Tanzania Tigerfish Trip Report
9/29 – 10/10, 2021
Terry Jepsen

9/29 – 9/30 (Travel Days):
We flew out of SFO at 6:20 pm on 9/29 via Turkish Airlines (Business Class) – This is a very nice airline that has excellent service.

  • Lay down seats were perfect for the long flight to Turkey (Istanbul) (13 hours in the air)
  • 2nd flight from Istanbul to Dar es Salaam wasn’t near as nice, but the crew was wonderful (9 hours)
    • Spilled ½ a beer on Mike while getting up to use the restroom

Landed in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) at 3:00 am and had to get a new PCR Test prior to getting our Visa and going through Customs. The cost is $10 cash, or you can pay via credit card prior to arrival.  Results came back in approximately 10-15 minutes. Must have a copy of your PCR Test results from where you came from prior to even getting to the test area. There is a waiting area with seating to wait for your test results.

Once cleared we were able to go down the escalator to the Visa area where we were required to fill out a Customs card prior to proceeding to the Visa area. Getting a Visa is quite simple.  Provide your passport, the Customs card and your PCR Test. Takes 5-10 minutes to get through this process and you pay $100 (Cash Only) at another window before proceeding to Customs.

  • Clear Customs and proceed to the luggage pickup area where our bags had already been pulled from the conveyor belt and set at an easy to find area next to the conveyor belt.
  • You will then take your luggage to an X-ray machine to have it run through. This was very smooth and we ran all of the luggage for everyone even though some were still in Customs.
  • You are then greeted outside of this area by the team at African Waters. They had a sign for us and were super easy to find. They then take your carts and wheel them to their vehicles for transfer to the hotel.
  • The drive to the hotel at this early hour was only about 30 minutes.

Check-in at the Hotel went fairly smoothly for the language barriers and we were all in our rooms in about 20-30 minutes resting until breakfast.

10/1 (Day at the Hotel):
We spent an entire day at the hotel after our arrival which was a wonderful way to get past the jet lag of such a long trip. The Sea Cliff Hotel is a very nice hotel with all of the amenities that one would expect. An excellent Indian restaurant and a lovely pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.

We slept until around 9:00 am as we had plenty of sleep on the plane. Mike and I headed down for the buffet breakfast that is included in your stay at the hotel. It is a very nice buffet with all kinds of fresh fruits, breads, meats, yogurt, omelettes, etc…

Sea Cliff Hotel - Poolside

After breakfast we headed over to the pool for the day. Mike and I discussed playing golf at one of the many golf courses in Dar es Salaam but decided to lay by the pool and read. Bob Brennan joined us at the pool later. We enjoyed a great day at the pool with food and drinks.

Mike and Bob decided to get a massage while at the hotel ($25 for an hour) which they both enjoyed.

Bill Pite, who was also on the trip, hired a guide (through the hotel) for the day and was taken to the fish market in Dar es Salaam. He had a wonderful day and caught up with us later for some time at the pool prior to drinks and dinner.

Sea Cliff Hotel - Group

We met for drinks at the bar at 6:30 pm before heading to dinner at The Alcove. This is a wonderful Indian restaurant located right at the hotel. We met up with the other 3 guests, Bob Seddon, Tucker and his wife Kara. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together talking about the upcoming week of fishing. A great way to meet everyone prior to going into camp.

Mike had already set up an early breakfast for our group as the buffet opens at 6:00 am and our departure was supposed to be at 6:00. Mike asked if the staff could come in at 5:30 am so that our group could have a nice breakfast prior to departing for the camp. The manager was very happy to do so and Mike tipped her $140 for the 7 members of her team. She was so happy about the tip that Mike actually thought she may cry. The food and service were excellent!

10/2 (Travel to Camp):
We woke up at 5:00 am to prepare for pickup and transfer to the smaller part of the airport where our Cessna Caravan would fly us to the landing strip by camp. We had an early breakfast that Mike had set up the day before. All 8 of us met for a nice breakfast and then headed to the lobby for our transfer to the airport.

The transfer drivers were the same as those that picked us up at the airport and they were our drivers throughout the entire journey which made it very comfortable.

