“ Sightseeing Type: Tours „
Whilst looking at all the different tours advertised along the riverside of Dalyan I noticed there was a distinct lack of fishing trips, and of the few that were available all of them included hand-lining and crab fishing, both of which didn't really appeal to me. Where are all of the deep sea fishing trips or big game fishing excursions that used rods, reels and line? Straying off the river and heading in to town I came across Kaunos Tours, and outside their HQ was a board advertising "deep sea fishing trip".
This seemed to be just what I was looking for and the price of 35YTL (approx £15) for a full days fishing, with lunch, was very attractive and seemed a bit too good to be true so I went in and booked up. The booking was very easy and simply involved speaking to the girl behind the desk (who spoke excellent English) who took my money (you have to pay in full on booking) and wrote out a receipt ticket with all the relevant details. Most tours include transfers from your hotel but since it was a five minute walk to the river, and the boat, I had to meet the tour guide at HQ, which suited me fine.
****Format of the day****
If the tourists are staying further away from the river than I was then the price includes transfers from, and back to the hotel. Once at the boat you are introduced to the captain (there was no mate or assistant) and all other people on the tour. A maximum of 25 people can be on the tour at any one time although the trip will run with as few as 10 people.
Once on the boat you motor down the river to Turtle Beach. You are not permitted to fish or troll during this time so it is simply a matter of sitting and watching the world go by (obviously soaking up the sun and the views) whilst pondering about the creatures from the deep you are going to catch.
Once you reach Turtle Beach the narrow channel between the sea and the river (there are no estuaries here) is crossed the boat continues about a mile out to sea and then heads towards an un-inhabited island where anchor is dropped about 10m from the rocky coastline.
The rods are distributed and Captain Bill gives a demonstration on how to bait up the hook, how to cast, what happens when you get a bite and what to do when you catch a fish.
The boat remains at this bay for 2 hours where the anglers can fish and any non-anglers on board can jump in and swim. After 2 hours has elapsed lunch is served, as cooked and prepared by Captain Bill.
After lunch the boat moves around the other side of the island where the anglers can fish and non-anglers swim again. The boat remains in situ for a further 2 hours.
After 2 hours all lines are reeled in and the boat goes back to shore. Upon reaching the delta the boat is moored up, hand lines are distributed and the emphasis changes to fishing for the infamous blue crabs. Once 18 crabs are caught the boat is taken to Lake Kocegiz where everyone (both anglers and non-anglers) are invited to swim whilst Captain Bill sparks up the BBQ and dresses the crab and any fish that are large enough to eat. The group are then treated to the catch before the boat is returned to its mooring and those needing transport to their hotels are ferried back.
The excursion is a full day that commences at 9.00 a.m. and finishes around 6.00 p.m.
Kaunos Tours has its very own boat used specifically for fishing trips and it was this, captained by Bilau ("Captain Bill"), that was used for our excursion. I was expecting something sleek, modern and streamlined with two (or more) large outboard engines, and a "fighting chair", and loads of rods sticking out the back. You know, the sort of big game fishing boats you seen on all the angling programs, but what I saw was very, very different.
The boat for this trip consisted of a flat-bottomed hull that was about 60 feet in length by 8 feet wide with an internal engine. At the front was a cabin, which consisted of a small toilet (definitely needed) and a small galley. On the front of the cabin was a sunbathing deck and the rest of the boat was covered by a tarpaulin to provide shade from the sun. The boat wasn't sleek, it definitely wasn't streamlined and it didn't look fast, or powerful enough, for deep sea trolling. It was clear that this was a "tourists" sea fishing boat for those that wanted a bit of fun, and not a serious anglers' boat. After all, you don't have a sun bathing deck on a fishing boat.
I was quite disappointed since I was expecting a serious trip, but given the cost I suppose I was expecting too much. Despite the vessel being below expectations (or hopes) it was more than adequate for the excursion and was plenty big enough to comfortable accommodate all those on board. The only drawback I could see was the canopy covered the whole of the rear of the boat meaning there was no casting room, but casting is not necessarily required on boat fishing trips since a small flick or just dropping the bait over the side is normally adequate.
