|Date of Report: Friday, 26th October 2018|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Here in the Midlands we are in our usual spring cycle, where we typically have bouts of drizzle that don’t measure up to the promises of the Norwegians. I refer of course to the weather app called “YR”. A farmer recently told me that they have all dumped that app now, and use “wind guru old”. He stressed the “OLD”. I am still trying to work out how to use the thing. While I do that the bits of drizzle continue to creep in, one evening at a time, greening the veld, but giving way to bright sunshine just as quickly as they arrived.
The net result is crystal clear water, low levels, and warming water.
This is true for both stillwaters and the rivers.
But it can be a strangely productive time too. Just today (a week-day) my mates went off to a club dam in the Kamberg, from where they taunted me with videos and pictures of them fighting fish of up to 58cms, from bare barren banks of a receded lake shore. I sent them a suitably rude message in response.
The stillwaters of the NFFC did not fare well through the winter, in terms of catches, despite the levels staying up after a good autumn. Strange that…good rains, good levels, enough cold, and the fish just don’t co-opearate! But rather than look back at those results, I reckon we should be true to our genetically pre-determined positivity as fishermen, and just look forward with excitement about how good it is going to be. That is what we do right?
There certainly have been some good fish from the rivers, that give substance to that positivity. A four pound brown from the Mooi; a beast from the new public waters on the Bushmans, and a string of fish from the Ncibidwane. Those were smaller fish, as have been most of the fish from the Umgeni, but on the Umgeni front, the numbers definitely seem up on previous years. I measured a 14 degree and a 17 degree temperature there on successive week-ends, and caught fish on both. A 17 degree measurement came from a Kamberg Stillwater today. So, its getting warmer. But the last two drizzler patches have given us daytime temperatures that I thought were surprisingly chilly for this time of the year (8 to 10 degrees). So its by no means gloom and doom for the trout. We are fast approaching the season of thunder storms, and all will be well, I am sure.
As far as flies go, I saw advice on one whatsapp group, to use small red midges and fish them slow. Another post said to use olive coloured flies. At this time of the year I often put a small backswimmer/corixa imitation I the mix on the stillwaters, with some success. On the rivers I have been fishing a “Slim Shady”, a pattern from Juan Ramirez in the states, which I like a lot, and replaces my trusty Troglodyte now if the flow is not strong enough to fish one of those. So it seems that we all have our own ideas on flies. I also suspect that none of us are wrong, and that the fishermen who are mindful of the clear water and need for stealth are the successful ones, no matter what the fly.
On the Umgeni - photo by Zig Mcintosh of Osprey film studios.