Part One: Gabon's version of Midnight Madness did not disappoint. Destination fly fishing travel is full of variables. And few destinations exist where all of the main ingredients to a successful trip are in the same dish at the same time. For a group of fortunate anglers on a recent trip to Gabon, in western Africa, the stars aligned the three main ingredients for success here—water, light and bait—all came together are served a dished called success for these intrepid anglers.
In Sette Cama, Gabon, the guides and staff at African Waters are some of the most experienced in Africa. And during the second week of the 2020 season in this jungle fishery, the perfect recipe of good quantities of fresh water, perfect light conditions, and seemingly endless quantities of baitfish all came at the same time…and it resulted in some of the best fishing, and fish, of the entire year.
As the factors for success continued to align, many anglers experienced 30+ fish mornings as the large Jacks hunted big mullet along the mangroves. Even with this type of action in the mornings and early in the week, anticipation remained high because of the prevalence of so many baitfish.
The days went on and with the abundance of baitfish, the fishing here rivaled any other fishing experience. But fishing here is synonymous with adventure so cracking the code and finding the fish this week took some experimenting. Plenty of fish were found, but the proverbial angling code needed a little deciphering. Once that was done, it was game on. Yellow Dog angler Tom Camp landed the first of his Cuberra snapper on the fly, a beautiful 55-pound beast. Tom showed impressive skill to land the fish on the back end of a dropping spring tide, dealing not only with the immense power a fish that size can exert on a fly rod, but also the powerful currents that are so common in this estuary.
Halfway through the trip and gaining on the already successful and enjoyable action of the previous days, anglers fished even later into the evening—a true exotic fly fishing experience like no other on the planet. The best fishing went late into the evenings, on a dead low tide, and in an estuary foaming with bait. The telltale sound of large Cuberra Snapper, Tarpon and giant African Threadfin gorging themselves on mullet and sardine in the pitch black of the new moon night, was enough to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. With fish rolling only meters from away distance became irrelevant, and presentation became everything to their success.
The result was two anglers, including Tom Camp, landing 66 lb. and 70 lb. Cuberra Snapper respectively, an incredible achievement on fly. 60 lb. snapper on the fly are a rarity out here, mainly due to the sheer violence of the fight. Fly fisherman struggle to keep these fish out of rocks, or from disappearing over the horizon. To have multiple 60 lb., and one 70 lb.+ Cuberra snapper landed on fly, is a testament to the skill of the angler.
The week also provided some new insights into catching threadfin on the fly, as it’s not every day conditions allow anglers to reach these incredible fish on fly rod. A heavily weighted fly retrieved with a slow jig action provided the best results. Despite ideal conditions for snapper and threadfin, the tarpon were a little more challenging to find.
Plenty of fish were cast to, but, the tarpon had the upper hand this week. Be it tarpon cutting-off on the rocks, chaffing through leaders in the strong current, or snapping fly lines on the set; the nightly tarpon beatdowns made their presence known as the real King of the Sette Cama! Sometimes all you can do is pay your dues. It was a truly incredible week, with incredible catches and experiences, shared with an incredible group of guests.
Stay tuned for Part Two: Cameroon Jungle Fly Fishing from Africa’s Eden. With this custom itinerary, you can fish the waters of Gabon and then head to Cameroon – all fully guided and supported by our partners at African Waters. This is an incredible combo trip: as adventurous and unusual as anything in the world.
This trip as a whole is truly as unique as the fishing. It consists of one week in Gabon, saltwater surf fishing for tarpon, jack trevally, snapper, and other species. One week in Cameroon, targeting Nile perch, tigerfish, yellowfish, and other species. Contact Yellow Dog’s exotics expert, Jim Klug to learn more or book your trip today.