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Oxe-Eye Tarpon in the Umzimkulu: Reposted

Exploring the Umzimkulu might put you in connection with one of these guys. Ox-eye tarpon are highly sought after trophy gamefish that are spectacular to catch and fight and release of course!

Oxe-Eye Tarpon in the Umzimkulu: Reposted

This is a repost, since the first version was victim to some bugs…

Oxe-Eye Tarpon in the Umzimkulu: Reposted – With a boat full of tourists from Mantis ‘n Moon Backpackers in Umzumbe, we stuck two lures out, a Mydo Luck Shot and a imitation Rapala, by StrikePro, and in the darkening evening the imitation rapala screamed and in the distance we could just make out a violently jumping very fast and acrobatic fish. Garrick was the first guess, until the unmistakable flurry of a tarpon tail walking came clear. Oxe-eye Tarpon. The real deal (Megolops cyprinoides)! We had caught a small one years before, on a jig fly…and heard of a few being caught down under the bridge on flies…but had no idea they got this big in the Umzimkulu at all. And at about 4kg’s, it would have become the new Oxe-eye Tarpon world champion – the current record stands at 2.99kg’s! Anyway, after a magnificent fight we released it healthily after a few photographs and a good bye kiss.

After checking things out a bit further, and finding that although the biggest one weighed officially was 3kg’s, some 18kg specimens have been reported. But this is the crunch line. In Zimbabwe! This raised all sorts of eyebrows, as all of a sudden it dawned upon us, that these tarpon live in the river! They do not go into the sea, they go upriver, and down. They love the brown water, they love fresh water, and they spawn in saltwater! They are very, very hard to catch and to exploit, without nets. They are tough as nails, and aggressively attack anything! They might even survive the holocaust! They can even survive stagnant water by gulping air into their lung-like bladders?! Talk about a superfish. And in Australia it is rated as a higher prize fighter than marlin and barramundi (Australian National Sportfish Association) !!! Right here in the Umzimkulu River. As luck would have it…a camera rolled and the catch was caught on tape…

The real deal – an Oxe Eye Tarpon, finally on the boat after all these years…and what a fight. The fish cartwheeled and tailwalked and sounded and ran and ran and ran…the first dash must have been 20 metres of jumping and tailwalking madness.


To join us for some serious fishing on the Umzimkulu River, call Sean on +27 79 326 9671 or email…or click here for more information. It’s great entertainment, all kids love fishing, it’s safe, it’s fun…the boat is also available for parties, corporate celebrations and team building type activities. We cater with delicious seafood and other Mozambican delicacies from Bela’s Mozambican Restaurant at Spillers Wharf, or we take a braai along.

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