This big tiger fish was caught at Chiawa in October 2010 and weighed in at fifteen and a half pounds. The happy man behind is husband Roger. It has to be said that the fish itself doesn’t look quite so happy but rest assured, a few seconds after this picture was taken it was put back in the river and last seen swimming away fast.
Both tiger fishing and the Zambezi River were firsts for us and over a week’s stay, split between Chiawa and its sister camp Old Mondoro, both bait and fly fishing were sampled. The fishing guides were helpful and enthusiastic and the river was bursting with fish. In just four sessions, Roger caught at least a dozen good tiger fish including a couple of eight pounders, a 12 pounder and several giants – or so I was informed - that “got away”. The fish were spectacular and fought hard, usually leaping from the water several times before being netted.
For myself, one fishing trip (and a five pound tiger fish, unkindly described as “a minnow” by husband!) was enough when there were so many other competing activities to sample -game drives, walking safaris, bird watching and canoeing - though sometimes, I have to confess, I opted just to stay around the camp and do a bit of sketching and wait for the wildlife to come to me, as it invariably did. In one such golden moment, sitting quietly on our veranda, I found I had a baby baboon sitting beside me munching winter thorn pods, a trio of dazzling carmine bee eaters flitting about a few feet away and the famous bou bou bird in a tree overhead, whistling its loud and distinctive “peep peep”. The sound of the African bush! Magic!
And to cap it all, a bottle of bubbly suddenly appeared, just for me, because I’d missed the all important 5.30pm sundowner.
Both Chiawa and Old Mondoro are immaculately run, with every care taken to make the guests’ stay exciting and varied yet safe. The Zambian guides were tactful, friendly and super knowledgeable and always ready for a joke or a good discussion. Altogether our stay at the camps was a vivid and memorable experience.