OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF FOSAF
JULY/AUGUST 2019 Vol. 33 No.173
Contents - July/August 2019 Editorial - Andrew Savs..................................................................................................................................................4 The usual editorial guff and a little more Telling Stories - Andrew Savs ........................................................................................................................................6 A regular witty column on all things flyfishing and beyond Flying Trout - Campbell Lyons.......................................................................................................................................8 From airlifting to aerial stocking South African law of freshwater fishes - Ian Cox.......................................................................................................23 What you need to know to stay on the right side of the law Women in Waders - Denise van Wyk..........................................................................................................................28 On the vice with Denise Heritage Flies : Part 3 - Peter Brigg..............................................................................................................................33 Historical series on South African Flies - Caribou Spider and the RAB Up close and personal with World Masters Champion Richard Gorlei - Andrew Mather.....................................37 A Salute to one of our own Queenstown Fly Fishing Club- Andrew van Wyk.......................................................................................................43 The home of trophy trout Where the monster live- Andrew van Wyk.................................................................................................................49 If you can brave the cold Operating a remote wilderness lodge - Luke A Saffarek.........................................................................................56 You gotta do what you gotta do Spatsizi Fly Fishing - Luke A Saffarek..........................................................................................................................64 Dry fly to monster Rainbows Middelpunt - Hennie Viljoen.......................................................................................................................................69 Perhaps Mpumalanga's best kept secret The Tiger Clouser - Terry Babich.................................................................................................................................73 A sunset to catch a Tiger Kokstad Fly Fishing Club- Marius Jonker...................................................................................................................77 Flyfishing Festival 2019 2019 Senior A South African Fly Fishing Championship - Shaun Dickson and Gilles McDavid ..........................83 Report back from sleepy Pilgim's Rest The Magic Midge pupa - Mike Backhouse..............................................................................................................87 A killer on stillwaters Suspender Midge - Gerhardt Goosen......................................................................................................................94 Step by step of an effective pattern for stillwaters FOSAF News and members winner...........................................................................................................................98
NAVIGATING THE MAGAZINE You will note that we make liberal use of hyperlinks both to pages within the magazine and to websites outside it. Links to external websites will enable you to further explore these topics. The idea is that you can navigate around the magazine from the contents page. Each item on the contents page is hyperlinked to the article in the magazine. This means you do not have to scroll through the entire magazine if you don’t want to, you can access specific articles merely by clicking on the link. We also want you to share the magazine with your friends on social media, just go to the share button when you’re looking at the magazine on issuu.com and you’ll be able to send a link via email, Facebook or Twitter. There is also a hyperlink on the bottom of each page linking you to our website where you can download back issues. Happy exploring!
SOUTHERN AFRICAN FLYFISHING: • Available free of charge online at www.issuu.com; • Published bi-monthly; • The official magazine of the Federation of Southern African Flyfishers (FOSAF); • Africa’s original flyfishing magazine LAYOUT AND PUBLISHER: Southern African Flyfishing Magazine (Pty) Ltd Registration No. 2018/356867/07 www.saflyfishingmag.co.za firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORS: Ian Cox (082 574 3722) Andrew Mather (083 309 0233) Andrew Savides (081 046 9107) CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE: Terence Babich, Mike Backhouse, Peter Brigg, Ian Cox, Shaun Dickson, Gerhardt Goosen, Marius Jonker, Campbell Lyons, Andrew Mather, Gillies McDavid, Luke A Saffarek, Andrew Savs, Brett van Rensburg , Hennie Viljoen, Andrew van Wyk and Denise van Wyk. COPYRIGHT Copyright in the magazine reposes in the Publisher. Articles and photographs are published with the permission of the authors, who retain copyright. The magazine and content may be hyperlinked and downloaded for private use but may not be otherwise hyperlinked or reproduced in part or whole without the written permission of the publishers. DISCLAIMER While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this magazine, the publishers do not accept responsibility for omissions or errors or their consequences. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers, the editors or the editorial staff.
Return to contents
EDITORIAL Winter road trips are somehow just that much more special than those taken in summer. Standing around outside garage shops in the pre-dawn, stomping your feet in a futile attempt to shake off the cold while holding a steaming coffee cup in both hands is part of a seasonal pleasure that is hard to describe. Our winter landscape never disappoints either. When the sun is low to the horizon the entire landscape radiates in pastel shades that deny its frigid ruggedness. After dark it is illuminated by the glowing streaks of veld fires. Road trips can be dusty affairs and no matter how new your truck the stuff settles everywhere until even your teeth are coated with it. The experienced angler knows that the only tonic for this is regular hits of “Old Brown”, that peerless local anti-freeze. While river-run trout are left to do their funky thing, our yellows abide the season with a clenched-jaw lethargy that prevents all but the most desperate punter from taking a shot at them. Not all is lost and if you’re brave enough to negotiate lake ice winter offers abundant trouting. It’s enjoyed by those with a high tolerance to hypothermia and an abnormal craving for trophysized fish. If your inclination is to travel, and if your budget allows for it, then you could do worse than to consider tigerfish and bream, the current pin-up darlings of social media. In the northern hemisphere it’s already high summer and despite some deep concerns about unusual weather patterns the traditional angling season is in full swing. This edition of SA Flyfishing Magazine proudly brings you the richest content available in a local publication of its type. We take a look at stillwater trout angling with a unique method of fishing midges. The Queenstown and Kokstad Fly Fishing Clubs are featured. These two clubs are known for their trophyproportioned fish. The views aren’t bad either. Shaun Dickson and Gillies McDavid report on the recent “ANationals” and make the point that "comp" anglers are no different to the rest of us. The A-Nationals winner himself, Brett van Rensburg, continues his excellent series of articles that challenge and help you to improve your angling abilities. Peter Brigg and Terry Babich talk flies while the Women in Waders profile a lady fly tier of great charm and ability. We take a light-hearted but enlightening look at the Law of Rivers and we show off some local fishing destinations. Our friend in British Columbia, Luke Saffarek, writes to us from the Spatsiki Wilderness and shares the less glamorous aspects of running a wilderness lodge. Campbell Lyons has been researching a special project for months. The piece is a fascinating, well-researched and detailed historical account of, well #spoileralert, why don’t you just read it for yourself? I meanwhile leave on a Southern Berg road trip tomorrow and I can hardly wait. Savs
The Finance Team
Call: 0861 007 917
Part - Time financial executives when you need them, for as long as you need them and no longer. A professional consultancy that delivers. So why The Finance Team?
0 0 0 0 0 0
Qualified, experienced team members who add value from day one
Your requirement is assessed by qualified Chartered Accountants Flexible solutions to meet your requirements and budget
No lengthy contacts. 30 DAY NOTICE PERIOD All-inclusive rates - No hidden costs No upfront placement fees
The Station Office Park, 63 Peter Place Road, Bryanston, Johannesburg, 2191 DURBAN
The Sett Office Park 1 Tamarind Close, Umhlanga, KZN, 4319 CAPE TOWN
The Pavillion, Cnr Portswood & Dock Roads, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001
Rhymes With Orange
Savs I sloped off upstream and out of earshot of the mumbled stream of profanities that were being directed at me. I hung my head hung low and was feeling pretty shamefaced about the whole incident. Despite having apologised sincerely, profusely and repeatedly the Supermodel was having none of it. I explained, in some technical detail, the deficiencies resulting in my awkwardness with that style and length of rod but he simply shook his head and spat expletives that, rather disturbingly, attributed to the character of my mother certain unwholesome proclivities. I held my rod out to him and offered to sort the mess out but he just stood there on the bank shaking his head and growing increasingly incandescent with frustration. To be fair, I had left a rather ugly knot in his expensive and meticulously prepared leader. In fact, the last time that you might have seen such a knot was when that blind kid who, being too goodnatured to process sarcasm, came stone last in competition at an international Boy Scouts jamboree. To the Supermodel’s dubious credit he’s certainly quite something of a multitasker. As he worked his way deeper into the complex mess that he held in his fingers he continued upwards into my family tree, cursing each of my antecedents along the way. It was going to take something special for this storm to blow over, I could just sense it. If you judge a day by the inclination of your quarry to impale themselves on your imitation then the day was indeed a memorable one. The Artisan and I each hooked and landed several substantial browns in the time that it took the Supermodel to complete his labour and to catch up with us. A lesser man may have grown in annoyance as a result of our good fortune but he took it as a good omen and muscled himself upstream towards the sparkling head of a long pool. Netting enough quality fish in half an hour to eclipse the sort of return that would ordinarily be sufficient to constitute a “good day” restored his mood to its natural equilibrium.
Return to contents
Midday found us clustered at the tail of a small run, no deeper than your thigh and no bigger than a single garage. The Artisan picked his way through it methodically, with each cast landing maybe a foot longer or wider than the preceding one. He took four or five from the typically unexceptional hole and then joined us where we stood to one side, munching on sandwiches. Competitive angling (and don’t kid yourself, unless you’re a Zen monk all angling is competitive) is a game of accumulating whatever small advantage you can from 1% improvements in technique or craft. My particular 1% advantage is foundationed on my not sharing obvious hotspots with my adversaries. So, throwing my crust into the grass and pulling my fly from its tender, I stepped into the recently vacated run and drifted my pattern through an oval of water that I had noticed earlier was slightly greener in tint than the water around it. Despite a good mess of fish having come from the run the take was immediate and there was a distinct weight on the other end of the line. The brown held firm and then tore off downstream. I turned it and the Artisan began a complex landing manoeuvre, almost as though he had been suddenly afflicted with an unusually virulent strain of St Vitus’ dance. He twirled and he whirled, while holding a sandwich with his mouth and with a fruit juice in one hand while the other flailed a net around his head. For an accomplished musician he displayed a dire dearth of rhythm. His colleague was equally of no practical use and just stood in the way, barking instructions and spraying breadcrumbs. When the leader wound itself around his ear the fish mercifully shrugged off the hook and saved him the ignominy of the nickname “van Gogh”. And that’s how these things go. Most days on a river are singularly lacking in the notion of poetry that has so insidiously sought to attach itself to every aspect of this pastime. Perhaps it is a reflection on my character, but I rarely see anything but the most vague sniff of poetry when I’m fishing. The closest that I recall was a recent late afternoon of sublime dry fly angling on a perfect stream against the most incredible sunset. The www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
poetry of the session was sullied, as is so often the case, in its dying moments. Ambushed on the return walk by a pressing call of nature I found myself clenching various parts of my lower body while trying to run up a particularly steep incline. Ain’t nothing poetic about that. (A fact that can be confirmed by the janitorial staff who witnessed the incident and immediately petitioned for danger pay.) Okay, I’ll give it to you that there is some poetry in the gentle art; but it’s only to be found in the most fleeting moments of what can only be called grace. Moreover, these moments of grace are only evident to those who spend a bit of time, to quote a friend, “chasing squirrels”. Grace is manifest in nature, and any firsthand experience that we have of it is purely coincidental. Grace is almost never occasioned at the hand of the angler. Sure, the gentle unfolding of a perfect loop (I’m not describing myself here) could have those who are so inclined reeling off a few lines of verse, but it seems hardly worth the trouble. The perfectly dragless, tip-toe drift of a dry (still not me) will have some among us reaching for their quills - but isn’t this all just a little mundane? Obvious? I mean, the only word that I can think of that rhymes with “riffle” is “piffle” and that’s probably as much as you need to remember if you are moved to write piscatorially-inspired poetry. Only the other night I downloaded from cyberspace to my iPad a much vaunted book that I have been aching to read. Imagine my horror when each chapter was prefaced with and contained hackneyed strings of vaguely related words that in some angling circles have come to pass for poetry. My issue with this, to quote Morrissey, is that “it says nothing to me about my life” – and that’s kinda the point of poetry, isn’t it? Let me demonstrate to you what I mean. I have chosen a haiku to get the act done as quickly and painlessly as possible: Yonder nebs a trout Deliver your cast with grace Not right on its head, you chop!
Return to contents
Flying trout The Elandspad: From Airlifting to Aerial Stocking
Campbell Lyons It was early evening as we sat on the stoep of a small restaurant next to the road between Riebeeck Kasteel and Riebeeck West. In the distance the sun was setting and it cast a golden hue on the wheat fields that stretched out across the valley. The mountain ridges on the other side of the valley had started to turn to a feint orange. Our discussion was heading towards the culmination of a series of previous conversations about the human history of the Elandspad river.
type scenery and terrain, magnificent upperreaches angling water; copy- book breeding and development areas – and was, by the accident of one waterfall, as yet only a quarter developed… If the lower waters of the Elandspad provided the sport they did – what might not the upper reaches produce: granted that they could be stocked? … in the Upper Elandspad we have, I think, a trout line that hasn’t even yet been drawn. And one, moreover, that is capable of infinite possibilities.” (Piscator,1957:92) 1
This culmination resembled in a sense two people walking down a dusty farm road, exchanging thoughts and now and then discovering an item of interest along the way before finally parting. Along the way he had mentioned something that, although both of us were caught up deep in conversation, was as if a loose stone had been absent-mindedly and inadvertently kicked into a bush on the verge on the road and, in the process, flushed out some birds by accident. One of these was the mention of the airlifting of trout into the upper Elandspad on 28 November 1961.
