Category Archives: Fishing

Fall in love with Chobe hook, line and sinker

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They say the two best times for fishing are when it is raining, and when it is not. In Namibia’s dry winter you’re in for a thrilling fishing experience. The shoulder season stretches from April to August. It brings cool nights and warm days with little or no rain. As the inland water sources begin to dry up, animals flock to the river to quench their thirst, so not only is the fishing fantastic, but the game viewing during June and July is incredible. Elephant, zebra, hippos, crocs and buffalo will all make their appearance on the river banks – not to mention a myriad of bird species. But they are not the stars of the show when you’re on a fishing trip.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Zambezi River

Where to find the best spot for fishing in Chobe

Although there are several lodges in the area where the lazy Chobe River joins the mighty Zambezi before rushing into the Victoria Falls, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge on Impalila Island in Namibia is a prime spot for fishing. The lodge has access to 7km of unfished Chobe River directly below the lodge, and then another 7km of unfished Zambezi River below the rapids downstream – you’ll have virtual exclusivity on this beautiful stretch of river.  No other lodge has access to these teeming waters.

On the Chobe side in particular, this is an area of many small islands and gentle rapids, ideal for drift-fishing and either flyfishing or spin-casting. Turn the corner into the deeper Zambezi and you’ll find that conventional trolling works best until you reach the turbulent waters at the foot of the rapids, a hotspot for tigerfish whether you’re using bait, fly or lure.

What you can catch

The Zambezi is home to the ferocious tigerfish, catfish, African pike, upper Zambezi yellow fish, nembwe, thin-faced, hump back, three spot tilapia, and green and pink bream.

Taming a tiger

If there is one fish that every Zambezi angler wants to catch, it’s the hard fighting tigerfish. Arguably the fiercest fresh water fish, these beauties can grow up to a massive 15kg (33lbs)! Catching one of these sharp-toothed monsters is no easy feat, and only about one in ten tigers hooked are actually landed. Tigerfish are so incredibly acrobatic that they jump and tug and twirl free within seconds – making the chase all the more thrilling.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Tigerfish

There are three ways to catch a tigerfish: trolling, drifting or spinning. Trolling artificial bait is done with two rods leading out from behind the boat. Drifting a fresh or dead fish works best in murky water, and when the water level is higher, and spinning may be more active, but it’s less efficient. Spin casting artificial bait works best when you target specific areas of the river, like sandbanks or rapids. The tigerfish has a preference for deep, fast flowing channels where they lurk in drop-offs ready to ambush their prey. They hunt in schools of similar sized fish.

You have to have the right equipment if you’re going to tame the tiger. Artificial bait that works well includes Rapala 9 or 11cm Magnum floating lures (for trolling), chrome or copper 45mm, 16g Effzett spoons (for trolling and spin casting), and Rapala 7cm Fat Rap or Shad Rap deep river lures for spin casting. If you’re considering using live bait, try the bulldog.

Catching catfish

The sharptooth catfish, or barbell, can survive almost any water conditions no matter how murky. They eat frogs, insects and fish, and have been seen jumping out of the water to catch birds perched low above the water. They feed mostly at night, and when you hook one you’ll feel a slow, steady pull. In an attempt to free itself, the catfish swims into obstacles or shakes its head vigorously from side to side.

ZQ Collection Zambezi river afternoon fishing

Although it will take lures, spoons and spinners, you’re more likely to catch one using bait on a size 3/0 or 4/0 hook fished on the bottom. Catfish enjoy earthworms, fish fillets, baby birds and chicken livers.

Baiting bream

Green and pink bream are best caught from July to December. Green bream prefer deep, quiet waters, slow flowing channels and floodplain lagoons, while pink bream seek out deep main river channels and sandy bays. Both species will take spinners and lures up to 5cm. Your best bet is red earthworm on a No12 long shank barbed hook, but they will also take Mepps No3 Black Fury soinners or 5cm Rapala Fat Rap deep divers. Both species are vigorous fighters, so you’d better be prepared for a good battle.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Safari

The nimble nembwe

Nembwe prefer the cooler water temperatures of the winter months.  It’ll take a worm, but you’re more likely to succeed with artificial bait when trying to catch this predator. Such is its fighting ability that its scientific name is Serranochromis robustus. Trolling and spin casting the shoreline are your best bet. Try a Rapala 5cm Fat Rap deep diver, Rapala 5 or 7cm Shad Rap deep diver, a Cordell 5cm Wally Diver or leadhead jig. They all come highly recommended by seasoned anglers who have successfully battled the nembwe.

Spinnerbaits, copper or chrome Effzette 16 gram spoons, Mepps No4 Black Fury spinners and Blue Fox No3  Vibrax spinners are also readily taken by nembwe.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Safari

What to wear and what to bring

  • Light coloured clothing;
  • A sun hat;
  • Sunscreen;
  • Binoculars; and
  • A camera for when you catch a big one!

What not to pack

  • Rods;
  • Lines;
  • Lures;
  • Leaders;
  • Reels; and
  • A fishing buff – land a tigerfish over 5kg (11lbs) and you’ll be awarded the coveted yellow buff of fishing!

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Buffs

Where to stay in Chobe

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is the only place to stay when you’re planning a fishing safari. Besides the 100km of river access (and 14km exclusive prime access), the lodge supplies all your fishing equipment – rods, lines, lures, leaders and reels. Coupled with our highly knowledgeable guides as well as well stocked cooler boxes fishing in Africa will be an experience to remember. The comfortable tented accommodation with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies allow you to unwind completely and to enjoy the sights and sounds of a true African river safari experience. Make your reservation today.

