|Date of Report: Friday, 13th September 2019|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
was on the river on Sunday the 1st of September, and I must say it was "testy" to say the least. My pal and I spooked 3 fish. I think where we went wrong, is that one of us blinked, and with the water as low and clear as it was that was just a "no no". You can't blink. Not on flat shallow water with pale bedrock and in bright sunlight anyway.
So when a friend asked for some pointers for this coming week-end I said "Leopard crawl, very slowly, Cast once, with 7X tippet, into shady bits. You will either spook it, or catch it. If its neither, then there wasn't a fish there, and you can carry on leopard crawling". I should have added "Put plasters on your elbows and take 2 panado.".
Its tough out there!.
I had a look at the upper Mooi last Saturday, and we saw fish rising. I even spotted one and took some video footage of it with my phone.
In answer to your inevitable questions....no, I wasn't leopard crawling, and yes, I did blink, so maybe the statement above is a bit dramatic, but I think you get the point.
I chatted to my mate Jan in his shop the other day, and he said they did just fine on the opening week-end, but of course he was on a tumbling mountain stream, where there is riffled water, and I was on the middle Umgeni.
Then another fisherman went and fished the very lower sections of one of our rivers. He got a 20 inch brown. The records do not reflect whether he blinked or not, but he was fishing deep slow water, and if I know him, he would have been fishing deep. That is the other advice I have been giving...find a deep pool and fish deep.
These conditions I am describing are largely as a result of the fact that we didn't have a single significant snowfall and rainfall event this winter. One of the Kamberg farmers told me that is the first time that has happened in his 46 years on the farm! And when we did have a cold front the other day, all the guys in Durban were celebrating the rain, but in fact, up in the Trout zone there was as little as 1mm.
For now, though, its not all gloom and doom. Good autumn rains have carried us through the winter surprisingly well, and if we can just have an early enough spring, we will be fine. The trout have bred well (reports of multitudes of fry on the Umgeni and the Mooi).
On the stillwater front: I have had some pretty slow fishing myself. Maybe its just me. I keep receiving whatsapp pictures of fish that beggar belief. Hogs. Absolute hogs!
I am talking 69.5 cms and 4.7 Kg (10.3 lbs)...from who knows where in the Kamberg. And another that was returned without being weighed, also in the Kamberg, which the pundits reckon was 12 pounds, and that was before they started drinking beer.
I am going out on Saturday, and I am going to hold on tight. I just can't decide whether to use 5X tippet for the clear water or 1 x tippet for the fish I am going to hook (if I use tippet fine enough that I don't spook it)
The Middle Umgeni with a bit more water