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November 19, 2010

Seven Great Topwater Spots

Top fishing spots both near and far for anglers that want to pop 'til they drop

Gabon

For a remote tropical popping ­experience about as different as imaginable from that of tossing big poppers over huge reefs in crystal waters sparkling under the sunlight, you could try Gabon on the west central coast of Africa, sliced by the equator. Fish the seemingly infinite sandy beaches along the jungle or from a boat in or off the Iguela Lagoon River mouth. As the black of night descends, some huge tarpon begin to prowl these turbid, roiled waters looking for a meal. Joining them, within a long cast from the surf, are some monumentally huge African cubera - which can exceed 100 pounds, along with giant African threadfin of similar size. But here you don't really pop your popper; you retrieve it very slowly, pausing frequently, says Julien Lajournade, editor of Voyages de Pêche magazine. Best not to wade out much beyond knee depth, by the way: Other big nasties patrol the surf, notably some world-class bull sharks. For more information on fishing the area, visit africas-eden.com and click on "Destinations." You can also find a nice photo essay on fishing Gabon's Iguela Lagoon at henry-gilbey.com.