Call Ichingo Chobe River Lodge at +27 21 715 2412, or send an email to

Tiger fishing on the Chobe River

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Do you have what it takes to battle an African Tiger Fish?

Nestled on Impalila Island in Namibia, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is a tented lodge surrounded by breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, birdlife and ideal fishing conditions. Travellers from around the globe come here to battle with the extraordinary African Tiger Fish. With razor sharp teeth, and infamous speed and agility, this river rascal puts up an adrenalin pumping fight that’s sure to be one of the most exhilarating fishing experiences of your life.

Chobe River Tiger fishing

Proof of Vagabond Fly’s successful visit!

Its lurching strikes can snap your line or rod, and just when you think you’ve got it, the furtive fish makes a long fast run. Try to reel it in, and it jumps out of the water or dives deep to try and dislodge the hook. These unpredictable predators change their feeding patterns and will try anything they can to get away from your net. They are said to be the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the world, so if you want to catch one, you’re going to have to fight back every inch of the way.

We’ve got what you need

It takes great skill and finesse to successfully battle a tiger, and our guides are there to support you ever step of the way. We’ll supply you with the tackle you need – rods, flies, reels, lures, lines, and leaders – and our guides will share the angling techniques that they have developed through countless hours of experimenting.

Tiger fishing on the Chobe

It’s an unforgettable experience, fishing in the majestic Chobe surrounded by the natural African beauty. Curious elephants stop to watch you ready your tackle. Snappy crocodiles float by mischievously as antelope gather warily on the banks for an early morning drink of water. The unmistakable call of the African Fish Eagle as it swoops down to catch catfish is almost the soundtrack to your vacation. And chances are you may not notice any of these things as you wait anxiously for that tell-tale strike – indicating that the battle has begun!

The best time of year to catch African Tiger Fish

Because of our unique location, we offer excellent fishing safaris all year round – from the annual floods starting in March to the feeding frenzies in the winter months. This natural phenomenon takes place when the water begins to recede and a myriad of newly spawned bait fish make their way back into the river, only to be ambushed by shoals of hungry tigers.

Tiger fishing

You can literally see the bait ball being hit from all sides by the ferocious predators who may also greedily grab your lure if you position it just right.

The ultimate bragging rights

While pulling out an 8 pounder (3.6kg) might earn you some fireside bragging rights, it’s not enough to earn the coveted Ichingo yellow buff. The yellow buff is reserved as a special honour bestowed upon those brave warriors who battled and conquered a river beast over 11 pounds (5kg). Sound impossible? At a recent ceremony we handed out three yellow buffs in one weekend!

Chobe River Tiger fishing

Vagabond Fly’s yellow buff award ceremony

So, are you ready for the most thrilling fishing expedition of your life? Ready to battle the notorious African Tiger Fish? Then we’ll reserve a yellow buff for you – just in case you catch a big one!

Discover the formidable African tigerfish

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While the magnificent Chobe River is celebrated for the abundance of wildlife that frequent its lush banks – there are some fascinating discoveries to be made below the waterline as well.

Gliding beneath the serene river surface is the legendary African tigerfish. This ferocious species is one of the most sought-after game fish in Africa and proves a formidable foe for adventurous fishing enthusiasts.

What is the African tigerfish?

Often thought of as Africa’s equivalent to the South American piranha, the African tigerfish is a fierce species sporting razor-sharp teeth, muscular bodies and distinctive ‘tiger’ stripes for which they are named. These predators often hunt in packs, and are known to put up a fight when it comes down to the fishing line.

African tigerfish

How big do they get?

Tigerfish range in size from 2kg to an impressive 12kg. In the fast-flowing waters of the Upper Zambezi, they are known to reach around 10kg in weight.

When is the best time of year to go fishing?

African tigerfish are most active during the warmer months. Fishing is generally best from September to February with peak season being around October and November. However, winter fishing is also an option, with June and July being a good time to cast your line.

Where’s the best place to catch them?

While African tigerfish can be found in fresh-water rivers and lakes across Africa, they are particularly abundant in the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers.

What’s their favourite bait?

These powerful predators aren’t picky when it comes to feeding time. They will attack any moving object smaller than themselves. So whether it’s live bait or a tempting lure, the African tigerfish is likely to bite.

What fishing techniques are best?

There’s no fool proof way to snag a tigerfish. Their feeding patterns are quite erratic and various types of techniques such as fly fishing and spinning have been known to work. The general rule is that all equipment, from your rods, reels and fly-lines to colourful lures and flies all need to be fast action and extra sturdy to stand up to the challenge.

Biggest recorded size?

While reports vary, the largest tigerfish ever caught was the goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) said to have weighed an incredible 70kg.

Fascinating Facts

The African tigerfish is known as the fastest fresh-water fish in Africa and is the first to be recorded attacking and catching birds in flight. While African tigerfish don’t generally attack humans, they do have a nasty bite so it’s best to use a landing net and keep fingers away from snapping jaws.

African Tigerfish

Add a touch adventure to your luxurious safari with a world-class tiger fishing experience. Sit back, relax and soak up the luxurious surrounds, while our experienced guides pack your gear, stock the cooler box and show you the best spots to land the big one.

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