Catching My First Fish in Baghdad

I have been deployed to Iraq since March 2010, this is my third trip over here courtesy of Uncle Sam. I work out of Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, which sits on a huge lake fed by a series of waterworks.

Back home in Alexandria, I spend as much time as possible fishing for the good-sized largemouth bass, crappie and perch that we have in the Potomac. So it was only a matter of time before I tried to catch a few of the monster carp and the mysterious so-called mangars that slapped the water loudly at least once on every one of my walks to work.

When I came back from leave, I brought a few spinners, twister-tail jigs and some Rapalas.

My thoughtful wife kindly sent my Berkeley Lightning Rod out to me and I have been waiting for the weather to cool down before I wet a line.

I went the other evening, but they weren’t hitting in the dark. I decided my best bet would be to try in the early morning. The fish seem to be more active during that time and at least I wouldn’t risk catching malaria, as I would in the evening.

There is a viaduct where a canal feeds into the main lake and goes under a bridge. I have been eyeing it as a honey hole since I got here. It is a good transition zone that offers shade, structure, current, and probably some concentrated forage.

I started  tossing a chartreuse twister jig under the bridge,  and on the first cast something big slashed at it. I slung that for about ten minutes, but I couldn’t drum up any interest.

I switched to a 2″ Rapala and popped it on the surface as far under the bridge as I could toss it, mixing it up with a steady retrieve that took it down about 8″. On about the tenth cast, a sporty little fish nailed it. The fight was kinda like a catfish, with a steady pull and some lateral lurches for deeper water. Nothing flashy like a largemouth and no sizzling runs like a smallmouth.

When I brought him to the bank, I saw what handsome catch he was. The fish was about 16″ long and weighed about two pounds. He had a deeply forked tail and smooth, silver scales. He was long and thin and reminded me of a very large herring. The fish looked he would be good eating. I put him back in the drink and called it a day.

The Ugandan security guards nearby really dug the show and took a few minutes to tell me about catching tilapia and “silver fish” in their homeland

That was a good start. I have a feeling I am going to tie into some monsters over the next few months.

From Baghdad,
Jeff

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by NC on October 7, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This was really fun to read. I wish I could have been there to see it! I hope you’re able to catch more fish and different kinds, too.

    Like

    Reply

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