We were driven to the airport and taken through an X-ray machine and checked in. Our bags were all weighed to make sure they were good for the flight. We were issued our boarding passes and taken to a small room to wait until the flight was ready. Not a spectacular room, but they did have waters and snacks. Once the flight was ready to go they took us to the plane to load and head out to the camp.

The landing strip with Bill Pite and Mike Michalak

  • The flight from Dar es Salaam to camp was approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • We landed on the dirt landing strip and were greeted by the staff from African Waters and a couple of vehicles for the short drive to the main camp on the Mnyera River.
  • The drive is a bit bumpy, but a great start to this adventure.  It takes about 20 minutes to reach the camp from the airstrip.
  • We were greeted as we arrived at the camp by the staff singing and holding a tray of juice drinks for the arriving guests.
  • The entire group of 8 had a briefing on the week by Brent Poultney, one of the head guides for the trip.  He covered what to expect for the week.
  • We then all ate lunch together with the guides and had an opportunity to relax a bit with a cold drink and good food.
  • After lunch we were split into 2 groups of 4.  4 of us would be taking an additional drive to the other camp on the Ruhudji River.  Mike, Bob Brennan, John Leonard and myself volunteered to take this drive and allow the others to stay at the main camp.
  • We had guides Brent and Ewan accompany us on the truck ride, which is about 1 hour 45 minutes via vehicle and the last 10-15 minutes via boat.
  • We were again greeted upon arrival by the camp staff singing and another tray of juice drinks for all of the guests.
  • We were shown to our tents (double occupancy) just up from the river.
  • Once settled we were to bring our rods and gear to the shore campfire site in which the guides set up our gear for the following day.

Arriving to the Ruhudji River camp

We had a nice rest of the day relaxing around camp and getting ourselves ready for the next day. The camp is remote and there is a campfire going every morning and evening. Food is taken at a nice table only feet from the water. The food is excellent as was the service.

We all took a shower after dinner, which is generally served around 8:00 pm every night, and headed to bed to get some sleep.

10/3 (First Fishing Day):
Wake up call comes daily at 6:00 am. Mike and I were ready to roll as we felt well rested after a day at the hotel and then a day in camp. We headed down to the shore around 6:30 am for coffee around the campfire. The camp man came around and asked everyone how they would like their eggs.

  • Breakfast is a typical breakfast of eggs, toast, meat, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc..

At 8:00 am we were in the boats and heading out for the morning. We had already been told that we would be fishing close to camp and would all meet back for lunch at camp that day.  Mike and I shared a boat and John and Bob shared the second boat. We planned to swap angling partners each day so we all got the chance to fish together.

  • Leaping TigerfishAbout 20 minutes into the morning I hit my first fish. It was a bit of a learning experience for me. I didn’t set the hook hard enough and that sucker was gone in a second. It’s extremely important to make a couple of hard hook sets on these Tigerfish as they have very hard mouths.
  • Not much later I had my first fish hooked. This time I actually set the hook and landed the fish. It was a nice 14 pound Tiger and it showed me all about them. They fight hard and the initial take is very aggressive. After a few photos on the nearest sandbar we were back at it and Mike hooked into a 15 pound fish. We landed that one as well and got some great shots of it. We didn’t move far from this spot and we kept getting takes. I had a monster hit about an hour later that just pounded me. I wasn’t even prepared for the power of this fish and wasn’t able to set the hook well enough to keep it on.
  • At noon we headed back to the camp for a group lunch and to compare notes with our friends.
  • We had a nice lunch (pasta, salad, and dessert) with some beers, water, juice and then took a bit of siesta in our tents.
  • Back on the water around 2:30 pm and Mike and I headed upriver with our guide Brent and our experienced boatman who was wearing a The Fly Shop hat from when Justin Miller had been there 3 years earlier.
  • The afternoon was fairly slow with Mike and I each only landing a couple of more fish.
  • We headed back to camp at sunset (6:00 pm) to prepare for dinner.  The sunset was absolutely gorgeous!
  • Once at camp I immediately headed for a hot shower in our tent (use a donkey water heating system).  The shower was plenty warm, almost too hot for me.
  • After my shower I headed down to the riverside campfire for a beer and snacks prior to dinner. Told Mike the shower was all his and to enjoy a relaxing, hot shower.
  • We all chatted about the day and Brent told us what to expect for the following day.
  • Dinner was served around 8:00 pm (can’t remember what it was this evening, but all dinners started with a wonderful soup).
  • After dinner we all sat around the fire for a few before retiring to our tents for a much needed rest.