The exploration was followed up in 1958 with a hike and portage of trout to be stocked along the upper reaches by Alan Yates and the exploration group. Approximately 800 fingerlings, bred from wild rainbow trout in the Wemmershoek, were carried up in polythene bags placed in cartons and loaded into the middle of backpacks covered with newspapers and with dunnage around them. The fingerlings were successfully released into the river above the waterfall mentioned in 1957, following a seven hour hike. Alan Yates writes the following regarding this stocking: “it was on the basis of these (sketch maps from the exploration in 1957) that the December 1958 expedition was planned. I was firmly convinced in advance that the job would prove well worth while; examination of the river on the spot (even though a short section of it was scrutinised) more than confirmed this conclusion was justified. Splendid pools and runs abound. There is plenty of shade and plenty of depth. The trout should do well there…” (Piscator,1958:85)
Many years after this particular conversation and after going through past issues of the CPS journal Piscator it seems that the airlift of 1961 was an outcome of the earlier exploration of the middle and upper reaches of the river by Alan Yates in 1957. Yates had made the case for stocking this stretch of river in a report by the CPS exploration group and recorded that ”Gradually I formed the conclusion that the Elandspad offered something unique… Witels www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
The 1961 airlift and stocking of the upper reaches of the Elandspad, by comparison took a mere 2 hours and considerably less effort. 1800 Brown trout from the Jonkershoek hatchery were loaded into a SAAF Sikorsky S55 helicopter and distributed along the middle and upper reaches following landings at several locations along the river where they were carried down to the pools to be released from plastic containers. The plantings followed a very much similar route to that of the 1958 stocking. (see photo) The senior officer of the SAAF crew involved in the operation indicated that the stocking was possible because it formed part of the crews’ routine mountain rescue exercises. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
The airlift stocking was covered in the Piscator and was novel and significant enough to make the front page of both the Cape Times and the Cape Argus, both of which covered the operation in some detail. The Cape Times carried a front page preview of the operation on the morning of 28 November 1961 with the title ‘Helicopters will Airlift Boland Trout’, while the afternoon newspaper, the Cape Argus, carried two front page photographs of the stocking earlier in the day and a report on page 13 with the title ’Trout flown by helicopter to Dutoitskloof’. To read the content of these articles see https//www.piscator.co.za/CPS2/ from-the-piscator/history/helicopter Return to contents
hGrc.. downs rc,am he:, river h'1e been e x p l o r c d .ind mappc,d during pr v1ou$ expGdil:.ione,. (Sec. Pisca or N2 38 &.44)
Wa t::r Fall 5\-cc.p
from ske c..he-s prep.ar d Thi$ ei.kc.kh l'l')ap w..as a k n ;n he field durin9 an e,,c.pc:.d,ar,d no e6 a'.:, to basic t,;on in Ma_y \96\., a n d c.orrec d kiod!) oupplied by H,c de-la,l from Map& Dc p a rh n en Rc.pvb l<c T,-i9ooomclrica \ Surv of 5oul\-, Africa.
Co""'p led Drawn
pyÂ· F. Simp&oo, A J. Ne.I, J.
K Gi\\, M W,lsoo . A J. Ne:.\ .
in\.o Ri'lcr bed - - Dn5e, Undc.r<3r-ow Ke,vio''-=> D,lonna -
Ml DDLE E LAN DSPAD FROM
. .. .
BARRIER FALLS TO POFADDER POOL
SCALE: 500yds.= Iin --·---Camp
D ,rntc, P th Roul
by nc. p s o - - - - - - - - Unrnad<W Rou K\oo V'WWW Narrow Forrnahon
The helicopter used in this airlift was designated with the SAAF registration number A6. Three of them were bought from the USA in 1957 to form the nucleus of 17 Squadron at Langebaan Air Force Base under the command of Major Geoff Tatham, who was the pilot of the Sikorsky S55 in the 1961 airlift. They were designated with the registration numbers A4, A5, A6. All three were sold to Autair in 1967 which later became Court Lines and then Court Helicopters after the acquisition of the company by Murray and Roberts. They were highly sought after at the time, as the power-plant was a 9-cylinder Pratt and Whitney Wasp radial. The earlier versions used by Autair had a 7-cylinder Wright cyclone engine and the extra 2 cylinders of the SAAF Sikorsky engines added an extra 100 hp for each cylinder. The Sikorsky S55 that was involved in this unique operation, after the acquisition by Autair, was used for shoreto-ship replenishments before being writtenoff substantially while cleaning some hightension power lines for Eskom outside the www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
town of De Aar on 30 November 1970. (www.helis.com/database/cn/24705/) My companion along this conversational long and windy dirt road, Hans Visser, mentioned that the last two trout from this airlift were caught in 1968. At the time of the airlift stocking the land along and around the Elandspad remained fallow and was used for grazing until 1963 at which time he made a very small and tentative start in establishing a hatchery at the confluence of the Kraalstroom tributary and the Du Toitâ€™s stream which feed the lower Elandspad. The beginnings were very basic and austere - a caravan for shelter and two plastic porta swimming pools erected on a concrete foundation under the old Oaks near the confluence. The first brood stock of forty-five trout were taken from the Kraalstroom. Years later, from such a basic beginning, it was finally established as a commercial trout hatchery in 1981 and at its height of production the fully developed hatchery held in excess of three million trout. Return to contents
What is left of the foundations of the original hatchery
The hatchery that Hans built www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
1961 Upper Elands Plantings
IE UPPER ELANCSP AC
PEAT STAINED TRIBUTARY
,1, 1 t 1 11h , l \ \ 111.
ROCK SLABS ... .. BULLSEYE ; POOL
MOUNTAIN CLUB HUl CAMP
The first eggs were sourced from Seattle for two years initially and then from Clearwater in the Isle of Man. During an interview with David Susman on 14 July 2004, he indicated that the ova from the hatchery that Hans built were highly sought after and in great demand in England. This hatchery adjacent the Kraalstroom has since been shut down and operations have been shifted further uphill to a new hatchery that has been constructed as a self contained, closed reticulation system.
hatchery while they were busy on their training sorties. These impromptu stockings took place during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The vast majority of fish stocked in this manner were brown trout. The kind of aerial stocking that took place during this period was dictated by the severity of the terrain. In some instances, like during the 1961 airlift, the Alouette 111 helicopter would land on a flat area near to the river and the trout would be carried to the waters edge and gently released into the waters. In other instances, where the terrain was more difficult and the river not easily accessible by foot, a landing would be made close by. The flight engineer would then turn his seat round to face backwards and the crew would take off and then descend to a hover above the stream with the wheels almost touching the water. The trout would be poured out by the flight engineer from the polystyrene containers placed in the back of the helicopter and into the stream. This kind of flying required intense teamwork for the crew.
Hans indicated that the story of the airlifting of trout did not end in 1961 and that there were others. It was in some senses merely the end of a beginning. This startling revelation came as a complete surprise to me and was straight out of the blue. In a much lesser known history, over a period of years a relationship grew between Hans and the helicopter crews from the SAAF who were involved in training, mountain rescues and fire fighting in the vicinity of the Elandspad area and who were by then using the Alouette 111 helicopter for their operational purposes. The Alouette 111 helicopters first entered service in 1962 and were finally retired in 2007. It was fondly known by the crews who flew it, as the ‘Draadkar’ – wire car. Legend has it that if you are able to hover the Alouette, you can hover any other helicopter. There is an example on display along with a Westland Whirlwind, the UK build version of the Sikorsky S55 under licence, at the Air Force Base Ysterplaat museum. It was to the aircrews that Hans turned to ask for assistance with the stocking of the middle and upper reaches of the Elandspad river while they were in the area. The middle reaches extend from the Pothole Falls to Pofadder Pool below the MCSA hut and the upper reaches from Pofadder Pool to the grassy basin watershed adjacent to the Agtertafelberg. The middle reaches are in some places characterised by deep gorges and steep cliffs on both sides of the river, while the upper reaches are more open. His was a purely informal request for them to help stock some excess trout from the www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
A Kraalstroom Rainbow
Return to contents
In even harsher terrain and where the gorge was too narrow, steep-sided and a low hover not possible due to tight constraints, the trout were dropped in from a hover height of 150 feet into the river below. The height of the drop was a precautionary measure and the trout, six to a bag filled almost to the brim with water and tied at the top with a slip knot were dropped in from this height. In all the drops that were carried out over these years Hans indicated there was not one mortality. The bags would hit the water and burst open, spitting and squirting the trout out into the river to swim away. The aerial stocking was conducted from the beginning of the middle reaches of the Elandspad above the Barrier Falls and to the upper reaches adjacent to the Agtertafelberg.
As for the trout that were stocked during this period in the middle and upper reaches of the Elandspad above the Kraalstroom, both Hans Visser and David Susman indicated that the vast majority of them at most survived two years, gradually losing weight, becoming skinny as rakes and mere shadows of their former selves before they finally disappeared. The water was too peaty and insufficiently nutrient-rich to sustain them. The influence of the Kraalstroom tributary on the Elandspad is significant in terms of the sustainability of trout. In the 2004 interview with David Susman, who had a holiday home on the upper reaches of the Elandspad, he spoke of the Elandspad as comprising two completely different rivers in one system.
The Westland Whirlwind www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
Sikorsksy S55 near Agtertafelberg, 1961 In the middle and upper reaches, the water was peaty and acidic while below the clear running waters of the Kraalstroom tributary entering the Elandspad lightened the river and the acidity of the water was substantially reduced, making it more sustainable for trout. The difference between the two sections of the Elandspad when viewed in full colour from above is dramatic. This was highlighted during a helicopter flight over the river earlier this year. While the middle and upper reaches are dark, inky and black the section below the Kraalstroom runs clearer with a whispery golden hue.
tends to dispel this: Early experiments with aerial stocking of trout in the USA in the 1940’s and 1950’s came about as a result of the difficulties in accessing remote lakes by vehicle and the long distances required for the transport of trout for stocking. In addition, particularly following World War Two, there was a glut of aircraft which were cheap to acquire and there was more than enough crew available to fly them. Modest starts were made initially with floatplanes and trout loaded into milk cans, which were poured into the lakes after landing. This was however too time consuming and some state departments began to experiment with aerial stocking so that greater loads could be carried and more lakes stocked in a single sortie. Some of the early attempts were very rough and ready. A notable account is the early experimentation by the Department of Fish and Game in California.
Hans’ account of the aerial stocking of trout in the middle and upper reaches of the Elandspad in the ’80s and early ’90s, particularly in terms of the drops from a 150 foot hover altitude, seems at first to be unbelievable, but is it really? A short online literature review of aerial stocking techniques www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
In his article on ‘How to properly throw trout from an airplane’ on Gizmodo.com, Anders Halverson describes that the kind of flying required in the early days of aerial stocking resembled something out of the Dambuster’s movie of RAF 617 squadron legend: “Reese persuaded the department (of Fish and Game, California) to purchase a military C45 transport plane and also hired another pilot. A man named Carrol Faist who had flown forty missions on B-24 Liberator bombers in the Pacific. One July day in 1948, Raise and Faist set off for their first drop into an actual alpine lake. While one of them flew the plane…the other went into the back, loaded up a hopper, and peered through a four-inch-byfour-inch hole cut in the bottom of the plane. As soon as the lake was visible through the hole, the bombardier released the fish. The sudden reduction in weight caused the plane to bounce twenty feet higher, making it a tricky and dangerous job for the man in the back.
stocking in remote areas of Maine’. www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/ 2006/may/01/trout-raining-from-the-skies From such early beginnings these days the aerial stocking of trout has become a routine and standard practice in the USA for stocking lakes. For an account of current standard aerial stocking techniques see the article by Eric Pikhartz ‘The only way to get there: Aerial fish stocking in Utah’s mountain lakes. Pikhartz puts the optimum drop height for aerial stocking of trout at between 50 and 150 feet above ground level. The video that goes with this article can be viewed at www.wideopenspaces.com/aerial-fishstocking-Utahs-lakes-video. For a detailed account of current aerial stocking practices in terms of load capacity, number of trout per drop etc see http://www.utahfishfinder.com/ articles/flying-fish.html. In tighter confines helicopters are utilised and the trout are stocked by a collapsible bucket slung underneath the aircraft, or by a converted snorkel pipe which is used to pump the trout out from onboard tanks into the waters.
Nevertheless, the drop was a success.” The trout were dropped in at a height of 200 feet and at a speed of 200 mph. For a detailed context of the socio-economic factors that led to the experimentation with aerial stocking see his article on Gizmodo.com.
