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Catching a tiger fish is without a doubt an epic reason to give Tanzania fly fishing a go. Sea fishing on the East African coast is in a league of its own, thanks to big game fishes like tuna, marlin and swordfishes residing there. Even the occasional biting barracudas (yes, the biting part will give your tackle a good workout, if you happen upon one) makes a show once in a while. If you still aren't sold on Tanzania fly fishing, here are a few fast facts that irrevocably convince you to change your mind.
Tanzania Fly Fishing: Fast Facts
1. Anglers can spot herds of elephants. Yes, Africa is considered the wild, but a chance to see mount kilimanjaro shouldn't be the only reason you visit Tanzania. Only in African will anglers get the chance to fly fish, with the occasional elephant walking by. A perfect contrast to the aggressive and territorial tiger fish. Talk about awe-inspiring visuals.
2. Tiger fishes are the "T-Rex" of freshwater and the first freshwater fish recorded to kill birds mid flight. With what looks like surgically filed teeth to decimate their prey, tiger fishes are considered one of the planet's most dangerous freshwater fishes. So if you've outgrown the challenge a yellowfin tuna provides, why not pack your gear, bring your "A game", head to the East coast of Africa and try Tanzania fly fishing.
3. Discovery of the Mnyera and Rududji rivers are the best thing to happen in African sportfishing over the past 2 decades. Regulations are very strict when fly fishing in Tanzania, with about 8 anglers permitted to fly fish in a week, plus a strict catch and release policy to prevent extinction. Debarbed hooks are the only ones allowed, and fish spawning areas are strictly no-go.
4. In 2008, tigerfishes weighing over 20 pounds were caught in a single day, in the Mnyera river. This moved the average weight bracket from 5 - 20 lbs, to 5 - 25 lbs. And thanks to the strict regulations imposed by authorities, tigerfishes have been gaining weight and populating the area, meaning you'll "easily" be able to catch one weighing over 20 pounds.
5. The typical hunting season begins in the middle of August and runs till mid November. An average of 16 weeks. During peak fly fishing season, temperatures are fairly high, waters are clearer, and tigerfishes looking for prey can be spotted a lot easier. Proper population control has ensured a consistent number of trophy fish can be caught each week, throughout the Tanzania fly fishing season.
Tanzania Fly Fishing Gear Guide
The remote nature of the area necessitates that you come with your own gear - with duplicates if possible. For rods, anything between 9 and 10 wt is ok, as long as it can handle the heavy flies and sinking lines you'll be strapping. You want about 300-350 grain shooting fly lines, a large arbor and smooth drag reel, 5 - 6 ft of 40 pounds furled leader, plus top water flies.
Bonus? Get some boga-grips to keep those teeth from biting you and some finger wraps to prevent line burns. There you have it. You're now mentally set for your Tanzania fly fishing expedition.
Tanzania Fly Flying