Something magical happens in the Katombora rapids every June. On a moonless night, as the flood waters of the Zambezi recede, countless small silver fish make a dash into the main river. This is the dininga or linenga run – the fishing highlight of the year for both local and international fishermen. This is the time when the diminutive Zambezi Parrotfish return to the main river, having bred in the safety of the floodplains.
During the weeks of the dininga run, the normally tranquil villages of Katombora are transformed into a festival of people and fish. For the Katombora community, this represents their main source of income for the year. The fishermen of Katombora paddle out at last light to set their distinctive conical reed nets in the rapids, which fill with fish overnight. They then return at dawn in dugout canoes to collect their catch. The villages become a sea of silver, as every inch of space is pressed into use to dry fish. People travel from far and wide to come and buy fish.
Humans are not the only ones who travel far to get a taste of dininga. Big hen tigerfish that would normally never school gather from all over the river system to lie in wait beneath the rapids as the dininga make their dash. For fly fishermen, the dinnga run is a once in a lifetime tigerfishing feast. According to Bart, the best time to fish the dininga run is during a dark moon. The Zambezi Parrotfish is a nocturnal species, and takes advantage of these dark nights to avoid being spotted by predators. Bart favours dark and purple flies for fishing the dininga run, as these best mimic the pattern of the diniga themselves. Despite the best efforts of both men and tigers, the majority of the dininga escape and are able to return to breed again the next year, making this a sustainable source of income for the Katombora community. We are planning to open The Island in June next year, just in time for the 2017 dininga run. So if this sounds like a fly fishing experience you can’t miss, get involved now!