I really enjoy fishing, and have angled myself to be in charge of fishing activities, so here’s an overview of this activity that we enjoy with our guests.
The fishing has been really great for the past three months, and the best time to catch is early in the morning from 06:30 to 10:30 or in the afternoon from 15:30 to 18:00. The temperature is high these days and fishing at midday is not comfortable. We set out on our well-equipped and purpose-built pontoon boat, and just as important as all the gear is the cooler box packed with icy refreshments!
We have been reeling in Mozambique, three-spot and red-breasted tilapia and we’re catching them on earthworms. Most of the big tilapia are weighing in at more than 2 kg (4,4 lbs) and the biggest has been 2.7 kg (5,9 lbs). The tilapias are all over the dam, especially around the bases of the dead leadwood trees, but I have my favourite spots (a secret I’ll share with you when we’re on the water) where every cast is a fish! They make good eating too.
Loitering about on the bottom of the dam are sharp-toothed catfish, and they can be hard work to get to the side of the boat before they’re scooped up in a net. The biggest thrill of all is given by the tigerfish – and there are plenty of them! To catch them we use lures and fish fillets on hooks. You may be sitting there quietly, enjoying the tranquillity and listening to sounds of nature, birds and hippos, when suddenly the rod, reel and line are almost yanked out of your grip and you strike in reflex! You’re on to a tiger and you’re in for the fight of your life! The largest one we’ve landed has been about 6.8 kg (15 lbs).
Fishing is always enjoyable, even if the fish aren’t biting. In the last few weeks a couple of leopards have been sighted drinking or walking along the shoreline whilst we’ve been catching fish.
Order of images
Images by: David Jojo and Mark Friend
Sitting in Hwata blind (our sunken photographic hide) is an incredible way to wait for animals to come and drink, especially when the heat beats down on the earth and scorches the last bit of moisture out of almost everything. At this time of the year one can sit in the blind and always have something to watch, from the endless amount of doves that just seem to keep coming to drink, to the almost resident impalas around the open areas of the pan. It’s always great to see this action, but of course the action that we all hope for is the arrival of the bigger pachyderms.
Painted wolves (Lycaon pictus), also known as African wild dogs, rely mainly on their sight to hunt, therefore they need a certain amount of light. They prefer hunting at dusk and at dawn, as midday temperatures are often too high. Very often, as seen here, the pack will find a cool spot not far from water, and spend the heat of the day resting nearby.
Walking in general is good for your health so you find that most people love it, but they don’t take it to the lengths I do. The most exhilarating part for me when I am walking is that all of my senses function at their extreme, and this is when I completely connect with nature.