Hunting Tigers with a Fly

Flyfishing for Tigerfish comes with its own set of problems. Like crocodiles, hippos, malaria and African terrain. Say goodbye to the manicured ponds of your go to trout lodge, Tigerfish inhabit rivers that lend themselves to dense thickets, forests and dangerous creatures.

The Crocodile and Komati Rivers

Two such rivers, the Crocodile and the Komati, meet in Komatipoort, Mpumalanga and their confluence creates an awesome Tigerfish habitat.

A recent trip to the lowveld found me on Mkhonto’s Causeway. The causeway holds the Komati River back above a rocky outcrop that sees the river cascading down into the pool below. The resulting streams carry detritus; small fish and invertibrates that form the basis of the Tigerfish diet.
Above the causeway a beautiful pool home to hippos, kingfishers, African Fish Eagles and, oh yes, more crocodiles. It pays to fish in twos, one to cast and another watch for wildlife.

Targeting the White Water

The cascading streams were my target areas. I knew that Tigerfish would be lurking just outside or under the churning, bubbling white water.

I followed a careful systematic approach, moving from right to left first near and then slowly presenting my fly further and further out. Short, sharp and fast retrieves flashing the flies like desperate fingerlins in a deluge.

Tiger Strike

Like their namesake Tigers pounce and when they strike, they strike hard. Presenting my fly about twelve feet out and with the retrieve diagonally across the turbulent stream the temptation was just too great for the hunting Tigerfish. Striking the fly hard and then darting directly across using the flow as purchase the fight between rod and fish was on.

I watched as my backing line came quickly in view and adjusted drag to slowly grind against its efforts. With the line more in my favour instinct kicked in and drove it up and out two feet clear of the surface- its characteristic stainless steel scales glittering in the setting sun.

Landing and Self Preservation

So now here’s the dilemma: the river is the domain of the Tigerfish and the crocodile. I have the Tigerfish on the line but to land it requires getting nice and close to the river, i.e. enter the crocodiles hunting zone. Well, it had to be done and done quickly. With Tigerfish in net I retreated to release the fly.  Photo-up, all smiles and then release – again best not to daudle at the rivers edge. The Tigerfish languished a moment and then darted off back into it’s world.

The Tech Bits Shared:

I was fishing with:

Rod and reel: My trusted Stealth  8”6’ -5WT.

Line, leader and tippet: Scientific Anglers Full Sink III WF-5-S. 3 X tippet.

Flies: Marabou Micky Finn, Orange Clouser Minow, Copper Blonde Red/black.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!