Unleash Your Angler Spirit on the Lower Zambezi River

Paul Changuion | June 10, 2023

The Zambezi River is renowned for its breathtaking freshwater sport fishing, boasting an abundance of impressive species such as the formidable tigerfish and tilapia. Sausage Tree Camp and Potato Bush Camp stands out, offering anglers an unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer spinning or fly fishing, these camp adheres strictly to catch-and-release principles in harmony with the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Tigerfish – the acrobatic predator

When it comes to thrilling fishing adventures, the tigerfish steals the spotlight. Sharing a lineage with the infamous piranha, tigerfish are equipped with carnivorous teeth, capable of growing up to 15kg (33lb), with the camp’s record standing at an impressive 11.3kg.

What truly sets these fish apart is their remarkable strength and astonishing “leaping out of the water” fighting performance. It’s an angler’s delight to witness their acrobatic displays and test their skills against this iconic species.

The best time to catch tigerfish on the lower Zambezi River

While fishing can be enjoyed year-round, the warmer months from September to December offer the prime opportunity to target tigerfish. This period aligns with their breeding season, when these fish are more active, feed regularly, and exhibit increased aggression.

Sausage Tree Camp and Potato Bush Camp are located on the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park

The water levels are typically lower during this time, providing exceptional visibility. As a result, the chances of a successful tigerfish encounter are significantly higher, making it an ideal time to plan your fishing expedition.

Fishing gear essentials

At Sausage Tree and Potato Bush, you can count on having access to top-notch fishing tackle for both spinning and lure fishing. The camp provides an extensive selection of spinners, rods, reels, wire leaders, and swivels.

However, if you have your preferred equipment, feel free to bring it along. Fly fishing enthusiasts are also catered to, although most visitors bring their own specialized tigerfish gear.

Spinning techniques

For an exhilarating spinning experience, we recommend a medium-action rod, ideally around 7ft, making it convenient for travel with a 2-piece design. Reels can be either high-quality spinning reels or a reliable bait caster/multiplier type. Your line should have a breaking strain of at least 15lb (7kg) and can be either good quality monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braid.

Fishing for tigerfish on the banks of the Lower Zambezi River

If you’re targeting species like chessa, nkupe, and tilapia, opt for a softer rod measuring between 6ft and 7ft, paired with a spinning reel and a line of at least 10lb (4.5kg). When pursuing tigerfish, it’s best to employ piano wire steel traces, while sharp and sturdy hooks ranging from #3 to #5 in size will increase your chances of a successful catch.

Fly fishing recommendations

For those who prefer the art of fly fishing, we suggest using a #8 or #9 rod with a faster action. Combine it with a fast-sinking shooting-head or sink-tip line to optimize your casting experience. As for the tippet, a short, non-tapered section of 15lb or 20lb mono or fluorocarbon line works best. To connect your fly to the tippet, an 8-inch piano wire trace is recommended.

In the Lower Zambezi, successful fly patterns are typically heavily dressed clousers or deceiver-type flies ranging from size #1-0 to #5-0. Optimal color combinations include white and blue, white and silver, and black variations like black and red or black

The lower Zambezi River is a dream come true for any fishing enthusiast. If you are ready to throw a line into the Zambezi River, enquire via our online form or contact Reservations directly to book your stay at Sausage Tree Camp or Potato Bush Camp.

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