Overview by Robert
(Chris an Charlotte’s son)
I am an avid fly fisherman. I guided in the Seychelles for a year and have fly fished all over the world. I have just spend some time here at the camp and am pretty excited about the prospects here for fly fishing. A 5 wt should be fine here, except for barbel (which can get into the 10-15-20lb range) and can definitely be caught well on fly. For them I would suggest optimally a 7-8 weight. But you definitely could land them on a 5, just be ready to lose some tackle.
If I were bringing my kit out here with what I know now I would bring a 4wt and an 8wt (but a 5wt should be good too. For the 4wt, I would bring a floating line and an intermediate line. For the 8wt you could bring and intermediate (and maybe a floating). The barbel don’t usually take on the surface, although if the conditions are right, they occasionally will take a popper. Regarding leaders, for the bream and pike, a 4-8pound tip would be good depending on fly choice, and for the barbel I would stick with 10 pound tip.
Don’t worry about tapered tips, just straight mono should work fine (unless you are using small dries). Regarding flies, almost anything you use for bream will work for pike too. A good range of deceivers, surf candy (and similar unweighted small minnow type imitations), perhaps some clousers for the deeper water, some poppers would be fun and even some dry flies work (but if I were coming out again I may bring some shrimp and small crab patterns too just for experimentation). For the barbel, big decievers, leech imitators, or flies that make a good plopping sound when they land work well.
Regarding the fishing conditions, (I was here in winter so the water was very low – and these suggestions may not work when the water is higher) I find that in the early morning the water on the banks is usually pretty cloudy primarily as a result of hippo activity and so when fishing from the bank have had limited success. When fishing from the bank when the water clears up around mid morning – if you find some good depth water (+1m) around submerged reed banks you will club bream and pike on anything – but poppers are the most fun in my opinion.
When on the boat have had some success in deep pools – but you have to be patient and make sure you are fishing near the bottom. My favorite fishing thus far has been to drift down the river fishing structure on the banks – this is exciting and often yields large Serranochromis robustus.
Also good fun is drifting over shallow water and fishing submerged reed banks where different species of bream hang out. A
nother productive spot is to find submerged ridges and to drift down them fishing the drop offs (all of these yield bream, pike, and a range of smaller catfish (silver, butter, and tons of different squeakers)).
For the barbel, the cloudy water usually works best (in particular the Mushungashi River – which is tricky because its has so much structure) – I find that fishing in afternoon works well – and I like to drop my fly hard on the water near the bank where the drop off is steep, under trees, or logs – and then just let its sink – very often they will take it while it is dropping – otherwise a slow moving large fly across the bottom will often entice a bite.
The fishing potential here is largely untapped and they are not really set up for serious fishing (electric motors, skiffs with good platforms) but for me that is part of the charm – to be able to stand on the end of a banana boat – throwing a fly while watching hippo and elephant, and enjoying an untouched, unpopulated and really quite amazing scenery is priceless.
I hope you catch lots of fish here and would love to hear about your fishing (and see some pics) when you are done. I have not caught the bottlenose (mormyrus gs) – the guys in the camp catch them on tiny worms – and so if you manage to crack them do let us know.