|Name: Etienne Benade
Phone: 072 552 7267
The lower Vaal has been through some tough times. The controlled restricted echo flow due to the dry conditions has left it with some stagnant shallow sections that are almost lifeless. The temperature of these sections on occasion rises as high as 27°C resulting in extremely low oxygen content. Wading through these sections and disturbing the bottom results in an awful smelly black decomposing substrate rising to the surface. Stay away from these stagnant pools. Even your clothes smell awful. The middle flow, although with low visibility, the rapid sections are delivering fish. They will take anything from a brassie, copperjohn, blue peacock mayfly and the best one of all, the New Zealand pogo nymph. Somehow this fly just keeps delivering when all else fails. We are struggling to get permission from farmers to gain access to the river. They are stepping up security due to the ever increasing incidents which really have nothing to do with flyfishers. A certain farmer cleaned up the mess after a papgooi weekend and drove all the way to the residence of this imbecile, knocked on his door. When the chap opened the door he handed him 2 black plastic bags of rubbish and said: “I think you forgot some of your stuff on my farm”. Needless to say he was banned from the farm! Check the barometer when you want to fish. A poor day’s fishing is almost always coupled to a low pressure system. This is not an old wife’s tale! If you have a favourite rapid on the lower Vaal, fish it, it should produce.
Fighting a largemouth on the Orange
The Orange River.
We had the opportunity to fish a section near Hopetown two Sundays in a row. “Wow!” is maybe the best description. A river with blue, clean water. Unbelievable. You sight fish most of the time, you get broken up by monsters on a 12lb tippet. The yellows have this amazing golden colour and so healthy. We had a good look at a few. All in perfect condition without a scratch. We looked for parasites (don’t know much about them) but found none. Noel lost a huge largie after a 20 minute battle with him using about 200 metres of river bank to persuade the fish into calmer water, with no avail. Remember the Orange current is suitable for white water rafting , so guiding that size fish to where you want it to be, takes some luck. If you wade the Orange you are pushing your luck. The current is severe. Most of the fishing we did from the banks.
Largemouth netted at last