Fly Fishers' Republic

Fly-Fishing Mozambique Coast

June 14, 2006

by Jonathan Boulton

king mackeral

The more challenging the task, the more rewarding it is to accomplish. Skateboards and surfboards seem to get smaller, some that braved the African bush to hunt its game with a large caliber rifle are now doing it with bow and arrow. Let their sport evolve and hardened hunters will be tracking their quarry with catapult or high-powered slingshot. No one will deny that, trolling for Sailfish in a large boat, seated in a custom built fighting chair isn’t fun, the rod maybe heavy enough to prop up scaffolding, the reel so complex and geared that an engineering degree is needed to operate it, however, its degree of challenge can certainly be disputed! Imagine fighting large game fish standing up in a small specially adapted boat, with a fly rod, not exactly the light wand used to present tiny dry flies to rising rainbows in a mountain stream, but a fly rod nonetheless. Having to imitate a fleeing baitfish by stripping the line in by hand, then having the arm wrenching take of some denizen of the deep, as it tears of with your fly – doesn’t get much more hands on…As the fish screams away your senses have to be so alert to ensure that the line speeding off doesn’t tangle or wrap around then butt of the kicking rod. The friction of the line burns into your forefinger as you try and control the mayhem, the adrenalin however means you wont feel it, not until much later that night sipping ice cold, amber recovery tonic in the lodge b…

Saltwater fly-fishing must certainly be the most exciting and demanding principle of the sport. Casting large bulky flies into a stiff sea breeze and then battling large toothed game fish in strong currents and deep-water taxes angler and equipment to the utmost. The coast of Mozambique provides some of the most magnificent saltwater flyfishing in the world. Mozambique has Africa’s longest coastline, over 2500 km long, made up of long sandy beaches, rocky points and off shore reefs. The ancient Egyptians were the first of a long line of sea going folk and traders to land on these shores. After which it was the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs and finally the Portuguese in 1505. The Portuguese influence can still be felt today with the treed avenues in the main towns, with tiled roof colonial homes still standing proudly, all be it a little moth eaten, with shrapnel and bullet holes from the long civil war that ensued after independence in 1974. This has resulted in the large-scale destruction of infrastructure. A decade of Civil war does however make the 20 million populations eager to rebuild and repair, tourism is growing exponentially and for more than twenty years there has been little development and pressure on fish stocks along the coastline apart from inshore subsistence netting. There is an incredible diversity of species including pelagic game fish such as the King and Queen Mackerel, the tuna species, marlin and sailfish. There are resident king fish, known else where as the Jacks or the Trevally, the most awe-inspiring being the feared Giant or Ignolis Kingfish. Fish of the 20, 30 kg mark are renowned for destroying fly lines and reels and the spirit of many an angler. There are a number of lodges operating from the mainland providing reliable boats and experiences guides. 700 km up the coast however is a small group of islands known as the Bazaruto archipelago. Within a proclaimed Marine reserve, a number of luxury lodges operate from the different Islands as well as independent guides. All offer world-class diving and snorkeling as well as standard big game deep sea fishing. The main attraction is for the discerning fly fishermen specialty however, is flyfishing for the multitude of game fish that frequent the marine reserve around the archipelago. Many of the lodges and operators are equipped with specialized fly-fishing craft. Often 15ft catamaran hulls with center consoles, with state of the art GPS, echo sounders and radios. This enables the highly professional guides/ skippers s to mark and locate submerged reefs and other structures, which hold baitfish and hence attract large predatory game fish.

yellow and white hair wing saltwater fishing fly

Drifts over the reef are carefully calculated in terms of the speed at which the fast sinking lines get down, the fly then stripped upwards at great speed to imitate a baitfish fleeing its fate, a large 11kg Cuta (King mackerel) will hit the fly and then shake its head, once it realizes it is hooked it will move off at a rate quite inconceivable. The equipment used for this is 11 or twelve weight rods, with reels holding at least three hundred meters of backing and a reliable drag system, necessary to slow down and monster intent on beaching itself on Madagascar or breaking you off in the reef below. Like any saltwater fishing, success is greatly dependant on the varying influences of tide moon and weather systems. Getting to the hotspots through a churning tide and hefty breeze can be an extreme sport in itself, the resultant tussles with bruising fish remind one that nothing this good can be made too easy. If weather conditions are however poor the adaptability and knowledge of the guides means excellent fishing can still be had. Anchoring just off a protected coral reef offers the angler the opportunity to fish with lighter tackle for the myriad of beautiful reef fish inhabiting the large coral heads. Twenty new species can be caught and released easily within a day, an appealing proposition for the many anglers who travel the world to increase the tally of their species list. The thrill of fighting lightning fast game fish from the shore can be experienced on a daily basis form the numerous sandy beaches and points on the Islands. Here the water quickly drops to 30 meters and with every changing tide the dynamics of the system are reshuffled. Baitfish are pulled from the sanctuary of the shallows and the dinner bell rings for those that reside at the top of the food chain. If the changing tides fall in the hours of darkness, for those not concerned about leaving their crisp linen un slept in, the explosive take of a Big eye Kingfish in the black of night will be well worth the lack of sle…

The Quirimbas Archipelago, off the far Northern part of Mozambique is made up of hard coral rock islands, again surrounded by deep water and healthy corals. These hold baitfish which in turn means it’s a matter of time before those species higher up on the food chain make an appearance.

Remember to do your research well in advance. An experienced guide/skipper with a well equipped boat can mean the difference between very mediocre fishing and a trip that dreams are made off.


The Southern most tip of Africa has a lot of coastline and that's not even including the Mozambican and Seychelles Archipelago's. Warm water currents bring pelagic gamefish right inshore and large Kingfish (Trevally), Bonito, Queenfish and many others can be cast to by fly rodders from the beach and from boats drifting close inshore.


Telephone: +27 1325 40270

Website: The Mavungana Flyfishing Centre