|Date of Report: Tuesday, 6th August 2019|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
I was out on some stillwater this last week-end, having had a dearth of fishing opportunities in recent weeks. My two days out on the water served as a refresher on the ways of winter trout. By that I mean that the fish were around, but bloody minded, and few were brought to the net. They were evident however.....very evident. They were cruising the shale banks, and giving us the middle finger. That is to say, you could see them in the ice cold, and crystal clear water, and they would variously ignore us completely, scare at the movement of a hand, or chase a fly, only to turn at the last minute. So it was, for the most part, an exercise in futility, and at some point I do believe I suggested that we open some bottles of beer.
These nuptial fish are beguiling and frustrating things. I phoned Shaun Futter and asked him what to do. Shaun reckons the way to do it, is to float tube, and cast towards the shale bank from out in the dam, rather than fish from the edge, as we were doing. Someone else said to ignore the fish cruizing along the edge, and cast out into the open water adjacent to the zone, on the grounds that the fish taking a break from taunting you, are there on the fringes having a snack. Others say to fish with tiny San Juan worms, and of course there is the practice of fishing with an egg pattern.
I did have some success with an egg pattern some weeks back, but a man who acts as a self- appointed conscience for me, uttered some very rude words and said that it wasn't fly-fishing. Since then I have at times deployed the tactic of using something big enough to make any self -respecting Trout feel a bit threatened, in the hopes of triggering some aggression. This has been ineffective, and flinging this stuff is dangerous, especially when the wind gets up. And the wind has been getting up. We have just had about five days straight of filthy, dusty, warm berg winds. The gum trees bend, and the hills are obscured by haze. Its not pretty. A lot of the veld is burned, and ash gets in your sandwiches. Your lips also crack in the dryness. Both of these can be solved for a short time with the right medicinal fluids, with which you can wet your lips, and wash away the ash and grit, but soon you are in need of more. It hasn't rained in these parts for a few months now, and there hasn't been any snow on the mountains either. I can't remember when last I heard the gutters tinkling and woke to a cold, rain-washed sky.
But before I depress you too much, it would only be fair to mention, that some monster trout are being caught. I mean "62 cms", "7 lbs" and similar utterances have been heard or distributed on whatsapp groups. Never a large number of these mind you, but they are about. So, I can recommend, that pending the sweetness of spring, take your heavy gear out into the wind, arm yourself with lip ice, and plenty of fluids, and go sit in the tall dry grass of a dam wall somewhere, and throw a long line out into the waves and retrieve it very slowly.
There are worse ways to spend a day.
Neil Riekert in the waves