There were inevitably some misses in the aerial stocking of trout, particularly over tightly confined lakes. Fournier writes that one of the more memorable ones involved a group of fishermen who were making their way through a forest near the water’s edge of a lake, blissfully unaware of any stocking scheduled to take place, when they were suddenly hit by a deluge of trout crashing down on them from the tree tops, followed by a fine mist.
Paul J Fournier writes that the technique of aerial stocking was developed by Maine Service aircrews in the 1940s and ‘50s using an old Stinson Reliant which was fitted out with interior tanks and with chutes opening through the bottom of the fuselage. The fish were released by the pilot reaching back and pulling down hand levers. From these initial successes the techniques of aerial stocking were further refined as more modern aircraft, such as the Cessna 185s and the Piper Super Cubs, became available.
As they looked at the incredible sight of trout flopping and flapping around them on the forest floor they failed to make the connection between the sound of the aircraft passing low overhead and what had just befallen them. Later that day when they came across a crew stocking fish in a brook they approached them and blurted out: ‘You guys ain’t gonna believe this, but…’
The optimum speed and height for these drops to ensure successful stockings and minimise mortality rates was found to be 70 knots and at a height of between 50 to 70 feet above ground level. See Paul J. Fournier, 2006 ‘Trout raining from the skies: Pilot’s use 1950’s method of aerial fish
Return to contents
would not have the Elandspad system at all. This is amply demonstrated by the bowl-like erosion on the S.W. slopes of the Du Toitsberge, from which springs the Kraalstroom, the largest tributary of the Elandspad. Still further to the east (completing the third side of the box) lies the Stettynsberge, and in the general area of source the Elandspad shares a common watershed with the Holsloot. The Elandspad and the Kraalstroom are separated by a splendid ‘Arrow-head’ of sandstone which can be clearly seen in the panoramic photographs and accompanying this report.”
1. For a description of the Elandspad river system and its location; Alan Yates (Piscator, 1957: 84) writes the following: “The Elandspad is really the upper portion of the Smalblaar and it rises at the back of the Wemmershoek Tafelberg. Sheltered by the Wemmershoek and Klein Drakenstein mountain systems it is ‘protected from the immediate rainfall of the N.W. winter gales. It is, in fact, refreshed in winter only by the overcarry from the Wemmershoek and Franschoek ‘re-entrants’ and were it not for the second ‘step’ of the Du Toitsberge being in close proximity on the N.E. side we
Return to contents
South African law of fresh water Title fishes written by First Second Name Ian Cox name Photos: other
There is a great deal of confusion in the South African angling community regarding the law relating to fishes. Questions such as “do I need a licence” or “what are my rights when a river or dam demarcates the boundary” frequently crop up on social media. The short answer to these questions is that the rules differ depending on where you are, how you fish, what you are catching and whether the rules are enforced. The current rules, such as they are in urgent need of reform but the nature of that reform is a vexed one especially given government's tendency to use these environmental and fisheries laws to take control of resources that are presently privately owned.
to all people under Roman law does not make fish public property. Fish are regarded as wild animals in Roman law. Wild animals could be owned under Roman law, but only for so long as they fell under human control. One acquired control of a wild animal either by killing it and taking possession of its carcass or by capture. In the latter case, one’s ownership of the wild animal remained only for so long as it remained subject to your control. Ownership was lost if the animal escaped.
The origins of our law of fishes The origins of South African fish law are found in Roman law and in particular the law relating to things. This is the law that regulates our rights in property. These rights in turn depend on the nature of the thing and whether it is capable of ownership. Thus, the Romans distinguished between things that were capable of being owned and things which could never be owned. Things that could never be owned, or socalled public property, included the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea. This concept of public property extended to river banks of navigable rivers. Thus, the Institutes of Justinian stated that the public use of river banks is part of the law of nations just as the river itself and that the right of fishing in ports and rivers is common to all men.
South African common law is based on Roman Dutch law reinterpreted through the lens of the Constitution. Roman Dutch law is an amalgam of Dutch customary law and Roman law that was developed by Dutch jurists in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was replaced by the Napoleonic Civil Code in Holland in 1809 but lived on in the former Dutch colonies including South Africa.
The fact that the right to fish was common www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
conservation tax rather than as the grant of a right to fish inland waters.
This amalgamation of Dutch customary law and Roman law resulted in marine and fresh water fisheries being treated differently. This is because the Roman law public right to fish rivers clashed with Dutch customary law which held that the right to fish in rivers was part of the “regalia of the realm”. Thus, while the right to fish in the sea and from the sea shore was treated as a public right to be enjoyed by all, the right to fish in rivers was owned by the state and could be managed in without regard to the public in the sole prerogative the state Again this did not make fish state property. Wild fish remained unowned. The state owned the exclusive right to hunt wild fish.
This English law approach to fisheries management has influenced the development of South African common law related to fishes ever since. Thus, today our marine fisheries are managed on the basis that everyone has a right to the marine fishery, subject only to gover nment’s obligation to regulate that right to ensure sustainable and equitable use. Likewise, the right to our freshwater fishery reposes in the landowner again subject only to government’s obligation to regulate that right to ensure sustainable and equitable use. Fish themselves remain unowned for so long as they roam free in the wild.
Early South African law of fishes
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that pre-1994 South African fresh water fisheries laws all make it an offense to fish on property without the landowner’s consent. Likewise, it follows that government regulates these rights of use using environmental laws rather than laws that control the fishery or the right to fish.
South African fisheries law dates back to the arrival of Jan van Riebeek who in 1652 issued a placaten making it unlawful to catch fish without a permit. This applied to both freshwater and marine fish. Fishing in waters falling under the Dutch East India Company remained tightly and sometimes corruptly controlled until 1795 when the British first took control of Cape of Good Hope and promptly set aside all the fishing laws previously imposed by the Dutch.
You would be mistaken, however, in thinking that the situation on the ground is that simple. Fresh water fisheries were once a provincial competency that was addressed in terms of the environmental laws of the province or so called independent homelands. The Constitution, perhaps unwisely, differentiates between fisheries management, which is an exclusively national legislative competency, and environmental management which is shared between the national and provincial governments. The resultant confusion is magnified in that no distinction is made between the wild fishery and fish farming. This has hugely detrimental implications for aquaculture.
Ancient English fisheries law differed from the Dutch common law in that both sea and freshwater fisheries originally fell under the regalia of the State. However, the king’s right to exploit the fishery eroded over time. First the introduction of Roman Law in the 12th century made the right to fish the sea and seashore a public right. Later the reforms that started with Magna Carta transferred the right to fish freshwaters to the land owner. That remains the position to this day. The UK government levies a rod licence as a
Return to contents
In simple terms:
Fortunately, the complexities of that debate are beyond the scope of this article. I also ignore the additional complexities that are created when provincial governments have replaced the pre-1994 conservation laws with their own enactments often in contravention of the Constitution and national environmental laws. However, I wonâ€™t get into that debate. I will assume, as our law does, that these laws are lawful until their legality is successfully challenged in court.
It is an offence to fish on any land in South Africa without the per mission of the landowner. It is an offence to fish for any fresh water fish anywhere in South Africa without a licence outside the former Ciskei and KwaZulu-Natal without a licence, unless: In the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga: you are the landowner or a relative or an employee of the landowner.
The existing situation is complex enough with different rules applying in different provinces and even within provinces given the different rules that applied to the old â€œindependent homelandsâ€?.
In the Northern Cape: the waters being fished are surrounded by the land of a single landowner.
Return to contents
falls within the definition of a restricted activity in terms of the National Biodiversity Management Act, 2004 which means that one must obtain a permit from the Minister of Environmental Affairs before one can target largemouth yellowfish. Furthermore, some provinces have controversially adopted their own lists of threatened or protected species. While the legality of these enactments is open to considerable doubt, further permits may be required in terms of these provincial enactments as well even in respect of the same fish.
In the Northern Cape: the waters being fished are surrounded by the land of a single landowner. A licence is only required in the former Ciskei in respect of trout. A licence is only required within what was the former KwaZulu in respect of bass and trout. A licence is required for all fish species elsewhere in KwaZulu-Natal other than those parts of the Ingwavuma and Ubombo districts that are not protected areas. However, neither KZN nor the Eastern Cape governments enforce these laws.
That said, those targeting largemouth in the Northern Cape, may rest easy. The Northern Cape Nature Conservation Act does not require a permit if a listed fish species is caught and immediately released. The same is not true of the Western Cape.
A fishing licence and the permission of the landowner may not be enough to legally entitle one to fish. Some freshwater angling species, notably the largemouth yellowfish, are listed as threatened or protected species under the national TOPS Regulations. Fishing
Return to contents
You should be thoroughly confused by now. But it gets worse. Just try and obtain the necessary permits and licences. That is a bewildering subject in and of itself.
It is very likely that these measures will increasing erode the preferred rights landowners enjoy to the resource. Indeed, it is one of the stated goals set out in governments fresh water fisheries policy. A rethink of this old English rule is easy to justify, given the skewed racial distribution of privately-owned land in this country.
Which takes me back to the poor angler fishing the Vaal river where it separates the old Transvaal from the Free State. Many of the properties on the Transvaal side stop at the river bank, whereas those on the Free State side stop in the middle of the river as is normally the case. The little bit of the old Transvaal that lies between the river bank and middle of the river technically belongs to the state. The adjacent land owner cannot give you permission to fish on that land. And if your fly drifts onto the Free State side of the river you commit an offence. Hence the prevalence of angry shotgun toting Free Sate farmers on their side of the river.
However, state ownership of the resource is just as easily criticised. State control of the marine fisheries resource has seen that plunder of that resource in an unbridled exercise of cadre enrichment and rent seeking that has been going on for over 100 years. State control of the freshwater resource is unlikely to result in a different outcome. It is not surprising that most anglers ignore the law. The law such as it is as incomprehensible as it is unworkable. Worse still, it is not going to get better. This does not bode well for the management of South Africaâ€™s freshwater fishery or the value chains which this fishery supports.
This is a law in urgent need of reform. However, the opposite is in fact happening. National and Provincial environmental and fisheries authorities are presently engaged in an orgy of law making, much of it unlawful, all of which is designed to make the legal situation even more complex than it already
Return to contents
WOMEN IN WADERS On the vice with Denise Denise van Wyk
Who started your tying journey? That trout that took my malformed first attempt of a “White Death”. A few years later, I joined Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club and learned so much in a few months. Today I am proud to give back the knowledge I gained to new fly tyers at the club, running the fly tying event at the club twice a month. What inspires you to tie your own flies? Catching a fish, any fish, with my own tied and sometimes own designed flies. What forums do you tie for and why? I don’t tie for a specific forum but I do share some photos of my tied flies on Facebook from time to time. I also wrote a few Step by www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Steps for Fly Fishing newsletters and magazines. Is it okay to tie a fly using synthetic materials entirely, and if we do, at what point does a fly become a lure in your view? Over the years synthetic materials have become more popular than tying with natural materials. Lure makers also started moving towards using natural material like feathers and fibers. This created a very big “grey area” defining what is a lure and what is a fly. For instance, a Perdigon fly being covered in resin or a Squirmy Wormy being made with mostly rubber. Those are still flies but they employ the building methods of a lure. So, where does one draw the line? Return to contents
What is your favourite pattern? If I can be so privileged to have an opportunity like that, it would definitely be with Davie McPhail. He can make a very complicated fly look super easy to tie. I watch videos and read articles of a few fly tyers all over the world. They all have different methods for different fly types, depending on the application. One can never stop learning and there is always room for improvement.
I have many favourite patterns for different applications. But if I had to choose one, the good old fashioned PTN, Pheasant Tail Nymph, with a few tweaks of course. What is your favourite tying material? At this time, definitely CDC. It is one of the most versatile materials one can add to most flies.
Do you fish with your flies only or are there some invaders in your fly boxes?
What is the one tip that you have learnt that tyers of all skills should be employing?
Well, dare I say yes? There are some “invader” DDD‘s in one of my fly boxes because Michiel van Rooy, my fly fishing and fly tying buddy, ties a killer DDD! The first dry fly I caught a trout on and now I’m hooked on those DDD’s.
Less is more. Use less material on your flies to enhance so many things, like movement, sink rate, floating ability etc. If you could sit down and learn from any fly tyer in the world, who would it be and why?
Return to contents
Why should more women tie their own flies?
If we can get local communities (and particularly the women) of the waters we enjoy fishing, such as the Blyde River, Mooi River and Bushmanâ€™s River involved in fly tying, they could play an active part in contributing to the maintenance of an important tourist activity. This could contribute to the economy of their local community, and also keep this remarkable activity alive. If you are keen on learning more about this great way to add to your fly fishing experience, you are welcome to contact me and I will get you started on your fly tying journey.Â
I get super excited when women join the fly tying at the club. I wish more women, wives or girlfriends would join. I call fly tying time fly fishing away from the water. Our fly fishing women should not be intimidated by this element of fly fishing. If you learn the correct methods from the beginning, it can become a very enjoyable and relaxing hobby. And yes ladies, nothing beats the feeling of catching fish with your own tied flies. It can even become family time, tying flies for the next fly fishing outing if your significant other and kids also fly fish.
