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Rod & Rucksack - Mongolia

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Guide Dan Bailey with a good sized taimen from the Eg Uur river in Mongolia Guide Dan Bailey with a good sized taimen from the Eg Uur river in Mongolia

The second episode of the fishing travelogue Rod & Rucksack aired on Quest last night, and in this episode host Guy Elson made the long trip by plane, car and horse to a remote corner of Mongolia to target the enigmatic taimen and sample the local culture.


This was the most ambitious of all the trips, and for me the most daunting.

My plan was to horse trek 9 days north of Moron to the Mongolian/Siberian border carrying inflatable rafts. From here we would inflate the rafts and float for another 6 days south along the Eg Uur river. This river to my knowledge has never been filmed before so we were all a little apprehensive.

Mongolian horses

As I flew into Ulan Bator my immediate thoughts were how barren and uninhabited this place was. If ever there was a small city literally dropped into a giant field then this was it.  The Ulan Bator outskirts are dominated by several imposing powerstations, but drawing closer to the centre you begin to see relics of its Soviet past.

From UB I flew north to Moron. This small town had all the charm of a drive-in Macdonalds, but 2 hours drive north was the magestic Lake Hovsgol. I travelled another days drive North of Hovsgol on unsealed roads to begin my trek. The scenery there was breathtaking and very similars to Colorado (where Dan my guide hailed from).

Mongolia fishing

We passed through endless winter pastures and heavily wooded hills until we reached the head of the Eg Uur river. The days were long but the nights were hard......I never got used to the freezing conditions and nightly I would wake at 3am fully dressed and in my 5 seasons bag numb with cold.

Our first days drift was an eye opener. We had no space to bring the casting platform in the rafts, so fly casting was difficult from the offset.

My set up was my trusty 8# G.Loomis CrossCurrent teamed with a ULA force reel and a Rio WWF line. I used a furled 9ft leader with a heavy tippet and hopper-popper flys. The technique was to cast slightly diagonally downstream and let the fly swing over potential holding areas whilst twitching the fly to cause a pop!

As I reached the long tail-out of the first pool we spooked a huge taimen easily 1 meter in length. I was shocked how big they were and excited at the prospect of catching one.

My first taimen was taken late on the first day on a fly and to be honest I didnt see the take....I heard it. I averaged about 2-3 taimen per day, which was more than enough sport to keep it entertaining.

taimenDue to casting problems from the boat I opted to spin and nothing was more deadly than a 7" soft plastic.

These rivers are also packed with lenok (Manchurian trout). These weird trout have the body of a brown trout and the mouth of a chub. They often harrased the big taimen flies and I even took a monster 3-4lb one on a soft plastic.

The biggest taimen I took was from a deep log-jam pool. I covered every inch of the pool and was about to walk away. I wanted to fish the bottom of the pool but considered it lure suicide with all the logs, but I'm glad I did. First cast I let the lure bump the pools' bottom and immediately hooked a monster, which was tailed to the bank by an even bigger taimen. I took two taimen in two casts from this pool using this technique. Unfortunately it would be very difficult to acheive these depths with a fly.

This fish was in the TOP 5 fish taken from this river! Tune in to check it out.

Guy Elson and his Mongolian team


Tune in to the rest of the series on Quest!


Freeview - Channel 38

Sky - Channel 154 (+1 on 167)

Virgin - Channel 172 (+ 1 on 173)


Showing in the UK prime time at 09:00 on Thursday evenings from the 11th of April to 9th May 2013.


Episode 1: Canada – 11th April

Episode 2 Mongolia – 18th April

Episode 3 Panama – 25th April

Episode 4 Bolivia – 2nd May

Episode 5 Australia – 9th May

Rod and Rucksack Trailer from gassProductions on Vimeo.

