Gabon Season 2020: Week 6 – When it all comes together

Where does one start in trying to put this week into words? Descriptions can only do so much, and I don’t feel I can do a week of this magnitude any justice through words alone.

Quite simply put, it all came together this week. We’ve talked previously about conditions, and how when they mix just right, it can make for a magical weeks fishing. Well when you add a good formation to that mix, the fishing can be electric, chaotic, mental, insane, (Insert your preferred descriptive phrase or word here)

Week 6 gave us just that, a good formation on top of all the other ingredients for success here. We welcomed 5 guests to camp this week, childhood friends Manfred Gerbers and Vaughan Philips, long time friend of African Waters, Johann Donald, as well as new friends, Claire and Andre Van Eeden.  In addition, Head guide of our Gabon outfit, Mark Murray, was on location filming for the Outdoor Channel series Monster Fish, needless to say it’s going to be an epic episode. Keep an eye out for this one.

Our first tip off to the madness of the coming week was found in the lagoon – the early morning jack sessions were wild in the beginning of the week. With sardine and mullet seemingly congregating in their millions. The jacks were big, and hunting in packs, with some good snapper and threadfin getting stuck in to add to the mix. As the tidal coefficient dropped through the week, this congregation of bait edged closer and closer to the mouth.

The formation in the mouth had been building over the past 3 weeks, but it was this week where it really was perfected. A long sand spit point had developed that punched out into the main flow of the river and diverted the strong estuarine current out to sea. With deep bays both inside and outside of this point, there was water for every fish imaginable; softer water inside the bays, standing waves off the point, and a strong cross current driving bait over the sand spit. You couldn’t have dreamed a better formation for the conditions. And as the week progressed, and the bait arrived in the river mouth, so did the predators – arriving in their thousands.

It was a visual spectacle, and one that will stay with me for a long time. Holding just outside the estuary were schools of thousands of jacks, busting on the shoals of sardine. Inside them, a school of tarpon numbering in the hundreds, hunting in the standing waves and current where the river and sea meet. At any given moment you could see 5 or 6 tarpon cruising into the estuary through the window in the standing waves. On the outside of the spit, there were dozens of patrolling sharks, cruising the spit’s sandy drop off, fins out of the water, just waiting for unsuspecting prey to be swept over the drop edge. The fishing was everything you hoped it would be, and expectations were high with every cast. Multiple tarpon were jumped every session, with 5 landed by the end of the week, and many more lost along the way. Andre, Claire and Vaughan all landed Tarpon during the week, with Manfred and Johann unfortunately connecting with several Tarpon, but with them all throwing the hook at some point.

Snapper were hunting in the shallows and whitewater behind the rolling waves, with the takes coming only meters out from the shore. Johann in particular landing a beautiful 20kg specimen, with the fish exploding on Johanns lure in knee deep water.

The giant African threadfin were a constant throughout the week, and they provided some of the week’s best fishing. Their number and average size was a welcome addition to an action packed week, and they filled in the periods where conditions weren’t optimum for the other target species.  This week was a prime example of what the fishing can be like at Sette Cama, when all cylinders are firing. I only hope the pictures can do it better justice than my words.