Series 3 - Episode 6: West Africa

Extreme Fishing

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Robson heads to the coast of west Africa to take on the monsters of the Atlantic in a trip filled with thrilling fishing firsts, a broken rod, some mammoth catches and a surprise appearance from a large shark.

Robson flies in to Dakar in Senegal, then faces a bumpy five-hour drive across the country to the port town of Saint-Louis. There he visits a horribly flyblown fish market – evidence of the teeming marine life off the Senegalese coast. However, Robson is keen to land some big game fish, so is soon on the hunt for the Atlantic sailfish. These brutes can weigh up to 140lbs and reach speeds of 60mph. Robson is so excited by the prospect of landing one of these beauties that he practises his technique in his hotel room the night before with a broom and pillow.

Due to the size and strength of the sailfish, timing is crucial. After getting a bite but receiving conflicting advice from his instructors, Robson does not strike soon enough and loses the prize catch. Luckily, a floating piece of whale blubber attracts a feeding frenzy and three fish are snagged at the same time. "We’ve got a pack attack here!" an excited Robson shouts. These transpire to be large-sized dorado
fish – will Robson be able to reel them in?

Robson’s next stop is Guinea-Bissau, a country about which he is completely ignorant. "I have no idea where it is – it’s a heck of an adventure even getting there!" he says. The remote country is an hour's flight from Senegal. From there, Robson has to complete a five-hour bus journey, then travel a further three hours by boat to the desert island of Unhocomozinho. "This is Extreme Fishing with Robson Crusoe," the actor quips as they land.

Robson has made the effort to come to Guinea-Bissau to fish its teeming waters for red snapper and
barracuda. Within seconds of casting his line, he hauls out two red snappers, followed by a bigeye jackfish, giving the Geordie a rare fishing hat trick. "Three casts, three fish – get in!" he jubilantly crows. The fish are so abundant off the coast that it is reportedly possible to fish straight from the shoreline. Robson tests this theory and soon lands himself a marbled grouper, renowned for being one of the tastiest fish to eat in the world. He sets up camp and puts the fish on a barbecue, setting himself up for the next day’s activity.

The following morning brings with it a trip to a large wreck known as the chimneys due to its mast structures that protrude from the water. As the wreck has been colonised by coral reef, the area is full of sea life. Before long, Robson manages to snag himself his first barracuda using a hook and line. "It really doesn’t get any better than this," he says, just as his rod breaks due to the size of another catch. No sooner has Robson replaced his broken rod and returned to the water than another of his fishing party hooks a huge nurse shark. Will the intrepid fishermen decide to bring the potentially dangerous animal onto the boat? And will the Geordie lad be able to hold his nerve if they do?

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