Olende had formed a new mouth which was closer to the main flow of the river, cutting off the peninsula it used to have to flow past to exit to the ocean. The days in Gabon are almost unbearable. Our tents pitched in the sun meant daytime naps would be conducted on the sand, with the sand fleas. Their bites would itch for a week at a time. And yet with all that discomfort, the pushing tide was still exciting. The odd Tarpon could be seen rolling against the impossibly tall mangrove forest, the Jacks would bust up unpredictably. Its a wild wild place.

At this point in the trip I was over the fear of wading- the water meant some respite from biting creatures. The enormous surge of each wave on the push was something to be wary of, as the tannin water concealed massive roots and trees and whatever else had washed its way down the system.

The biodensity, in spite of all the netting and human pollution, made me wonder if this is what people experienced on our tropical eastern coastline many years ago. I’d fished terribly almost the entire trip (and would continue to), but on this specific push, the clean water was close enough to the northern bank that it would yield fish with a well timed, long enough cast.

I’d jumped up on a tree root and managed a cast just between the white water. As I stripped and the swing of the line gained tension I saw a small shoal of longfin jacks surf down the wave after my clouser. In a world where the only thing visual was what broke the surface, it was a rare treat. The longfin jacks fight in a distinct way and seem to like to use their deep body in current and the waves, and on multiple times in the fight this fish surfed down the waves, seemingly using the waves momentum for acceleration.

It was a rare solo little celebration for the trip, and a great little moment with a spectacularly beautiful animal. Awkwardly proportioned with its shortened tail quarter, long white anal fin and orca like collapsed dorsal, lateral line extending all the way to its razor sharp scoots. They remain the pretties of the jack like fishes to me.

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