On one of the most famous junctions of the Upper Zambezi River, where four countries meet, lies the Impalila Island Lodge. It overlooks its own private channel along the famous Mambova Rapids and, most importantly, is ideally situated in world-class tiger fish country.
While tiger fish can be taken on artificial lure, these Upper Zambezi waters also provide superb and abundant flyfishing opportunities, including many kilometres of the Zambezi itself, the Kasai channel, the Mambova Rapids and extensive minor waterways. Additionally, the flyfishing boats from the lodges can also easily access the famous game-viewing Chobe River. In all these waters tigers, sharptooth catfish and various species of largemouth bream, including the beautiful nembwe (Serranchromis robustus) can be caught.
The fearsome tiger fish (Hydrocynus vittatus) is the desired quarry of anglers and, in these water, it reaches 20 lbs. It fully deserves it’s reputation as one of the hardest freshwater hitters of a fly and its acceleration, once hooked, is legendary. Indeed it was often said that only one-out-of-ten tigers was ever landed.
The Zambezi tiger season has also been lengthened with the development of new flyfishing techniques. Now, the peak season is now regarded as being from June – October, though often Impalila’s biggest tigers are landed in November.
The changing water levels of the Zambezi breed a number of specific opportunities to land, not only the bread-and-butter 2 – 6 lb. tigers, but to come to grips with a double-figure fish of a lifetime. In 2007 and 2008, during the peak months, our special flyfishing Tiger Quests, hosted at lovely Impalila Island Lodge by author Malcolm Meintjes, produced memorable fish throughout, with the biggest fish each season ranging from between 17 – 18 lb. In the cooler months, one may also come to grips with lovely largemouth bream species up to 7 lb, such as the nembwe and the thinface largemouth, as well as the sharptooth catfish which grows to over 40 lbs.