We have just returned from our adventure in Uganda, fishing Lake Victoria and The Nile River. It was a long trip and a wonderful experience unlike any of our previous shoots. This one really was more about the location, people, and adventure than it was about the fish. Because it was such a long trip with multiple locations I am going to break down the trip into several reports on the blog.
Before going into details of the trip itself I want to share with you some of the gear you may want and preparations you need if you are going to make a trip like this.
First off, well before the trip you will want to contact our doctor or travel nurse to make sure you are up to date on all shots and pick up the meds that you will need on the trip. You will need a shot for Yellow fever and you must carry your proof of inoculation with you when entering the country. You will need to pick up anti-malarial meds and take them as prescribed, you do not want to get malaria. This is no joke, everyone we spoke with that spends a lot of time in this country has had malaria multiple times. Make sure you pick up some good bug repellent as well that contains Deet. The pharmacy at my doctors office recommended Ultrathon, seems like a good recommendation as I used it every day and never got a single bite on the trip. Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants in the evenings will help with avoiding those bites as well. Exofficio makes Bugs away clothing that repels the pesky critters and if you don’t go that route, Ultrathon makes gear and clothing spray which works very well. I used it on my hat to keep the bugs from swirling around my face.
It is hot and humid in Uganda and the sun is brutal, you want to make sure you bring plenty of waterproof sunscreen and lightweight clothing, like you get from Exofficio, and drink plenty of bottled water. My favorite shirt for these conditions is the Exofficio Sol Cool, protection from the sun and does actually keep you cool. Don’t forget to bring a wide brimmed hat also to keep the sun off your head, face and ears. In these conditions you are also going to want good eye protection, I wear Maui Jim’s and would not trade them for anything. I always bring two pair, one with the HD lenses for the cloudy days and one with the darker lenses for the bright days. Of course MJ’s are not cheap so you don’t want to lose them that’s why I have Cablz Zipz on all my glasses to hold them on nice and snug and prevent sending them overboard.
A trip to Africa may be a once in a lifetime experience and you don’t want to forget any of it so you will want to bring along a camera or two. My go to on the water camera is the Canon Powershot D20, besides being waterproof it has a built in GPS. The cool thing about that is that after the trip I can go back through the mapping software and see exactly where the shot was taken, which is a great way to relive the trip.
Of course on a trip like this you never know what kind of gear and kayaks you will end up with so I always make sure I bring along some things to make my trip more enjoyable. First off I always travel with my own paddle, Werner makes a 4 piece carbon Camano that packs easily and is a joy to paddle. I also always bring my own PFD so I know I will be comfortable, my choice here is the ExtraSport ProCreeker. I also want to make sure that the kayak I will be using will have at least a couple rod holders on it and I have some tackle storage that is why I have mounted a couple Scotty Rocket Launcher rod holders to my Plano tackle box.
Whenever I am fishing a new location I find it very beneficial to have a fish finder on my kayak so I always bring my Humminbird portable, I just strap it to the deck of my Ocean Kayak and slap the suction cup transducer over the side and I am good to go. Of course if you are bringing electronics on a remote trip like this you will need a way to keep all your gear charged up. If staying at a hotel or lodge you will need to have a plug adaptor and power converter. If you are going to be remote, as we were on parts of our trip you will need a different solution. What we have used for the past couple seasons while shooting remote are Goal Zero solar panels. For my 12v battery for my fish finder this year Goal Zero has come out with the Guardian with 12v volt controller. This thing was perfect for me, I could use it to recharge my battery at the end of the day. If we were having a particularly long day on the water I just strapped the solar panel to the bow of my kayak and hooked it directly to the battery this would keep my finder running all day long.
We did a lot of dragging kayaks up streams and rivers and the Body Glove 3-T shoes were perfect for all this rock hopping, never slipped on even the real slippery stuff. It was just like being barefoot but without trashing your feet on the sharp rocks. The shoes are quick draining and do a good job of keeping the rocks and sand out.
The river is filled with sharp rocks and I lost a lot of lures so make sure you bring a good supply and a variety of styles and sizes. The lures I had the best luck with were the Sebile Koolie Minnow and the Sebile Flat Shad.
The fish can really range in size so I would recommend bringing at least a few rods so you can address the different conditions and fish size. A nice low profile reel like the Abu Garcia Revo for tossing the light lures and something bigger like a Penn Torque for trolling the big Koolie Minnows. I loaded my reels with Seaguar Kanzen braid then had top shots of Seaguar Fluorocarbon from 12 to 60 pound test.
You will put in some long hot days on the water so it is not a bad idea to bring a small soft cooler to carry your snacks and plenty of cold water bottles. We brought the Engel coolers and they worked very well. Engel also make a drybag backpack which worked great for protecting all of our gear we needed to stay dry.
A cool item that we started using last year on our trips that is even more important when on a true remote location like this is the Delorme GPS and InReach communicator. These great items not only kept you up to date on what we were doing but also allowed us to communicate with our families to let them know we were all OK or where to find us in an emergency.
It is also a good idea to bring along your Standard Horizon VHF radios to communicate with your fishing partners and I never travel without my headlight for when I get stuck out in the dark.
One last item that I really like that saves me on the long flights is my Exofficio Storm Logic vest, the thing that is so nice about it is that it rolls up into a neck pillow. This may seem like a small thing but with 40 hours of travel you will love having this thing.
Likely the most important thing you can bring on this trip is your patience, things happen at their own pace over there and getting upset won’t help at all. You may want to bring along a few extra bucks to move things along though.