Date of Report: Saturday, 10th March 2018
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Name: Tim Rolston
Phone: 083 626 0467

There are signs at least that we are heading into autumn, the day time temperatures over the past week have dropped out of the thirties and there are a few more clouds on the horizon. Not enough to provide any real possibility of significant rain but the risk of heat stroke if you head out to the rivers is now somewhat limited.

A recent trip to the Elandspad demonstrated that there are fish about, more so during the cooler parts of the morning and choosing higher beats which receive less sun probably helps in keeping things a little cooler.

The water is both low and clear, typical summer conditions on these rivers but perhaps just a little lower and clearer than in past summers. The fish have to a large degree retreated to the deeper pools and the majority of the feeding activity seems centred on targeting net winged midges or spinners in the air. Perhaps the most frustrating of “hatches” to try to imitate. Unable to imitate flying bugs one is limited to hoping that one of the dozens of leaping fish will make a mistake. They occasionally do, but as said, it can be some of the most frustrating fishing you will ever encounter.

The ideal set up for success is to find a feeding fish in moving water, something that will offer a little camouflage for one’s tippet and the inevitable shadows that the bright sun will cast from it. Trouble is that there aren’t that many feeding fish and there isn’t that much current. So careful approach and constant searching for a catchable fish are the order of the day. I haven’t taken a fish on a fly larger than size 18 for months, and 8X tippet has become standard. Even then the fishing is super tough, and getting into double figures would be a red letter day under these conditions. Being satisfied with tricking one or two difficult fish during a hard day out is pretty much it for the present.

On the other hand, there are additional joys of being on the water. On the last trip a Cape Clawless Otter dived into the pool not feet behind me as we sat and ate lunch. A gigantic splash and massive bow wave was all I saw of the animal, but I like to know that they are out there and with the fishing so slow, this combined with a refreshing swim for ourselves were pretty much the highlights of the day.If you are into catching numbers, well now isn’t the time to venture forth, if you can content yourself with some truly technical fishing, have the patience to enjoy the odd opportunity that may come your way and simply enjoy being out there, it still worth the effort.

With things cooling off the fishing is likely to improve but I doubt it will get much easier until we have some rain.