By Francois Botha. Francois has been guiding fly-fishermen in the world’s top destinations for more than 10 years and has earned a reputation for pioneering some of the remotest areas and most sought after species that fly-fishing has to offer. Visit his website ‘The Fly Guides’ for more information.
It’s 5am and I’m in a taxi in Dar es Salaam, there are two flights that I have to make before I get to fulfill my childhood dream of catching the Nile perch. The bonus is that I get to see Henk and Janine again, they are running Rubondo Island Camp at the moment and we haven’t been fishing together for more than a year. Best of all, the trip sprang into motion because of the phone call that I got from Henk a month ago: “Fransie, you must come, the fish are here!”
The flight over Lake Victoria is breathtaking, an expanse further than the eye can see. There is virtually nothing more out there than jungle, water and fish. The approach to Rubondo Island Airstrip, I was well impressed by the pilot. It was a very convenient flight compared to some of the others that I’ve had to take.
Henk took me out to one of his favourite spots and I think I caught the first fish on only my third cast and it took the fly on the surface next to the boat! They appear to be holding near structure in about 20ft of water. We managed to land 4 fish but the big one eludes us! After seeing the most successful Rapala in Henk’s arsenal I showed him my SF stacked fly that gets a shave down with a Wahl hair clipper. There seems to be a need for intermittent red flash, speckled preferably. Henk’s face lit up when he saw this fly… “No chance I’m going to fish with it.”
The fly works! We were fishing off Bird Island and we managed to get this perfect drift. There is this ridge on the Northern side of the island and we used the wind to drift our boat towards the island and fish along the ridge. There seems to be a strong current that is formed by the wind and it creates an upwelling against the island that causes the boat to drift around the island instead of crashing onto the rocks… very neat.
Saw this guy outside my chalet this morning. I got so close to him it was unbelievable. Janine tells me it is one of the rarest antelope in the world, the forest Sitatunga. She also said that they rarely find rams around camp. What a great experience.
The fishing was slow today until we tried a spot just a few hundred meters from Henk’s glory hole… man did it produce. Suddenly, the fish were just everywhere! I got this guy on a small chartreuse Poon Parrot and intermediate line. There must be a big one in amongst all these fish.
Success! I couldn’t believe the size of this fish when it broke the water the first time. What a privilege to be able to share this moment with Janine and Henk at this amazing place.