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Nembwe (Serranchromis robustus)  
Species list:
Freshwater Species:
Tiger fish
Thin faced Large Mouth
Sharptooth Catfish
Small Mouth Yellowfish
Natal Yellowfish

Salt Water Species:
King Mackerel
Queen Fish

General description and habitat:
The most striking of the large mouth bream, this aggressive predator hunts with bass like qualities and takes artificial flies with gusto. The dark emerald green colouration, with yellow to orange margins on the fins, and bright egg spots on the anal fins in males are distinctive of the nembwe. Reaching sizes of up to 8lb the nembwe is a popular target species on the upper Zambezi and Okavango Rivers and makes on of the three (tiger, nembwe and sharptooth catfish) species needed to complete the highly sought after Zambezi Grand Slam.

Larger fish prefer deep main channels in the river, whereas smaller fish occur mainly in lagoons and secondary channels. Their breeding season is summer. Nembwe prey mainly on other fish species.

Angling Tackle and Tactics:

Although nembwe are often caught when fishing for tiger fish, particularly when attentions are focused close on river bank structures, the most rewarding method is to specifically target these species. By having an intimate knowledge of the fisheries you will be fishing, and decades of combined time on these waters, Tourette Fishing guides will advise you on the most current and productive methods to connect to a nembwe on fly.

Fishing very tight to, and in structure, with flies tied with robust weed guards is the name of the game. Bulky flies, with lots of inherent movement, that can be fished slower than what you would for tigerfish are most productive. Zonker bait fish patterns, tied with heavy cone heads display super action when fished slowly in and up-and-down motion along structure. Ed Truter “Swamp Donkey” is a great nembwe fly. Fire tiger and copper clousers are also productive. Fly sizes range from 1 – 1/0. Most of the time full length DI-7 lines are used, but when fishing back waters and side channels intermediate and even floating line with long leaders have their application.

A fast action 9ft 7wht rods, matched with a suitable large arbor reel would make the perfect nembwe set up. Due to luggage (read tackle) constraint on most international flights, your standard 8/9 weight tiger fishing outfit will suffice. By changing leader set up and fly selection, this outfit will perform just fine.

Comprehensive tackle lists will be sent out on request keith@tourettefishing.com or on booking.

Browse through the following articles for more on the subject:

Copper Clouser
Cats and Tigers
Mainline tiger fishing

For details on the areas Tourette Fishing targets Nembwe, go to the following pages:

Upper Zambezi Island Tiger Safari
Okavango Catfish Run Tiger Safari


Standard bass tackle with a selection of jigs and grubs that can be fished weedless will be most productive. Rapala’s Fat raps are also a very productive lure. For full details on conventional spin requirements and productive lures please send and email to enquiries@tourettefishing.com requesting such.

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