The other day I was minding my own business, scrolling through the time-suck vortex of Instagram when a promoted post from Awesome Maps popped up advertising their new fishing map of the world. I took the bait and clicked through to their site to check out the map.
Firstly, hats off to the talented artist who must have had a hell of a time fitting in so many hero shots, over rivers and lakes and kangaroos and country borders.
As I zoomed in on the various continents and countries to see which species and fisheries were listed, most of it seemed relatively accurate at first. The Northern Hemisphere seemed to be all salmon and trout (although listing Brook trout under the UK seems a bit weird even if they may technically exist there) with a bit of pike, carp, walleye etc. South America appeared to tick the most significant species (though it is news to us that Jurassic Lake has steelhead) and Australia had a few of the usual suspects including a sketch of an angler with a bumphead parrotfish that I am 99.9% sure was drawn from a photograph of a bumpie caught at Farquhar on an Aardvark McLeod trip.
Then I turned my gaze to my home continent, Africa (cue hippos grunts and hyena laughing). Here’s where the European-based Awesome Maps appear to have lost the plot a little.
For example, something that surprised us was to hear that South Africa’s trout-fishing hub Dullstroom has grayling as well as your usual fare of rainbow and brown trout. If we’d known the lady of the stream was available in South Africa, we would have done a story on them by now.
Then… the only target species for the Zambezi (with its many many tigerfishing lodges) is tilapia, not tigerfish.
Over on the Caprivi strip, things get even weirder. Perhaps you’d expect tigerfish, African pike, nembwe, vundu, humpback bream etc, but instead the Caprivi is now known for largemouth bass, carp, brown trout and tigerfish (1 out of 4 is a fail in any book). Who knew?! Not Awesome Maps!
As for a major African target species like Nile perch that occurs everywhere from Nigeria, to Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Congo etc or the behemoth tarpon that are found all along the West African coast from Angola, to Congo and Gabon? What about our beloved and ubiquitous yellowfish species in South Africa and beyond? As far as I can see Nile perch, tarpon and yellowfish do not feature at all, but what I did spot was what I think is a rendering of Jeremy Wade of River Monsters fame, cradling a Goonch Catfish, a species found in India. Jeremy and his Goonch were floating somewhere over Kenya/Somalia.
Other than their god-like re-distribution of odd species in African rivers that are well known for other targets, perhaps my favourite part of the whole map is the sketch of what can only be Ed Truter with one of those blue Congo yellowfish, found up in Northern Zambia / Southern Congo (the only mention/depiction of yellowfish on the continent).
For the next iteration of this map, we’d like to suggest Awesome Maps use some other photos of Ed for inspiration.
Our personal favourites include this one – specifically the pure unadulterated delight on Ed’s face at the Nile perch caught by Mike Fay at African Waters Gassa camp in Cameroon (full story in issue 10).
And then there’s this one, from the same camp.
The maps from Awesome Maps are available as a paper poster, as a roll-down canvas, or as a towel, so technically if you buy the latter you could be drying yourself off with a kind of crack inception with Ed’s crack in yer crack. It’s not our kink, but we’re confident it will be someone’s.