Of hunters and hunted

Nileperch

January 2016 . Uganda . Nile

Martin Sack

The wind was blowing the smell of rotting flesh in our noose. We fished with the heavy spinning tackle under high concentration, to strike all hard bites with a direct hook set and not losing the balance on the rocks. Fife meters below us the bloated cadaver of a hippo was drifting in a back water of the foaming and boiling water. The crocodiles had just begun to rip out first parts of flesh. Behind us the Nile was falling down fifty meters down into the deepness – a descriptive allegory of this enormous nature around us, which his ongoing circle of giving new live and take it away. At my fourth tour into the wilderness of Uganda Carl was joining me, and of course as guide and friend Echi was included in our team.

Already our first fishing day was leading to great fishing success and was creating hope for an exciting time. At our way back with the boat we stopped at a promising spot to end the day with some last casts in the sundown. The silence was ending as a heavy impact in my rod and sedated escape in the deep was suggesting unmistakable: „Big Fish!“ So hurry up to get to the fighting position at the bow of the boat, lift the anchor and raise up the outboard motor! My opponent was swimming at the bottom, and I tried to keep it away from the sharp muzzle banks with all force my fishing tackle could offer. Normally a nileperch was showing itself at least one time by a jump or foaming the water surface with the mouth, but this one was staying under the boat. Around ten minutes later his force was exhausting, and short time later a tremendous nileperch was appearing close to the boat. I passed my rod to Carl and grabbed the jaw with my hands. Yes! 1,72m long and estimated around 70kg heavy, what a phenomenal start with another nileperch PB!

The fishery was nearly all time on the highest level I ever could experience in Uganda and we caught many nileperch in really nice average sizes around 30kg. Thereby we combined old tactics and spots with new knowledge and were happy to have nearly weedless water. Our rubber shads often were attacked violently at a short distance, the nileperches were pulling line from the hard drag or shaking their heads in the air. Most time casts with high precision at small spots were leading to success, many times the lures then were inhaled directly just some seconds after the splashing on the surface! So what can you expect more when fishing with lures?

But not only the nileperches were voracious, also other creatures being much higher in the food chain. At a quiet evening Carl had brought a good nileperch of around 20kg close to the boat, and I still waited to grab it with my hands at the lower jaw. As the fish was starting to a last escape at the surface, the water was smashed by a mighty throat without any premonition. Short time later the monster was diving back into the deep and Carls reel was screaming. It took some seconds until we were realizing what we just had seen – there actually a crocodile of around five meters had guzzled the nileperch! We followed the reptile with the boat and Carl tried to fight it a bit, but at the end it was remaining at the ground without any chance to move it. As we twisted the 100lb Tuf Line around a paddle and drove backwards slowly the line broke. Whatever, we were retrospective very happy, that nobody of us had his hand at the nileperch. In earlier time Echi and I were rally keen of landing the fish, but from now we were a bit more thoughtful and agreed that we will rotate at this Uganda Roulette.

Not only on the water we have been surrounded by big carnivores, also at the banks of the Nile and in the savanna we got many of them in front of our sight and camera. For sure the highlight was a group of eight lions, but also other big animals like elephants, giraffes, hippos and buffalos were performing the beautiful creations of Africa.

At the end we could outwit 92 nileperch, next to one on musky-spinnerbait all were caught on Trophy Shads. We tagged some of the nilperches with a yellow mark, having a three-figure number. The idea of the tagging is to get more information about rate of growth and migration behavior of the perch, about what so far nearly nothing is known. When you are catching on of these fish again, please inform me about that! When we landed fish more than 20kg, we had very good experience when we pulled the fish not into the boat. Instead of this we tied a rope through mouth and gills and drove slowly with the perch in the water to the shore. After the fish had for around ten minutes time to recover in the water, it was very powerful for a short picture shooting at the bank and could afterwards swim strongly and upright back to his habitat.

And there the days of adventure had passed in short appearing time – but Uganda 5.0 is still in preparation!

Statistic

Angler: Carl, Martin

Fishing days: 8

Nileperch: 92

Semutunducatfish: 3

Nileperch more than 1m: 37

Statistic Nileperch, length in m:

Tag- Marke: (T-xxx)

1.721.42 (T-134)1.36 1.341.33 (T-121)1.311.30 (T-123)1.29 (T-115)1.26 (T-110)1.26 (T-104)1.251.25 (T-117)1.231.23 (T-113)1.191.19 (T-124)1.18 (T-114)1.18 (T-107)1.15 (T-122)1.18 (T-102) - 1.141.071.061.06 (T-125)1.051.051.05 (T-103)1.041.041.031.031.03 (T-109)1.021.021.02 (T-118)1.02 (T-108) -1.00 – 0.99 – 0.98 – 0.98 – 0.98 – 0.96 – 0.95 – 0.95 – 0.95 – 0.94 – 0.94 – 0.94 – 0.94 – 0.93 – 0.93 – 0.92 – 0.92 – 0.92 – 0.92 – 0.92 – 0.91 – 0.91 – 0.90 – 0.90 – 0.90 – 0.90 – 0.89 – 0.89 – 0.89 – 0.88 – 0.88 – 0.88 – 0.87 – 0.87 – 0.87 – 0.87 – 0.86 – 0.85 – 0.83 – 0.83 – 0.81 – 0.81 – 0.80 – 0.80 – 0.80 – 0.78 – 0.76 – 0.75 – 0.75 – 0.75 – 0.71 – 0.71 – 0.70 – 0.67 – 0.52 – 0.50

 Travel Quote