Flyfishing For Tarpon – An Unbelievable Week at Sette Cama

Flyfishing for tarpon

Flyfishing For Tarpon

Things happen at Sette Cama that even us guides sometimes can’t believe. Towards the tail end of the season, we faced some challenging conditions. The “small dry season” (typically occurring during December to January) just didn’t release its grasp on our part of Gabon. The dark skies would mock charge us daily, but the heavens just wouldn’t unleash the rain we so desperately needed. From a fly fishing for tarpon point of view, this can make for some difficult fishing. Just remember, “difficult” in Sette Cama is also relative. When you’re flyfishing for tarpon, even the most challenging conditions can lead to extraordinary experiences.

A Thrilling Start to the Week

The week started with the incoming clients landing in Gamba via one of the military planes – quite something, starting a fishing trip in a plane designed for dropping troops out of the sky! The group were all new to Sette Cama and avid fly fishermen, with one or two not being afraid of the heathen sticks. The usual starting-day chaos of tackle prep, and then quickly rushing to the mouth to catch the last bit of light. We honestly didn’t have a clue what was about to unfold.

From the first cast, the action started. Starting slowly at first – just some jacks and Guinean barracuda – but the tempo increased once the last of the light faded away. Otoliths (Senegalese kob) started making their presence felt as they took up station in the mouth. Although a great environment to practice our counting, us guides don’t really pay much attention to numbers anymore, especially when we ran out of digits among us to count! The highlight of the night was the first tarpon to hit the beach – a tarpon on fly, in the dark, on the wildest coastline in Africa… it isn’t world-class because it’s unique to us.

It was a week that was so textbook: mornings of countless jacks in the lagoon doing their best to remove every Bonga Shad off the face of the earth, and every night something spectacular was in store at the mouth. Many unstoppables were also hooked – 40kg cubera snapper? Bull sharks? 100kg tarpon? Who knows, but there was literally not a centimetre of string we could have given more. Some tanks weren’t lost, however, and several 20kg plus snapper came out on fly and spin.

Flyfishing Cuberra-snapper

Flyfishing For Tarpon Fullhouse

The achievement we almost reached was having a full house on tarpon. Seven of the eight guests had landed a tarpon; only one remained! On the last two nights, the unlucky angler had his shots. The first tarpon snapped the 90lb fluorocarbon leader on the first jump; the second came unbuttoned after a long fight and even longer run down the beach, while the third felt nothing for the fly line and decided to make it shorter. So close! We ended the week with eight tarpon, which is a good week anywhere in the world.

The Thrill of the Chase!

On the last evening, we tested teasing the shoals of big jacks into range of the fly with hookless plugs. Now, the anglers were incredibly well-travelled and have fished for pretty much everything for longer than the guides are old. Even with their usual nerves of steel, watching the turmoil of water behind the plug coming in hot will make anyone fumble… it is fly fishing after all. You feel like a god one cast and an idiot the next! Throw chaos into the mix and the clowns rule the castle.

It was an unexpected week, but that’s what sets Sette Cama apart. Every now and then, it will test your determination to the utmost, and fishing will always remain fishing, but when it’s GabON it’s something to behold – it’s wild in life.

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