How To – Gear setup for tigerfish in Tanzania

How To

How To guide

Having over 14 years of personal experience fly fishing for tigerfish on the Mnyera and Ruhudji River in Tanzania,  combined with our collective guides team experience, which adds decades more ‘on the water know how’, we are in a superb position to make sure our guests are fishing the correct tackle, set up the right way, and employing the right methods when fly fishing to tigerfish with us at Dhala and Samaki Camps in Tanzania, the fundamental of which can be applied to tiger fishing on fly, across the continent, by scaling up or down depending on the fish you are targeting. Getting the basics right, is name of the game. 

Here is our How To guide for gear to make sure you have the best chance of landing a tigerfish of a lifetime.

Example – gear for tiger fish in Tanzania

Fly Rods: 

Medium to fast action rods are the way to go.  9wht rods are the default weight, but 8 whts are also fine for most scenarios. 

On the Mnyera and the Ruhudji Rivers in Tanzania,  all guests fish two set ups One  sink tip and a  another floating or intermediate set up. We use the sink tip (Di5 Di7 on 300 – 350G heads on Intermediate running line) for fishing deep outside bends and swinging flies in fast current. We fish a full length float or intermediate when fishing surface flies such as the Harley Shake or subsurface flies such as the puma.  We also use the intermediate or floating set ups when drifting and casting to heavy structure (timber and rocks) which is a highlight of fishing the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers . In these cases, we alter the weight of the fly (using tungsten beads on the loop knot attached to the fly, or weighted fly patterns) to get the flies to the desired depth. 

Here are our go-to fly lines:

Sink – Sci Angler Sonar Jungle Custom Sink  Tip

Float – Sci Angler Mastery 

Intermediate – Sci Angler titan taper

Reels for Tanzania tigerfish:

When considering a reel for tigerfishing, the weight is an important factor. Tigerfishing is casting intensive, so the weight of your set up counts and goes a long way to making your fishing experience more enjoyable. Drag is important for the big fish that get you onto the reel, but line capacity is not crucial. 100yards of backing is plenty. With this in mind, our favorite reel for tigerfish is the  Shilton CR4 (if you have the luxury of buying a reel specifically for tigerfish), or a Shilton SL5,  SL6, or SR9 if you want a  9wht reel that can handle tigerfish and be used for all salt water applications as well. The CR4 is incredibly light and has enough capacity to be  spooled with 9 wht lines and backing needed for tigerfish. But it is not suitable for 9wht salt water applications. Thus the SL and SR series of Shilton are better if you are looking for a more versatile reel.

Leaders Set Up:

Our leader set up for the tigerfishing on the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers is pretty straight forward.  But getting the basics right  is crucial. The ferocity and intensity of the big tigerfish eat and its first run will expose any weakness in your terminal set up. This is our basic set up:

Sink Lines: 5ft maxima 35lb ultra green. Bimini Twist on the butt section to create loop to attach to fly line. This is connect by an Albright knot ( 7 turns!) to 40lb knottable tiger wire.

Floating/Intermediate: We use the same set up as above, but lengthen the leader to anything from 6 – 10 ft depending on the flies and waters you are fishing.

Bite Wire:  Afircan Waters 40lb Knottable tiger wire – 7×7 Camo colour

Flies are attached to the tiger wire using a loop knot – a Perfection loop or rapala knot.

Flies for tigerfish on the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers:

 All our tigerfish flies are tied on Tiemco 600Sp and Gamakatsu SC15 hooks. These are the only hooks we trust to handle the big fish on the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers. Here is list of most popular files and link to images:

  • Brush flies 
  • Saddle and Hackle Bait fish
  • Puma – deer hair baitfish
  • Whistlers
  • Polar fiber minnows
  • Clousers
  • Harley Shake

If you would like to learn more, or have more questions, about how to catch tiger fish in Tanzania, click here to contact us.

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