Return to the Vaal

Big Jon McCaster

Big Jon McCaster

Its been a long time since we updated this blog. It’s been a long time since we went fishing, full stop… But now we are back, and started the season off (a little late) at our favourite spot on the Vaal River. The day was fairy slow going, with relatively few takes occurring. However, I did manage to land one yellow fish within the first 3 casts. Its almost like mother nature sometimes like to tease us with an early take first thing in the morning, with the promise of more to come, and then drops us like a hot potato.

First yellow

First yellow

Besides a feisty crab, the only other fish worth mentioning was a good carp, hooked and landed by Kyle “its on, its off” Fouche. After a long 10 minute fight we managed to just fit it in the net, unweighed and most likely around 3 to 4 kilograms depending on who you ask.

vaal-river-carp-4kg_8

vaal-river-carp-4kg_5

Common carp

In between the two fish landed there were, of course, many fish hooked and lost. The biggest of the day OBVIOUSLY got away. Overall we had a good first day out on the water in a long time. The flow rate was surprisingly good, however, the water was slightly dirtier than recently reported, most likely due to a solid amount of rain that fell the previous day. This, coupled with a subsequent drop in water temperature would have most likely caused the slow bite. In any case, we cannot wait to get out there again, and will do as soon as life allows it.

vaal-river-carp-4kg_6

On dad!!


The Carp King trading cards!

SO we have heard that the “Carp King” Russell Manchip has made quite a name for himself among his Australian students abroad. As a result we have decided to release the first EVER  digital “Carp King” trading cards in honour of the man himself.  So here is the first of MANY to come, designed and made by Gregor Rohrig himself! Print them, use them as a desktop background, do with them what you will! Enjoy! (tongue-in-cheek).

The "Carp King" himself

The “Carp King” himself

 


Huge Kob (Revisited)

App. 66kg

App. 66kg

I just wanted to follow up on a post that I put up a while back regarding a monster Kabeljou (Kob) that was taken at Haga Haga in February 2010. I don’t think many people actually thought the above picture could be real, but rest assured, it was. It was caught by one Jonathan Timm who was kind enough to give us the full story. I hope you are all as jealous as I am! Here it is:

“I went to Haga Haga (Eastern Cape) this past weekend with a few mates. The sea was quite cold and the swell was quite big. No luck in the morning, but at about 12:30pm we were scratching for blue fish and I managed to hook this beauty on light tackle.

I really didn’t think it was an edible. I thought I had fowl hooked a Raggy or something. At one stage the fish was swimming to the right, down the coast towards a huge outcrop of rocks, BUT to my delight it changed direction and swam in the direction of “scattered brick” to the left of where we were fishing. Luckily this beast stayed beyond the rocks/backline in the deeper water for the majority of the fight. This powerful fish peeled at least 250 meters of line on its numerous runs.

Back to the water

Back to the water

The only way I could gain any line on the fish was to use the beach and walk back up towards the bush line. After 40 minutes or so, I managed to get the fish into the shallows. Seeing the large white underbelly from where I was fighting the fish from, I thought it was a huge Raggy swimming belly up. My mate shouted “KOB, KOB, BIG KOB!…” I couldn’t believe my eyes!!!!! I was flabbergasted…

I ran to my bag to get the camera. We took a couple of photos and took its measurement. I had my tagging kit, but in all the confusion and me wanting to release it quickly, I didn’t even think about tagging it… After 45 minutes of reviving the fish in chest deep water, the fish had gained enough strength to swim off.

What an awesome sight, seeing such an awesome specimen swim away.

Going home

Going home

Tackle used:

Rod: Errol Homes custom made high modulus stroke 4

Reel: Daiwa Saltist 40

Line: 0.40mm / 11.5kg Kingfisher Giant Abrasion

Leader: 0.60mm

Hook: 2/o Daiichi

Bait: Pink prawn

 

Fish Weigh/Measurements:

Total Length: 1.83 meters

ORI calculations: 66 kilograms”

Mr. Timm, we don’t know what to say. Catch of a life time!


More Golden Slabs

Slab of Gold

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.

Kyles Catch

Kyles Catch

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

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

A Decent Yellow


Fat Bass

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.

Big Fish

Big Fish

1.8 kg

1.8 kg

 


Yellow Summer!!!

Slab of Gold

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.

Clints Quarry

Clints Quarry

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.

Lovely Yellow

Lovely Yellow

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

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…

 

 

 

 


Fly-reel Storage

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.