10/4 (2nd Fishing Day):
Again we were woken up at 6:00 am. Everything was the exact same routine as the morning prior.  The only change was that I would be fishing with Bob Brennan today and our guide was Ewan.

We started the fishing day by taking a long run up river from camp (about an hour). It was a windy morning and there is nothing worse for Tigerfish than wind. Seems to put them down and stop the feeding.

Terry with a Tigerfish - photo by Bob BrennanAt around 9:30 the wind finally calmed to fishable conditions. Bob and I both hit fish right away, within minutes of the wind calming (me: 14 lb, Bob: 13 lb). The rest of the morning was rather slow with little action outside of Bob and I caught in structure. Ewan had us a bit too far from the shoreline and I ultimately had to tell him to move us a bit closer so that we were in the game.

We had a shore lunch today with sandwiches, fruit and cake. The boatman had set up hammocks in the shade for a rest. With the amount of casts that you make in a day it is important to take these rests and refuel your body. Ewan went up this small creek to look around while we rested. The boatman also found a nice shaded place to take a siesta. Bob and I took about 45 minutes to rest after eating and were ready to go when Ewan came back.

The afternoon was rather slow as well with some consistent windy conditions.

As the sun was getting low Mike and John came downriver to head back to camp. They took the lead with Brent and we fell back quite a distance. Their boat came across 4 elephants on the river bank. This was the first big animal sighting for us. Just prior, while waiting for the other boat to meet up with us I actually saw a monkey swinging on a vine like Tarzan. It was absolutely amazing! Wish I had gotten to see the elephants with the others.

We got back to camp at sunset again and had drinks around the campfire. Same deal as the night before.

Fish stories began at the campfire and Brent couldn’t wait to tell us about their day. Mike had landed a 16 and 19 pound fish and they were both landed in acrobatic form.

  • Dinner was breaded redfish with soup, salad, potatoes with a great cake for dessert.

10/5 (Fishing Day 3):
This was my first day with John and we had been told the night before to pack all of our gear and have our rod cloths and reel cases ready as we would be changing camps at the end of the day. We all packed our stuff in the morning and left our rod socks and reel cases in our luggage (on top for easy access). We would be heading down river by boat and fishing until 4:30 pm at which time we would take out and transfer by vehicle to the Mnyera River camp.

The day started quickly with John hitting a fish right out of the gate. A nice 8 pounder that was hiding in a log structure. Was pretty slow after that with a couple of weak takes. About an hour later, after passing the pod of Hippos I hooked up on a 10 pound fish sitting off a sunken rock ledge. The rest of the morning was pretty slow with little action.

We met up with Mike and Bob for lunch at a place that looked like the elephants used it a lot. Bob threw elephant dung at John and I after he got out of his hammock. We all ate together and headed right back to fishing. Lunch was a chicken pasta, bread and cake.

Mike had told me had tried the Pole Dancer (Black) on his Jungle Sink and had some action. I had been wanting to try some poppers for these fish so I asked Brent to tie on my Pole Dancer before we left the lunch site. I could tell Brent wasn’t really enthusiastic about doing that as he really believes in the Andino Deceivers and that style of fishing for Tigers. But, as the angler I was ready to try something new. John stayed with the Andino’s as they had been working well.

We had already passed the spot where we would start once, but didn’t fish it hard at all. We started the first run (floating) through a timbered section. The Pole Dancer was the perfect choice. I was able to put it right into the structures with less concern about getting hung up and the explosions on the fly were incredible. John was also getting lots of blowups on his Andino. The action was crazy! It was a 3:1 ratio on takes from the Pole Dancer to the Andino’s. There was so much action that Brent dragged the boat upriver to do the run again. He didn’t want to use the motor as he didn’t want to risk turning off the fish. We made another pass and had not as many, but still quite a few blowups. The landing ratio wasn’t great, but that action was something we hadn’t seen yet on the trip.

