Slab of Gold
Kyle and I hit the Vaal River again this past Thursday (28th March) in pursuit of one of our favourite quarry, the Smallmouth Yellowfish, as the waters begin to cool ahead of winter. The river was flowing at probably just under 20 cubics and was also fairly murky with visibility probably sitting at about 15 centimeters. I wasn’t expecting much and to be honest we never took a single fish till about 11 o’ Clock. Once we worked out the pattern though we managed to pull a fair number of fish out, probably ranging between 0.5 and 3 kilograms.
the Pattern was quite simple. basically it consisted of bright green flies (such as rock worms) being fished in fairly deep water, but it took us a while to figure this out. interestingly not a single fish was taken in shallow rapids, which tells me that the fish might be moving slowly towards deeper pools already in preparation for winter.
Another Great Yellow
Above is a picture of another nice sized Yellow. This one took me for a pretty long walk down the rapids before I was able to net it. All in all it turned out to be an excellent day on the water and I did not lose even half the number of fish that I normally do. This could probably be attributed mainly to a new rig that Kyle showed me, but if I could add any advice it would be to fish with only 2 flies. The reasoning for this is that with 3 there is just so much more potential for the loose flies to snag up under water while fighting a monster fish.
A Decent Yellow
Just some quick photos of a lovely sized bass caught this past weekend by one of our fishing buddies Kyle. He took this quite deep just off the weed line of some under water vegetation. He used a watermelon red Fat Albert grub. They seem to work very well this time of year.
Slab of Gold
After a loooooong winter period tis finally the season once again to be jolly. Spring has arrived, water temperatures have risen, and the smallmouth yellow has moved back into the rapids. What an exciting/frustrating day we had had on the Vaal this past weekend. The fish are definitely on the bite as we managed to land a couple of large small mouth yellows and obviously lose many even ‘bigger’ ones.
I took a good friend of mine Clinton “the rod smasher” Van Zyl to splash the water, and what a day he had. He first of all landed one of the largest yellows I’ve seen in real life and then almost landed an even bigger one later that day. The later breaking his rod as he tried to bring it to the surface. It was big. I would estimate close on the 4 kilo mark but we all know the story of the one that got away, right.
I had a relatively frustrating day on the water, landing 3 yellows myself: one tiny, one very large and one somewhere in between, with no scale to quantify the bounty. Sadly I lost more yellows than I ever have in a single sitting, many of which felt like absolute boats. They were heavy, uncontrollable, and impossible to turn. I guess I still haven’t mastered the art of fighting a yellowfish. As I watch others seamlessly managing to keep their fish by their feet once hooked, I cannot stop them from running downstream and breaking me off. I break trace after trace and it feels at the time as if there is nothing I can do to turn the fish in the strong currents.
Many Fish Had Sores
Well there is always next time I guess, and next time I’m going back with heavier tackle to catch the ones that got away…
Line wrapped around large empty containers
As a fly angler there are few things more infuriating than pulling out my dormant sets of reels at the beginning of a new season only to find irreversible degrees of curl in the fly-lines. It’s like we pay top dollar for the best of the best and then downgrade it to less than entry level line just by letting it sit idle for a couple of months, coiled up on the reels.
Well, I’ve been testing a slightly awkward, yet seemingly worthwhile, and effective method of storing my lines, during times when I know that there will be big time periods between using certain rigs. For example my yellowfish gear, which I don’t touch during winter.
The method of line storage is simple, and entails using empty protein shake containers (or any other container with large round circumference). I simply cut a tiny hole in the containers, feed the leader end of the line through the hole and then on the inside of the container loop the leader end around a small long piece of wood (such as a piece of chopstick) to keep it secure. I then wrap the entire length of the line around the bottle very neatly, at a reasonable tension (but not too tight).
I must admit that it can become a slightly awkward exercise, and depending on how many reels you want to store in this way, storage space may be problematic. In saying this, however, the condition that the line comes off the container when needed is simply worth way more than the effort. Give it a try and decide for yourself.
Trout at night, what do you know?
Well summer is officially over and the cold weather has moved in, which brings us to that time of year when we angling enthusiasts attempt to soften the blows of winter’s fishlessness by migrating up to the ever majestic trout water of the winter wonderland that is Dullstroom. On the 8th of June a couple of us headed up to little trout beck in search of our favourite cold water species, the illusive rainbow trout, which I must add has become not only my favourite cold water species but also one of my favourite species full stop.
We arrived at our venue late the Friday afternoon to find a couple of the lads slapping the water to no avail. Only after nightfall did our first fish hit dry land. This was with the arrival of Chris “the gold digger” le Roux, who (having just pulled up in his car) jumped out, took my brand new Explorer Guide series II out my hand, made his first cast and subsequently landed a fish in front of many a dropped jaw. Very impressive Chris, now give me my rod back.
Another decent rainbow
After a very well behaved and gentlemanly friday night we scurried out of bed the following morning to slap the water some more. The weather seemed top notch from the inner side of the lounge behind our coffee cups, but then we stepped outside. In short the wind was howling, and the temperature had dropped staggeringly with the arrival of a vicious cold front. We struggled a little but a few fish were taken by our more experienced fly fishers.
My only fish
Unfortunately I only managed a morning session that day and my trip was cut short but i still managed to land a fair rainbow and picked up on similar patterns that we have in the past. In short, the fish that were taken were almost exclusively taken on strikingly orange flies, my favourite being the Pancora wooly bugger, but many also being buttoned on pure orange buggers as well. This always seems to be the go too colour at this time of year, and I suggest it dominate your fly box during the coldest months.