The Secluded Paradise

The location we were fishing was located halfway to Carlos Paz, through a national park, on a local rancher’s private property. The area itself was gorgeous. Large rock structures jutted from the ground reaching high into the air.

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The terrain was composed of hills covered in sparsely grown shrubs and high grass. The river itself was beautiful, crystal clear with plenty of natural rock formations providing cover for countless Brooke trout. The sun was out and a nice breeze continually swept through the area. Occasionally, a lazy cloud drifted across the sky providing fifteen to twenty minutes of cover. If you saw the fish most likely they saw you as well, making it an intriguing game of predator and prey.

I accompanied Jason, Sam, Juan, Augustin, and Martin today. Our guides, Augustine and Martin, were very excited as we started rigging up the gear. They had fished the day before making sure to scope out the area before our arrival.

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Clearly, they were pleased with the amount of fish and their aggression. Today we were using two four weight fly rods and a three weight rod. Our flies were nymph and moth patterns, exclusively dry flies. We finished setting up and began our walk to the river which was only a couple hundred meters away. As soon as we arrived at the water’s edge, Martin pointed out a small pool behind a large rock with close to fifteenBrooke trout in it. Martin beckoned for me to make the first cast. I complied and was delighted to see a Brooky leap from the water, devouring the fly in one graceful jump. Oh, this was going to be a fantastic day! Setting the hook a bit too hard, the trout flew onto the bank. I picked it up gently and washed it in the stream, slowly releasing it back into the current. It swam quickly back to its starting location where it joined its fellow Brookies.

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I looked to my companions faces and saw excitement strewn about their features. They were anxious and ready to start fishing. The river contained an innumerable amount of spots where hungry fish waited. They would not be disappointed this day. Sam and Jason began fishing. Each were inexperienced with a fly rod, yet their guides were solid fisherman and immediately began giving helpful hints. They were quick learners and adjusted their techniques accordingly. Soon after they mastered the basics of the fly rod, they began catching fish. One, six, ten, fifteen. The fish kept striking and Jason and Sam kept bringing them ashore. The average fish we caught was around half a pound, its length anywhere from six to twelve inches. Before we knew it, lunch time was upon us. We headed back to the vehicles.

Martin and Augustine set up the table for lunch and we all sat comfortably, enjoying the scenery while snacking on a picada. The picada was composed of pickled vegetables, salami, duck pate, cheese, and sliced bread. A delicious appetizer to enjoy while our eyes wandered over the terrain and we shared stories, laughing and grinning in turn. The main course was grilled chicken sandwiches. They were filled with avocado, bell peppers, succulent diced chicken breast, and onions. A light splash of lime juice to add a wonderfully tangy flavor. Martin’s wife is quite the cook! Lastly, for dessert, we had arroz con leche. It was a creamy consistency of rice and milk. A light cinnamon flavor gave it a refreshing taste, cleansing our pallets. As always we have wine, beer, soda, tea, coffee, or water to accompany your meal. All said and done, it was delicious and filling. Finished with lunch, we headed back to the river.

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The rest of the day played out as you might expect. We caught Brooky after Brooky. Their aggression and quantity never faltered throughout the day. The last thirty minutes of our trip, I had wandered ahead a couple hundred meters in front of our group. I casted behind a large rock and watched my fly float nonchalantly for a moment. Then magic occurred. A large brooke struck the fly with a ferocity unmatched by any fish I had caught earlier that day. The fight was exquisite, bringing about a goofy grin to mark my countenance. I slowly tired the fish and brought him to the bank. It was by farone of the biggest fish in the river. It weighed around four pounds and was twenty-two inches in length. I looked around shouting for my companions. They were nowhere to be seen. My heart sank. Every fisherman knows proof is in the pudding. If I didn’t have someone to see me catch this fish, there was no way anyone would believe me when I recounted the story. So, I unhooked the fly and started running up the side of the river. Every ten seconds dipping the fish in the water, allowing water to run through its gills, making sure it could breathe easily. I repeated the procedure for a couple hundred meters until I finally saw my companions. I yelled excitedly beckoning them to come look at the monster I had caught. They quickly hurried over and took pictures. I kept the fish in the water, gently moving water over its gills, then releasing it with a sigh of pleasure. The Brooke moved swiftly into the current and then out of sight. A great way to wrap up the day. Later, before we left, Martin told me that there were maybe fifteen fish in the entirety of that river so large. It’s good to be lucky!

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Finished fishing, we headed back to the vehicles. We were all feeling quite tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening. We were lucky to have such fantastic guideswho provided such a wonderful fishing experience! As always, Pointer Fly Fishingdelivered in full.

Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Parker Tipton

Host & Guide

Pointer Outfitters

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Tanzania Tigerfish

The last few weeks of any busy season can really seem to drag on for a jaded guide, and days and even sessions can have an infinite quality that takes some serious inner strength to endure. Given this possibility, it was really amazing how fast the second last week flew by in a blur of big fish and intense fishing, and altogether too soon we said farewell to Pat, Pete, Paul and Matt and suddenly the last group was upon us.

