Fish the Lagoons for Giants
"For the fisherman [seeking big tarpon] who is also a naturalist and thrives on wild places, Gabon is one of the most special places on earth." Edward Truter, a South African fishing writer who's been all over the world, spent several years in Gabon. He says the country offers several excellent tarpon fisheries, all centered on river or lagoon mouths. No ops for sight-casting in the muddy, choppy waters, but using live bait, jigs and lures provides opportunity for large fish of 80 to 160 pounds. On a good day, Truter says, expect six to 10 shots from fish that size, with the odd 180 to 200-plus an ever-present possibility during the peak period, late October through early January. Pluggers work jigs and plastic tails, Rapala floating minnows or twitchbaits as well as poppers. However, the best baits, especially for big fish, are live herring or mullet. Other exciting game fish such as giant threadfin and huge cubera feed in the same areas. Loango Lodge at Loango Iguela Lagoon offers a first-class facility. To the south, at Sette Camam, are Missala Lodge and Sette Cama Safaris, a bit more rustic but very well set up to accommodate sport fishermen. Truter considers Gabon quite safe to visit as long as you're mindful of malaria prophylaxis and take care when fishing rough river mouths. Fly into Libreville via Europe on Delta, Air France and others. For more information, visit www.africas-eden.com.