Klipspruit kids fly tying day www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
Stillwater nymph in progress www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
We had the pleasure of meeting and experiencing Denise Van Wyk’s generosity in Dullstroom last year. Your infectious smile and passion for fly fishing is inspiring. Keep inspiring and “TYING” the flag for us gals – WE JUST LOVE YOU!
Short Bio on Denise van Wyk I always wanted to do fly fishing. In my early twenties, I bought one of those fly fishing kits, the ones with a rod and reel, fly line and a small box of flies. I remember looking at the flies and thought to myself, one day I’m going to make my own flies. Years later, one of our suppliers invited me and a colleague to an event which included an intro to fly fishing. I was ecstatic! I was finally going to get introduced to something I was looking forward doing for such a long time. After that day, experiencing my first fly fishing moment, I booked a weekend fly fishing in Dullstroom and have since made it a yearly outing. After a few trips, the urge to tie my own flies grew more and more. One day, on my www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
way to Dullstroom, I stopped at a small fly fishing shop in Belfast to buy some flies. There was a secondhand vice set at the counter and the lady behind the counter showed me some fly tying kits one can buy. I bought a White Death and Cats Whiskers kit. Got to the venue and instead of unpacking my fly rod to hit the water, I unpacked the vice set and started tying a White Death. It was a very frustrating first tie. The feathers didn’t want to stay on top of the hook and the poor White Death ended up with a massive head with all the thread wraps. Nonetheless, the next day I caught a beautiful trout with my malformed fly. From that moment, I knew fly tying would become one of the things I wanted to master. 32
Return to contents
Heritage Flies Caribou Spider and the RAB. Peter Brigg Caribou Spider – First clipped deer hair stream pattern and Wolf Spider imitation.
variants that will be described in a future part of this series. Mackereth’s original had a body of clipped caribou reindeer hair and the parachute was constructed by tying a stripped quill into a loop which was held upright by a gallows tool. The hackle was wound laterally around this quill loop, the feather tip was then threaded through the loop and the quill was pulled to tighten the loop around the feather, leaving the tip of the feather pointing forward. Later commercial versions saw the hackle feather wound around a post of red chenille which made it easier to follow on the water and a hackle fibre tail was added. It floats like a cork, is easy to follow in the most boisterous of currents and has proved successful for half a century.
Originally from Yorkshire in England, Mark Mackereth was a member of the Cape Piscatorial Society during the 1960/70s. Using his beloved Pezon & Miche split cane rod with silk lines he was largely instrumental in introducing the up-stream, dead-drift, dry-fly technique on the fast, shallow and clear Cape mountain streams. Prior to his arrival in South Africa, the universal technique on rivers was to fish a sinking line across and down or downstream with a slow retrieve. He will best be remembered for the pattern that he first tied in the 1960s – The Caribou Spider. It is not well-known today and has been overtaken by a number of Wolf Spider www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
However, perhaps Mark Mackerethâ€™s greatest contribution was the encouragement he gave to a generation of young anglers. Amongst these were well-known flyfishers
Tony Biggs and Tom Sutcliffe who he mentored and who went on to significantly advance the art of fly fishing and fly tying in South Africa.
Return to contents
The RAB – the most famous dry fly on SA streams - April 1965.
attempts at fly tying. This entity, despite the collective efforts of numerous trout to annihilate it, continued to produce results. The more fractured and bedraggled its appearance became, the better it worked. So much for the argument for exact imitation!
It was in April 1965 that another classic South African pattern, the RAB was named. Considered locally to be the most famous dry fly on SA streams, the RAB was the product of one of Mark Mackereth’s protégés, Tony Biggs. In his own words, “The initial concept of the RAB, aside from being based upon the marrying of myriad observations of both water-borne and terrestrial life forms, was triggered by the remains of a much-used, heavily-battered and disintegrating bivisible dry fly. It was the sole survivor from a batch of my first serious
Eventually this “enigma” was retired and for some years it enjoyed pride of place on the top left pocket flap of my fishing vest. A more sorry excuse for a fly would be difficult to imagine with its unravelling red thread and disintegrating hackles. These straggly ends provided the initial thoughts on the inclusion of “legs” in the tying of the RAB.”
Return to contents
Tony added these random thoughts about his fly – * In essence the RAB is an impressionistic form of tying. * Seldom are any two flies tied alike in appearance, even when identical materials are used. * I attempt to use natural material, when available, in tying these flies i.e. silk, feathers and hair. * My preferred materials are: red silk thread (Pearsalls), spade hackles – the front hackle (a sighter) is white/cream. The rear brown/ginger hackle should have barbules that are 25-50% shorter than those on the front hackle – apart from the colour variation, the darker and smaller feather at the back supports and buttresses the longer front hackle and also the feather fibre “legs” which are wrapped through the rear hackle and progressively splayed. * The number of hackle turns varies from one for the white front feather to 2/3 for the darker rear hackle and this depends on the type of water being fished – heavier flows demand more hackle turns to increase buoyancy. * A variety of materials have been used for the “legs” including the glossy and iridescent primary wing feather on an Egyptian Goose, pheasant tail, Blue Crane and squirrel tail, but they should be as light and airy as possible. * The average length of these legs is 2.5 cm but on bigger hooks I have used them as long as 6-8 cm. * The addition of wings is another consideration. Ideally they should be blue dun feathers about an inch long and tied in the horizontal “spent” position. There is more of the story of the RAB in “South African Fishing Flies” on pages 41 to 45.
Original RAB tied by Tony Biggs www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
Up close and personal with Masters World Champion Richard Gorlei Andrew Mather
What got you into flyfishing?
a share in Mbona in the Karkloof and spent lots of time up there with the kids and flyfished quite a bit. As to advice on how to get the wife involved ….. for us it was our son. Matt was keen from an early age and decided at 12 or 13 years of age after seeing an article on Youth Nationals in Africa’s Original Flyfishing Magazine that he wanted to fish competition and become a Protea.
I was a fisherman from an early age due to my father’s influence and growing up on the coast. I was pretty competent with my KP scarborough reel at a young age and catching shad on a sardine drift-bait was what I really enjoyed. Also used to spend a lot of time kite-fishing so I guess I was always looking for new methods and challenges.
When did you take up competitive flyfishing? Rumours are rife that you won the Masters with a Blob fly…is that true?
Moved onto ski-boat fishing in high school and spent a lot of time out at sea. Also got to head up to the Kamberg for weekends away with a schoolmate whose father was a keen fly fisherman and after my second trip and getting some decent fish was hooked and started gathering together some tackle and have not stopped flyfishing (and gathering tackle) since then.
I started competitive fishing when Matt started – mainly to support him but also because it is not so much fun to sit and watch others fish. Yeah, I used a Blob. A Blob is a competition angler’s go-to fly a lot of the time but it doesn’t always catch fish and it is traditionally a Stillwater fly.In the Championships there were 4 sectors – 3 lake and 1 river. I fished the river sector in the last session and on the 3 stillwater sectors I did not catch a single fish on a Blob – although a blob was one of my team of flies from time to time and my boat partners did catch on blobs.
You come from a highly competent flyfishing family. How did you get your spouse into flyfishing, I’m asking on behalf of hundreds of flyfishing widows? As a fisherman – fly, rock and surf and skiboat – you spend a lot of time away from home and wife and there was more than one occasion where I was told in no uncertain terms it was “Her or the boat” Needless to say the boat was sadly sold and the funds used to re-do the kitchen! I still had to go fishing tho and realized that flyfishing was a little more inclusive to young kids and wife than donsering daga’s at night on the Griqua and coming home smelling of Captains and sardine. We started going to the midlands for weekends away – and the first time Linda put fly to water she managed to outfish me and the rest of the anglers at the venue. I must just add that conditions were not good – hot as hell, dirty water etc and it was my rod, my fly, tied on by me blah-blah-excuse.
I managed to win all of my Stillwater sectors by a very small margin over the other competitors so there was a bit of luck on my side. Catching a fish in the last 2 minutes to take the first place from USA, and getting some bigger fish than Spain when we finished on the same number of fish. I was fishing with a lot confidence and that always helps and seems to swing the odds in your favour when luck is being dished up. One thing that I did work out on the stillwaters was that when you found the fish, changing flies often was the key. I got 5 fish on 5 different flies on one sector so there was no real secret fly that won me the session.
Anyway the wife took to flyfishing from then on and we always tried to fit in fishing together whenever possible. We bought into www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
The SA guys worked as a team in our prep and during the event and one of the tactics we had was to target the stocked fish in the river. The last session on a river sector is always a tough one as the fish have been pressured – so the idea was to try to find fish in spots that would not have been fished too much and secondly to offer the stockies that had been caught something different.
from the rain the night before and it was important to get the fly down as fast as possible – Blobs don’t sink too quick - so out with the scissors and we gave a couple of blobs from MC’s Stillwater box a No. 1 ‘short back and sides’. So it was not really a blob but rather an orange egg-pattern size fly with a 3.8mm tungsten bead. I fished 2 of these 70cm apart using the top fly as a subsurface indicator. Of the 7 fish in the session 4 of them were on the No.1 Blob, 1 on a red squirmy, 2 on olive CDC nymph and 1 on a size 16 brown booby with orange eyes. So the No.1Blob did the business yes, but it was not pretty delicate fishing at all ! You do what you have to do in competition fishing and it worked out for me this time round.
My thinking was to cover as much water as possible in the first hour to see if I could find fish. I had set up 4 rods 2 nymphing, 1 dryfly & 1 streamer. On the one nymphing rod I had a squirmy and a blob. The squirmy was working from the outset but I was getting short takes and they were nipping off the tail – so out with the “No.1 Blob”. It was named by teammate MC and myself just before the session started. The river was running quite strong
On the board
Return to contents
What do you think the benefits of competitive flyfishing are for someone thinking about starting?
There does however need to be a balance between how you approach fishing on a social level vs. a competitive level or the enjoyment of fishing. People are often reluctant to try competitive fishing because they believe they don’t have what it takes or they are not good enough. Like any sport there are lots of skills levels in the group of guys you compete against and so even if you are not at the top you are still learning and will always be improving the more you compete.
Competition fishing does speed up the mastering of techniques learning of new tactics – as a competitive angler you are always looking for that little extra that will give you an edge or slight advantage over those in your group you are fishing against so you are always thinking, planning, scheming not only while you are fishing but also in your preparation for an event. You are also constantly learning from your opposition and team mates and all of this makes you a more accomplished angler. Competitive fishing is also a great leveller – one day you are on top form and the next day you cannot get a fish that’s how it goes and most guys accept this but always in the back of one’s mind is the question – What could I have done different or better ?
What are some of the bucket list destination you would still like to fish? Too many on the list and not enough money in the bank to tick them off – I would like to get at least a Tarpon, Atlantic Salmon and Dorado before the cash or the years run out. At which specific lodge or destination – doesn’t really matter.
Return to contents
Linda and Richard Gorlei
Return to contents
What a team...here on the Orange River together
Queenstown Fly Fishing Club Andrew van Wyk The Queenstown Fly Fishing Club, or QFFC for short, is situated in the Eastern Cape between the Snowberg and the Winterberg Mountains. The QFFC has been a part of the Queenstown community since 1977, making the club forty-two years old this year. It was originally called the Queenstown Trout Angling Club, but it was later renamed. The original club was founded by some wellknown and respected anglers of the time who included Chairman Fred Croney, Lionel Emms, Harold Swingburn, Charles Ricter, George White and D.Baillie.
about to all of their fishing buds. The Queenstown Fly Fishing Club oversees and manages twelve dams. These are dotted around the region with Queenstown as the central point. Distances from town to the waters vary between 10km and 140km. Part of the clubâ€™s responsibilities and annual activities include the stocking of trout into our various dams. Fingerlings, that are only a few days old, are sourced locally from trout breeder Martin Davies and are introduced by the hundreds into existing dams or into new locations that are mainly on land owned by farmers. The trout grow quickly and are very healthy in this area due to the abundance of natural food found in our crystal-clear waters. Our dams are fed from annual snow melt running directly into the valleys where they are situated or by the equally crystal-clear rivers that are found throughout the area.
The club and its waters have been gaining in popularity and interest among avid trout anglers as we have several dams under our management that are home to monster size rainbow and brown trout - many of which have been successfully caught in the area over the years. We have all read about or heard of the 10lbs plus trout that a few lucky anglers have captured in our area and the photos alone prove that this is no fishermanâ€™s tale.
Other activities that the QFFC committee members partake in include the management and monitoring of each individual water. This is done as frequently as every second week. During the inspection water levels, temperature, water condition and annual weed growth are surveyed and recorded. The committee also does the important task of wetting a line to assure themselves first-hand that our prized trout are in good condition and healthy all year round.