****The fishing gear****
As previously mentioned all fishing gear was included in the price. All anglers were provided with a small telescopic rod (either 5ft or 6ft in length), a fixed spool reel (obviously pre loaded with line) and an end trace at the bottom. It is pure minimalist fishing.
If any anglers snagged the bottom, or got broken up by a fish, the Captain Bill would tie on a new trace. Anglers are not given any additional tackle, even if they are experienced anglers that know what they are doing.
The tackle was primitive and cheap (definitely not the best quality) but given it was loaned out to tourists, and suffered a lot of abuse, I was not surprised by this. That said,the tackle was more than capable for the job in hand, especially since the catch consisted of small fish, although I wouldn't like to say what would have happened if something big took the bait, but given the location and the type of fishing we were doing I am guessing the chances of this happening are thousands to one.
The fish that are prevalent around the coast line, and those most likely to be caught include 2 striped sea bream, sea bream, various species of wrasse and silver fish (I'm sure they have a 'proper' name but this is what Captain Bill called them). There are also small barracuda that patrol the shoreline but the only way these are going to be caught is to either use the other fish as bait (I am totally against live baiting and find this an awful practice) or if the barracuda attacks a fish you have hooked whilst you are reeling it in. The chances of actually landing the barracuda in this scenario is rare as, according to Captain Bill, the barracuda will let go of the fish as you attempt to lift it out of the water.
As previously mentioned lunch is included in the price although drinks are extra. Lunch consists of the 'normal' lunch served on these excursions and includes lots of bread (which was good for me and the other half since we didn't really get to try much of anything else), green salad that has a lot of dressing on it, tomatoes/peppers/chillies, meat balls and a chicken stew.
The lunch was prepared, and cooked on board by Captain Bill and I must say that he does a fantastic job given the conditions he has to work in. The ingredients appear to be very fresh and are very tasty, but then this is true of all meals on these excursions in my experience.
The quantity of food did not appear to be as much as other excursions we had been on, but then maybe this was because the family we were with piled their plates so high on the first round that we were only left the dregs. The dregs, however, tasty great so I can only imagine what the rest of it was like.
I should point out that drinks are the same price as you would expect to pay in any bar, restaurant, café or shop in Dalyan, which is good since this is an ideal opportunity to exploit the tourists and fully capitalize on the captive audience by hiking up the prices to some extortionate level. Whilst the Turks are out to make money from the tourists, as those working in all tourist places worldwide, it is not in their nature to really exploit them, which is a refreshing change. Shame the same can't be said for other nationalities, like the Brits and the Spanish.
As previously mentioned the standard cost of this excursion is 35 YTL (approx £15) for an adult. Children under 12 years old are charged 20 YTL (approx £8) and non-angling guests are more than welcome, and can enjoy everything but the fishing, and these are also charged at 20 YTL per person.
I can now see that the pricing structure clearly makes this excursion one aimed at families, as opposed to serious anglers, although this didn't register at the time of booking.
However you look at it, the cost represents excellent value for money and provides a full days entertainment and lunch. I can't think of any attractions in the UK that offer so much for so little.
Upon reaching the boat I was confronted with a large extended family consisting of partners and children ranging from 3 years old to around 15 years old. The ladies had already secured their sun loungers on the sun deck for the day and they were busy rubbing in tanning oil in preparation for the rays. The children were running around and screaming at each other and the men sat calmly on the side, letting it all happen, drinking beer. To say I was absolutely gutted is an understatement since I was ready for some serious fishing which clearly was not going to be the order of the day.
Despite the rowdy children, the mother's shouting at them (and at each other - why do people from a certain part of the UK have to shout at each other when they are in close proximity?), and the men's laid back attitude the family seemed friendly enough, although it was made more than clear to me and my other half that this was "their" trip and we were gate crashing it. This didn't bother us until lunch.