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With the water still high and dirty, the rains still building and threatening, and a full house group of eight anglers to deal with, this was going to be a big task to make sure it would be a success for all involved. Luckily we were hosting some familiar faces in South African medics Petrus, Tinus, Harold and Jan, who had all been to Lesotho and/or Sudan with Tourette in recent times. They were joined by fellow doctors Charl, Neil, Willem and Henk, whose medical expertise was immediately called upon to help stitch up Rob’s Tiger bite, incurred landing one of the many of last week’s fish!

035052A4111-XLAny time the water levels rise and colour, although the fishing switches off, as long as there is no more rain upstream, there is always the enticing possibility of wild fishing as the water resumes its original condition. This is what we were banking on rescuing the week, and the early indications were positive as the levels continued to drop over the first two days. Going against history, it was the Mnyera that seemed to be recovering faster, and the fishing began to follow suit. Starting slowly and progressively improving over the following days, it seemed that it was the larger fish that were the most active. This seemed to mean that extended quiet spells were routinely shattered by a series of violent takes before suddenly going quiet again, making for riveting fishing! By the end of their allotted 3 days fishing on the Mnyera, it was fair to say that the guys had made the most of their time, with Petrus boasting 2x 16lb, Henk a 17lb, Jan a 14lb and Willem helping himself to a 19lb late on the Tuesday afternoon in Kasingo rapids. Not bad going at all!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338476The Ruhudji was proving a tougher challenge as the waters continued to drop, but remained cool and dirty, and the flood had also moved a lot of riverbed material around, completely changing the face of many of the established spots and forcing us to really re evaluate every spot from scratch. There was a healthy number of mid-smaller size fish that kept us busy with some areas really stacked up with plenty of lively specimens. Charl did break the mould in a big way early on the first full morning, in the midst of a couple of really good hits at a busy spot on the lower Ruhudji, finally converting a faultless 18lb and setting himself up very nicely for bragging rights! Tinus had some great shots at some big fish in a hot drift through a shallow straight on the middle Ruhudji, connecting with three 15lb+ fish that all somehow came unstuck! He did manage to convert a sweet 12lb the next day which went down very well!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338563Come change over time, it seemed that Charl, Neil, Harold and Tinus were in the pound seats with the Mnyera showing slightly more promise than the still clearing Ruhudji, although they would do really well to top Petrus, Willem, Jan and Henks exploits!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338589      As it unfolded, it did indeed prove to be the case, as really big fish were prowling aggressively, and time and time again, one of the guys found themselves plugged into a real handful of a fish. It reached a point where it became genuinely difficult to judge the size of the fish eating, as the hits were consistently aggressive, and all seemed to point to huge fish! Many of them proved to be too hot to handle, a couple more snapped off, and a some managed to make it to the boat, with Charl again in the mix with another 18lber, Neil with a 19lb and 13lb on popper during a purple patch in the rapids, and Tinus and Harold clocking in with 17lb and 14lb respectively. A high class roster of fish, no doubt, but these three days were definitely about the ones that got away, with everyone experiencing the true wrath of big aggressive tigers on multiple occasions, which is what it really is all about!

024052A3661-XLOn the Ruhudji, the fishing remained tough, but the laughs came easily as the guys made light work of fishing the unfavourable conditions. Henk managed to maintain his golden touch, and seemed to be right on the Tigers’ wavelength, knowing when to fish hard and when to sit back, relax, and enjoy some time out on the river. He managed a 14lb and 11lb plus a handful of smaller fish on a morning where the other boat did not register a take for the whole morning session! Willem also lured a 16lb out of a tricky spot to add some quality to a tough day on the upper beat.

017052A4429-XLOne of the great things about these trips is the quality time we get to spend with some great individuals, and the entertainment value of this trip was top-drawer, making the tough fishing a breeze as the jokes and impromptu musicals kept a constant upbeat vibe! Petrus capped off a superb week by spending his last two hours pursuing a Black Velvet, and I personally couldn’t have asked for a better way to cap of the 2015 season than landing a beautiful specimen at the death! The enjoyment and appreciation for this stunning fish will be remembered for a long time!

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In so many ways it was the perfect ending to a fantastic season, great fishing with a group of guys who were out to enjoy themselves whatever came their way, and who really took pleasure in the many small things that make tiger fishing on in the Kilombero Valley the life experience it is. The rains held off, the rivers cleared up, the big fish came out to play, and when the fishing was tough, and the guys took enjoyment from the mind blowing natural wonders around us. This was a blessing for us as season weary guides because it forced us to see it all again like the first week of a season, and reminded us how lucky we are to be able to work here and how much we would miss it until the next season!

016052A4334-XLThe staggering number of huge fish encountered in this last week is also a great comfort for us as it reassures us that the strict fishing management system is working, and that fishing pressure is not an issue throughout a busy season, and it means we can look forward to more of the same rip roaring action next year! Until then.

Greg, Mark, Stu, Rob, Keith and the KNS team!