With the sun slowly rising above the horizon in a glowing red ball, a pair of African fish eagles greet the new morning with their echoing duet from the branches of a massive sycamore fig growing out of the bank of the Ruhudji river. At the same time our guests sit around the morning fire, enjoying a cup of coffee, and discussing the prospect of their first day on the water targeting these brute tigerfish on fly. A more spectacular and secluded surrounding to do this in would be hard to imagine.
After a quick breakfast and last minute tackle checks, the boats head out to fish the middle beat for the day. Making their way up the river, there is suddenly a commotion as 3 big female crocs come launching off a sand bank where they are guarding their nests, and enter the water like torpedoes. Leaving a wake and a trail of bubbles behind.
A few corners later a pair of silvery cheeked hornbills fly overhead and disappear into the dense canopy of the riverine vegetation. The wildlife was kind this week, and presented our guests with some great sightings along the river – including a very calm bull elephant that spent several evenings browsing in the reed bed right around camp on the Ruhudji rivier.
The boat arrives at the top of the beat, and anchored into place, providing a good position to swing flies over a deep bowl at the head of some clay rapids. The two guests take positions and start putting out casts and mending them into position, before stripping them back up from the depths. Suddenly there is the sound of a fly line cutting water and the humming vibration of the rod guides as the fish streaks across the current, and then launches into the air, shaking its head for all its worth, trying to dislodge the fly. The angler does well amongst the excitement, and keeps his rod down with enough tension on the line. After a few more jumps and short runs, the 15lb fish comes to the net, success! A few quick photos on a sandbar nearby, and this magnificent animal is released safely.
This set the tone for the days to follow, with some spectacular fish being landed on both rivers. The biggest being over 20lbs, and several more fish in the 17–19lb range. Of course there were many a war story of the fish that got away, but thats exactly how tigerfishing goes. You win some, but lose more.
****more pics to follow once the guides return from location****