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Thread: Congo - Tigers and other beasts

  1. #1

    Default Congo - Tigers and other beasts

    Boys

    I need some serious advice...

    I am heading to the Congo next month. In between catching Elephants and Ebola (hopefully not...) I hope to get a chance to throw a line in one of the many many rivers. Obviously my main target being Goliath tigerfish. I have heard they are notoriously hard to catch on fly. And the bigger fish do not take fly.

    I will be in the Congo basin in Odzalo national park. I believe there are two bigger rivers in the park, the Lekoli and Mambili.

    I should hopefully do a few more trips there over the next few years, so this first trip will be a recce. I am not really geared to catch 20kg tigers on fly, so am thinking of taking a spinning rod (drop shot gear) instead. (For those who are not familiar with these terms, do not stress, basically it means there are other ways of fishing other than fly fishing...)

    Can anyone please give any advice on this?

    Thanks
    Jacques

  2. #2

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    Jacques

    There are people guiding up there. There were some ads in TCFF a while back if memory serves me right.

    You will get double didget Goliaths on fly, but you won't catch a trophy as they will bite through most traces.

    Best way for landing a proper fish would be to get a bream and swim it as a live bait under a huge float. Take some heavy tackle along for this purpose, a dropshot stick is not going to cut it.

    Also don't expect any big fish from the bank. Your biggest obstacle would be to get someone with a boat and someone that can understand you.

    The other thing is that you might be safe in the Park. Do not venture out on your own. Make use of certified or well known operators. You do not want to run into those rebels. They say things have quieted down over there, but I wont take any chances.

    Don't be surprised if you strip the fly or reel the bait in and get a take right here next to the boat. These fish are known to jump more than 2 meters out of the water and you do not want a feisty Giant Goliath in full strength at your feet inside the boat.

    They fight hard and if you hook a big one, they will fight till death. Not many big ones get to swim another day after a long fight. Use heavy tackle and bring it and enhance it's chance of survival. They are awesome fish and a must catch for the serious angler.

    While you are up there also target some Nile Perch.

    I wish you all the best. Stay safe and have a blast and please come back with a super report. And watch out for those big Crocks. I have seen footage of Crocks taking people of kayaks there.
    Last edited by E.T.; 28-03-14 at 10:57 PM.

  3. #3

    Default

    I would also make use of some heavy circle hooks. Rig two hooks in that bream or whatever you choose as live bait. Use proper trace. Try and get something in black.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Mordor (Jozi)
    Posts
    619

    Default

    Hallo Jacques,

    I dont have experience in fishing related activities in Congo, but i have the following to say.

    Take medication for everything (colf, flu, stomach, headache and dehydration) Especially for bug bites, there are some crazy bugs out there. You also sweat alot in that place, drink a lot of water, because you dont realize yow much.

    Sunscreen, lots of it.

    Try to keep to bottled stuff - always check the bottle when you open it, they dont seal it very well there... Especially the beer.

    Take some braai salt or spice with - you can only eat so much cassava without spice...

    Take a good leatherman with and try keep it on you most of the time... Just in case...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Hi Jacques,

    I am doing some work in the DRC below Garamba National Park. The rain season lasts for about 9 months of the year, and when the rivers are high it is pretty difficult to fish. Even with bait. The is always the treat of crocodiles in the back of your mind, never mind some of the other stuff. (Lots of Hippos, Pythons and Gaboon adders around here. I would look for smaller tributaries with cleaner water. In the forested areas back casting is almost impossible. Stick to the normal principles of dark flies for the dirty water and flies the push water.

    I caught a tiger in the Nzoro river about a month ago. Nice little guy, it does however look like Vittatus just like we get in SA and in the Zambezi river. We have seen one or 2 big Goliaths, but the were caught by locals in nets.

    Here are some photo's.

    Nzoro Tiger.jpgNzoro River.jpgLocal Fisherman.jpgKibali River.jpg

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for all the comments thus far. Just to clarify, I will be in the Congo, not DRC. So hopefully slightly safer...

    Should I decide to take a fly rod for tigers: What is the ideal weight? I presume fast action/stiff rod? Floating line? There has been much talk in the past regarding catching tigers without trace, only using thick leader. But it now seems the method of choice is to once again use trace. What is the go to method? Do okes still use piano wire, or is the knotable tiger wire the way to go? Colour (black or red)? If piano wire or knotable, how does the leader setup look like (knots, lengths etc).

    As I mentioned, my experience with tigers are limited.