In the last few years the QFFC has grown in leaps and bounds. New members have streamed in from both the local community and from all parts of the country. QFFC members have one mutual aim in mind and that is to seek out and fish some of the best stillwater locations in South Africa as they hunt for that elusive trophy trout to brag
Return to contents
The Eastern Cape offers the perfect climate for trout to thrive in with mild summers and cold winters. The area is home to some of the most scenic and unspoilt mountainous landscapes where visitors will find nestled into the valleys what could be some of the best stillwater fishing opportunities on offer in South Africa. These locations are the perfect place for one to hide away from the world for a few days, to recharge one’s batteries and to get into some fierce battles with some big trout the kind of fish that legends are made of.
spectacular winter-wonderland scenery. The other two dams are located on Johan Wege’s farm and are named Bottom Dam and Quarry Dam. Heading south out of Dordrecht the next water is Snowden, situated in the Winterberg area. Although there are another three dams here you will find Sowden Trophy Dam situated between two mountain peaks and only accessible with a 4x4 vehicle. To get to this dam one has to trek through the valley and up over the mountain peak before you find the picture perfect stillwater. It is one of those locations that just add to the adventure of a day out. The other club waters on the property are the Big House Dam and the Small Hidden Dam. The latter is situated at the bottom of the Sowden valley and very few know its actual location.
The oldest and first stillwater that the club took under management was Oakleigh Dam situated just outside Queenstown. It is part of Aloe Grove Guest Farm and historically many of the club’s annual fishing gatherings have been held here. Next on the list is Bird River situated near Penhoek Pass and is located on Johan Wege and Ed Clark’s Farms. The water consists of four dams set in a valley with a small mountain range running the length of the valley, connecting each dam and serving as a picture perfect background. Situated on Ed Clark’s farm, Top Dam and Middle Dam offer a tranquil environment and receive snowfall each year which makes for
Just 15km from Sowden the club has access to Table Hill Dam which is situated on Carl Miles’ Farm. This is one of our new, virgin dams and was stocked only two years ago. It has recently been opened to members and early catch reports look very promising with the trout in this water not being all that shy of artificial flies.
Return to contents
Heading north away from Dordrecht and approximately 45km in the Southern Drakensberg region is where you will find Pinegrove Dam on the farm of Peter and Jane Cloete. Just a stone’s throw away is the Welgewonde Dam located on Sir George Smith and his son Hugh Smith’s farm. Welgewonde Dam is nestled high in the mountains and offers visitors staying in the stone cottage beside the dam the most spectacular sunrises. Waking up just before 5AM, looking out of the cottage window and admiring the sunrise one can’t help but notice the sheer number of trout that are
feeding off the surface of the dam. This is a truly magical place for any serious trout angler to visit. The QFFC Club has also been rather busy in the last few months stocking two virgin dams in Molteno area, situated high in the Stormberg Mountains. These are located some 95km inland of Queenstown in the direction of the Free State. The two new still water venues comprise Modderbult Dam and Brown Trout Dam. Both waters were stocked last November and will not be open to QFFC members for several months.
Return to contents
Where the Monsters live Andrew van Wyk Andrew Van Wyk has lived in the Queenstown area for most of his life and has been an avid angler since a young child. His trout fishing journey started in 2008 and from that first trip Andrew knew that trout fishing would be a part of his life until he no longer had the strength to lift his fly rod. This is his story and insight into what you can expect from this beautiful and unspoilt trophy trout region of the Eastern Cape. It’s a little past four in the morning and I’m standing on the front veranda drinking the last few sips of my coffee. It’s pitch dark and icy-cold outside as it is the middle of July and winter is in full swing. We have had some snowfall reported in the Snowberg and Winterberg Mountains area over the past two evenings and there is a definite chill in the air. I can feel my nose burning with each icy breath I inhale. I take my phone out my pocket and flip open the weather app. It says that it’s -5C outside and I am once again reminded just how cold this part of the country gets.
half-Sasquatch to anyone that could see me now.
The icy cold is not enough to send me back under the warm covers of my bed - why would I do that, when all I have been thinking about for the past few days is my fishing trip? I plan to spend the day hunting trout at Birds River on Johan Wege and Ed Clark’s Farms where I will be able to fish Top Dam, Middle Dam, Bottom Dam and Quarry Dam.
As I get closer to Birds River I take the turnoff and leave the tarred road behind me as I continue on a dirt road for a few kilometres. Knowing that I’m close to my final destination I can feel the excitement building in anticipation and I hope that today’s fishing trip will be one to remember.
I head out of Queenstown, leaving the town and the lights behind me as I head in a north-westerly direction on a short journey of roughly 45 minutes to reach my final destination at Birds River. On route I head through parts the old Transkei, looking out of the side windows of my now warm and cosy car I can see off in the distance a single light on in someone’s home in one of the rural villages; I guess I’m not the only person awake at this time of the morning.
On arrival at Ed Clark’s farm where Top and Middle Dam are situated the day is just barely starting to break and the sun’s rays are struggling to get over the mountain range that are the backdrop to the two dams. I pull up to the dam and park. I kill the engine, get out and am greeted by eery silence and fresh mountain air. It is a feeling that I can never get tired of; just me, the dam and whatever might be lurking beneath the water’s surface ready to take my fly.
There is no way I will let some last minute cold snap hold me back! My fly fishing gear has already been meticulously prepped and my rods and kick boat are already packed in the back of my 4x4. With my coffee finished I lock up and walk towards my car. I’m dressed in my warmest winter jacket, a woolly beanie covering my head and ears and my gloves and scarf to keep me warm. I can’t help but think I must look like some half-man, www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
I walk down the raised bank of the dam wall towards the waters edge. In the dim early morning light I can make out that the cold snap has completely iced the shallower water along the edge. While standing around and surveying the dam and landscape for a few minutes it starts getting www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
lighter and I look around and can now see that the small mountain range that the runs down the entire length of the valley is covered in snow. So is the hilltop to the left that creates the small valley that Top Dam is situated in. Itâ€™s cold, but the view is spectacular. Return to contents
With light starting to fill the valley I get back to the car and set up. I pull out a pair of 12ft, 6weight rods and set one up with a sinking fly line and the other an intermediate fly line. Both get a two meter long 20lbs mono leader - thereâ€™s no point in tying on fancy tapered www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
leaders here as the fish are large and I will be presenting mainly woolly buggers and minnow patterns. I decide that I will begin the morning fishing the bank, starting on the side where the dam wall is and working my way to the left side of the dam. Return to contents
From there, later in the morning, I will switch over to the kick boat and fish between the two big weed beds looking for trout that are patrolling this zone.
For the next hour or so I work my way from the dam wall to the left side of the dam. It has a long weed bed about fifteen meters from the water’s edge and stretching along the length of the bank. Just in front of the weed bed there is deep water, an ideal spot to present a fly and to coax an eager trout onto my hook. I work up the bank and change out the fly pattern to a black woolly bugger. As I’m tying on the fly I watch the crystal clear deep water section and notice a flash of silver. “I see you”, I think to myself and eagerly cast towards the spot where I just saw the trout.
All geared-up and set-up I head to the dam wall and make the first of many casts for the day. First cast goes out and my fingers are so cold that I lose control and the line falls down a few meters in front of me - “that’s not going to work”, I say to myself. So I gather up my line and start the second cast, release the line and nothing happens. Dumbstruck I look at my fly rod in dismay only to notice that the fly line is frozen to the guides. Well, that’s trout fishing in the middle of winter for you.
The cast is perfect and on the sinking line my fly quickly disappears under the water. I do a count of three seconds to get the line to sink a little further and then start a figure-ofeight retrieve. On the fourth retrieve I get the tell-tale pull on the end of the line and lift my rod to set the hook - fish on! With only a fifteen meter or so open stretch of water in front of me I have to put pressure on the fish or risk it running into the weeds. I quickly get the fish under control and after it takes one last run up the bank, skirting the weed bed with me following closely behind, I manage to land a nice 3.2kg rainbow cock, my first for the day. If I went home now I would be more than happy. I get the hook out, get the fish back into the water and safely release it.
I decide to take a step back to evaluate the situation. There’s no point in giving up now as it’s feeding time for the trout and I can see that further out into the middle of the dam a few trout are feeding off the surface as they look for their morning meal. I press on and continue working the dam wall and as I’m going along the sun climbs over the peak of the hills that form the valley. I can feel its welcoming warmth and looking over the dam mist is rising off the water. This is a truly magical sight to see and it gives me further motivation to get into a fish as I know they are lurking just below the water surface on their morning patrol.
Return to contents
I continue to work my way up the lefthand bank but don’t manage to get another bite. While probing the bank I keep seeing fish breaking the surface on the other side of the weed bank towards the middle of the dam so I decide to walk back to the car and get into the water in the kick boat. I paddle out into the middle of the dam in my kick boat and cast to the back of the weed bank. A few casts into this I decide that it’s time to change the fly pattern again. While selecting a pattern an emerald-green woolly bugger catches my attention and I wonder to myself whether some flies are tied to attract fish or the poor angler. None the less, I tie on the
horizontally forward and an almighty tug on the other end of the line tells me I’ve got a fish on. In the split seconds while this is happening I notice that line is peeling of my reel faster than a F14 Tomcat launching from an aircraft carrier and that, to my horror, the beast on the end of my line is making a beeline away from the weeds that I was casting to and is heading off to the right side of the lake towards an even bigger weed bank.
bugger knowing that a pattern mimicking a small bait fish or tadpole are part of the bigger trout’s daily diet and as a result my confidence is sky-high as I start my cast - a simple three strokes off my right side and I launch my line with as much precision as I can muster.
and nail to dislodge the hook and to set itself free. I catch myself saying out loud “don’t lose it, don’t lose it”, so intense is the moment. By now I have reluctantly brought my right hand up under the spool and am starting to apply as much pressure as I dare to in an effort to get the run under control and to get the fish turned away from the weed bank that it is gunning for. As if summoned, some fifty-odd meters way from me the fish breaks the surface in a spectacular jump, launching its full body out of the water the way that a tiger fish would do and I get to see it for the first time - the sheer size of the monster on the other end of my line!
While these thoughts are going through my mind I can feel the violent head shakes as whatever I have hooked into is fighting tooth
I watch my line and fly sail through the crisp winter air towards the edge of the weed bank that I am probing. My Intermediate fly line folds out perfectly and lands the woolly bugger down onto the water with a silent plop. I see the fly line just break the surface and start to sink when I notice the line stretch www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
As the fish re-enters the water my heart is pounding in my chest and I instinctively lean back into my rod with as much strength as I dare and putting a proper bend in my 6weight rod I let the fish know I am on the other end of the line and that I’m fighting back. With line tension at its maximum my thoughts go for a second to my leader and the knot holding the fly. I feel another violent head shake and my focus shifts back to the battle and I lean back and pull harder than before and all of a sudden I see the line break left and away from the weed bank.
and the end of my fly line. I get almost on top of the fish that has now given up going for the weeds and is swimming in a circle that gets smaller and smaller with ever crank of my reel. The fish breaks the surface and I instantly make out it’s a female rainbow trout - and she is big! As I grab my net and aim to drop her in I realise the net is too small. So its Plan B, and I grab the leader with my right hand, drop my rod in my lap and with my left hand I grab the fish by mouth and haul it between my legs and half onto my lap.
Thinking to myself that it’s now or never I lean forwards and start cranking in line. I gain about two meters of line and pull back hard one more time and the fish turns almost a full 180 degrees, heading back towards the first weed bank. Needless to say this was the fight of a lifetime and I was enjoying what felt like an eternity of bullying the fish closer and closer as I kicked my legs frantically in the water to make up the ground between me
“I got you...Woo Hoo!” I yell at the top of my lungs. There between my legs I had the trout of a lifetime, a 74cm, 6.5kg rainbow trout - a Monster Trout.
Return to contents
Operating a Remote Wilderness lodge Luke A Saffarek
Return to contents
Each summer I find myself standing in shindeep water in the middle of nowhere watching a guest’s dry fly floating down an unnamed stream toward an unnamed lake with an unknown amount of 20-plus inch rainbow trout... A Cessna 185 on floats sits behind me ‘heeled’ up against the shore where the stream meets the lake. We are literally hundreds of kilometres away from anything. The only life around is a bald eagle perched atop a spruce tree, rainbow trout drowning hatching mayflies and our bush pilot, binoculars in hand, surveying nearby mountains for grizzly bears and other wildlife. Over the last number of years I’ve been head guide for Spatsizi Wilderness Vacations – a truly remote fly-in/fly-out fly fishing lodge with some of the best dry-fly fishing in the world. The lodge is located in northern British Columbia, Canada, approximately one thousand kilometres north of Vancouver. Access is solely by float plane, or a 3 and a half day horse ride from the nearest road 120km away. I’d recommend the plane. As you can imagine, the logistics of any fly-
in lodge need to be spot on. Everything is flown into the lodge - food, fuel, cooking gas, cleaning supplies, spare parts, etc., and flying isn’t cheap. Each plane needs to be full to make it work, and with the nearest shop 300km to the south you better not forget the toilet paper. The logistics of operating a true wilderness lodge in a northern climate go far beyond getting things to the lodge. Masses of effort are put into simply maintaining the lodge itself. At the end of each season the lodge is winterised and left. Winterising means draining water lines, removing boats from lakes, storing boat motors, storing all food products, boarding up windows, pulling water pumps, removing gutters, sealing chimneys, animal proofing cabins, reinforcing roofs to hold the snow load, and a whole lot more. All of this is done in hopes that when we return eight months later things will still be as we left them. If things are not put away, treated, or stored properly a long winter of temperatures down to minus 40 Celsius degrees, wolverine and hungry bears waking up from hibernation can cause for a lot of headaches when you return in the spring.
