Mongolian Monster


Written by: Phil Monahan
Mongolian Monster
Jim Hickey of Worldcast Anglers—in Jackson, Wyoming—landed this huge taimen in Mongolia.
photo by Jim Hickey

Yesterday, Worldcast Anglers partner Jim Hickey emailed us this photo and a report on his recent trip to Mongolia. BE WARNED: Reading this post may cause irrational checking of flights to Ulaan Bataar:

Just got back from an amazing trip to Mongolia to catch taimen. We traveled about as far away from home as you can go before you start coming back . . .but it was so worth it! Taimen hit flies like a killer whales eating seals—total carnage! Seriously, watching one of those monsters push a wake and then explode on your fly is enough to warrant buying a plane ticket and making the trip.

Ulaan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia, is a cultural traffic jam—Mongolian, Chinese, and Russian influences all jammed together in a sprawling city. We started there and then moved into the countryside, which looked like we were in Wyoming or Montana. Even the river reminded me of a smaller version of the Missouri or the South Fork of the Snake—but the fish, man, the fish! 

We fished for taimen most of the time, and we caught them each day. On a couple of days, the taimen bite was definitely switched on, and we landed numerous fish on mouse and streamer patterns. At other times, we had to cast and cast and cover a ton of water to find the fish and hook a few. Sometimes we stopped casting the 8- and 9-weights altogether and threw 6-weights with hopper patterns for trout, and that was a blast! Trout between 18 and 26 inches gulped the hopper flies. Then we would see some likely taimen water and get serious about sticking another big fish. 

This really big taimen attacked the fly 3 times. I had him hooked the first time for maybe 25 seconds, thrashing and fighting and frothing the water all over the place! Then he came unbuttoned, and I almost lost it. The guide said, “Throw it to him again,” so I did, and the fish rocketed to the fly and then swirled under it (a swirl like canoe paddle stirring the water). Then I cast back in the area of the fish, and the light colored fly disappeared into blackness.

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