Friday, March 25, 2011

Trip to Congo, Africa, fall 2010 - Part 1

In October-November 2010 I have visited Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).  This was a business trip, not aimed at fishing.  The area where we were working in the field is populated; it does not have fish stocks interesting for sport-fishing.  

Atlantic Ocean near Pointe Noire (the only sea-port of the country).
 Thunderstorm at night
 The upper part of the Loutete River has big gradient
 Lots of creeks of the area have waterfalls. 
 The area of the town of Loutete is too dry for jungle forest; it is covered by savanna type vegetation.  Gallery-forests are found in some creek valleys. 
 One of the mountains has a through hole near its top.
The same cave - the view from inside
Local ladies with kids are going home ofter working in the fields
 Processing fish
 Our helper Mabala with a small seine
 In the Boko-Songho village
 Dugout boats made of mahogany wood (Niari River)
 Dense vegetation along a creek
 Traditional, home-made chair

To be continued ...

Friday, March 18, 2011

At the dike - part 3 (Amur River near Khabarovsk, July & August)

 Fishing below the dike requires technical wading and ideally - boots with good studs.  It is very unusual in Amur where one normally wades on the sand & silt.
 By July we have learned how to catch Mandarin bass with flies.  It is rather easy if you are able presenting the fly close to the rocky bottom, and move it slowly, with stops.
 This is one of the flies invented for the bottom presentation.  
Such ones are also lost on the snags and rocks, but not as easy as regular streamers. 
One more Mandarin bass
 This fish is true ambuscador; on some days it is attacking your lure or fly only after it stops for several seconds.  
 Mongolian redfin is often caught in the same areas with the bass, but in the upper or middle layers.
 A school of skygazers is always holding in 9-meter deep hole 100 meters below the dike.  
On some days these predators (called Korean tarpon) come close to the dike for feeding. 
The name "skygazer" is given not without reason
In Amur some non-predatory species (like this white bream Parabramis pekinensis) sometimes feed on small fish - and bite streamers (photo of Andrey Bondarenko).

This common carp had also decided to swallow a streamer  (photo of Andrey Bondarenko).

Monday, March 7, 2011

At the dike - part 2 (Amur River near Khabarovsk, June)

When the water level in the Amur goes down, the top of the dike becomes visible.  This period it is possible to reach it by boat, and to fish powerful streams flowing through the dike.  This habitat is unusual for the Amur River, but many of the local fish like it.

In strong current it is necessary to use heavy rods and sinking lines
Chinese perch (Mandarin bass)
Chinese perch should be fished near the bottom, among the rocks, with a streamer with upright hook
Mongolian redfin is often caught in the same place, in middle layers of the water
Mongolian redfin
Good size Mandarin bass
June is time of flowers

Friday, March 4, 2011

At the dike (Amur River near Khabarovsk, May)

Huge side channel of the Amur River, Pemzenskaya, in 2000-2006 was growing and becoming bigger and deeper every year.  There was a threat that Pemzenskaya will become the main channel of the Amur, so the river will go away from the city and its river ports.  A new dike was constructed out of big rocks at the upper part of the Pemzenskaya channel. This had created an unusual, mountainous type habitat at the river flowing through huge plain.  After a day spent near roaring water a fisherman has buzzing in his ears - as if he was fishing for salmon near big falls.
 Many fishermen use spinning rods with a heavy spoon or sinker at the tip of the rig and 2-3 primitive flies as droppers.  With this tackle you can catch many species of fish, including Mandarin bass (Chinese perch).  Siniperca chuatsi is the only freshwater rockfish (Sebastidae).  
 Amur ide is among those carps which often eat small fish.  It was caught with a tiny wobbler-fly on a flyrod. 
 Skin-carp (Hemibarbus labeo, in Russian - horse) also eat small fish.   
The head of skin-carp is horse-like.
Andrey had landed a good size Mongolian redfin  (Erythroculter mongolicus)
 Amur catfish (Parasilurus asotus) is normally small
 Lookup (Culter alburnus) is one of predators which are numerous around the dike in spring.
Banded catfish  (Pseudobagrus fulvidraco) has relatives in tropical rivers.