This happened the rest of the afternoon, whether in structure or along the clay banks. John and I were constantly getting blow ups that were jaw dropping. Brent at one point was screaming like a little kid. John and I were just laughing and enjoying the amazing day. I actually told both of them that we weren’t going to talk about it when we met up with the others as I wasn’t sure how their day had gone. Mike had taught me years ago on a trip that it is better to just be modest rather than a braggart and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in case they didn’t have a good day.

Hippos on the Ruhudji River

At the bottom of the fishing beat we came to a narrow, high cliffed clay bank area where we were casting in close quarters to the bank edge and stripping quickly. I had switched over to an Andino’s and John had put on one that he had personally tied (red/white/blue) to finish the day. John put his fly right on the bank and was rewarded almost instantly with a 13 pound monster that ran like hell. Since we were floating we just kept going as John fought his fish and Brent got the net ready. As we came to the end of the narrow passage and looked around the corner we found a pod of Hippos (12-14 of them). This was the end of the run. Brent anchored the boat as we couldn’t go further down river and then we landed John’s fish. It was amazing! The 2 bulls of the pod took point about 100 yards down from the boat as the females and pups (6-8) made their way a bit down river. The main bull was giving us his warnings by blowing water into the sky and snorting. His head was massive and his mouth very scary. We had all heard about the aggressiveness of the Hippo. Brent was going to have the boatman take him to the sandbar just to our left but I told him a better pic would be with John in the boat and the hippos in the background.  What a way to end the fishing day!

We reeled up our lines, cut off our flies, took apart our rods and prepared for the takeout and drive back to the main camp. When we got to the takeout Mike and Bob were already there and loaded up for departure. John and I took about 15 minutes to get ready for travel. Loaded our rods and reels into their appropriate bags and changed into pants. I was going to be riding in the very back of the open vehicle with Brent and the Tsetse flies would be bad that evening. They seemed to really be attracted to the color blue so I made sure I wasn’t wearing any and put on my pants to keep them off my legs.

We were off to the main camp. Ewan stayed behind as the other group would be coming the following day and he needed to help prepare for their arrival. The 1 hour 45 minute drive started out just as a normal drive through Africa. Once we left the forested Ruhudji valley and entered the grasslands we saw a large herd of buffalo as well as a family of warthogs. The driver stopped and Brent took out his binoculars so we could all get a better view. We also saw a couple of small deer in the same area. The bird viewing was amazing and we saw so many right along the road.

As we reached the Mynera river we had to take the pontoon/cable bridge on the vehicle.  This is quite interesting as it is powered by a small boat.

Again we were greeted at camp by the entire camp staff and the other 2 guides that had stayed with the group there. Another tray of juice and a welcoming greeting. We met up with the other 4 anglers around the campfire for drinks and snacks. A great time to talk about the previous days fishing and to see each other again. The others would be leaving for the Ruhudji River the next morning at 6:00 am.

Mnyera River main tent

Dinner was served around 8 pm and we were all very tired so we went to bed shortly after. The others had to get up at 5:30 am to prepare for their 6:00 am departure.

10/6 (4th Fishing Day):
Mike and I were back together today for angling. Our guide would be Greg from South Africa who had been there for 2 seasons. We headed up the river for about 40 minutes to a sandbar with about 10-14 huge crocodiles nesting. The Mnyera is a much bigger river than the Ruhudji with a different feel. I was the first to hook up on an 11 pound fish. We pulled over to a sandbar to get some pics as it was our first fish on this river and it was a beautiful fish. Anything over 10 pounds is a solid fish. Mike followed shortly after with a 16 pounder of his own. We again pulled over to a small sandbar for a photo session.

Mike with a beautiful Tigerfish on the Mnyera River

Mike had commented as the day began that he was surprised that we hadn’t caught more small fish during the trip. Well, that was the sign of the day. We caught several fish under 5 pounds for the remainder of the morning. As we were floating just below the camp a huge fish rose in the main channel just below the boat. Mike saw it as it was pretty close to where we all thought his fly had been, but it was a monster.

