If any place on the planet can boast of one of a kind at times dangerous fly fishing, it has to be "Safari Anglers" and Cindy Garrison. Cindy has managed to establish a truly world class fly-fishing operation in Botswana Africa. Those fly fishers who have become bored with the same old tried and true local waters, this may be one of the last venues on the planet catering to extreme fly fishing adventure. Ok, so you think you have thrown a few bugs at good size fish and actually fooled them into taking that prize fly your always bragging about? Guess what Kemosabi, you ain't seen nothing yet, until you spend quality time with Cindy and her friends the hippo's, crocodiles, lions, leopards and her other friends sharing the waters with you! Cindy recalls a memorable 2001 season high light!
"After a long day chasing Tiger Fish and keeping one eye open for the occasional rogue hippo or croc. I decided to take my usual jog down an airplane run way near camp. It was around dusk and I stopped to do a few yoga type stretches before heading back to camp. Suddenly in the almost still early evening air I hear this super loud scream of a roar! It wasn't exactly a lion roaring, but it was loud as hell. I jumped up screaming at the top of my lungs and saw the face of a good size leopard about ten yards away. He bolted and so did I. That was scary enough without having to swim across the river back to camp in the same water we had been seeing a 15 foot croc for the last two days!" "The beauty of this land always compensates for these minor irritations."
WORLD RECORD BROKEN
Cindy's World Record for taking Tiger Fish on the fly was broken this season by a couple of hard fought pounds. The lucky fly fisher who still has all ten fingers Peter Bollinger managed to wrestle in a 13 & 14-pound Tiger fish. He was using an 8-weight fly rod and 10 pound tippet. The salt water type flies used are "Sea Habits" "Lefty Deceivers" and "Clousers". The action takes place in the nutrient rich biosphere of the Okavango Delta or white water rapids of the Chobe River. The fabled Tiger Fish can also be encountered on the fast flowing Zambezi River. This is not your fathers style of fly fishing mate, Hippos, Crocodiles and more exotic animals then one can imagine own these waters and wise fly fishers are ever vigilant! Ms. Garrison has successfully guided in Botswana without loosing a single client, yet. The atmosphere for avid fly fishers is like waking up in an ancient dream and realizing how wild and dangerous life was all over this planet a few hundred years ago. The rapidly changing political and environmental scene has and will impact future opportunities for all sportsmen. In Botswana Cindy Garrison and her world renown "Safari Anglers" is the only world-class fly fishing venue in town. The amount of annual rainfall is the big factor in what to expect in this fly fishers paradise. Last year's rain fall was conducive to fast running rivers and in Cindy's words "The Tiger Fish were bigger and stronger this season then last, we know the rainfall amounts directly effect this game fish and the Barbel and Bream species as well."
HUNTING AFRICAN GAME FISH
a "We use the same fish locating techniques used almost everywhere fly fishers hunt game fish. While slowly gliding along on rivers where we know they exist, when we see either surface waters boiling with Barbel or birds congregating that's one sure sign. Now after spending time chasing these fish we have a pretty good idea where they might be and when. It's never a sure bet, but, here when we do find them and our clients start throwing flies. You can rest assured we are going to get into a mess of hard fighting action for certain." The big difference over here is the set ups and the hard fighting nature of these fish! If you bring 8/10 weight fly rods and use wire shock tippet setups with 10/20 pound tippets. You will have a fighting chance depending on your ability to quickly bring in Tiger Fish that fight like hell. These fish need to be overcome quickly before they regain strength and make runs that will tear what's left of your tired arm off!"
Cindy seems to take much joy in carefully explaining the lay of the land in regard to Botswana fly-fishing techniques. "We have an exciting fly fishing venue over here, few fly fishers can imagine. When we run these rivers and come upon mighty Tiger Fish or serious Barbel runs. Two things quickly become crystal clear, first this place belongs to the animals and birds and snakes. The hippos and the crocs are the main water landlords and you had better be aware of that fact. Though we have had one or two fairly close calls, our clients usually go home with all ten fingers and both arms! Seriously, it's the unpredictability of these beasts we watch for. Sportsmen cannot simply kick back here and relax. We don't want to frighten any potential fly fisher clients who may be considering Botswana. But, you need to understand who owns this place and who makes the rules here. It is not us and we never forget that." "If your into throwing Poppers or streamers of the salt-water variety, this is the place. At times when we are into serious Barbel runs, almost anything will do the trick."
