Sette Cama, Gabon
Dylan Rose January 25, 2023
Sette Cama, Gabon, Africa - African Waters
I'm recently back from my first trip to Africa where I experienced the adventure of my lifetime. I visited an operation called Sette Cama in the nation of Gabon run by our partners at African Waters. This massive estuary drains a pristine and dense jungle eco-system that is home to gorillas, chimpanzees, hippopotamus, elephants, forest buffalo, sitatunga, mangabey monkeys, a gazillion different bird species, and every imaginable type of creepy-crawly critter you can imagine. It's also home to some of the largest tarpon found anywhere in the world, mammoth Cubera Snapper, Guinean barracuda and super-charged longfin jacks.
Where did you go and how did you get there?
Gabon is located in western Africa and holds the distinction of allocating 11% of its territory as protected National Park, the highest percentage of any country in the world. The crown jewel of Gabon is Loango National Park, recently made famous for its surfing hippos in the Barrack Obama narrated Netflix documentary called "Our Great National Parks". Sette Cama sits on the southern border of Loango. Anglers first must fly into the capital of Gabon, called Libreville. From there, it’s a short charter flight to Gamba, followed by a 45-minute boat-ride to the camp.
Where and how did you fish?
There are two scenarios for the fishery, the first is boat-based and in the lagoon system which involves chasing terns crashing bait to find longfin jacks as well as blind-casting among the mangroves for hard-fighting snapper species. The second involves wading a beach area near the mouth of the estuary where it meets the ocean. This involves wading into the ocean or lagoon-mouth to your waist and casting a 12wt in the wind for hours on end and often well into the middle of the night in the pouring rain.
What did you fish for?
We spent seven days at the Sette Cama camp fly fishing for truly massive tarpon (some pushing 200-pounds), giant Cubera snapper, African threadfin, Senegal Kob, longfin jacks, and a host of smaller snapper species.
Where did you stay?
Sette Cama is a remote and rustic camp that sits on a thin strip of land between the lagoon on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The lodge’s rooms are basic, but offer a comfortable retreat, complete with running hot and cold water, air conditioning and plenty of room to store and manage your gear. The main lodge is reminiscent of a well-patinaed safari camp complete with ample outdoor dining, lounge space with gracious views of the beautiful lagoon out its front door.
For the second part of the trip we embarked on a 4 day safari where we stayed at various tent camps in Loango National Park. We embarked on an 18km hike, 20-mile boat journey, followed another 10km gorilla trek through the heart of Loango for a 3-night/3-day safari where we stayed in remote tent camps. The highlight of this portion of the trip was visiting the Loango Gorilla Project where we set out with pygmy trackers to find a family of western lowland gorillas. We spent about an hour with the family and were extremely lucky that the 400lb silverback named Kamaya allowed us to peacefully visit without incident. Spending time with the gorillas in the wild while on their level and on their terms will remain a highlight of my life. The safari portion of our adventure added an immense dimension to our experience. Spending time with large African fauna in their own natural environment is an immersive African experience.
What equipment did you use and how did it perform?
For the lagoon fishing out of the boat I primarily fished the new Sage Salt R8. Just when you think these incredible rods cannot get lighter, more powerful, and more responsive they release a gamechanger! The rod excelled in this environment with a Tropical Outbound Short and paired with a Spectrum Max.
For the estuary fishing I employed a Sage 12-wieght Salt HD with a Thermo and a Tropical Outbound Short. The Thermo handled these massive fish beautifully and was rugged enough to withstand the high heat, salt, sand and fish upwards of 150-pounds. I was impressed and happy with all of my gear on this trip.
Sette Cama, Gabon
Fish for supersized saltwater species including the largest tarpon in the world, African threadfin, cubera snapper, Senegal kob, longfin jacks and more.