We both hooked up with a double shortly before lunch, which Brent had told me earlier in the week he had never had. I couldn’t wait to tell him at lunch that Mike and I had a double and they were both landed. Normally when someone has a fish on you get your gear out of the water so as to not lose their fish. But we both hooked small fish and landed them both.

We all came back to lunch this day around 1:00 pm. Bob and John told us about a young bull Hippo that had chased their boat just below the pontoon ferry. This young bull didn’t have a pod and was acting really aggressive towards the boat and charged it both when they went downriver past it and then when they came back.

After lunch and a siesta we all left around 2:30 pm for the afternoon session. Mike and I headed downriver to where we had stopped for lunch and continued our drift. Mike had found a small Andino’s (Black/Orange) in his bag of flies and had Greg tie that on for him. I went back to the Pole Dancer with no success. We were into some more small fish, but nothing of any size. Mike was consistently getting hits and takes on his small Andino. I didn’t have one of those and I was pretty tired of fishing the same thing for days. But, I fished the Andino for a few hours anyways. Around 4:30 pm I asked Greg to tie on a Cruiser Peacock. He and Mike gave me an odd look and I think they thought I was nuts for going with a peacock bass fly. About 30 minutes later, just as I was about to have Greg change my fly, I hit a nice fish. I set the hook 3 times as I could tell this fish had some weight to her. I wasn’t about to let her get away from me this time. I still hadn’t landed a fish over the 15 pound mark and that was my new goal. This fish gave a heck of a fight, circling the boat, almost getting me caught in the motor twice, running downriver, charging back at me. The battle was quite hectic with Mike and Greg helping to keep my line clear of obstacles in the boat and the boat itself. Finally landing her I felt like I had accomplished my goal of a 15+ pound fish. Greg put the Boga on her and she weighed in at 14.5 pounds. She had a huge chunk taken out of her tail and a fresh gash on her back. Mike joked that he wanted to catch the fish that did that to her.

Tigerfish with a chunk out of its tail

We fished another 30 minutes with not much action and headed back upriver at sunset to camp. We had also passed the aggressive hippo earlier and wanted to be clear of him before it got dark. We had about a 30 minute drive back to the camp from where we were.

The drive was quite stunning with the sun hiding behind the trees. We saw a Water Buck, several amazing birds and a huge croc sunning on the sand.

We got back to camp and I went to our tent to get cleaned up for dinner. Mike took a shower first and headed to the main tent and campfire to have a cocktail before dinner. When I got done with my shower and headed over it was already dark and Bob and Mike were sitting around the campfire.

Dinner was served at 8:00 pm – Vegetable soup, chicken pasta

10/7 (5th Fishing Day):
Fishing with Bob and Greg today.

I didn’t actually fish this day as I had a bit of a bug that made me nauseous and afraid to get too far from the bathroom.  Bob fished with Greg for 1/2 the day and then returned to camp with similar stomach issues.

I skipped dinner tonight so I’m not quite sure what was served.

10/8 (Last Fishing Day):
I was to fish with John and Greg today in the rapids upriver from camp. This is a wading area with no crocs and we were all going to meet up there for lunch. John didn’t come to breakfast so I knew I would be on my own today. I was still feeling weak, but I tried to eat as much as my stomach would allow for breakfast. I told Greg it would be a slow day and I didn’t have much energy. We drove to our spot and got out of the boat. I took my Patagonia Stormfront Backpack and my 2 rods (floater and jungle sink). Greg and I hit the trail and headed to the first spot where I had a blowup on my Pole Dancer on the first cast. I wasn’t even ready and that one got off rather quickly. A couple of casts later I was hooked into a small Tigerfish and knew why we’d made the trek. The fishing was like this most of the morning, fishing small pockets with the floating line and Pole Dancer. This was the only time on the trip that we actually used a floating line.

Fishing the pocket water in the rapidsAs the morning wore on I realized that I was really dehydrated and had zero energy. But, I wanted to be there and I wanted to catch more fish. I still hadn’t caught the 15+ pound fish I was after. We fished several different pools like this until around 1:00 pm when we were supposed to meet the others for lunch. Our boatman had set up a hammock for me and had our food at the lunch site. I grabbed an apple from the bag and headed to the hammock for a rest. I asked Greg to make me a coffee.