It has happened where a wolverine spent the winter in some poor soul’s cabin and when they returned in the spring it was easier to burn the cabin down and build a new one than to clean up after the beast. After hearing that story, finding a bit of weasel poop in a cabin doesn’t seem so bad. During the long winter months a small crew flies into the lodge on ski-planes for about four days. Their job is simple, but critical - get firewood for the coming season. With the lakes frozen and snow covering the bush, snowmobiles and large toboggans make accessing and moving firewood easy. What would be a near-impossible job in the summer is made simple in the winter. Once the firewood crew leave the wait is on for the ice to thaw so we can get in and prepare for the season. Ten days is typically the amount of time we have once we arrive in the spring to get everything ready for our guests. Re-connecting water lines and pumps, re-launching boats, checking boat motors, splitting and stacking small mountains of firewood, cleaning cabins, re-hanging gutters, painting, digging new long-drop pits and any other maintenance and improvements that need to be made.
Over and above the the outdoor work there is also the not-so-small task of getting the lodge ready for guests by cleaning cabins, prepping the kitchen and making everything presentable. Being as remote as we are means you can’t just call a plumber or electrician. All the work is done by myself, my three guides and our housekeeper. In this environment you are forced to learn and adapt to the situation before you. Over the years I have been forced to learn about solar electric systems, boat motors, plumbing, septic systems, water systems, generators and more. I’ve learned how to solder burst pipes, move a 200kg generator up a hill with just two people, install a wood stove, build a proper horse fence and so much more. A few years ago it took three days just getting the dock back to the lodge after the melting ice flow left it high and dry on the shore some four kilometres down the lake. I personally have spent two full days just finding and fixing leaks in water lines that froze during the winter. Once myself and the lodge owner spent three and a half days sorting out a blocked septic system. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Make like a bear - do it in the woods
Return to contents
If everything survived the -40 temperatures and the wildlife have left the cabins alone it just means ten days of hard work. If things haven’t gone so well it means ten long days of stressful work with looming pressure to have everything ready for the guests when they arrive. Even then, there are many things that can and do happen during the season – leaky roofs, gas stoves packing up, and who knows what else. Yet, we adapt because this is simply our way of life here in remote northern British Columbia.
… As I watch the gaping mouth of a Spatsizi rainbow inhale my guests’ dry fly and his line go taught, I forget about the ridiculous amount of effort put in to bring us to this moment. As our faces light up, in a way only a dry fly eating fish can cause them to, the only thing on my mind is ‘Dude, that is a nice fish!’ Contact Luke through:
www.spatsizi.com or www.tigerflyoutfitters.com
It takes a sharp hook, experience and skill. Global ir,..,est1ng Is not only about kncwing the ·,vaters, but also ha .. Ing the skills a'ld patience t c reap t'le rewards, iust 11,e fl �· f 1sh1ng That's why at Sasf1., \/i/ealth we are passionate abcut fishing fer the best cpportunit1es, so you can enioy the finer t'l1'lgs l'l Ide.
A f t e r all, w e o f f e r you one asset class - t h e w o r l d .
sasfin.com I 0860 SASFIN >•Y.-. 't';.,..-t►
,:,----v·"'•' . .
• .., •
. _ , : R : r l l l' A 9 u1r.4u ..-....-...-..-·l: t.1,P1••·t)1•,..,:.,, S.at.t.1
" ' J • . • h : • - ,•-••l>.i
. a : , , p - a, , ; 1.,,t,,
.. t,._., l
.,, !'' ·"°'·
. l ) t .-...,...-'h••
h ,u.- en.:.·t. ; f -:t...- .. ◄ "
.. , . , - ,,_,_,,..;. , . , ,,.._ , , . , . 7 ► . - r t , , , d
1 11r .,. t.-: • •
.. , .... , . . . ., • • • --.:"'
, _ , , , j ti:-n.._,...._
,,r••••'•••1tl•lll'1•1 , , '. 1 , . _ 1r+_."'·• 41 d.llf.11
. . . .,.
, , > : . . , , ,. • • u ' t .. , .. , .. ; ....... : ; . , n a , ' - -At. , : I H r . ,.. - . , . . ,. , H . L U f i p
''"''!' . . ..
• • 1 , . : . i.l
; t M 4 • 1 d S , . a l r , J , , u . . : , a l
"t . . . . _ . . . , . . . . . . ' " ' •• t • ..,
• - . • T o p . . , ,. w • " , . . ,H
t"•Y , _ . _ .. , . . , · " ' • . ,t,:
.. : . . t u r , . . . .. ;.
beyond a bank
Spatsizi Fly Fishing Luke A Saffarek
Ray & Reg Collingwood first brought fly fishing to the Spatsizi’s unexplored waters over 50 years ago. Since then, they have introduced hundreds of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to the beauty and bounty of this unique area and have earned Spatsizi a place amongst the great trout fishing destinations of the world. A quality fly fishing experience lies at the heart of their family’s philosophy. They provide exceptional service in a remote setting for those who wish to explore, fish and enjoy enchanting country. They are more than just a fishing trip: they take pride in attention to detail, personalised service, and a complete wilderness angling adventure. They are the only outfitter licensed to guide and fly anglers in the wild and pristine Spatsizi
region and have exclusive access to the most beautiful, prolific, and unspoiled trout fishing in the world, including the legendary Firesteel River. With over thirty rivers, lakes and streams to choose from, a week of flyout fishing merely scratches the surface of the resource at hand. They will customise your trip and fly-out destinations to suit your fishing preference, water conditions and hatch activity. The streams are loaded with the feisty, gorgeously-marked rainbow trout, easily enticed to take a dry fly. They also have free rising arctic grayling, trophy sized bull trout and lake trout. The season runs from the end of June to late August and every week affords excellent angling.
Return to contents
Return to contents
An aerial view of the lodge
The author with a good rainbow www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
Middelpunt, perhaps Mpumalanga's best kept secret Hennie Viljoen
Middelpunt in winter.
Middelpunt, Photo: Tyrone Pearce Title perhaps Mpumalanga's best kept written by secret First Second Name Photos: other name
Middelpunt was established as a trout fishing venue back in 1973. Since then, its angling waters have expanded to seven dams, including a trophy dam, comprising some 20 hectares of water which is regularly stocked with both rainbows and browns. There is more than enough space for both bank and float tubing on the Middelpunt waters. All the dams are within easy walking distance of the accommodation.
offering perhaps the best fly-fishing in the Dullstroom area, Middelpunt has built a reputation for being a great place for the whole family to relax, either for a weekend or a longer stretch of time. The TFFC offers ample accommodation with its eightbedroom farmhouse, a rondawel and a selfcatering chalet, all kitted out with necessities such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, microwave and great braai facilities. For the individual or family who wish to visit on a regular basis none of this costs a fortune.
Middelpunt is the home waters for the Transvaal Fly Fishers Club (TFFC). Beyond
Photo: Tyrone Pearce
Lovely Dam 3
What attracts most of the TFFC members to Middelpunt are its peaceful surroundings amid 840 hectares of pristine veld and wetlands. Middelpunt is the centre piece of the award winning Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment, which was declared a protected area in April 2017 and totals some 14,000 hectares. The northern and more remote part of the Middelpunt farm includes the wetland breeding site of the critically www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
endangered white winged flufftail, an area which is now managed by BirdLife SA. BirdLife South Africa, Middelpunt Wetland Trust and the BirdLife partner in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, are raising the profile of the â€˜Critically Endangeredâ€™ White-winged Flufftail and are mapping out a conservation plan for the species. 71
Return to contents
Beyond great fly fishing, Middelpunt has plenty to offer those that enjoy bird watching, walking, mountain biking and wildflowers. A nearby farm offers horse riding and Dullstroom is some 20 minutes away where you can visit the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Centre or shop and dine in the village. And beyond Dullstroom is the Veloren Valei provincial reserve, a Ramsar site and one of the wildflower and birding hot spots of the country.
as the quality of the fish and the fishing itself is really top class. Dam 1 & 3 are some of the best trout stillwaters that I have fished in Mpumalanga as they both offer size, depth, weed growth and various other forms of structure which are all key elements to ensure an adequate environment for trout to flourish in.
For more information on Middelpunt or the TFFC, visit www.tffc.co.za
Middelpunt is without a doubt my favourite Mpumalanga stillwater trout fly fishing venue
Youngsters fishing on Dam 7
Return to contents
The Tiger Clouser Terry Babich
It's winter, that time of the year whenÂ we can get our hands on some of the best freshwater fishing available to us, or perhaps even that we can possibly imagine.Â At this time of year the majority of guys that you ask will tell you that the most effective colours are sunset tones, black and red, and maybe even grey and black or purple. Tan is a colour seldom mentioned. This is probably because the guys in the know just don't want to share - you know what fishermen are like. (Just kidding!) Actually, tan has been coming through strong and with the imitation of bait fish being my biggest consideration I have put together this little baby. I sent a bunch off to the Zambezi and the results have been very positive indeed! Hook: Thread: Eyes: Under-Body: Wing:
1/0 Gamakatsu B10s Stinger Semperfli Nano Silk 18/0 and UTC 140, red 6.4mm Dumbbell Saltwater flash Steve Farrar Flash Blend - white, tan and black
Return to contents
The Tiger Clouser Step-By-Step Attach the thread and tie on the dumbbell. Leave enough space to fasten down three types of body material between the eye and dumbbell.
Dress the shank with thread and tie in a piece of saltwater flash.
Wrap it forward to the dumbell and tie off. This is just for a bit of reflection of light like that off fish scales. Generously cover with UV resin of choice and put under UV lamp. This is done to create hard body that will hold up to those ferocious tiger teeth and add durability to your fly.
Take a small amount of white body material about twice the length of the hook and trap it between the hook eye and the dumbbell. Be careful not to allow it to wrap or spin around the hook as this will throw you fly off balance. Just remember that bait fish have a slender fish-like profile. You can experiment with length of body material, but I prefer to keep it short so as not to have too many fish biting it short and nibbling on the tail.
Return to contents
Add the tan as per the white, keeping it the same length. The fly should invert because of the weight of the dumbbells so you are actually tying an upside down fish. The white is the belly and the tan the lateral side, so I go for a bit more than than white. The white was tied in closest to the hook eye and I tie each alternative material in a little closer to the dumbbell as I go.
Tie in the black in the same manner as the other two colors. Using a bit less material as the i will be the small dark top side of the fish that protects its visibility from prey above.
The last tying sequence is to finish it off with red or orange or a colour of choice. For bait fish I use tan but for tiger imitation I might use orange or red. The choice is really up to you. Red looks nice and is very visible.
Now I just apply UV on the head and a bit on the top of the dumbbell for extra strength.
"The ability of this fly to swing in the current or to sink is directly related to the mount of material that you use. So think about the conditions and methods you want to fish when tying this fly." www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
If you like to get creative and want your fly to look a bit more like a bait fish you can add barring with a permanent marker.Â It looks cool!
For fun add some gills.
Return to contents
Kokstad fly fishing club Flyfishing Festival 2019 The Kokstad Fly Fishing Club hosted itâ€™s 21st Flyfishing Festival over the weekend of 3 to 5 May 2019.
to be very productive. Wayne Miller took the lead with a beautiful 66cm Rainbow caught out of East Hebron. Photos and
Wayne Miller's winning fish
Eighty flyfisher men (and woman) descended onto Kokstad from all over the country. We were treated to a full house, with the festival being fully sold out more than a month earlier. Heavy late summer rains ensured all our dams were full to maximum. This heavy late unseasonal rain did discolor some of the dams, that would make fishing some of the water challenging. The format of the festival is catch and release. Flyfishermen were required to photograph their fish caught in a gutter against a ruler and then safely return it to the water. Trout over 50cm in length could qualify for individual honors.
witty remarks were shared of catches and more on Whatsapp, spurring on those less fortunate to keep trying. As the day progressed the weather started to change and the second session during Saturday afternoon tested the flyfishermenâ€™s endurance with temperatures dropping and cold mist settling in on the higher situated dams. Some unfortunate local flyfisherman, that will remain unnamed for his own wellbeing, blamed his wife for removing his warm jacket from his vehicle. He found out the hard way that you always take a jacket or two if you plan to fish EG. On the positive side he did manage to sleep in warm bed that night.
