You know it’s a serious fishing trip when you write your last will and testament before you begin…
I’ve just read a fantastic article by Francois Botha, which has made me feel like a bit of a fishing lightweight. He’s reporting on a fishing trip into war-torn Central Africa, where he heads to the Congo River in pursuit of goliath tigerfish.
Many of us fishermen like to think that we’re breaking new ground, or trying something that’s never been done before, but in reality we’re rarely even scratching the surface. Francois, on the other hand, is a true pioneer. Before he departed he made some enquiries into the quality of the fishing, to which he received the following reply:
“Hello Francois. With regards to your questions about our rivers and the fishing, I am not a fisherman and nobody has fished the Chinko. […] Yes, it flows clear in the dry season and when I fly over it with my micro light, I can see big silver fish from the air. Regards Erik”
Fishing somewhere nobody has fished is something most fishermen will have dreamed about. But very few of us ever get to do it. But it isn’t all good news. The chance of targeting fish that have never before felt a hook is tempting, but with it comes the risk of fishing in all the wrong places and catching nothing. There’s something to be said for going somewhere others go, because it shows there’s something worth travelling for. I’ve done a bit of this style of fishing myself – trudging into Australian bush with no knowledge and only hope. On almost every occasion I returned empty handed.
There’s also the danger of being unprepared. As Francois discovers to his dismay in one likely-looking pool, there are big fish that are eager to take his fly, but his line and tackle are simply insufficient to land any of them. After multiple broken tippets and even lost fly lines, he eventually admits defeat.
But unlike my weak efforts in Australia, Francois doesn’t return empty handed. He ends up landing some terrific fish – from heaps of common tigerfish, to all manner of species he didn’t recognise, to Nile perch and, finally, a trophy goliath tigerfish. It’s a great article and well worth a read, although if you’d prefer just to look at the pictures – these are, in my opinion, his best ones…