Greg ate a bite while I drank my coffee and finished my apple. I still wasn’t feeling up to eating too much. We talked about fishing around the world and different things he had done. I found the conversations with the guides to be very interesting and informative. After a bit I asked where the others were and weren’t they supposed to meet us here. At that point it was almost 2:00 pm and they hadn’t arrived. I was concerned and also wanted to see if John wanted to fish the afternoon with us. We grabbed everything and headed back to the boat, a 30 minute walk through the trees. We got back to the boat and loaded up for the drive back to camp.

My largest TigerfishThe others had arrived back at camp about 5 minutes before we did. John was still in his tent and the others were still feeling a bit under the weather. Mike had stuck some really nice fish in the morning and we all needed a siesta prior to going back out. We met at the boats at 4:00 pm for a couple of hours of fishing. Greg and I went upriver again, followed by the others. They went above us, to the bottom of the rapids section. We stopped short of that in some great structure areas. I made several horrible casts, including line issues and had just yelled out loud that I should have stayed in camp. I was feeling frustrated and still had no energy. The next cast I had the biggest pull on my line I’d had. This fish ripped the stripper finger right off my middle finger and tore through another set of gloves. The power of this fish was amazing. I couldn’t believe how strong the pull and head shake was. I had finally hooked a true monster! Greg grabbed the net as we floated and the boatman kept us out of structure with his little paddle. I knew I had a beast, she was bigger than the net. I lifted her head again, testing the strength of the Scott Sector. I finally got the fish up and on the net and slid the tail into the net. She pushed again and almost came loose. I was ecstatic, this was the biggest fish I’d seen and I knew I was well over the 15 pound mark. Greg put the Boga on the net and weighed her and told me 16.5 pounds. She didn’t even fit in the net and I’d seen pictures of Mike’s 19 and 16 pounders. She was more like 18-19 pounds and I was content with finally reaching my goal of a 15+ pounder.

We carefully motored downriver to a small sandbar for some pictures of this massive lady. I felt nothing but joy. For a moment everything seemed to be perfect. I no longer felt tired or sick. This was my moment and I was cherishing it while holding this powerful fish. She kicked once, almost getting loose of my grip on her tail. But there was absolutely no way I was going to let her go before I had a picture with her. We took several pictures and then with a huge smile on my face I let her go back to the murky depths to recharge. I was a content angler.

We started fishing again shortly from there, planning to fish down a ways until sunset. About 15 minutes later the exhaustion of the last couple of days set in. I just couldn’t make a cast further than a few feet and I was no longer able to hit my targets. I reeled up my fly and told Greg it was time to go back to camp. I had achieved everything I’d set out to do and was happy with our day.  My energy had been drained and I just sat down heavily on the front of the boat. Put a fork in me, I’m done!

On our way downstream we saw a hippo in the middle of the river and then a second right next to the bank. I thought I had seen that hippo there on the way upriver but I was the only one that had seen it and when I told Greg he thought it may have been a catfish since it was so close to the shore. The crocs barely moved when we passed their nesting sandbars. I think everyone was tired from the day.

We got back to camp and about 30 minutes later the others also arrived. Greg grabbed my rods and reels and asked me to get my rod socks and reel cases as we would take our stuff apart tonight since we would be leaving the following morning.

Relaxing by the campfire

The other group arrived back at the main camp that evening around 6:15 pm and we were all going to stay there that evening and share a meal.  We all sat around the campfire for a bit and talked about our adventures since we last saw everyone.

10/9 (Departure Day):
We all slept in a bit this morning. Neither Mike nor I stirred until around 7:00 am as there was no rush to get up. Breakfast was served a bit later and we took our time taking showers and packing our bags for the return flight to Dar es Salaam at 10:30 am.

We all got together for breakfast, even John made it to this one. Not a lot was eaten and it was rather quiet at the table. I think everyone was worn out from the exciting week.

