It’s the winter season again. This is the time where we reluctantly pack our bass rods away and dust off our trout fly rods and reels. This past weekend (27th May 2011) we sped down to our usual trout fishing haunt, Dabchick Cottage, just 5 kilometers past Dullstroom. Now we have posted about this superb venue before and have noted that the exclusive trout dam on location is NOT for the faint hearted. It is a difficult pond to fish. Surrounded by reeds, which are difficult to cast around, one needs a pair of waders or a float tube to truly give themselves a fighting chance. However, having said that, for the experienced angler the dam has proven to produce some very high quality fish.
This last trip was no exception. We set out early Saturday morning in the blistering cold, red noses and all. At the time that we got to the dam the conditions were perfect, good temperatures, little wind, and a bit of fish action. The “Bass Bugger” Shaun Taylor and I had different starting strategies when it came to fly selection. We had both heard the saying “big orange and ugly” for winter trout! He decided to take this advice and tied on a large pancora woolly bugger, which is basically a woolly bugger with a bright orange and yellow tail. I on the other hand was not convinced and opted for a slightly more finesse arrangement of an orange trout egg trailed about 20 centimeters down the line by a small orange Flashback Nymph.
I fished slow and steady while the Bass Bugger pounded the water fairly quickly. Within 5 minutes he was on with the pancora! A decent fish of over a kilo broke the surface and was soon after netted. Then it was my turn. I felt a knock on the line and the fighting began! The 1.5 kilo trout took the orange trout egg, which meant that both the fast and slow approaches were working. Until the Bass Bugger literally proved to me that my fish was probably a fluke by landing another large fish in quick succession shortly after mine. We had fished for an hour or so when the wind picked up, blowing a strong icy breeze over the dam, both freezing our extremities and putting the fish to sleep. We caught nothing after that for a while and so decided to pack it in and hit the town for breakfast at our favourite pancake palace Harries Pancakes. They really do make AMAZING food, a must visit, it’s just too bad that their service is so consistently shocking.
In conclusion, although both the Bass Bugger and I caught our personal best trout that weekend, we also learned a valuable lesson: when the sky is cloudless and the wind is strong and icy, the only trout that you will be catching is at the Duck and Trout restaurant, go there instead.