We have been targeting the Vaal River more and more lately. We are addicted and I think it is becoming a weekly habit, I just hope the bass fishing doesn’t suffer too much. This past weekend we had quite a day. The weather was absolutely perfect, warm with a bit of cloud cover. Unfortunately the flow rate was a little low for yellows, and I think that the water is also lacking a bit of oxygen. However thanks to the MANY ravenous carp, catfish, and mudfish, the fishing was still loads of fun.
Within 5 minutes of being in the river I was into a belter of a carp, which can be seen above. It may not look like much but it weighed just over 4 kilos, and trust me on a 6 weight rod with 4 kg tippet it was more than exciting to play. This was the very first carp that I have caught on fly and the alias “Free state bone fish” is more than fitting.
From here on it was just hook up after hook up. We caught numerous mudfish, a couple of catfish, and even a Vaal river Moggel, which was the first one I have ever seen. Sadly I had my heart broken but possibly the largest catfish that I have ever hooked… After a brutal 15 to 20 minutes of fighting, my 4 kg tippet broke at one of the knots. It was inevitable; my tackle simply lacked the backbone to turn the fish and I could do nothing but follow it up and down the river. One thing that I must make note of, and this is something that I have noticed many times before, is that catfish seem to go absolutely bananas just minutes before a storm. When there is electricity in the air, a bit of wind, and the faint sound of thunder in the distance, this is when, without a doubt, they begin to feed actively.
Although the one that got away was by far the largest fish we hooked on Saturday, the sheer number of fish we hooked, false hooked, and lost just made the day one of the greatest days I’ve had on the river. In saying this, one of the things that does concern me, is that many of the mudfish that we landed were covered in ulcer like sores and I can’t help but think that this is a red flag for pollution. ill post photos in a later post.