The festivities started Friday evening at the Kokstad Club with registration, the briefing, and the allocation of dams. This was followed with a braai giving both locals and visitors the opportunity to sample some of the finest meat and hospitality East Griqualand can offer. Stories were told around the fires over a nice cold one while Jamie Renton entertained the folk with song and guitar play. As evening moved to the wee hours of the morning, some brave souls joined in song, or at least something resembling song, breaking the crisp autumn night air with the odd cat scurrying for cover.
Evening saw flyfishermen, some colder than others, converging on the club to submit their catch returns. Jamie with guitar in hand, soothed the body and soul around the bonfires. Forgotten were the hardships of the day, some good food, fellowship, and lubrication for the creaky
Early Saturday morning vehicles carrying kick boats of all sizes and shapes could be seen heading out to the various dams to be fished. The morning session turned out www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
revitalizing the participating flyfishermen. A lovely bright Sunday morning saw near perfect conditions for flyfishing. This proved to be the most productive session of the
weekend with a total of 113 trout caught. Sunday afternoon scores were tallied and the final results were in.
Freddie Marshall Smith
Greg MacCrimmon In total 325 trout were caught over the three sessions. It must be noted that some flyfishermen focused more on the festivities than the required paperwork. The quality of the fishing was good with 83 trout caught 50cm or longer. A number of participants managing to get some personal bests catches.
place for individuals. With three ladies competing this year the laurels went to Chantel Joubert. The junior prize went to Joshua Sweetnam. The team prize for the “longest team bag” caught went to “The Stockies” with a total combined length of 238 cm for their top 4 trout caught over the weekend. The team prize for the most trout caught went to “Team Evergreen” managing to land 39 trout over the weekend.
Wayne Miller held on to his early Saturday lead and just managed to pip Jacques Woodstock and Freddie Marshall-Smith in a tight contest for first prize with a very nice 66cm trout. Freddie and Jacques both landed trout of 65cm in length. Freddie entered as a Junior and won overall third www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
There was again a number of lighter moments during prize giving that resulted in some healthy banter. 78
Return to contents
Stevie Hollow Some teams did battle to catch some fish over the weekend, however with the emphasis on the “Festival” part, team “Kwa Stop” were the proud recipients of 20 kgs of uncooked rice… since they were not cooking on the water, we could send them home knowing they will be cooking a bit later. A duckling took a likening to Stevie Hollow and adopted him on the spot. Only time will tell if this is a well hidden duck whisperer skill or whether he merely looks like mother goose. Grant Holl were lucky enough to end with a serious leak on his kick boat. But like any good captain would do, he decided he is here to fish and, if required , will go down with his boat. In anticipation he left all deemed valuable on the bank, including the camera needed to photograph the fish. Even though he did sign the indemnity form, we felt it was prudent to issue him with some bright orange water wings to add to his fly fishing gear for future events. Trevor “Toenkie” Shuttleworth donated the 79 www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
one meter (and a bit more) wooden spoon he so meticulously carved over the last year from the 30 cm long plank supplied as part of his “do-it-yourself-wooden-spoon-kit” for his “efforts” during 2018. Hannes Strydom became the first recipient of the Toenkies’ “Floating” Wooden Spoon for all his endeavors over the weekend. Being a good sport, he took it all in his stride, albeit a short stride… Hannes has the natural ability to turn any shallow end to a deep end. From loosing gear , fish and his only Lunch Bar, he kept everyone else in his team on their toes. To Hannes, Toenkie and the rest of the crew… A big thank you for making this a memorable festival. We would like to thank all our farmers that made their dams available to the Kokstad Fly Fishing Club, the Kokstad Club for the use of the venue, and all our sponsors. Without their generosity and support this event will not be possible. Return to contents
All the much needed funds generated during this festival is used to stock trout in our club waters throughout the East Griqualand area. Tight lines, until next year. Marius Jonker Chairman: Kokstad Fly Fishing Club
Kwa Stop cooking...off the water www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Grant Holl ... safety first 80
The stockies... Longest bag team Return to contents
The Kokstad Fly Fishing Club is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year, being originally established in 1989. This all started with a itch a few years earlier in the early eighties when Trevor “Toenkie” Shuttleworth, being in dire need of some local trout on the fly, approached some of our local farmers to stock some dams in and around Kokstad. With the waters secured, he and his partners in crime, Neil Fleming and Graham “Judge” Ross, started to privately stock trout into these waters. Within a season or two the dams started to produce some good fishing… Here be trout! Word started to spread and some local members, seeing the success of Toenkie’s hard work, approached him with the idea of forming a fully fledged fly fishing club. In 1989 the club was founded by Dr John Cornell, Dr Vernon Brown, Peter Powell , and Trevor “Toenkie” Shuttleworth. In the early days the club was run on an by invite only basis. Some got the nod , some did not. Being a small town this small stumbling block was easily sidestepped when a second group of friends, Trevor Hollow and Gavin Holmes, started another club, the Kokstad Piscatorial Society. Aptly named after one of our neighbouring clubs , the Transkei Piscatorial Society. I do however have it from a bona fide source that they did deliberately misspell “piscatorial” to emphasize the social part of the club. They in turn secured some water and with a growing number of members started stocking waters with trout. For a few years these two organizations ran parallel to each other, raising funds, stocking trout and its members being able to flyfish new waters in East Griqualand. In the late nineties these two clubs, through mutual agreement decided to combine their waters and efforts to the benefit of all its members. Fly fishing in East Griqualand being the ultimate winner. Some of those very early dams still forming the backbone of our club’s waters up to today. It is 30 years later, and the same itch … the one where members and visitors alike, can enjoy fly fishing for the old quarry in our beautiful EG country side… continue to inspire the younger generation to continue to build on what was started many moons ago. Here be trout... big trout!
Thanks to our Sponsors Academy Brushware – Afrivet – ARB - Build-It - Cachet International - Curragh Lake Daniel Kruger - Dave Raw Plumbing - DIY Depot - Dorning Motors - Drakensberg Motors EG Accounting - EG Medical & Technical Services - Farmers Agri-care - Farmers Livestock Agents - Feral Inflatables Grain SA - Halls Retail Heathmans Used Spares Hibiscus Gutters – Hughindon Indi Oil - Jandi Trading Jedidiah Farming - Johnstones Kokstad - Kingfisher Durban Kokstad Copiers - Kokstad Nissan - Kruisfontein Farming L&G Tools - Lake St Bernard Mahindra Kokstad - Matatiele Fly Fishing Club – Matus - Miller Transport - Milpro Meats Mount Fifty - Nolangeni Hotel Office National – Powafix Prestige Security - PSP Traders Rolyats Spar Group - Ruwag Tools - Savvas Fruit and Veg Shiptech Petroleum – Signwise South Western Brokers Southern Natal Lubricants Spargs Kokstad - Stop Discount Furnishers - Summerhill Farming - Supa Quick Kokstad Sutherland Seedlings - The Bin Man - The EG Meat Supply - The Woodshoppe - Thekwini Toyota – Tolsen – Twizza - Usher Tyre
2019 Senior A South African Fly Fishing Championship Shaun Dickson & Gillies McDavid "We have coffee in the morning, some brews different to others, and put our wading boots on one foot at a time." Itâ€™s six in the mor ning, the outside temperature is six degrees and there are fifty-five anglers congregating in the parking area and road of the only street in Pilgrims Rest, enjoying a cup or two of fine coffee. Weâ€™re all waiting to get the go ahead from the competition organiser for us to collect our marshals and head off to our beats for
the first session of the 2019 Senior A South African Fly-Fishing championships. There are strong opinions about competitive flyfishing, yet only a small percentage of flyfishers have ever even witnessed a competition. Just like you and I we love to fly fish.
Return to contents
We have coffee in the morning, some brews different to others and put our wading boots on one foot at a time. The only real difference is that we are after numbers of fish, keep accurate records of catches and tally the results at the end of the day.
start of the competition to fish the available practice waters on the Blyde River. Many anglers had not seen, let alone fished, the river. It had so many varied water conditions from tight runs where you get the feeling your 6â€™6â€? rod is too long to open runs glimmering with resident chiselmouths and open deep laminar water where wading and even swimming abilities can be put to the test.
Preparation takes place throughout the year whether it be at local league events or just a social day with mates on the water. As time approaches the start of the event the anticipation is almost unbearable. The local materials stores grew accustomed to seeing us coming through their doors with regular monotony to replenish supplies as flies were being churned out at a commercial rate from hours spent at the vice whilst burning the midnight oil. It is not uncommon for teams to visit the area well in advance to get an idea of the river conditions and the general environment.
The KZN team arrived three days before the start of the event to settle into their modest accommodation and to start the more serious and final preparation work for the competition. The Vine Restaurant, Johnnies Pub or the Royal Hotel (which had the feeling that the miners that roamed the hills many moons ago had just checked out) is where most congregated in the evenings to talk tactics or just about the ones that got away. From there we were self-sequestered in our chalet armed with enough bottles of fermented grape or hops to last a further six weeks.
Most teams descended on the peaceful town of Pilgrims Rest a few days before the www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
Return to contents
With the intense final preparations being thirsty work, there was really only enough fine fermented nectar to get us through the upcoming nights of fly-tying, leader preparations, reel and line cleaning and anything else that we thought might give us the edge not only over our fellow competitors but over the wily and ever elusive chiselmouth (labeobarbus nelspruitensis). Chisels formed part of the trio of fish which were scoring species in this particular event, the others being yellowfish and rainbow trout. We had to be on our game though as the minimum size for the competition was 120mm.
for final prep, good luck rituals and of course, to tie a few more flies. Mornings were crisp and found anglers gathering in Downtown Pilgrims dressed as if they were off to do battle. With 40 kilometres of river available some anglers had an early morning drive while others had that extra cup of coffee before heading off to their beats. The Mpumalanga Flyfishing Association, chaired by Lyle Smith, did a fantastic job with the help of the local community to make beats accessible for anglers and marshals alike. The marshals were a group of very enthusiastic members of the local community who were not only very well versed in how to handle and measure the fish landed, but who also always met us with wide smiles and superb eagerness to perform their duties over the five three-hour sessions that laid ahead. Morning sessions, which ran from 08:30 to 11:30, ended with everyone meeting at The Vine for what I can only say was some of the best lunch options around (even if you are veganâ˜ş).
The opening day was finally upon us and the captains participated in a closed meeting to determine the groups into which anglers were to be allocated, the sector and beat draws for the event along with any lastminute rule modifications. The opening formalities were held at the Pilgrims Rest Golf Club with a fantastic dinner (laid on by The Vine Restaurant) and an obligatory drink or two. Anglers did not spend too much time mingling (attempting to lure a few last-minute secrets or patterns from the unsuspecting large-mouth) but headed off to their abodes
Body language can tell the tale of laughter, tears and like several folk, including
Return to contents
the team Gold, followed by KwaZulu-Natal in silver position and Central Gauteng with a bronze. The winner in the individual competition was Brett van Rensberg (Central Gauteng), Matthew Rich (Western Province) took silver and Shaun Dickson (KwaZulu-Natal) took bronze. Various techniques were used during the duration of the competition with most anglers chosing to employ Euro-nymphing technique - a remarkably effective way of catching fish. Although it is a relatively simple method to use it does require a tremendous amount of focus but this fortunately generally results in more fish being caught and landed. Competitive anglers are just ordinary anglers that keep accurate records of everything they catch and compare notes at the end of the day. In a competition of this nature, the rules and regulations are governed by FIPS-Mouche (Fédération Internationale de Peche Sportive Mouche) or in English the The International Sport Flyfishing Federation. The rules and regulations as defined by FIPS-Mouche are aimed at making competitive angling as fair and equal as possible as well as making sure that flyfishing is as eco-friendly and conservational-orientated as possible.
dry out kit from the unintentional swim before it all kicked off for the afternoon session. Afternoon sessions commenced at 14:30 and ended at 17:30, allowing us to enjoy some spectacular dry fly fishing in the shadows of the surrounding mountains in the late afternoon. As quickly as it started it was over, just like that evening rise on your favourite water, with the camaraderie and banter continuing right up until the final hooter. The hours between the end of the final session and the closing ceremony are typically taken up by making sure all your kit is dry before packing it away and more importantly working out final positions with the last counts of fish still being added to final scores.
Competitive anglers can be a source of valuable information, so contact your local Flyfishing Association and get involved whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out. As a final word, if you are in the Pilgrims Rest area stop in for a bite to eat or stay the weekend for a spot of fishing. Ask Johnny at The Vine restaurant to make you one of their legendary meals or even pop around to his pub where their “Soup of the Day” is always Tequila. From there you can take a trip up town en route to the Royal Hotel taking in the relics reflecting a time gone by where picks, shovels and mine wagons were the order of the day.What a beautiful part of the world it is and it will definitely always be on my list for a revisit.
