Okavango Tigerfish Week 7: 20 – 25 Oct 2014

This week we had Paul Lavins from the USA joining us after a trip to Mongolia, arriving two days earlier than the rest of the group. Paul being a seasoned angler, he opted for a hard mornings fishing and a relaxed afternoons back in the comfort of camp. He managed to make the most of his time by landing some good fish during his stay, the highlight being a session of which he landed six fish, and lost two fish, all in the space of ten casts.

With the fishing being a bit tough the past few weeks as the runs moved south faster than normal, our nerves rose as we prepared to welcome our next group of guests from Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club, aAll keen fly fisherman looking to experience the catfish run for the first time.

With the arrival of Roy, Ian, Leslie and Butch a bit earlier than expected we were able to get them on the water for a short session their first afternoon. Roy, Lesley and Butch all losing their tigerfish virginity that afternoon by landing their first fish of the trip and leaving only Ian to still to cut his teeth on the infamous Okavango tigerfish. During the evening conversation we were surprised to hear that most of the group had a rich SANDF background, with some still in service. This added some fun pressure on the guides team to perform and not put a foot wrong!

The next day, the first full day on the water, we decided to head further south to look for ‘fresh runs’. We found our first run, and casts were made. The technical ability the fly fishing soldiers was a pleasant surprise, the subject of much light hearted humour on the boats. Nearing the end of the day most of the guys had landed some good fish, but Ian was still without is first tiger of the trip. On the boat trip back to camp, we stopped to fish a lagoon mouth in a ‘last cast’ attempt to get Ian his missing tigerfish. As I pulled anchor to call it a day, the shouts of Ian alerted me to the fact that we had succeeded, and Ian landed his fish. A great end to the day. That evening Kyle and I began the preparations for heading out to fly camp the next night.

Leaving Pierre and Paul back at camp to put the hurt on our fish ‘closer to home’ we headed on our journey south. The area looked promising with plenty runs on the go and some picturesque change in scenery. We had a good mornings fishing and decided to find a spot to set up lunch and our fly camp for the evening. After a quick setup and a feast for lunch, we hit the water for the afternoon. It was a good session which produced a couple 8 pounders and a few rats and mice. The day ended camped out under the stars, fillet on the braai, and cold beers and whisky sipped under an Okavango night.

Heading out nice and early the following day, we fished our way back up to the lodge, catching some great fish along the way. Were we even taught by Ian that if you can’t manage to utilize both hands to keep the tension on the line when fighting a tigerfish, then your mouth is a good a tool as any.

The last full day bought with it wind, and tough fishing conditions. We found some nice runs, but the fish were not eating aggressively. None the less, some great fish were landed, and we ended of the trip in high spirits.

It was a pleasure having the crew in camp, and we look forward to more fly fishing adventures with the Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club in the future.

Cheers for now

Steve, Kyle and Pierre