Lunchtime was awful and it was like an episode of the Waltons. Lunch consisted of a help yourself buffet and all the food was laid on a table that was big enough for 16 of us, although the family of 14 decided to stake their claim on all 16 places. The grandmother dished out the food to all the family members first before piling her own plate up and leaving us with the dregs. I was disgusted by their greed, their table manners and the way they conducted themselves and I admit that I was ashamed and embarrassed to be English on this excursion as I knew me and my other half were being tarnished with the same brush under the eye of Captain Bill.
Not only were the family greedy but they were very selfish. The ladies' claimed the sun deck from the start, and whilst I was not there to sun bath it would have been nice to sit at the front of the boat during the journey to and from the sea to get some good snaps. Whilst claiming he sundeck was bad enough the family also claimed the shade (when the midday sun got too hot) and laid down to sleep whilst me and the other half were forced out to face the wrath of the sun, however we could still not get on the sundeck.
I must applaud Captain Bill for his patience with the family. Every second there was "Captain Biiiillllllllllll" in a whinging voice, followed by "can you get this fish off the hook? Can you bait up for me? Can you cast this out? Why aren't I catching anything? Etc. etc." Bill was running around all over the place trying to keep everyone happy and it soon became apparent to me that he was on a losing battle. Whilst I appreciate this was his job and this is what he does I did feel sorry for him and assisted with the baiting of hooks, unhooking of fish and anything else I could do in order to shut the kids up.
As the day wore on, I found the family to be very loud, obtrusive, rude and a stereo typical group of "Brits abroad". What should have been a relaxing day turned out to be a very stressful one and by the end of it I was shattered and just needed some peace.
As far as the fishing went it was quite good fun and we caught plenty of fish but they were very small. Some of the fish were kept in a bucket, which surprised me since they were far too small to eat. However, we were later to discover these fish were going to be used as crab bait.
Captain Bill set us a target of 20 crabs and luckily for me there is an abundance of crabs in the river/sea that are large enough to eat. Being exceptionally greedy they are also very easy to catch meaning that I only had to endure the crabbing part for just over an hour, which was good as I hate crabbing.
Like many of the excursions available in Dalyan the sea fishing trip represents excellent value for money. Especially when you consider that it includes 4 hours fishing, about 1 hours crabbing, 1 hour swimming in Lake Koycegiz (whilst the crabs are being BBQ'd) and the rest of the day on the boat hence allowing you to soak up the sun and take in the wonderful views and get those all important holiday photos. In addition you get a cooked lunch to boot and all for a mere £15 per person.
The trip was advertised as deep sea fishing and whilst you do go over some deep sea the actual fishing is carried out in shallow water on the reefs of an island, a great hiding place for small fish, which is all we caught. This is not a trip for the serious angler and is aimed more at families or those looking for a 'fun' day out. I can see how non-serious anglers would enjoy this, but it was not really a trip for me but I would recommend it for those just wanting a bit of fun.
The fishing element clearly plays second fiddle to the crabbing part and the only reason to catch the fish appears to be to provide the bait to catch the crabs. This is great if you enjoy crabbing, but I find it gets very boring very quickly. All large crabs caught are kept, and whilst you will get to try a piece cooked on the onboard BBQ (you can't get fresher than that) most of them are kept on the boat to be sold on to local restaurants.
The thing that can really make or break this excursion is other people on the trip. We were unfortunate to share our trip with a family of 14, all of whom were very close, and as such we felt like total outsiders. In addition, the family made sure we knew our place which I thought was a bit wrong, and to top it all off the family were rude, obnoxious, selfish, greedy, foul mouthed (I don't mind a bit of bad language and I have encountered most words but to have these openly blurted out all day is just too much) and loud. I am sure that if the trip had consisted of several couples or smaller families then it would have been much more sociable and enjoyable all round. Unfortunately the other people on your tour is out of your control, unless you have a large group and are in one of these extended families.
(This review has been posted on other review sites under the name of Yackers1)
A sea fishing excursion in Dalyan, Turkey provided by Kaunos Tours