We drove the 2 vehicles out to the airstrip around 10:20 am to meet the incoming flight full of new anglers. 3 of the incoming people had missed the flight, so there were only 5 anglers on the plane. The changeover is very quick and we were boarded and off the ground in only 10-15 minutes from arrival at the airstrip. The flight back to Dar was 1 hour and 30 minutes. A very smooth flight.

Landing in Dar es Salaam

Once we landed in Dar we were escorted through the terminal where we were met again by the same drivers from when we arrived. That was wonderful as we didn’t have to guess who we were with or anything. Mike, John, Bill and I loaded into one vehicle and Tucker, Kara, Bob Seddon and Bob Brennan loaded into the other. They headed to the International Terminal as Tucker, Kara and Bob Seddon all had flights departing right away. The rest of us were taken back to the Sea Cliff Hotel.

At the hotel we were issued our rooms and Mike and I decided to spend the day at the pool. It was a windy day, but very comfortable poolside. Bill Pite joined us shortly afterwards for drinks and appetizers. We decided to have some margaritas to celebrate our return and the whole of the trip. The appetizers hit the spot after not eating much the previous few days. Bob joined us a bit later and ordered a beer. I think that was the first sign that we were starting to feel better.

Bill and Bob left to have a siesta in their rooms while Mike and I stayed by the pool until they were closing it down for the evening. We figured that would be better than sitting in our room staring at the TV. Why not take advantage of the beautiful view of the Indian Ocean at sunset.

After an hour in our room we decided to head downstairs for a drink and to get out of the room. We found John and Bob at a table eating the same things we had eaten at lunch. I had a beer, the first I had had in 3 days. It hit the spot. Bill joined us shortly after and we made plans for the trip to the airport at midnight.

Mike and I didn’t sleep at all that day figuring we would have plenty of time on the flight back to the states.

10/10 (Flight Home):
Not much excitement here. We arranged to leave the hotel at midnight so we could meet the Covid Test guy at the airport at 12:30. Again, the same drivers took us to the airport. They walked us through the entire process and Dauda was there to meet us with our PCR Certificates. The cost was $150 per person (cash only).

The African Waters team took care of everything. They walked us through right until we went to the CIP Lounge to wait for our plane to load. We boarded the plane at 3:45 am and were off to Istanbul and then to San Francisco. A long day of travel by air and then a 5 hour drive from there home. We arrived home around 11:10 pm and I was at my house around 11:30 pm.

This was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend to the adventure seeking angler. These fish are amazing creatures and may be the strongest hitting freshwater species in the world. The guides were excellent with positive attitudes. The camp staff was wonderful and would bend over backwards for the guests. The boatmen were very good and knew a lot about the fishery but didn’t communicate much with the guests unless spoken directly to.

This trip isn’t for the rookie angler. They will struggle mightily and anyone going on this trip should practice their target casting so that they can put the fly in the spots where the fish are without flogging the water or putting your fly in the trees. You’ll get caught up on snags and structure enough without adding to it.

I would recommend taking an Intermediate and Jungle Sink fly line rather than a floating and Jungle Sink. The floating was used only one day and the Intermediate would be ideal for the Ruhudji river where it is much shallower. Expect to hook a lot of structure even if you are an excellent angler.

What you need:

  • 1 – 40 LB spool of Blue Label Fluorocarbon
  • 2 – 40 lb. Wire Bite Tippet spools
  • 24 – Black/Orange Andino Deceivers (the most popular color as the baitfish have an orange tail)
  • 12 – Natural color Andino’s (more productive than expected)
  • 10 – Pole Dancers (5 black, 5 brown)
  • 2 – Pairs of Stripping Gloves (those with leather on fingers last longer)
  • 2 – Stripping Finger sets (wore these under my gloves for extra protection)
  • Sunscreen & bug repellent (not a lot of bugs)
  • I would also recommend that people going take anti-malaria as this is a malaria area
  • Light jacket for morning boat rides
  • Headlamp (mostly for Ruhudji camp – have solar lights at Mnyera)

Looking for a more detailed list of what you’ll need on your upcoming trip, checkout our recent Blog post – “Essential Gear for Fly Fishing for Tigerfish in Africa