On Saturday Joseph, the boys and I went for a fishing trip on the Kavango River. The night before I asked them, what time we would leave and we agreed on 8am. But with African time this meant getting the fishing hooks, lines and sticks ready at 8am. So Albert was send to the shebeen to get some hooks and string while the rest of us cut and peeled a fishing stick for Joseph and myself. After attaching the hooks and completing the fishing sticks, we went down to the river and took two mukuros – local canoe – to go up the river. One for Albert and me and Joseph and Gerhard in the other one. Paddling was hard because we went upstream and also the paddle was a dried palm stem with big thorns on the side so I kept cutting myself everywhere and the paddle got stuck all the time in sea wheat. Joseph and the boys were laughing at me struggling with the paddle but I made Joseph switch paddles with me and he agreed that is was not the fault of the sirumbu not knowing how to paddle. When we reached the first fishing spot, Albert showed me how to attach the worm to the hook. You basically had to poke the worm right in the center and then slide the worm over the hook so the hook wood be fully covered by the worm. I struggled a little with it because the worms were really slim and slippery. I also was a little disgusted with the worm blood on my hands.
While I was still busy with attaching my worm, Albert had already caught 2 fish. When I started fishing, the boys were just giggling because I had a hard time with sorting out the string and making sure not to fall of the boat. Also I was not fishing properly and Albert showed me how to do it. You had to through the string in, wait for the hook to sink to the bottom, then pull it up slowly and wait for fish to nibble on the worm. If you could feel something pulling the string, you had to quickly pull hard at it to catch the fish. It looked easy when the others did it because they nearly always got a fish. I didn’t have much luck but my worm got eaten so I had to attach a new one pretty much every time I got my hook back to the surface, while the others continued using the same one. After the guys decided that the first spot was used up, we continued to a new spot but still I was in no luck. At the third spot I was ready to give up and told Albert, that this was the last worm I am going to attach and then I was done. When I attached it, I thought “this is the best one so far” and tadaaaaaaa I caught my first fish!!! It was pretty small though. We again moved to a new spot although after catching the one fish, I was ready to go home. I took a break from fishing and just watched the boys catching one after another. At the last spot I was so bored that I gave it another go and on the first try I caught quite a big one. Even Albert was impressed and asked me, where I was fishing. This catch brought the fun back and I was eager to catch another one. It was still taking me forever to get the worms on but I wanted to do it properly because I figured that it was the key to making a catch. And again I succeeded. Now I was definitely done and ready to go home because I could also feel, that I was getting sun burned.
Although we were going downstream the way back was pretty tough because it was a very windy day. Gerhard and Albert had to switch because Albert and I were not getting anywhere but almost ended up in Angola – which is just across the river – and I didn’t bring my passport. We were rowing hard and I was so happy to make it back shore without sinking. It was a fun trip and I was happy that I had caught at least three fish but I am sure that this was my one and only fishing trip on the Kavango River. Although I took a shower right when we got back home, I still felt like smelling of fish.