OKAVANGO DELTA KIRI LODGE
If ever a natural repository of almost untouched wildness existed, this is it. Those who know Africa extol the virtues of this ancient nutrient rich area with almost unlimited waters and wildlife variety. Cindy loves this place and has spent much time investigating and chasing fish while exotic birds and numerous game species scream out their presence. "I love going into the Delta region best of all because we see so much wildlife, especially bird life. It's a natural nursery for fish and countless species thrive along with great flocks of birds. It makes me feel like this is the way all of Africa once was and may never be again!" "We have a lodge deep in the Delta "Kiri lodge" we fish the Boro River for 3 species of Bream ( Tapia ) 2 species of Barbel, African Pike, Nembwe. Many of these fish have sharp teeth and require the wire setups or they simply slash, cut and run. If your into world records for light tippet and light Bamboo, pack your gear and do a few push ups. We can get you into possible world record situations, but you will work for any record attempts over here. The good news is many records are yet to be established; my old Tiger Fish record fell this season."
Three main lodges comprise the "Safari Anglers" operation: Nxamaseri Lodge, Kiri lodge and Rapids Lodge. Rapids Lodge situated near the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers is an exotic retreat close to the famed Chobe National Park. This angler's paradise is home to elephants, hippo, buffalo and many plains game. Fly fishers here can experience much of what Africa is famous for and test their fly-fishing skills while native birds in vivid colors paint the sky. Cindy laughs when asked if the native game fish require perfect presentation techniques. "Presentation is not as important as strength and skill landing serious fighting fish never pursued with flies or much of anything else anglers are used to fishing with. We get excited when we can reuse a well tied fly after its been slammened and nearly destroyed by these fish! Most often the fly last maybe two go-rounds and its useless."
Have African game fish surprised Ms. Garrison with their size versus strength? "You bet, we run into 10 pound Tiger Fish that bend fly rods and cause reels to scream louder then Howler Monkey's! Tiger Fish up to twenty pounds exist here and we have lost a few almost that size. The new World record Tiger at 14 pounds was a handful. Fly fishers who come here are in a kind of daze for the first few days. The usual concerns like presentation and pattern selection take a back seat to learning how to wrestle fish with raw power few anglers have ever encountered. We get letters from clients who say their lives as fly fishers have forever changed after a week over here. Africa is like a kaleidoscope of sounds and colors and smells unlike anything you have experienced, we guarantee that."
Exotic fish with razor sharp teeth, over 80 species and perhaps species yet to be found make this a fly fishers dream come true. If you decide to raise you're fly-fishing bar a few thousand miles. This may be the place to go and Cindy Garrison will be your guide to water born adventures to be reckoned with. In the off water hours cruising around in safe safari type vehicles and coming within a few feet of lion prides and herds of elephants complete this trip to remember. World class fly-fishing, the finest accommodations, gourmet food and safe secure lodging await serious fly fishers who might like to step up and test the waters. Cindy smiles when asked if she ever gets a bit nervous with all her new four legged and slithering friends all around her "Nervous, how about just plain scared and in constant awe. We take the hippo, lion and crocs dead serious. But as in all of nature a healthy respect and just enough elbowroom have kept all of our clients and us quite safe and happy. Would I recommend this adventure to fly fishers who love to get out of the old wreak and take five steps and fool those pathetic hatchery raised fish, yeah maybe if they understand this ain't your grandfathers old fly fishing hole!" For more information on an African Extreme Fly Fishing trip or to contact Cindy Garrison, Visit Cindy's web site at www.safari-anglers.com or Send an email. Cindy will contact you with information on this once in a life time trip.
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