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March 24, 2005

Fishes of Iraq: Lures

Reader Jon D. writes in with a request.

Can anyone give me some information on what kind of bait or lures one would need to fish in Iraq? Some of my friends are stationed near the Tigris and they intend to fish.

Well, if we could identify what exactly it was SPC Mauro used to catch his Aspius, we'd be a lot further down the road towards answering Jon's question, but the best ID we've been able to put on the the lure he used so far is "some sort of jig head with a grub tail"--not exactly the kind of id one can take to the tackle shop with any sort of confidence. If anyone does recognize the lure Mr. Mauro used, let us know, and we'll pass the information along.

One thing I do know. A Strike King Jerkbait has enticed at least one Aspius Vorax in Iraq.

It hadn't been three seconds until someone on the far end yelled, "I've got one" and all eyes turned to watch the rod of Maj. William Lee as he bent over and worked his fish on a Strike King jerkbait from the middle of the lake toward the water's edge.

We were all shouting words of encouragement and the excitement level mounted. You would have thought Maj. Lee was battling a world-record fish. "Whoo-ee," I yelled, "What in the world does he have on the end of that line?"

The critter was finally landed, a 30-inch long silver and gold-colored fish with small scales, a faint lateral line and a snooklike head. Then the second contest began: How much did the fish weigh?

I'm a bait man myself. In my opinion, retrieving a lure eats up time that's better spent drinking beer. I understand why beer might be hard to come by in a Muslim country, but in Iraq at least, locating brew might not be as difficult as one would think.

A Macabbee might not be too hard to come by. It appears Uday and Qusay could get them, at least. As well, there was an alcohol industry in Iraq prior to the war, and there's reason to think that there still is.

A few hours after arriving in Baghdad, she found herself at a run-down estate in a Baghdad suburb. The sun had set, marinated carp was roasting on the fire, and whiskey and Iraqi beer were flowing. The ebullient host, Sala, an Iraqi businessman newly returned after 15 years in London, urged everyone to eat and drink. They talked above the crack of distant rifle and machine-gun fire. But when mortars began to boom, guests began to leave. "Please stay," Sala said, laughing and crying at the same time. "It's a party."

My uncle kept carp in his pond, and he used to swear by canned corn as bait for them, There's a number of other baits as well, if one wishes to try for any of the carp found in Iraq. Doughballs also seem to work pretty well.

Be advised that the higher-ups might not look favorably on marinating the carp once they're caught.

“What was up with your fish fry?” Capt. Todd Kelly scolded some of his GIs. “Don’t f—king eat anything out of the pond! Don’t eat anything unless it comes from the U.S. Army.”

Posted by Bigwig at March 24, 2005 11:10 AM | TrackBack
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Thank you so much for you prompt response. If

Posted by: Jon D. at March 24, 2005 12:44 PM

Thank you so much for you prompt response. I will pass the info directly on to my buddies. These jarheads all grew up on the Gulf of Mexico so they tend to like to fish.

Posted by: Jon D. at March 24, 2005 12:45 PM

The fishermen have used a vareity of baits here - from corn, cheese, bread - to spinners (Mepps), buzz baits, beetle spins, etc.

The carp usually only take the real bait - the Aspius are piscivorus - I think the term is - and will take the artificial stuff


Posted by: LTC Bob at March 25, 2005 08:42 AM

I'd think the Tigris and Euphrates would be prime catfish habitat. What about some stinkbait tossed in a likely looking spot?

Posted by: clnsmi at March 27, 2005 10:57 AM
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