Last Day Fly Fishing in Cameroon

by | Mar 10, 2019 | Niger barb fishing

Cameroon

Fishing started later today and the military team completed the sweep of the area we couldn’t fish yesterday.  They disarmed the poachers and let them loose – so they say.  We heard rumors earlier this week from Koen that they rarely disarm and release.

 

fly-fishing-in-CameroonAt 11 we  we were rigging our rods as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

Niger-barb

I carried only one rod the first fishing session – my 6-weight.  No doubt I’ve enjoyed all the fishing this week.  The Nile perch night sessions are incredible.  Chasing tigerfish on foot around hippos can’t be beat.  But I guess in my heart I like moving upstream fishing fast water for the cool fish that live there.  Hands down I’ve become attached to the Niger barbs.

 

Jeff-Currier-flyfishing-CameroonThe Niger barb is stunningly beautiful.  The yellows and golds in the body and in fins are unique for any animal in nature.  Then there’s the large pointy dorsal.  This is where this fish has his own barb.  That front section is a huge spine.

 

fishing-for-niger-barbThe Cameroonian yellowfish fights like all get out too.  You hook them and first it’s a dash upstream that you can’t believe.  You go tight on them and they know what to do.  They swim furiously straight downstream and past you.  Then its time to chase or you’ll be broken off on the rocks for sure.

 

Jeff-Currier-Niger-barbThis afternoon I landed two more of these cool fish.  I saw numerous Labeos as well but as usual, they wouldn’t’ respond to my nymphs.  Yesterdays catches by Jako and Nick were really outstanding.

 

Tourette-FishingWhen the evening Nile perch session began there was only one of us left that hadn’t caught a good Nile perch yet.  This was Mark from Australia.  We were all rooting for him and the Tourette boys revisited every tactic there is for catching this big fish with Mark.

 

colobus-monkeyMark was just below me.  Nothing happened for any of us the first hour.  Nor the second hour and now it was dark.  The only highlight before dark were the colobus monkeys in the trees behind us.  But then it happened.  For Mark.

 

Nile-perch-fishingI heard a, “Got something!”, holler.  It was Mark and the headlamps came on.  I looked for the tight line with a splash attached and there it was.  The fight was short because it wasn’t a giant, but Mark landed a beautiful Nile.

 

When someone has a Nile perch on you better get your own game on par.  I decided to let my fly go a little deeper than I had been.  Dang if I didn’t get snagged bottom with my huge Nile perch fly attached to 80lb test leader.  If your snagged good it’s a nightmare because with 80lb its easy to break a fly line and not only the leader.

 

I did all the tricks to try and free my fly from where I fished from with no results.  Then I turned on the headlamp and meandered over the awful rocks.  Twenty feet downstream I got lucky and my fly freed up.

 

What the heck, I was standing there so why not flip out a cast in some new water I hadn’t hit all night.  One strip and I got SLAMMED!  “Fish on!”

 

Nile-perchI have a good feel for the size of a fish when I hook them.  This fish wasn’t big, it was enormous.  There were no strips of the fish towards me before he went tight.  This was like I hooked a brick wall then it took off.

 

I could hear Stu and Greg skipping across the rocks from afar.  They could see the bend in the rod and the arch in my stance, “We’re coming with the MVP Jeff!  Hang on to him!  Looks like a beast!”

 

A beast it was and I did my best to stay with the fish somehow gliding over the rocks downstream in the dark.  But this perch was getting downstream much faster than I.

 

Just as Stu arrived the fish finally stopped running down and now turned back up.  This was fortunate for me.  I reeled like crazy to keep tight then the fish actually passed me and continued up.  After my run down I knew my way around and followed the fish easily.  When the fish stopped, I got comfortable on a big rock high up and heaved back on this monster.

 

Things started to look good.  I lifted the big boy off the bottom and I could feel the panic in his swim pattern.  His tail was moving fast but weakly.  He actually made an attempt to jump but he got a foot below the surface and changed his mind.  We saw enough of him.  This indeed was the fish of the week.

 

Faro-River-Nile-perchBut when the mighty perch chose not to jump, he went for the other side of the river.  If only I knew that in mid river, just under the surface, was a rocky island covered in freshwater oysters.  My Intermediate line got hooked on the ledge and was cut in half.  Disaster on the last night!

 

It was dead silence on the Faro River in the bush of Cameroon.  Though it was pitch dark all three headlamps went off.  Not a word was spoken for a couple minutes.  Then Stu let out simple, “That was a big perch Jeff.  A very big perch”, with his South African accent.

 

Tourette-FishingI was a little bummed but it certainly wasn’t the first epic fish I’ve lost.  We went with positive thinking and I told myself the bite was on.  Stu helped me completely rerig and I got back to work.  Surely there was an even bigger Nile perch out there.

 

But another hour of casting went by and there were no bites for anyone.  The night was over and one of the most incredible African fishing adventures imaginable came to an end.  We reeled it in at 10 PM and headed for the truck where our Yeti coolers held us cold Cameroonian beer.

 

fish-cameroonThe ride home wasn’t boring.  We ran into two hyenas and got an excellent view of them.  It was dark but we hit them with our lights and they gave us a stare back.  We saw several types of mongooses and even a porcupine.  As you would probably expect, African porcupines have quills a foot longer than ours!

 

Its been an amazing trip.  I’ll sum things up on the way home and include a few more pics that didn’t make the blog the first round.  It will be good to be home but man, I hate leaving this place!

 

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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