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Subscriber Rodney Dillman says unusually high water prevented him from realizing his goal of catching a tigerfish on the fly this past June at Royal Zambezi Lodge (www.royalzambezilodge.com) in Zambia, but he is delighted overall with the 15-day African experience arranged for him bya Massachusetts company called Odysseys Unlimited (888-370-6765; www .odysseys-unlimited.com). He writes:
“My goal at Royal Zambezi Lodge was to catch a tigerfish on the fly, but conditions did not cooperate. The problem was flooding on the Zambezi River so severe that many areas of once-dry land were under water. That made the fish difficult to locate. Not to worry, however. The lodge offers guests the option each day of fishing, going on safari, or both. For example, you can fish the morning and go on safari in the afternoon. I took full advantage of both opportunities and had a wonderful time. “The lodge has fly and spinning equipment on site, specifically 8-wt. and 9-wt. fly rods loaded with sink-tip lines and a variety of spinning rods. The main flies used here are deceivers, weighted and unweighted, in red, blue, purple, and black. Avid fly fishermen will probably want to bring their own equipment.
“The fishing at Royal Zambezi starts as early as 6:30 am or as late as you want. The lodge and staff will adjust to your desires. We fished the morning most days starting at 7 am, returning to the lodge at noon for lunch, then getting back on the water at 2 pm to fish until dusk.
Tony, the lodge manager, is an avid fly fisherman, and he had pictures in the lodge of a 19-pound tiger he took on a fly. I was not so lucky and managed only to land one two-pound tiger on a spinning rod. Because of the water conditions, I tried fly fishing for only about six hours before giving up. Others in our group were using spinning rods and had some success. In all they boated six tigerfish in the six- to 12-pound range using gold and silver spinners.
“Despite the fishing, my trip to Africa this spring was one of the best overall trips I have taken. The 15-day package put together for us by Odysseys Unlimited included all flights, lodging, transportation, safaris, and food. We flew nonstop from JFK Airport in New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, then on to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Our next stop was at Mowana Safari Lodge on the Chobe River in Botswana (fishing optional at extra cost). The stay at Royal Zambezi Lodge in Zambia was the final leg of our trip. Royal Zambezi Lodge is a five-star facility that clearly caters to anglers. Our entire trip cost $7,000 per person, all included, for 15 days. The guys at Royal Zambezi told me we got a bargain because their usual daily rate runs as high as $700 per person per day.”