The cold and wind is still here on Lake Nasser. Last nights temps must have been in the upper 50’s and this morning at sunrise the winds were cranking again. This weather is unusual for Egypt in April. Throughout the night we listened to the eerie sound of netting. Hearing netting may sound strange, but the way the local fisherman fish is they string out a ½ mile of net around an island or the mouth of a bay. Then they beat the bottoms of their boats like a drum and splash their oars against the water. They actually create purposeful rhythms that make great music – it’s really wild. The tempo they create sends the fish running for their lives, literally right into the nets. Locals aim for tilapias which get a high price at market, but we all know the Nile Perch, tigerfish and various species of catfish entangle in the nets as well.
Culturally it’s fantastic to hear and see the locals and their way of life, but it’s not a sound you want to hear if you are here to sport fish. After seeing the fishing deteriorate as we entered the east arm yesterday then hearing the locals all night, we have decided to fish our way back out of the east arm and finish up the safari at mid lake. This proved to be an excellent plan because every great looking spot we fished on the way out verified this part of the lake has few fish.
The afternoon sessions on the main lake were productive. It appeared we made the right decision leaving the east arm. In order to rack up some fish numbers, I targeted tigerfish exclusively. Although there are some big tigers in this lake, I prefer to use my 9-foot 7-weight Ross Essence rod with my new Evolution LT #3 reel and a RIO Saltwater Tropical Intermediate WF7I/I line. The thing with Egyptian tigerfish is that they like to follow the fly before hitting it and demand a fast retrieve. In order to obtain this presentation you must make a long cast. I can launch 80 footers all day with this rig making it the ideal set up for me.
I’ve recently changed my leader design for tigerfish. Tigers have tremendous teeth and for years I have used wire in order not to get bit off. However, today I and many other anglers feel that the eyesight of tigers is so good that they can see the wire and often don’t strike because of it. On that note I have been experimenting with mono shock tippets and other than the rare break off I find that 40lb mono works excellent. It appears to me that the tigers take the fly and bite down and hold down. What then happens is the shock tippet gets locked down in to the gums of the tigerfish jaw rather than sliding back and forth over the teeth eventually sawing your fly off.
Tigerfish are very enticed by flies with flash in them. My favorite is a flashy 2/0 red and white Clouser Minnow. Tigers have smaller mouths than you would imagine and such boney toothy jaws that they are difficult to hook. You often make a cast and get five strikes during your retrieve yet end up with nothing. Therefore, hook choice is very important. I don’t claim to be an expert on this, however, after four serious tigerfish trips; I’ve had my best hook up results on Gamakatsu Octopus style hooks. They have a deadly sharp hook point and a short shank with a slight twist. They work wonders for me.
The best places to locate tigerfish on Lake Nasser are off the rocky points. It’s best if you have the wind in your face. I spent the afternoon specifically casting from such places and to my delight was able to catch several tigers. Most of them were small. Small tigers here are less than 25”. However, I hooked a giant, and wouldn’t you know, he chewed through my 40lb mono shock tippet. That kind of messes up my theory, but I guess that’s the beauty and challenge of learning these exotic species. Along with the tigers I stumbled in to a several baby Niles and a puffer. The fishing has definitely improved.
Everyone’s fishing improved dramatically. Each angler in the group managed to catch at least some baby Nile Perch. The biggest news, Jonathan made Lake Nasser history. Although not weighed, Jonathan caught what may be the largest Nile Perch taken on the fly from Lake Nasser. He estimated this fish to be at least 60lb! We will definitely be fishing with confidence tomorrow!