Tigerfish on fly in Pongola – the facts:
Our guides recently returned to Pongola Dam with a few select regular clients for a ‘shakedown’ trip of sorts to target tigerfish on fly, and to see just how much of a comeback the system has made following the drought.
Here’s what they came back with:
- The dam levels have reached something of a (happy) equilibrium after the four-year drought has been broken. During the drought it never quite got over 50% and at times dropped all the way down to 20. This made for exposed banks and a muddy shoreline – and really crap fishing. Now, however, the banks are vegetated and the verges are clean with lots of rotting plan material – great for small baitfish and the rest of the lower parts of the food chain. The dam level has kind of settled around 50% and it seems to be working for the entire system.
- Two of our clients got over 100 fish over four days (this with a cold front). One angler even boasted that he got more fish in the one afternoon session than he did in five days on the Zambezi. This, of course, is a pretty sad indication of what has happened to the Zambezi, but exciting as far as Pongola is concerned.
- The biggest fish of the trip was just under seven pounds. Not huge, by any stretch, but the big fish are there. We have had multiple double figure fish over the years and founder Jonathan Boulton has landed of over 13 pounds, over the years.
The system has definitely recovered and we will be running a full season there in 2020. Here’s what clients can look forward to:
- Fly-fishing in a lake and having to generate the movement in the fly to entice the tigerfish rather than swinging in the current as you would in the Zambezi.
- Mostly baitfish patterns as apposed to clousers etc as in the river sytems
- Surface action on lighter (than usual tigerfish) tackle. Typically we use saltwater 6 and 7 weights with floating and clear intermediate lines.
- Custom-built boats fly-fishing boats with electronics, fish finder and trawling motors.