Upon seeing that the school year would begin with a 5-day break because of Eid, the end of Ramadan, my first thought was “Where can I go fishing?” By chance, I stumbled upon some information regarding a species of huge fish that can be found, at least for the time being, in a relatively nearby body of freshwater: Lake Victoria.
There were four of us making the trip to Rubondo Island, the only island National Park of Tanzania. We are roughly half of the Science Department at our school in Tanzania. For one, it was his first fishing trip ever. For two, it had been a while. I was in charge of outfitting. We were going to troll huge Rapalas in the hopes of raising a beast. I also took a Loop Evotec 10wt, an Orvis Mirage V, some sinking lines and a box full of musky flies courtesy of my brother. What ensued was nothing short of adventure.
We caught some fish and we saw some sights that we’ll never forget. We talked to people with incredible stories, and we learned a great deal about the struggles many people face to survive and the lengths to which others are will go to exploit their desperation. As science teachers, we experienced, in a very real way, the incredible complexity of ecosystems. We left with different eyes.
We were targeting invasive Nile Perch. Detonating a nuclear warhead in the lake would have probably caused less longterm devastation than the decision to stock these waters with these predators 60 years ago has done, and will continue to do.
I was optimistic about our chances of raising a beast while trolling, but less so on the fly. We went for it, regardless.
Bombing a 10wt with 450gr sinking line connected to an 8 Owner on the rolling foredeck of a wooden boat is an exercise in coordination akin to playing in a one-man band.
Over the next few posts I’ll try to communicate the story of what nile perch have done to Lake Victoria and the people that depend upon its bounty. The incredible photography of Peter Stanley will help to tell the tale. Stay tuned.