1 year ago

Fly Punk - Issue 4

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Fly Punk - No tweed, wicker baskets or trousers tucked into socks. Just a free digital magazine aimed at the fly fishing punk ... Read on and join the party ...


THE BLUE WATER DOG ―gareth george― V olcanic upheaval and tectonic activity you wouldn’t think are draw cards for recreational angling. Yet wherever you happen upon the remnants of major eruptions you will find fertile grounds on which a bounty of life congregates. The East African Rift is a living example of how this displacement has dispersed nutrients and created catchments that support such a diverse range of Wildlife. Some of these creatures have roamed the plains for thousands of years and despite man’s appetites, the Kilombero valley in Tanzania remains one of the last great frontiers to explore. The Kilombero is the largest tributary of the Rufuji river, which from it's source in the Livingston Mountains to the Indian Ocean is more than 600 km long. With a little imagination you could almost envisage Lucy and her ilk of bipeds cautiously walking the banks and from an altogether different perspective, if caught unaware, you could quite easily be transported back to Prehistoric times should the blue beast cross your path. When flooded, at it’s peak in April / May, the Kilombero valley forms a massive freshwater wetland, providing a prolific breeding ground for the 38 species of fish that thrive in this system, but there can be no argument about which of these fish rule with impunity. And we had every intention of putting ourselves under their domain. skipper Dennis, shaking his head at our enthusiasm to still get out on the water. He, like all the locals, knew that this was a brute that enjoyed the sun and warm water in which to savage prey. Over the next few days we toiled, in fact I would go as far to say that I did more casting then a hapless Hollywood talent agent. We had a few chances, with both Jer and myself dropping a few good 10 plus pound tiger, but we practically threw our arms off. Yet despite putting a range of flies in the right spot, the cold water gave these fish a contagious bought of lethargy. Tommo and Brad were getting some surface smashes on lures and landing a few on buck tail jigs, but considering the amount of water they were covering, it couldn't be claimed that is was cooking. So we decided to change tactics and fish some slower water on a recently formed Oxbow lake. It was a promising area teeming with baitfish and flocks of water fowl. We were fortunate to be fishing on one of the Kilombero's renowned tributary’s, the Mnyera, where base camp for this hands on fishing operation is situated. The battle hardened duo of Cartwright and Tommo were on 'Inside Angling' duty, whilst myself and Jeremy Rochester were taking the 'WildFly' fight to the Tanzanian Tiger. After a quick transfer through Dar es Salaam on FastJet and a comfortable overnight at the festive Slipway hotel, we landed in the renowned Kilombero North Safari's concession. Visiting well prior to their breeding season, which takes place in November / December, the plan was to entice a few aggressive females who we hoped might be feeding voraciously before embarking on their annual spawn. Now I've had some great guides put me on the spot over the years, but Greg Ghaui managed to surpass them all, anchoring just above the camp and telling me to throw my fly into the deep undercut clay bank. First casts strikes I have had before, but to land your largest fresh water fish on your very first cast deserves almost savante guiding status in my eyes. And that's when my complacency and that of my fellow anglers (Tommo having landed a puppy of 8lbs, just testing his rig off the jetty) set in. We woke the next morning to overcast skies and drizzle, which had our boat Erupting feeding fish greeted our arrival, and both Brad and Jeremy hauled out their floating lines with poppers. It was action time. In the space of 10 minutes two great fish of between 8 and 9lbs had been landed with many more buzzing the wake of their flies. All in all an entertaining day, with some outrageous stories around the campfire that evening, having filled our bellies on bounty of delicious food produced by 'Bobetino' the resident chef. We explored the breathtaking Kasinga rapids on foot the next day, being the headwaters of the Mnyera and got a few enquiries with our casts, but our fly crew left the white water to the spinning team and decided to drift the runs below. Again, anchoring, to cover the water properly, we focused on an area just above the watchful Hippo. And that is when mayhem erupted. The strike of the Blue Dog is explosive and guaranteed to take the most seasoned of anglers by complete surprise. You’ve a split second to recover from the shock, as once hooked this infuriated fish is intent on putting you in the sticks, so step on the brake and hold tight. Then, if you have the presence of mind to look up, the arial acrobatics are something to behold. A few anglers have noted that 42 | 43

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