Mozambique Part 2

By Glynn Henry

 

On arrival in Johannesburg we met up with Malcolm Meintjies for a drink and a long discussion around techniques and some fantastic stories. I'm entirely jealous and hope one day I can spend my life fishing all over the world and writing books.  

 

Next stop was Mias Angling which is a fishing superstore. My only advice is to not do what we did, as it's just not safe to take your credit card with you. Damn, it's still burning a hole in my wallet. New rods, reels, lines, flies and gadgets galore. My buy list was a new 9# Stealth Magnum Plus which is a superb rod, and a lovely, shiny 12# Shilton reel which fits snugly on my 12# Cross Current, 2 x 700 grain Rio Deep Sea lines(Now that’s a sinker) and some really fantastic flies. The main fly is a called a mega Clouser which has got to be close to the size of some stockies. Chucking chickens would become Jon's new strap line.  

 

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Deep Water Fly Fishing

 

This sort of tackle is just not for everyone, but then neither is consistently catching 20lb+ fish with teeth that do bite; but it is for me. After an 11 hour drive, a border crossing, 400 Rand of bribes, something they call a road (but for 4x4 only), we arrived at Praia de Chizavane or Nascer Do Sol. Miles and miles of white sand beaches, fresh water lakes, fly fishing legends and a big fat sign saying this is King Fish County. Was I excited? Hell, I was dripping like a percolator!  

 

We arrived a bit later than expected due to some officials’ need to fill their back pockets so decided not to fish that night and just get tackle and the boat ready for the morning. One to many 2M lagers and finally the alarm was beeping, wake up - time to fish.  A nice easy launch, if there is such a thing and 13km out to see we made our first casts and peeled out the full fly line watching as it sunk away to the depths of blue water wondering what was going to come up again. 2 hook ups straight away but sadly neither were landed. Another lost hook up and the sky went black. I think we were getting a little note from upstairs... “this is the tropics and this is a storm”. We gunned the engines and headed straight for home and thankfully beached the boat as the heavens opened. So unlucky buddy but you got crap weather and unfortunately that directly affects the fishing. The boat would have to be abandoned for a few days and we would have to take up eating and drinking, playing with tackle, eating and drinking, fly fishing the shore, eating and drinking and just really having a dam good time. I never thought about the office once and I never heard a phone ring once. Just waves crashing, beer cans cracking and fly lines swishing. The thing about Mozambique is it is just so wild and beautiful that it puts a little curse on you, Jabulani, happiness.

 

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It was clear by now we just weren’t going to be lucky with the weather and having felt the sheer strength and power of the fish we could be catching I was getting a little close to kicking myself for not landing those fish. The weather did lift though and over a fat Portuguese steak we got the great news that the sea would be amber for us to fish if we were lucky. The next day we were up early and out to sea in the boat. The sea wasn’t great but it did let us fish for a while. The currents were too strong for fly fishing but some Spanish Mackerel obliged to some drift baits and a missed strike on a Rapala. We were running out of time as the wind got up and we were 20km out at sea so we would have to head back very soon. Jon’s rod went down and it was something big. We all got very excited as it started to come and Jon was getting line back. We were rather less excited when what was on the other end popped up to say “What’s this minor annoyance that’s pricking me??” A great giant leatherback turtle. It obviously didn’t like us too much because it decided to swim home which by the way it was going must be somewhere in Australia. Thankfully the hook didn’t hold too long and the turtle didn’t even bother to come say goodbye. I put down a giant chartreuse lead jig and almost instantly got hooked up to what I’m certain was a Giant Trevally, it was taking some good line when suddenly everything started going a lot faster and a lot heavier, queue the Taxman (Shark), big taxman, been taking a lot of taxes, and a lot of my line. I must say it’s rather interesting holding on to one of these for a while but sadly the wire trace was nowhere long enough or strong enough to stand up to this sort of abuse and I began the wind of shame as I refilled the reel with the line and nothing on the end at all. The sea was bad now and we had to head back to the Casa. Important to keep up the eating and drinking you see.

