To put into perspective how wild and remote Camp Chinko in the Central African Republic is and what a feat it is to land a proper Goliath tigerfish – let it sink in that they had one guest last year, record-busting fly angler Jeremy Block. In this excerpt from our issue 28 interview with guide Greg Ghaui, he gave us Jeremy’s report card from that one trip.
This season saw you welcome your first guest, legendary Kenyan angler Jeremy Block. What was he hoping to achieve and how did his report card look at the end of the trip?
Jeremy is a pioneering fly angler and he certainly reinforced his reputation on the Chinko. I think what he was essentially hoping for was that we weren’t all completely mad and that it was indeed perfectly possible to travel to the Chinko in the hope of enjoying an incredible fishing experience. Proof of concept was what we were all hoping for – that would mean at least one Goliath tigerfish caught on IGFA specifications by Jeremy, and some indication that the whole procedure was possible, feasible and repeatable for us.
Jeremy hooked and landed a superb Goliath tiger fish of 33lb on 20lb tippet on his first full morning. This catch is currently pending IGFA world record status recognition (Ed. it has since been confirmed). He then spent the rest of the trip trying to repeat the feat on 16lb tippet, and tangling with bucket loads of Nile perch. There were a good number of very solid hook-ups to some strong Goliaths but, for reasons simply ‘tiger fishing’, they did not stick. One other smaller fish was landed by Jeremy.
Considering the very singular focus of his particular mission, and his commitment to the light tippet challenge, I thought his report card was excellent, and surprisingly well-balanced with Nile perch, Vittatus sp tiger fish and Alestes sp. It was such an exciting and ground-breaking ten days and it was even more successful than we might have hoped. Jeremy was deep among the Goliaths and we were able to cover a huge distance along two rivers, the Vovodo and the Chinko, with the mobile fly camping model that proved to be a great way to unlock some special corners.
Get stuck in to the rest of this story in issue 28 of The Mission. As always, it’s free to read.