    I do however understand there are some massive yellows in those rivers, called Mongo mongo?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Nzoro Yellow.jpgNzoro Goliath.jpgNzoro Tiger.jpg

    These are photos of fish that was caught by locals in the Nzoro river. The yellowish was over a meter in length. The guys fishing with bait often catch catfish that gives them a electric shock.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    grahamstown and Lydenburg
    Posts
    476

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    Hi Jacques, Caranx, everyone

    I used to be very active on this forum as a student, but haven't logged in for ages and was pleasantly surprised to find such an interesting threat!

    I work for African Parks, which will be familiar to both of you as they manage both Odzala in Congo Rep. and Garamba NP in DRC.

    Jacques, what are you heading up to Odzala to do? Tourette Fishing went there two years ago on an exploratory mission. Check out their video. They caught a goliath after a lot of hard work, and also a beaut of a blue-tailed Yellowfish on fly. Seems like your best fun will be on the Alestes, a smaller relative of tigers up to 2kg. These systems also have regular tigers in addition to goliath. I was in comms with Edward Truter after that trip and he reckoned he just could not figure out the fishing there, it was very hard going. Given that he's one of the most innovative and experienced sports fishermen in the world, you're going to need a lot of luck fishing in that forest! You also have an additional two crocodile species to contend with in addition to the big Nile crocodile! Fortunately the African slender snouted and dwarf forest crocodiles are harmless.

    Caranx, are you working on the gold mine there? What's that development in the background behind the yellowfish? A dam? A team of fish experts were recently hosted by Kibali Mine for an EIA and they found heaps of interesting stuff.

    I currently work in a park in Zambia; also on the Congo system. We get a very similar 'yellowfish' here, they are big and appear widespread throughout the Congo system. Yellowfish isn't a good word as they are hardly yellow, all the different ones I"ve seen are gunsteel grey with bright blue-green irridescent fins. My best fish (on a spinner) was 70cm fork length, or 5-6kg and really fought very hard. Have seen a photo of a dead one of around 13kgs. They're very aggressive and shouldn't be hard to catch on a fly...

    I've dug out my dusty fly fishing kit for just that purpose and hence checked in again on this site!

    E.T- the kayaker who got eaten by a croc is again in a very different part of the Congo, on a tributary that flows out of Lake Tanganyika. That was lovely looking water- if there are still crocs it means the fishing pressure isn't too high yet! Throughout much of the Congo river crocs (and everything else) have been wiped out as bushmeat is just about the only protein source up there. Most of the guys offering goliath fishing tours are on the lower Congo below Kinshasa city, on the western end. The Congo basin is one gigantic unexplored territory with beautiful waters. New fish species being discovered every year. But a nightmare of a place to live and work in...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Hi Clarias,

    We are building the Gold Mine for Kibali and a Hydro Power Plant in the Nzoro & Kibali Rivers. In the attached pics are of the Weir and the Intake structure to the Canal for the Hydro Power Plant. The Tiger fish a caught was just below the Weir. The Expert you refer to did a fish study as part of the EIA for the Hydro Power Plant we are building. I've read the EIA report and they found something like 76 different fish in the Nzoro river, including 3 Types of Tiger Fish and a freshwater box fish.

    Our guys have also seen some game, like leopard, African Golden Cat, lots of monkey species, Elephant spoor, black duiker, bush buck and a buck that looks like a Impala (but I cant think that it would be)

    I am hoping to go up doe Garamba next month. It is about a 3hr drive (I'm told) from Kibali. Its a very interesting area.
    Nzoro Weir.jpgNzoro Weir 1.jpgNzoro Weir 2.jpgNzoro Weir 3.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Hi Clarias,

    We are building the Gold Mine for Kibali and a Hydro Power Plant in the Nzoro & Kibali Rivers. In the attached pics are of the Weir and the Intake structure to the Canal for the Hydro Power Plant. The Tiger fish a caught was just below the Weir. The Expert you refer to did a fish study as part of the EIA for the Hydro Power Plant we are building. I've read the EIA report and they found something like 76 different fish in the Nzoro river, including 3 Types of Tiger Fish and a freshwater box fish.

    Our guys have also seen some game, like leopard, African Golden Cat, lots of monkey species, Elephant spoor, black duiker, bush buck and a buck that looks like a Impala (but I cant think that it would be)

    I am hoping to go up doe Garamba next month. It is about a 3hr drive (I'm told) from Kibali. Its a very interesting area.
    Nzoro Weir.jpgNzoro Weir 1.jpgNzoro Weir 2.jpgNzoro Weir 3.jpg

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