Barb Fishing – Season 2024 final week

Barb Fishing

Barb Fishing

Barb Fishing: After a few long days of travel and some Camair Co flight delays, the chaps’ attitudes were, credit to them, higher than most would have been after such delays. We were joined in camp by James Henry from South Africa and Alisdair Grassie from Tanzania. Though two individual guests, after just a few days, one would think they had known each other for years. These were two clients who appreciated every single thing that Gassa Camp and Cameroon had to offer them. From a guide’s perspective, they were the best possible chaps to have in camp for our last week on the Faro.

Adapting to Rising Temperatures and Falling Waters

The fishing remained stellar, with the heat reaching new records for us. Consequently, our wake-up time was moved to an earlier hour to get us on the water sooner, allowing for a good long morning session before the heat became overwhelming. As the water levels dropped rapidly and warmed up, targeting Tigers became progressively more challenging. However, throughout the week, both James and Alisdair had their fair share of Tigerfish action. In such conditions, we had to seek slightly faster-flowing water, particularly below small rapids or gradient drops, to fish in the more oxygenated waters where Tigers were more active. And when we found such spots, it was game on. On day 5, Alisdair hooked 6 Tigers in 6 casts, all of them decent fish, throwing a small clouser across the faster-moving channel.

Faro Tigerfish

Hunting for Barbs

One of the few positive outcomes of the receding water levels was the revelation of previously hidden structures, which tended to hold larger fish, allowing us to sight-fish in new areas. This was particularly evident during the Barb fishing expeditions, with an impressive number of these elusive fish caught in various spots along the riverbank. Once again, pink tag nymphs proved to be the go-to flies for the Barb fishing, provided they were presented delicately and in the right zone. This week’s Barb fishing was incredible; both Alisdair and James managed to land trophy Niger Barb, with Alisdair’s fish being what we think is the new Gassa Camp record, or a fish extremely close to it.

In the middle of the wide stretch of river, a school of Barbs caught our attention, and Ali took the lead. To hook these brutes, we needed a change in tactics, switching from dry dropper to just a single nymph – obviously with a classic pink tag. Ali couldn’t see much from his spot as he was fairly level with the water, so Blaede helped spot the fish from a higher vantage point. On the first cast, the fish took, but setting the hook proved tricky with so much line out. The second cast was perfect; the fish was attracted by the plop and smoked it. Blaede saw the take, called it out, and the fight was on. Alisdair learned a lesson in patience when fighting a fish on light tackle but handled it like a champ. With Dave’s help, the fish was corralled like cattle toward the beach until he could eventually get his hands on the beast. The fish was incredibly wide, resembling a bloody Nile Perch. After snapping a few photos and exchanging a couple of high fives, that beast was sent back into the depths. This fish measured 62cm in fork length and 47cm in girth, a fish of a lifetime that none of us will forget.

Barb FishingNiger Barb Fishing

Patience Tested Under the Starry Sky

The Perch fishing continued to test our patience. Throughout the night, at each spot, we could hear the big fish near the surface but could not entice them to take a fly. Both clients managed to entice a number of Perch to take their fly, but unfortunately, still no fish over a meter this week. It becomes frustrating as we know they are there; we’ve seen them during the day and heard them at night, but that’s the timeless tale of fishing, isn’t it? Having only 2 guests in camp allowed us to have another awesome camp out on the banks of the river, an experience everyone will remember for years to come. Sleeping next to the river allowed for a sunrise fishing session. We set alarms for 4 am, and after a quick coffee, we were off. This was the most incredible thing to witness, how the earth wakes up with the sun, how the hippos make their journeys back to their home pools after feeding on land for the night, and how the birds start calling as soon as there was a glimmer of light.

The last night of the season was a special one, with banter among the boys and unmatched energy throughout the week. The bottle of Aberlour Whiskey that had stared us in the face all week was finally cracked open, and cigars were lit. What a way to end such an epic week, what a way to end an epic season.

AW guide, Riley Meyer

If you would like to experience the Faro river next season, please click here to find out more!

Leave a Reply