It rained hard at 3 AM. The wind howled and our tent shook and flapped as if things were about to hit the fan like in India last May. Luckily, the mini storm was short lived and when I headed for coffee at 5:15 only a few puffy clouds lingered. Looks like we dodged a bullet.
I didn’t sleep well. The sounds of Africa lingered all night starting with the frogs in our tent. Seriously, when our frogs went off, which were two minute sessions at least once every ten minutes, you couldn’t hear anything but them. Their chirps were piercing. When they went silent many sounds echoed from the other side of the Mnyera River such as the eerie howl of a spotted hyena, a bushbuck barking likely because of the presence of a leopard, fighting hippos and a destructive herd of elephant that were snapping trees that would take me ten minutes to cut with a chainsaw. Then the rain – I didn’t sleep at all.
Nonetheless we were on the river at 6 AM with another excellent member of the Tourette guide staff, Greg Ghaui. This is Greg’s second full year and he intends to be here for many years to come as he completely recognizes this is the finest tigerfishing. Greg is nearly local as he’s born and raised in Iringa, Tanzania.
We drove the boat up to the base of the rapids that we waded yesterday. The boat ride includes lots of animals starting with numerous crocodiles and angry hippos. Hippos are extremely dangerous and on the Mnyera we deal with them several times each day. They are territorial and make a hobby of knocking over boats and even biting them in half. Our guides and boatmen are experts in dealing with the hippos. Don and I just sit in the bottom of the boat and hold on when we pass them. So far so good, however you can see this hippo picking up steam as he chased our boat through a narrow gap. Our boatman Dennis was so scared he drove us straight into a log but luckily we didn’t flip (Dennis was nearly killed by a hippo in 2010).
We anchored up at the base of the rapids and Don fished right I fished left. We both scored big here landing a 10lb and a 12lb and dropping two others. Then we moved down slowly casting to the bank as Greg maneuvered us with his pole. Then we’d anchor again.
Tigerfish action was red hot. My luck was not. In one of Greg’s top spots I hooked a monster. A monster that stole all my line and 50 feet of backing before I stopped him. Then I bullied him to the boat and just as we were about to get a first glimpse something broke. It wasn’t any of my connections, it was the hook. My rugged tarpon hook fly snapped where we crimped the barb. Bad luck.
That beast that we never saw wouldn’t be my only lost monster. I hooked and dropped two others during the day. Other than the 12lber on cast one at our first stop, I’d only land another fish all day that was a mere 6lb. My man Don on the other hand is making me proud. Don didn’t get any big dudes but he picked up four respectable fish in the 7-9lb range and he caught them all by casting like a champ.
The big news for the day is that Linda landed this girthy 16lber. Any time someone breaks the 15lb barrier it’s a true monster. Their here, the best fly for them is the fly that’s in the water. Nap time!
For information about this incredible trip feel free to CONTACT ME.
Be sure and visit Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa.
And ask about my future hosted trips through Yellow Dog FlyFishing Adventures.