A hot and dusty drive into camp, an ice cold beverage and a shower to wash the dust and grime off body and throat alike while hippos grumbling further upstream in their nightly chorus and the odd call from a Pels Fishing Owl perched in the taller trees that line the Faro. This is wilderness at its best.
Anthony from Cape Town was eager to hit the water after a good night’s sleep, dreaming of the possibilities that the next few days could hold for him. Niger Barbs, tigerfish and Nile perch, as well as a host of other species that might take a fly if presented correctly.
The tigers were on the hunt and as usual their bony mouths and aerial antics leaving anglers wide-eyed and without fish coming to hand. But every now and then an excellent hookset pierces a slightly less bony part of the mouth, a low rod tip during the fight and the toothy critter comes to hand.
The technical aspect of catching a Niger barb will either challenge you or frustrate you to the ent degree. Constantly cruising and changing directions leave the anglers and guides hoping to make a cast that will intercept the barbs next path. A good presentation is needed, the plop of a nymph can trigger interest but too much of a plop will send them scattering for the safety of deep water, out of sight to the angler. Strong fish on light tippet will always be a challenge especially when a fast but gentle hookset is required along with constant concentration as the speed with which these barbs can mouth and spit a fly, is unrivalled. The indicator sometimes not even registering, so one has to watch the nymph as well as fish behaviour. This is of course much easier said than done. When the stars align the barbs move onto shallower sandbanks near the heads of pools to actively feed.
Anthony took advantage of this and made some excellent casts to the fish feeding in the shallows and was rewarded with some great action and some unforgettable fish.
The Nile perch are the main draw card for anglers visiting the Faro, who wouldn’t want to catch a fish reaching the size and proportions of a small horse? Fishing at night, with a 12wt, in freshwater with crocs and hippo under a starlit African sky is something truly unique and special that speaks to one’s soul and makes one feel tiny amongst the overhead cosmos and ancient untouched wilderness.
Anthony had some very slow evenings with the Perch, there were a few opportunities and unfortunately some of them were missed. When a fish swipes at your fly at your feet it’s close to impossible to keep your composure and set a hook. Maximising on these opportunities can be tough but when you get it right there is reward.
Anthony persevered and was rewarded with perch, tigerfish, Niger barb and even a good sized tetra that ate his foam hopper. A challenging week but very rewarding and we can’t wait to get Anthony back up to Cameroon and onto some more fish.
Until next time