I’m very excited about the prospect of joining the African Waters boys an their first ever fly fishing only trip to Gabon next year. African Waters has been hosting trips to this astonishing destination, Sette Cama, for quite some time, but the fishing in the surf and estuary mouths are mostly done with light spinning gear.
Preparing for a fly fishing trip
Preparing for a fly fishing trip presents its own set of challenges regarding gear. One of the first challenges I embraced was coming up with suitable fly patterns. Basically all we have to go on was what worked for the spinning guys. For this reason I have started tying flies that does not necessarily match the hatch (baitfish), but the lures instead.
Rob Scott recons that lure sizes and colours that have been exceptionally good in the past are up to 20cm in length and in the colours of Perch (olives), dark to black, as well as hot orange.
Rob recons: “A lot of the fishing is done very slowly, so a fly with more movement is going to be preferable to one that is lifeless unless stripped really fast. We will be fishing these large patterns in the dark, so movement will count even more.”
Spongebob to the rescue
The first pattern I tied for this trip had to be a Spongebob Slider. This pattern has proven successful for kob, in the surf and estuaries of the Western Cape. I tied this pattern to mimic the reverse action of a bucktail jig when fished on a fast sinking shooting head set-up. It will dive towards the bottom with a short short retrieve. It will dart upwards when paused and can be fished very slowly. In short, it has one of the best actions on a slowly retrieved fly that I know of. That makes it such a favourite for kob, a species that often feeds in darkness and are drawn to movement.
I’ll be tying these in black, olive and orange. If you can find good quality schlappen hackle, you’ll be able to tie a pattern averaging at about 16cm in lenght. I recon the orange one will be deadly in the stained waters that is typically encountered in the Gabonese surf.
I use Rainy’s Bass Pops (medium) to match a 4/0 hook. If you struggle to get hold of these in South Africe, don’t despair. Craig Thom of Stream X in Cape Town recently received a large shipment of these. He has five different colours (black, yellow, orange, olive, chartreuse).