River fishing with Ged Brown

River fishing, Gambian term bolong fishing. I’ll start by saying river fishing is not my forte. Over the years I’ve fished many of the seven rivers of The Gambia. Often with little success, or if I’ve had success it’s been more luck than judgement ( barracuda on shrimp at Bintang etc). In recent years I’ve learned to fish the River a lot better. Knowing tides and different fish behaviour!

Plenty more fish in the river!

There are many fish species in the rivers, each requiring different baits, techniques and times.

In the river, the king is considered to be the tarpon or silver king. For me it’s the captain fish for two reasons!

  1. The taste, very chunky fish and cooks very well in many dishes.

2. The fight, these fish are so aggressive and can reach 70-80 kilos, imagine that when your in a kayak! 

Fishing from the riverbank
Fish n chips Gambian style

Crabs over shrimp!

Ok baits: If your fishing close to the river mouth shrimps will be a struggle, there are many crabs nibbling your bait back to the hook. If you can get crab as bait( remove the legs, chop in half with a heavy knife or cutlass. This will bring you a good chance of a butterfish as butterfish can crush the crab shell for the meat inside ( most other fish can’t). But crab won’t catch you a mighty captain fish, for this, your best technique is using a boat as you need to go to sea to catch their preferred food, sardines live! Alternatively, if you are land fishing the use of shrimps further inland is good, snapper, grouper, butterfish, captains and even barracuda can be caught like this!.

Sun going down on a lovely day
Fishing on a gambia river
Iddy caught one!
So Peaceful!

Geds funny story!

In 2000 I took a Belgium guy river fishing! We boated down the Halahin River to its mouth! Where we moored the boat and set about bank fishing for Butterfish, captains the like!

My guest felt a little Banjul belly coming on! ( stomach ache in Europe). He felt the urge to relieve himself, so set off for some bushes in the background. As he dropped his shorts his wallet fell from his back pocket unnoticed and he proceeded to relieve himself. Only to find when he stood up that his wallet was underneath his unwanted matter!

After walking back to me showing a very embarrassed face he set about cleaning his wallet( cards and money) in the river. He didn’t catch much that afternoon!


The river is often overlooked with preference being given to the deep sea, but there is magic in the river and I love it. Happy fishing in Gambia😀

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