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An 89 cm dusky kob taken on the Dinner Bell

I designed the Dinner Bell fly while guiding Tourette Fishing clients for tigerfishing in Tanzania. It happened after a particularly fussy client insisted on catching the biggest fish yet taken from the Kilombero Valley.  To keep him quiet, I selected the biggest fly he owned, a large, blue saltwater baitfish pattern and tied it to 40 lb fluorocarbon tippet.

The choice of fly was unconventional at the time, but the fly produced so many strikes from big fish, I spent some time thereafter creating a slightly smaller pattern that proved to be extremely effective.   It was so effective that large tigerfish rose like trout to sip in the fly as it sat on the surface straight after a cast. It was the strangest thing to observe, not only because of the rising tigers, but also because of the colour of the fly and the fact that it drew strikes in areas which were usually dead sections.

I called it the Dinner Bell, because it literally made big tigerfish swim several meters to feed. We even observed how other big fish tried to steel the fly from a hooked tiger’s mouth.

It is a big fly that pushes a lot of water and it should draw the attention of anything that hunts in murky water, the kind of predators you may find in central African rivers.

I prefer tying it in mackerel and white, but black and white, grey and white, tan and white (etc. etc.) all seem to have the same effect on large predatory fish. So far I’ve had success luring big tigerfish, barracuda and garrick into taking the fly.

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More recently, I tried the fly for catching dusky kob at night. The kob took the fly hard, but the fish I hooked on it were bigger than I expected. I quickly gathered that even though I preferred fishing without a stripping basket, it was necessary for line control at night when a big kob charged off on the first run. After paying my school fees I tried it once more and landed a beautiful fish on the last pleasant spring tide evening of the season.