagull (we let the seagull go) was made even better by seeing herons and a pelican.
Although I was well aware of where I was, for those few hours I wasn’t in Mauritania, I was on a beach, somewhere, anywhere, fishing with a group of friends. The sand behind, the water in front, a beautiful way to spend time.