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Anthony Tabbal is first Gambian angler to be featured in world’s biggest TV channel

Sep 13, 2013, 1:53 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

What happens when you clash totally different angling styles?

Anthony Tabbal (commonly known as Tony Tabbal) from The Gambia finds out in National Geographic Channel’s ‘King Fishers’ show which promises a TV fishing spectacular this summer, and it all kicks off  in August (UK) and September (Rest of the World).

Tony Tabbal is the proprietor of Green Mamba Restaurant, which recently won an international award by Tripadvisor.

He doubles as the founder and co-owner of GreenTech co. Ltd, which was also awarded the prestigious international SEED award for conservation and environmental entrepreneurship.

As he puts it “when I get time off work, I either take my boat out fishing or play golf”. Tony is a co-founder and treasurer of the Gambia Golf Association and the current chairperson of the Gambia National Olympics marketing committee.

Featuring anglers and fishing destinations from all over the planet, ‘King Fishers’ is set to hit screens in more than 160 countries worldwide. Each episode of the show features three anglers of totally different backgrounds and nationalities competing at both fishing and hosting.

How would a Nordic ice fisherman fare against a Gambian saltwater specialist? How would a British coarse angler fare in searing heat, two thousand miles from home?

The rivals share eye-opening angling experiences, celebrating great camaraderie but also an intense level of competition.

Thrilled to be involved is sustainable sports fisherman Tony Tabbal commented: “It has been an insane, brilliant experience! We were literally put on flights without a clue what to expect. I travelled to some stunning locations but I am also proud to have represented The Gambia. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you can expect plenty of fun twists as well as must see angling footage and it will be an awesome series. It’s a truly international celebration of fishing. The locations couldn’t have been more spectacularly different, or challenging.”

It’s not uncommon for sea and creek fishermen to have amazing adventures, but it’s not often their experiences are featured in an in-depth television documentary. That is exactly where you will be able to follow the exploits of a top Gambian fisherman soon.

An hour-long international fishing and travel show, shot by National Geographic TV and ITV productions, will be featuring the adventures of Tony Tabbal who is a well-known angler and environmental conservationist.

But it’s not only Tony’s skills with hooks and line that the documentary focuses on – the basic concept of the King Fishers programme is to take anglers out of their comfort-zones. In each episode three fishermen from different countries take it in turns to take their fellow enthusiasts fishing in their own home waters, and also introduce them to local life and culture.

Tony Tabbal hosted his two fellow anglers in the Banjul creeks and Sanyang coast where they were hunting for Captain Fish and Ladyfish – but he started his National Geographic channel’s fishing adventure in the freezing cold of the Norwegian arctic north for the giant sea cod, and in the wet and muddy canals of Somerset, UK for the Pike.

He had no idea what kind of fishing he’d be doing in the other countries. In The Gambia they were creek and sea-fishing in amazing places – but it was quite testing.

His travels started far away in the freezing north of Norway. In each episode, you have to compete against the others – but also host the perfect fishing trip in your own country.

So Tony chose to try the Banjul Creeks in the morning for the Captain fish, and Sanyang Beach in the afternoon, where they fished for Lady fish. His guests Dominique from the UK and Geir from Norway together with the TV crew stayed at the Kombo Beach Hotel.

As for his adventures in the United Kingdom and Norway, Tony recalls: “I just had an amazing time – but it wasn’t a holiday – it was pretty intense. In Norway we saw the Northern Lights and humpback whales – and met the indigenous people – we joined them in a tent completely made of animal skins.

In the UK, we stayed at the most pleasant place in Sommerset and saw the beautiful British parts of Devon.

Here, we were welcomed by my Jola heritage with an amazing Kumpo tribal dance that was amazing. Thanks to the Gambia Tourism Board, the arrangement from arriving here to the day they left was faultless.

‘King Fishers’ will be screened on the National Geographic Channel from Monday 8 July at 20:00 (In UK & USA) and from 5 September in the rest of the world, with the series of ten shows starting 5 September in Africa. Tony is featured in Episode 08.

Competitive fishing – some say is the best sport in the world.

But with so many fishermen and so many fishing disciplines, who is best of the best?

In our brand new series, King Fishers, each adrenaline-filled episode pits three highly skilled anglers against one another in three separate fishing expeditions around the world.

Challenging each other in their home waters, the fishermen bring plenty of rivalry along with bonding, banter and big catches during spectacular global treks, resulting in gripping – and sometimes hilarious – encounters.