Articles by the same author

Comments (20 posted):

Editor on
So who has battled the mighty taimen before or would like to? Definitely on my bucket list.
micklmass on
I was very dissapointed in last nights programme i thought i was watching a holiday programme, it took 40 minutes before i actually seen any fishing in the programme.:(
wobbly face on
I was very dissapointed in last nights programme i thought i was watching a holiday programme, it took 40 minutes before i actually seen any fishing in the programme.:( Snap. I almost turned it off. :omg:
jamesjigus on
I just watched it whilst 'working' - got a lot done for the first 40 minutes, nothing for the last 20(!) That said, I don't mind some narrative of the country / trip but maybe the balance is a little skewed?
Steve Walker on
I've watched a couple of this series, I quite liked them. They are travel programmes, though, not just fishing programmes. Bit like the Accidental Angler was. The presenter reminds me of him;
alant on
So who has battled the mighty taimen before or would like to? Definitely on my bucket list. Thats the place that dreams are made of. Im to old for it now but can still dream.
ferral on
I missed it, will the programme be repeated at all?
micklmass on
Repeated at the weekend about 10 or 11 ish if i remember because i missed the 1st one.
benisa on
See other Thread by Guy the man in person ! where he tells a little more about the program:thumbs:
muddler on
I was very dissapointed in last nights programme i thought i was watching a holiday programme, it took 40 minutes before i actually seen any fishing in the programme.:( As mentioned on the other thread it reflected how in the wilderness Mongolia is. Opinions vary but I find seeing a bit of the country/culture along with some fishing to be interesting. I don't know how much in demand a pure fishing program would be on mainstream tv. Davey
benisa on
Nice to have a really good Fishing program, But for sure you will get people criticizing it.:omg: Programs like Rod & Rucksack are just basic Boys own fishing, with a bit of adventure thrown in, ok it has a bit of ruff edging but that is how it should:thumbs:
atlanticspringer on
I was disappointed with the programme, the presenter just had no real screen presence and didn't really have anything interesting to say. He felt out of his depth. Those fish looked stunning though! It's tough to make a fishing show these days. I loved hooked on fishing a few years back but now I cringe when I watch it. You need to have a commanding screen presence (although not as far as Mr Greene!) and a good balance of info and adventure. Cyril Chaquet got it bang on
gelson on
Thanks for all your comments. I wrote Rod and a Rucksack as a non professional, but enthusiastic travel angler. I wanted to share my experience of Adventure angling with a wide audience, to hopefully enthuse other anglers to do the same. It seems to have had quite a "marmite" reaction for the angling community, some love it and others hate it, which for me is fine. Please feel free to keep posting you constructive criticism, it lets me know what has worked and what hasn't . Guy
robb76 on
Personally I really enjoyed it. Fishing for me is about the whole experience not just the actual fishing. I haven't been fortunate enough to travel the world in pursuit of my hobby, but have spent lots of my time fishing all methods for all UK freshwater species, There has certainly been some nice fish caught but most of the memories are from experience of the trips. Yes we all want to see more fishing action, tips, advise etc but for me this was a great relief from the likes of Extreme Fishing etc. just my thoughts :)
rankin930 on
Fair play to Guy for popping up on the thread... Not a bad series so far... But more angling and less making smokers/eating sheep brain... Although the smoker was hilarious! Keep up the good work and keep tweaking the programme if you can... Stevie Still lurking but mostly working!
boswell on
Just watched this for the first time, I missed the first episode in the series. I found it quite good, it is as the title says; Fishing and Travel (Rod & Rucksack). Those Tamen are sure incredible Fish. I look forward to the next episode. No sheep eyes, I hope.
arkle on
I must echo Boswell's words, as I to missed the 1st prog. & my thoughts on both the fish & the sheep eye is also identical. Also looking forward to the next ones in the series.
JeffR on
Well I enjoyed it (thanks Guy, I only just watched it, had to record it), its called rod and rucksack and that's what adventure fishing is all about so I enjoyed it all, the rucksack bit and the rod bit. Jeremy Wade did a River Monster episode on Taimen as I recall, but it didn't capture as well in my view. There is also a good written account of Taimen fishing in John Bailey's book "Trout at 10,000 Feet". Maybe one day I will even get to try such things myself but for now its still the stuff of dreams....:rolleyes:
boswell on
One thing I will say is there was no sort of big build up to the worlds greatest fish as in other televised fishing series's . Just a down to earth one of your own fishing lads , but saying that , I have only watched a hour so I cannot say what is yet to come , I'm sure it will be good thou.
peenie on
Cyril Chaquet got it bang on Have to agree there Cyril Chaquet is really enjoyable to watch he has an obvious passion for fishing. This show is good for what it is, a mix of angling and travel not really my cup of tea though!
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