 

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The next morning we woke and oh god bless, the sea was like a lake! Let’s go catch some serious fish. Now I was excited because conditions were perfect, we put out 4 rods to troll Rapalas and Halco lures over the reef as we headed to our fishing spot. The plan was to troll for 2 km to the mark and fly fish. The sea was alive and the water 27 degrees - now that’s warm and that’s good. It wasn’t 2 minutes and the ratchet went wild on the middle rod, battle stations! We accelerated to make sure of two things, the hook’s set and there were no other fish about to take that would turn away if the boat stopped. There was however, other fish about to take three of them. All four rods were going mad. Three fisherman and four fish, big fish and one small problem. All four fish had different ideas about the directions they were swimming and we watched and held on playing hop scotch in the boat tangling and untangling crossovers and general pandemonium. High quality problem don’t you agree?

 

What happened next was both scary and something I never want to repeat but something that I now look on as an experience and a memory that will stay with me forever. Jon’s fish bit the boat. Yes, I did mention these fish bite, they like to bite and they have a lot of sharp teeth. We are 20km out to sea in an inflatable boat with a 4 inch gaping hole in its side. The side is no longer considered inflatable and floating becomes the thought on everyone’s mind. You can’t panic out at sea as panic is deadly, so lets just say we worked fast very fast, the fish went in the hatch, biting my ankle on the way past, did I mention these fish bite? The rods stowed and it was definitely time to go home quickly where we could stand on solid ground, and floating wasn’t such an issue. I looked over the side to see the damage and I wish I didn’t because the size of the shark underneath us was huge and I’m sure it was holding a knife and fork with a bottle of ketchup in its pocket. “Hey Skipper, LETS GO!?” Gutted, 9am flat calm sea screaming fish me and a flat boat on the beach. As I looked out at the horizon contemplating just how bad our luck had been so far I imagined a Giant Trevally jumping out the water giving us the bird. The skipper spoke “right let’s patch this bitch and go get that fish!?”

 

Lunch!

 

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Our last day was upon us and we went fishing, tough life this.  Dolphins around, the weather was ok, and the fish were obliging. The drop off we were fishing was spectacular. It comes up from 37 meters to 18 then 10 meters just like a stair case. Mega Clousers and bait fish patterns were getting sent to the depths. Unfortunately for me the Cuta (Spanish Mackerel) were about and the wire traces just weren’t strong enough - chomp, chomp, chomp, three traces bitten through and three more lost fish, a valuable lesson. Did I mention these fish bite? Another take and bye bye backing, but this time a fish to the boat and it’s a Giant Remora. It’s a beautiful fish, black grey and white with velvet skin and a sucker on its head to stick onto sharks, manta rays or whales, oh, and in Mozambique the bottom of your boat, cause everything is a little different here. Jon took a fantastic fish next and it swam miles away then swam straight back to the boat, never a dull moment. So here’s us being nice and releasing the lovely fish but first taking the hook out. Out it pops with the pliers I’m holding and chomp, my poor beautiful finger, spraying a nice shade of crimson, everywhere. Did I mention these fish fricken bite everything?!  

 

Oh look, another storm but this time there’s lightning everywhere and we’re nervous. Why because the rods are actually humming, I’ve never experienced anything like it but they were actually humming like a power station. Taking them down was fun too because Jon got zapped big time, the look on our faces must have been priceless. Watching birds diving around us and the backs of Tuna breaking the water as they feed on a bait ball while knowing full well if you so much as touch a fishing rod you’ll more than likely get struck by lightning actually makes a grown man cry, but please don’t tell anyone.  It really wasn’t safe to stay, so home James, and the end of another life changing trip in what has to be one of the maddest fishing locations the world has to offer, and you know what, most of it has never seen a fly never mind a hook or line. The potential is huge and the fishing fabulous. It’s wild woolly and not for the faint-hearted. I love this place.

 

Did I mention the fish bite?

 

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