As the hot orange sun sets over the mighty Zambezi, a fish eagle calls and there is a little nudge on the line between my fingers, he must be close. In a split second all hell breaks loose and the line on my Calcutta 400 tightens and the ratchet screams like the breaks on a train coming to a halt. Wait Wait Wait I tell myself, as I close the reel from free spool to lock, the line tightens against the rod, I strike hard as I can to set the hook in the boney mouth. As I am winding, he clears the water some 50m away and going fast with that typical jump of a Tiger fish. I release the fish after a gallant fight as the evening sets in. My guide passes me an ice-cold Mosi beer to celebrate.
We visited Shackletons tiger fishing lodge on the Zambezi River approximately 2 hrs drive north west of Livingston airport Zambia.
We were met at the airport by our drivers, we were 12 and off to the lodge. Met by the managers David and Tammy, they truly made us feel welcome and nothing was left to chance. All our meals and boat packs were outstanding and we had every bit of convenience in the middle of the bush anyone could require in Africa.
There were 5 boats provided to us, and I fished on an 18-foot Zimbabwean boat powered by a very cheeky Suzuki 140 hp outboard motor. This little boat ran like a dream, and I think it was perfect for the job it is used for. There other boats seem the same and we were all very comfortable.
I fish with my own Shimano Special Tiger medium heavy rod 2 piece (for traveling purposes) and a Shimarno Calcutta 400 real filled with 20lbs braid. I found this to work real great.
We were a bit disappointed when we learned that there was minimal game roaming the river but the birding was outstanding. I must say that to compare this to the lower Zambezi would be unfair as they are two very different regions for the fish and the wildlife. However, as with any destination you have to make the best of it, and I loved every second of it.
We spend 4 wonderful days and it was absolutely outstanding thanks to the great staff and managers running the lodge. The crowd was great and I look forward to getting up there again to do some more fishing soon.
My lion hunt is in a week’s time and the excitement is difficult to contain.
PH, Jono Joseph