Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is this the world's ultimate freshwater predator ?

Only in Africa could a fish like the tigerfish haunt the rivers. I had forgotten how so gloriously savage these things are. Just trying to get yourself mentally ready for the hit from a tigerfish is a challenge. Awesome does not come close to doing justice to tigerfish and the whole Africa experience. Here's a big 18lb tigerfish taken on the fly. All flies are barbless and the fish go back really well. I am writing this blog post at around 1am Dubai time - got a few hours to kill in the airport here before catching the flight back to Heathrow.

First and last light are such special times in the bush. We were properly in the middle of nowhere - a two hour flight from Dar Es Salaam and a whole world away from my my regular home life. There really is nowhere like Africa for a fishing trip to provide such a complete experience, and I can't tell you how professional the whole Tourette Fishing set up is - if you want to chase big tigers, then the operation they are running for sixteen weeks a year in Tanzania is the best place that I am aware of on this on earth to chase them. I get to work with so many different people around the world, and the South African guys I get to meet are consistently amongst the best guys out there. The Aardvark McLeod lot are now acting as the UK agents for this fishing. As with the golden dorado over in South America, more fly guys need to get in on this kind of action. Trout and salmon are fantastic species in their own right, but if you are inclined towards travelling for your fishing, then you must do all you can to head over to Africa.

As I said, only in Africa !! Cop a load of those teeth. Now imagine trying to set a hook into all that bone. Not easy. A number of fish are lost simply because you can't get purchase in that mouth, but when they hook up and go for it, these tigerfish are utterly explosive. The hit is seriously alarming. A tigerfish is hitting a fly at a speed that most of us simply can not get our head around, and I got a few photos of some beauty burn marks on guys' hands from the running line being unceremoniously ripped from their grip. It hurts like hell.

We saw plenty of fish around the 10-14lb mark like the one that Gordon is holding here. A 10lb plus tiger is a serious trophy fish on its own, but on the two rivers that the Tourette Fishing guys are operating from, fish like these are pretty common. The target out there is the 20lb plus fish on the fly, and although we did not land one, there were a number of really big fish lost for various reasons. I even had a bit of a go at fly fishing for them myself, and I managed to break an 8 weight fly rod on the strike !! You need to hit them properly hard.

I now have a few days at home before heading off to Ireland on Monday. What a difference that is going to be from this tigerfishing stuff, but I can't wait to get out there and get after the bass again. I need to wind myself down and not strike my first poor unfortunate bass in the same way that you need to hit a tiger !! Best go and see if I can find some sneaky bass lures that my mates have not come across yet. Not that we are mere children at heart.......

Henry Gilbey6 Comments