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Sette Cama, Gabon Fishing Report 26th February 2024

It was the penultimate day of a successful week at Sette Cama, with many Jacks, Threadfin, Cubera Snapper, and Tarpon coming to hand.

Teddy Coulter was at the helm of the new aluminium skiff, the latest addition to the Sette Cama fleet. Unlike the other panga-style boats, this skiff sits low to the water and has minimal obstructions around the gunwales, making it the ideal vessel for a morning session on the lagoon. Unbeknownst to us, this would be our saving grace that day. The longfin Jacks were uncharacteristically ‘slow’ that morning, feeding sporadically and more spread out than usual. Despite the lack of massive blitzes and feeding frenzies, we still managed to subdue several of these hard-fighting fish.

The sun was creeping up in the hazy sky, not a breath of wind, and the heat of the day was setting in. As expected, the fishing slowed down even more, and with the sun sitting high in the sky, it was time to change tactics. I swapped out the clunky 40 lb leader for a 15 ft section of 20 lb fluorocarbon. The medium-sized brush flies were no longer of interest to the jacks, so I dug out a small Ultimate Candy tied by my friend Giovanni de Pace. I knew that some of the bigger jacks often get fixated on small sprats, and this little, white fly was as close to the real thing as I could find.

The new setup worked. It produced the biggest jack of the morning while we were drifting down the mangroves on the south bank of the estuary. Kevin was focusing his efforts on the multitude of snapper species that call the mangroves home by casting a heavy Clouser Minnow tight to the structure. We drifted onto a section of the bank when Teddy pointed out a submerged log. “Cast by the log,” he told Kevin. “It usually holds a bigger snapper.” On Kevin’s first cast, a big swirl erupted behind the fly and snapped his line in an instant. I proceeded to take a shot from the stern. I let the fly sink for a while, and on the first strip, the line went tight with a thump. The fish ran up alongside the bank, clearing the line and tearing backing off the reel at a rate of knots. It was a big fish, no doubt. A big jack, for sure. A snapper would have run straight into the structure, right?

Well, whatever it was, it pulled like a donkey, and we all knew that we were in for a bit of a fight. About 30 minutes later and after a bunch of failed attempts to leader the fish, we started to wonder if this could be a record-breaking jack. The dark water of the lagoon was concealing the giant fish, and we were only guessing at the size and species at that point. Eventually, after about 45 minutes, I managed to pull the fish to the surface. The red body rose to the surface, and we burst out with excitement. It was a massive cubera snapper. Why this fish never decided to run into the structure is a mystery, but I am glad it didn’t. The 20 lb leader would have popped like cotton. The mood on the boat quickly went from one of excitement to slight panic. How were we ever going to land this fish? The land, that was in fact the only option. We had to get to shore. We were about a kilometer from any clearing in the dense mangroves. Teddy kicked the boat into gear and feathered the skiff downstream all the while keeping a watchful eye on me and my creaking rod. After what felt like an eternity, the bow touched the sand, and I jumped onto the terra firma. I ran up the steep bank to get some leverage, and after 85 minutes of pure adrenaline, Teddy clapped his hands onto the tail of the red giant.

Shouts of joy rang across the lagoon. We had achieved what seemed impossible. A fish of 104 cm in length on a 20 lb leader and a #2 fly. To make matters worse, somewhere during the fight, the tiny hook had dislodged from its mouth and got caught on the outside of the fish. Line burn over its mouth and lips clearly show where it was initially hooked. Lucky? For sure. Relieved? Even more so.

After a bunch of photos and a successful release, we cracked open a few ice-cold beers and soaked in what was undoubtedly the highlight of my trip.

Special thanks to Teddy for a stellar guiding performance and Kevin, who patiently waited for me to wrangle my fish.

Until next time, cheers Sette Cama.


If you’d like to know more about the fish, fishing, and accommodation at Sette Cama in Gabon, you can contact our destination manager Paul Stevens on 01603 407596 or email at, who would love to speak to you.

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