It’s close to 32 degrees Celsius and I’m escaping the midday Tanzanian sun. We have had an excellent couple of days so far, and the fishing has far exceeded all our expectations, not even to talk about the landscape, the food and just the general feel of this place. 

These peaceful moments that I get to spend with myself often take me back to my childhood. How did I end up where I am today, doing what I do, for a living?

I think the most recognizable influence from my childhood is a father figure who made the most of his time with his two boys, introducing us to everything outdoors and nature. Something that would give me guidance in life and eventually become my life. From a young age, fly fishing was everything to me; it was what I wanted to do 24/7, it was what I thought about 24/7…

One thing led to another and through the years I was able to take opportunities as they came. I was also able to identify that there is, in fact, a possibility to fully pursue a fishing career. They say if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. Well, I guess I am 32 years old and trying to figure out what I want to do for work one day. Because where I find myself at this moment, I can’t lie to myself and call this work.

Why Tanzania? Through the years I have been fortunate to meet many influential people in the industry, some who have really given me a lot of guidance and motivation to keep charging. One of these guys is Oliver White. I met him the first time while guiding on St. Brandon’s, an atoll 250 nautical miles north east of Mauritius. A place where we got to chase some of the world’s largest bonefish.

Anyway, back to Tanzania. Oliver was the one who really sparked my interest in Tanzania and its Tigerfish. Yes, sure, I have caught tigers before, but the smaller cousins in the Zambezi river system. I was completely intrigued by the size of the tigers they are catching in what looked like a smaller, skinnier river. Almost like those fish are out of place. It’s day three of our week and what I have seen the past couple of days has ticked every single box for me when it comes to destination fly fishing. 

I have had to push my gear to the ultimate and it’s for that reason that I am super fortunate to use the gear I do today. My rod of choice for the trip was the Maven 10wt paired with a Mako 9550. I had a couple of lines, but the one I mainly used was an intermediate or floating line by Cortland. I would go into any battle with this setup. 

The name of the game for Tigerfish is mostly fishing 45 degrees down and across. Cast-and-strip style, hitting structure or any pockets as you make your way down the river. The strike from a Tigerfish is something that would be hard to try to put into words. I guess the simplest way of putting it is that Tigerfish are THE apex predator in this river and if they want your offering, they will take it.  For a freshwater fish, this has to be the strongest fish I have ever pursued with a fly rod. The blisters on my fingers from line burns will tell you a similar story.

I am absolutely humbled by this place and even though the trip is far from over, I already cannot wait to start planning my return to this amazing fishery.

Explore all Christiaan’s recommended fishing gear in his RockPorch profile.

Get inspired by diving into some of his gear lockers from other expeditions:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *