From guiding for Goliath tigerfish in the Central African Republic (CAR), to guiding in Cameroon and Tanzania with African Waters for Nile perch and tigerfish respectively, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more accomplished fly fishing guide than Greg Ghaui across Central and East Africa. For our issue 33 High Fives, We caught up with him in a lull between safaris.
5 best things about where you guide?
- The quality of the soup (in-camp joke) and firewood in Tanzania – the only elements that can be guaranteed when tiger fishing.
- The crystal-clean water of the Faro River in Cameroon and the Chinko and Vovodo rivers in the CAR. Evidence and reminder of how all rivers in Africa should be in the dry season.
- A cold beer and a warm shower in the fishing camp in Cameroon, extra-special in the land of the cold shower and warm beer.
- The fact that I can guide in my home waters in Tanzania, and work with my cousin Ed Ghaui in the CAR takes it beyond a job. Blood is thicker than water!
- Everywhere I have guided is a huge distinct wildlife area. The access to and freedom within these areas was the initial attraction to guiding, and is still the driving force behind me doing it now.
5 items you don’t leave home without before making a mission?
- Binoculars for breathtaking closeups.
- A SeedCo bucket hat for sun protection.
- A kikoi for a versatile towel/blanket/wrap garment.
- A lighter so I don’t end up trying to short circuit a car battery over some petrol-soaked grass trying to light a fire again.
- A notebook for jotting down what is seen, done, and said.
5 things you’re loving right now?
- Farming through the Regenerative Agriculture framework. There are so many changes to make and so much to be excited about. I balance out guiding with stints on the family farm in Tanzania, and this movement has really captured my interest.
- Amateur botany. Knowing and recognising big and beautiful trees is like finding long lost friends. And following that, it’s an easy way to make new friends!
- Walking guiding – another avenue to secure time in the bush, capitalising on a foundation from fly fishing guiding.
- Motorcycle missions and maintenance. Makes A to B much more fun, and opens up routes C through to Z.
- Hennessy Hammocks. These appeal to the minimalist in me while actually adding dimensions of value to a mission – no compromises here.
5 indispensable flies for saltwater?
- An original Stu Harley Shake
- A tan over white EP Fibre baitfish
- A light-coloured Clouser
- A versatile crab pattern
- A mantis shrimp
5 indispensable flies for freshwater?
- An original Stu Harley Shake
- An olive brush fly
- A tan Puma baitfish
- A huge leggy terrestrial
- A hotspot nymph
5 favourite fly fishing destinations across Africa?
- The Mnyera and Ruhudji rivers in Tanzania for a full dose of tigerfish trials.
- The Chinko wilderness in the CAR for a frontier adventure.
- The Faro River in Cameroon for sheer variety.
- Sette Cama in Gabon for raw excess.
- The Red Sea in Sudan for timeless flats and pinnacle wading.
5 of the most difficult guiding experiences so far?
- Trying to front up in the grip of Malaria. Finding myself wearing my rain jacket for warmth at midday in the Kilombero raised a few red flags, and had me waving a white one.
- After days of being on some clients’ backs to be quicker and harder on the hook set for big tigerfish, I have had a few of them lock down and hang on until the leader exploded when a really big fish came knocking. Finding the words to delicately explain that that wasn’t quite what I meant (without exacerbating the trauma) was difficult.
- While trying to unsnag a client’s fly, I once snapped the leader at the same time as the top three rod sections came loose. Turning and handing back just the butt section to the client who enlisted my “help” was not easy.
- Some of the remote pre-season camp preparations have been truly testing; when backed into a corner by deadlines and logistical constraints, the only way is to come out swinging. This is the dark shadow of the shiny guiding limelight that people probably don’t ever really understand, but is a huge part of it and always produces some of the most valuable events.
- As exciting as being a part of opening up a new destination is, it can be difficult not having many of the answers or not having much of a framework to fall back on when it is inevitably tough, or there are fish everywhere that no one knows how to catch yet. And that often all falls on the guide, as the expectations somehow remain the same!
Get stuck into the rest of Greg’s High Fives in issue 33 below. As always, it’s free.