TACKLE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TIGERFISH AND NEMBWE FROM MAY TO AUGUST.
The high water levels caused by heavy rainfalls in the Barotse floodplain catchment area in Zambia, usually peak towards the end of March and the floodwaters in this area of the Zambezi will then gradually begin to recede. Usually by end April water from the floodplains start draining back into the Zambezi taking with it millions of fry and minnows which have hatched in the floodplains during the high water period. This drainage from the floodplains can last for up to three months but its duration will of course depend upon the height of the river at peak level. Tigerfish and Nembwe both being renowned predators are extremely active at this time, preying on the shoals of minnows seeking refuge along the river banks. This is ‘Tiger Time’ and anglers who have fished the feeding frenzies will bear testament to the fact that it is an awesome fishing experience with the possibility of boating up to forty Tigerfish per angler in a day.
Every anglers dream and an experience not to be missed.
The following tackle recommendations are a guideline to assist you in making the correct choice of purchases and these recommendations are based purely on Garth’s and my own personal fishing experiences on the Zambezi during this period. So often we encounter guests who arrive having spent a fortune on tackle only to find that it is unsuitable or does not work for the method of fishing which is most successful at the time.
Rapala 9cm or 11cm Floating Magnums. [Plastic lip not metal].Colours: Perch FMAG11P, Redfin Shiner FMAG11RFSH, Goldfish FMAG11GF, Redhead FMAG11RH, Firetiger FMAG11FT.
Rapala 11cm Barra Magnum. Colour: Red Tiger,
TIGERFISH AND NEMBWE.
Rapala X Rap Shad 6cm 9gram. Colours: Clown XRS06CLN, Firetiger XRS06FT, Hot Head XRS06HH, Silver XRS06S.
TIGERFISH AND NEMBWE.
Effzett 16 gram spoons. Colours: Copper or Silver. DAM-Code 5002-016
TIGERFISH AND NEMBWE.
Mepps Black Fury No4, eight grams. Copper blade, black background with yellow, green or red dots.
Three quarter ounce leadhead jigs [weedless] with rubber skirts.
Have found the darker skirts ie black and red are more productive than the brighter colours. There are a variety of makes available on the market.
The aforementioned artificial baits we have found to be the most successful however I am sure there are numerous other baits that will also work such as plastic worms, drop shot and crank and spinner baits, so bring them along if you have.
We have found that hooking a piece of plastic worm tail to the hook of the spinners, spoons or jigs increases strike rates.
A good 6ft 6in to 7ft light spin rod is ideal for spinning for Tigerfish and Nembwe. I recommend the Nexave 70 MHS-2 which I use myself or the 6ft 6in Crucial for baitcasting reels.
For trolling a sturdier rod is required that is less flexible and preferably not longer than 6ft.
Reels must obviously be compatible with the rod it is attached to as well as consideration must be given to line diameter. For spinning [both Tiger and Nembwe] one of the 2000 Series Shimano spinning reels or similar is ideal or if your preference is a baitcaster rig there are many makes of good quality baitcasters available.
A baitrunner or one of the larger spinning reels with a spool capacity large enough to take 200 to 300 metres of 8 to 10 kilogram line is suitable when trolling for tigerfish.
For spinning a good quality monofilament line of not less than 6.5kg is recommended. My preference is Double X Platinum Plus 17lb breaking strain which has a 0.30 line diameter and can be purchased in 600 metre lengths.
For trolling one can either use monofilament or braid. I recommend Double X Platinum Plus 22lb breaking strain monofilament which has a 0.34 line diameter and can also be purchased in 600 meter lengths.
I have tried a variety of braided lines and I must admit that I was disappointed in most due to line breakage or parting at the knots when playing big fish. I am however now using Power Pro braid 40 lb breaking strain which has proved to be excellent and which I can recommend as by far the best braid I have used. Power Pro braid is manufactured by Innovative Textiles in the USA and can be purchased in 300 meter lengths at most fishing tackle outlets.
12 or 18 inch black nylon coated wire traces with snap on swivels. Ensure the swivels are black and not chrome.
Once again I wish to emphasize that the above is purely recommendations made from my personal experience fishing this region of the Zambezi River for the past ten years and I hope this information will be of assistance to you. Tight lines.
Garth Cavanagh, “SHAMWARI” HOUSEBOAT ADVENTURES.