Inside Angling and Wildfly recently did a trip to Matoya Lodge in Zambia. Matoya is in the Barotse floodplains area, in Western Zambia, and is one of my favourite parts of the Zambezi River. I have put together a daily report on the trip:
We met at King Shaka International and flew from Durban to Lusaka on Pro Flight. Our flight departed Durban at 1pm and landed in Lusaka at 3.30pm.
We were collected at Lusaka (Kenneth Kaunda International) by Davis, the driver for Palmwood Lodge, where we would be spending the night.
I had a delicious chicken curry with nshima (Mielie meal) for dinner, It felt good to eat some traditional Zambian food, with a couple of ice cold Mosi beers as well, to wash it down. We were all tired and went straight to bed after dinner, in bed by 8.30pm.
Up at 4.20am, packed and had our luggage at the Reception ready to load the Prado at 4.50am. Davis was driving us to Lukulu. We left at about 5.15am and drove through the dark streets of Lusaka, stopping briefly at red traffic lights, before passing through. The streets were pretty empty, and we got well out of town before the roads became busy. We drove for about two hours or so, before entering the Kafue National Park. We then drove through miles of broadleaf woodland, on a straight road that went on and on. We saw some Impala, puku, waterbuck, Roan antelope, hartebeest, and yellow baboons. The yellow baboons are skinnier than our chacma baboons, and appear to have longer limbs, they are also obviously quite yellow in colour.
We played music along the road, through my ipod and speaker, everything from rock to reggae, country etc. We had asked them to pack plenty beers for us, so we chatted about fishing and had a pleasant journey as we passed through rural Zambia.
The Chinese were doing roadworks on the bridge that they had built over the Kafue, so we crossed a temporary bridge next to it. It is a big river, looking a lot like the vaal near Vereeneging.
We stopped at the petrol station at Kaoma to fill up. Every vehicle in the garage was a Toyota, including an old red land cruiser with no suspension on one side. Shaun needed more penlight batteries for the microphones, so Davis took us to a Pep Store in the village, where they would accept his credit card, and he bought some weird no name brand batteries.
Not too long after Kaoma we turned off the ever deteriorating tar road onto a dirt road, and spent the next 4 hours or so driving on the undulating sand road to Lukulu. The trip took us close to ten hours in total.
We were collected at the little river harbor by Marvin Sissing, one of the owners of Matoya, along with Paul and Junior, with some of the lodge’s boats. We went to the lodge, got our gear sorted and had a quick snack and beer while rigging up, then headed out for a short late afternoon session.
The guides had told us that the fishing had been tough the last couple of days, there had been quite a bit of wind and the water was quite cool. The good news was that there had been plenty of fish in the days before that, with some solid double figure fish up to 17.5lbs being landed. I figured this was good news, as the bite would surely pick up again soon.
We worked the waterberry area, below the lodge, I mainly used Rapala Skitter V’s, floating stickbaits, as there were a lot of stumps in the area and I didn’t feel like losing any lures before the fishing really got going. It felt good to be on the river at last, with the familiar sights, smells and sounds of the Zambezi all around us.
I had a few swirls from smallish fish, with one hitting the lure and pulling it below, but no solid hookups. I threw the 30g double clapper tiger express now and then, just speculatively into the main river, and brought it back slowly, bumping along the bottom, looking for a pull. Marvin fished with me, throwing a copper spoon of about 16g, but he had no hits either. We came back to the lodge as it was getting dark, had a few beers and dinner, then an early night.