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(2008) Who hasn't heard of the great African lake, Victoria?01 lake victoria 20220211 1171204771

I think all anglers know the name, and that it is one of the world's largest lakes. Well, that was as much as I knew myself, until I was invited to fish there with Danish guide, Bent, who lives in Entebbe, right on the lake front.

From here Bent, Søren Honoré from the Danish magazine Fisk & Fri, and I set out to find the huge Nile Perch, which has inhabited the lake for over 50 years.

Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria, named after Queen Victoria, is the world's largest tropical Lake with its 68.800 square kilometres. It is the second largest lake in the world, only surpassed by Lake Superior in North America. The lake has a shoreline of no less than 3.440 km (2.138 miles) and there are more than 3.000 islands scattered around the lake. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have shores to the lake.

Lake Victoria was first discovered, by a European, in 1858, when a British explorer was searching for the source of the Nile (the White Nile).

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Nile Perch
The Nile perch is a well-known sportsfish, specifically from Lake Nasser in Egypt, and the Nile itself. In 1954 Nile perch were introduced into Lake Victoria. The locals named the fish "M'Puta", the saviour, because of its enormous food value. However, in the process, the Nile perch (along with pollution) wiped out several native fish species from Lake Victoria.

The Nile perch is mainly popular to anglers because of its size. It can reach over 2 metres in length and a weight of well over 200 kg. In Lake Victoria the biggest fish recorded weighed 180 kg, caught by local fishermen, and the biggest Nile perch caught on rod and reel in the lake weighed 114 kg.

The IGFA world record is 104.32 kg or 230 lbs, caught in Lake Nasser, Egypt.

Victoria Nile Perch fishing
Early in the morning we walk down to Entebbe Yacht Club, where Bent keeps his boats. One of Bent's boat guides, Godfrey, has already loaded the boat with fishing equipment, 200 litres of fuel, and some provisions for the next three days fishing expedition on the huge lake. We expect to stay overnight on Bugala Island, two hours boat ride from Entebbe, in an area called Ssese Islands, which consists of about 86 islands.

We make a straight dash across to Ssese, where Bent has marked out a couple of small rocky islands to fish around. Thousands of birds and a few reptiles inhabit these islands.19 lake victoria 20220211 2003087635

We are trolling around these islands the first two days, trying our best to get some big fish. Actually, every day we hook very big fish, but with the uneven bottom and many rocks, we lose them all to broken lines – braided line doesn't do very well on rocks, especially with a 20-50 kg fish on the end. But we do catch nice fish both days, with several at about 10 kg.

In the evenings we get the local people to barbecue some Nile Perch meat for us, and I must say it tastes fantastic.

The last day, when we leave Bugala Island, we target other islands on the way back to Entebbe. On our way we encounter a very odd sight; it looks like the water is smoking… but Bent explains that it is swarms of "lake flies", a type of mosquito, that doesn't sting (thanks God), also called Phantom Midges. The swarms are absolutely enormous, billions of flies, utterly unbelievable, and when we are trolling between some islands, one of these swarms engulfs us completely. Indescribable, how lost you feel inside a billion mosquitoes. Well, we survived – just a little shaken, haha…

About an hour from Entebbe we fish around another cluster of islands, and especially in a big bay, where Bent has had much success before. Godfrey complains that the water temperature is too high, 27 degrees, but we still manage to wrench out some fish in the afternoon, with the biggest at 13½ kg, the biggest fish of the trip.

What's next
I have already started planning the next trip with Bent. We agree that more days on the lake, with excursions to islands further from Entebbe and population, topped up with some days at Murchison Falls, will be a perfect combination. This will be a grand trip - to experience both this huge, fantastic lake, and also see some of Uganda's natural wonders, the waterfalls, and the nature and wildlife in that area.

Do it yourself
If you are interested in trying this yourself, feel free to contact Bent on his email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can contact me on my email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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