The closing function was once again held at the chilly Pilgrims Rest Golf Club with anglers sharing their experiences from the past few days around the fire. As with any competition there has to be an end result: Final Results saw Western Province taking www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
THE MAGIC MIDGE PUPA Mike Backhouse Over the years much has been written about Chironomidae (midges) as one of the essential aquatic insects preyed upon by trout. This is particularly true of trout found in the stillwaters of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, both provinces widely accepted as the home of South African stillwater fly fishing. The purpose of this article is to share with the reader my unique experience (or to put it more precisely, what I like to think is unique about the tactics and techniques that I employ) when fishing midge pupa on stillwaters. I will also share how the discovery of this particular form of aquatic life, and the imitation thereof, literately catapulted my ability to catch sizeable numbers of trout on a consistent and sustainable basis for the last two decades. The skills that I have acquired along this voyage of discovery are in a state of constant evolution. What I mean by this is simply that I am not done with honing my tactics and techniques for using the midge. I will be the first to admit that there is even more to be learnt about this form of fly fishing, although there is already a significant body of literature available on the topic. Now to the topic of this article, fishing the magic midge pupa. One day many, many years ago, and fairly soon after being introduced to the sport of flyfishing by an excolleague of mine, he, a friend of his and I found ourselves flyfishing the waters of the Kamberg Nature Reserve. It was a still, warm and balmy autumn day with falling barometric pressure, that I was repeatedly told by the colleague’s friend was contributing to a difficult day’s fishing. It was almost midday and neither of us had seen so much as rise, let alone a fish. As it was a weekend there were a number of other disgruntled anglers walking around the four www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
stocked dams complaining profusely that the hatchery manager needed to be stocking more fish. I cut my teeth as a flyfisher at Kamberg and had much success in those early years fishing the Woolly Worm, Mrs Simpson, Walkers Nymph and my old favourite, the Peacock Woolly Bugger with a long black marabou tail. On the day in question I had used every single fly in my limited fly box without success. In those days I only owned a floating line so it was a question of using various leader lengths and split shot to get the fly down into the feeding zone. It was around midday and while taking a break that I noticed the colleague’s friend fishing in Eland Dam from a gap between two stands of tall reeds into a deeper section of water. He was using an intermediate line with a sinking leader to which was attached a two foot length of tippet. The fly at the end of his leader had a polystyrene bead tied in for buoyancy. The fly was tied on a scud hook, and I later identified it as a Suspender Midge, as described in the “The South African Fly Fishing Handbook (Dean Riphagen 1998 pg. 97–99). The tying of the fly is attributed to Neil Patterson but the popularisation thereof is accredited to another well know and highly respected British angler by the name of John Goddard. What piqued my interest as to how it was being fished on that particular day was the fact that it was being fished in a way contrary, and somewhat illogically, to how I would have thought that it should be fished. Having a polystyrene bead as part of its make-up, I concluded that it should be fished as an emerging fly (hanging in the water like a question mark while the polystyrene bead kept it glued to the surface) on a long leader attached to a floating line. Return to contents
During the course of the afternoon I watched as the colleagueâ€™s friend caught and released five decent sized fish by simply casting the fly, letting the line sink to the bottom of the dam, and then retrieving it by employing short, fast strips of an inch or two without a pause. The fly would rapidly ascend through the water column, and on occasion, would be taken quite savagely by a trout, resulting in a hook-up. There were instances where the takes, and the strike to set the hook that followed, would result in the angler and fish parting company with one another. I often reflect on that day thinking that if you fish with a seven weight fast action rod, and you strike like a puff adder, you deserve all the break-offs that come your way.
observations of that afternoon was that this kind of fishing required the use of a lighter weight rod in the 3# or 4# class with a limber tip but a stiff butt section in order to manoeuvre the hooked fish away from weed beds while fighting it. During subsequent visits to Kamberg, and now having become the proud owner of my first intermediate fly line, I began experimenting with the technique of fishing the Suspender Midge deep in the water column, and sometimes right on the bottom, with lots of frustrating hang-ups on weed, and limited results. I then decided that there must be a better way to get results with this fly. I started to read up on the midge pupa as well as experimenting with various kinds of retrieve.
The first lesson gleaned from my
Return to contents
morning, particularly when fishing from a float tube, is to search for evidence that a hatch has taken place during the course of the previous night. The tell-tale sign that the hatch has taken place is the presence of midge pupa exoskeletons (shucks) floating on the water’s surface. The more of these I see the more inclined I become to start the day with the Goddard’s Midge pattern at the end of my leader. Even if I don’t find much in the way of evidence to suggest that a hatch has recently occurred I will still rely on the midge provided that we are moving into autumn, or during winter (where the midge becomes a major source of food for the trout) as well as into the latter part of spring.
A "bloodworm" I was quite intrigued by the life cycle of this particular aquatic insect and one of the most interesting things to be learned about the midge is that it is largely found in mud in its larval stage of life, unlike most other aquatic insects which are predominately found in weed beds. The other, and more interesting thing that I learned, is that most forms of aquatic life are to be found within the first two metres of the water column. This has largely to do with their dependence on weed beds to sustain their life. They forage in the weeds and the weeds require both oxygen and sunlight to grow. The midge larva has the capacity to live deep in the water column where there are lower levels of oxygen and they have the ability to store up oxygen, thereby enabling them to live in tunnels in the mud. They can also survive in low light conditions. As fly fishers, we know the larval stage, commonly known as the blood worm, although not all midge larva are red in colour.
A further interesting fact about the pupating and emerging midge is that various stages of the process are taking place all at once. While midge are pupating right on the bottom in the mud, others are twitching their way to the surface and still others still are in the process of forcing their way through the water’s surface tension to emerge as adults. What I find exciting about this process is that I can use one fly pattern in different ways, employing a variety of retrieve techniques and I can enjoy good catch results throughout. British anglers, in particular, employ teams of buzzers fished using a floating line and a long leader. Their buzzers vary in colour and size and are located at different points along the leader to ensure that all depths in the water column are adequately covered. You may ask how it is possible for me to use the Goddard Midges at various depths on an intermediate fly line, and my response would be that you would need to work out where the fish are predominately feeding in the water column. Sometimes the fish provide you with the answer straight-off by taking the fly consistently while you are waiting for it to sink to the bottom of the dam. In that case I start my retrieve when the fly is a foot or two below the surface. Bear in mind that I am fishing with an intermediate line that sinks at 1.5” to 2” a second depending on the density of the water. The colder the water the denser it is and the slower your line will sink.
A point arrives in their life cycle whereupon the midge pupate, leave their tunnels in the mud and twitch their way to the water’s surface and emerge as the terrestrial/adult midge fly. This stage in the life cycle is commonly imitated by the Griffiths Gnat. The pupation and ascension to the surface is believed to take place in the evening and also in the early (pre-dawn) hours of the morning. The first thing I do before I start fishing in the www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
On particularly cold mornings you may encounter difficulty in getting your fly line to break through the surface tension.
you will do well if you are able to concentrate on the retrieve for long periods of time. If not this is not your game as lapses in concentration will mean that you can miss a lot of fish that you should have hooked during the course of your day.
The retrieve is a very slow and systematic hand-twist. Takes while descending through the water column are generally firm and confident, while takes on the bottom are less so. When the fly is being retrieved while working the mud and any weed takes are for the most part very gentle, and those of you who are familiar with drifting for grunter from a boat while fishing a mud prawn or ginger shrimp will know how gently the fish mouths the bait - the same can be said for the trout taking the midge off the bottom. The other reason for the very slow retrieve while fishing in and around the bottom is that the Goddard’s Midge, with its polystyrene bead, remains suspended about a foot off the bottom and any tufts of weed that may be encountered as you move to more shallow depths are unlikely to interfere with the fly.
As I mentioned earlier, it is helpful to have a fly rod with a limber tip as you will better latch on to any take, which you will need to lift the rod into firmly – no striking like a puff adder, please! That is the worst thing in my book, striking too hard, breaking off, and leaving the poor fish with the displeasure of having to dislodge your fly, something which is largely unnecessary. Some years ago I had the pleasure of staying at Giant’s Cup Wilderness Reserve for two weeks during July. A friend and I were employed as hired hands during the course of our stay and we completed a number of tasks during this time. We worked each day until about 14h00, and following a quick lunch, we would launch our float tubes and fish through the afternoon until it was dark.
It has been my experience that fishing this pattern, tied using peacock hurl, has worked particularly well when trout were feeding on snails. I think that it is the slow drifting movement together with the colour, and perhaps even the shape of the fly, that has it mistakenly taken for a snail. After all, in our dams,trout are largely eclectic feeders.
Most mornings were perfectly still and the water was so clean that you could see several metres down past your fins – not conducive to productive fishing. The afternoons were different in that the wind would put a ripple on the water which would result in the fish becoming more active. Between 16h30 and 17h30, and just before complete darkness fell, we would have a spell of fishing that we called “happy hour”. The wind would cease to blow, the water would become like the silver on a mirror and the fish would go literally ballistic.
One of the most interesting things that I have discovered about this fly while trailing it along submerged in a bath tub full of water is that as the water breaks around the polystyrene bead it causing the fly to have a shiver-like movement. Think of a minnow facing into a current and you will understand what I mean. To get the fly to move in this way only requires the mildest of hand-twists. When the fishing is slow I gently wiggle the rod from side-to-side as I am employing the figure-of-eight hand-twist retrieve. More often than not this extra action will result in a positive fish take / hook-up.
The change from the quietness of the morning in which you would have thought that there was not a fish to be found in the dam to the latter part of the afternoon in which the dam became totally transformed with life – it was a wonder to behold! Fish would be bulging to surface-hatching midge and other aquatic insects like caddis and mayfly, but I believe that it was the midge that was responsible for most of the action. I was catching and releasing as many as a
If you employ a fast stripping or even a twitching retrieve you are more likely to end up retrieving weed more than anything else. So, patience is the name of the game and www.saflyfishingmag.co.za
Return to contents
dozen fish or more during happy hour. I would present the fly within close proximity of a feeding fish, and that was not difficult with so many rising fish, employ a brisk hand twist retrieve as the fly entered the water and within seconds I would be tight into a fish, most of which were around the 1 kg mark and fought like hell! It was like fishing in a shad run and the name of the game was to get the fish to the tube, twitching the hook from its mouth without touching it and getting the fly back on the water ready for the next hook-up. We had great fun virtually every evening for two weeks. I then understood the importance of a rod with a soft tip but with backbone into the butt to horse the fish away from the weed, particularly the bigger ones, and get them to hand quickly. Incidentally, this would be the only time that I would speed up my retrieve. The other little trick that you would do well to use is to lift the rod and high stick the fly as it gets close to the end of the retrieve. You will be pleasantly surprised as to how many fish
are following the fly and are just waiting for the upward movement before aggressively taking it. They latch on to it surprisingly hard as they think that it is getting away from them. The approach to fishing this particular midge pupa pattern requires a predominately slow figure-of-eight hand-twist retrieve, full flex fly rods with a stiff butt, a slow sinking line and tapered 9â€™ leaders in the 2X and 3X categories. Extending the leader with perhaps a cast of 3X or 4X tippet is optional. One thing it ensures is that as you clip off and tie on new flies it will prevent your leader from becoming gradually shorter. The other thing about extending the leader with tippet is that the fly, given the polystyrene bead, is prone to twisting the leader when casting and this results in the occasional wind knot. To rectify the matter, simply cut back on the tippet and reattach the fly, or at a point tie on a fresh piece of tippet. If you find that you are snagging the weed, extending the tippet to get the fly to move above it can be helpful.
Mating Midges So, in conclusion, the midge and the use thereof, as described in the article, is not everyone’s cup of tea. But as my late dad would have said, “If you don’t try it, you won’t know”!
For more information about the tying of the Goddard Midge you can refer to The South African Fly Fishing Handbook (Dean Riphagen 1998 pg. 97 – 99).
Photo Credits - in order of appearance: Midge pupa - Frank Fox - http://www.mikro-foto.de, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/ index.php?curid=20240520 Adult Midge - Janet Graham Adult Midge - entomart Mating Midges - Orangeaurochs via Flikr
Suspender Midge Gerhardt Goosen Here is a very simplified step-by-step for the fly mentioned in "The Magic Midge Pupa" Hook - Mouche 8463 in sizes ranging from a 10 to a 20 Thread - Danville 140, colour to match abdomen Breathing Filament for Head - Polystyrene ball / bead with white pantyhose stretched over it Breathing Fillament for Abdomen - White polypropylene or similar Rib - Flashabou Abdomen & Thorax - Natural fur for dubbing in black, dark brown or olive
Return to contents
Dress the hook and return the thread to a point behind the eye leaving enough room to tie down the ball. Cut a small section of pantyhose and stretch this tightly over a polystyrene ball. Tie the loose ends of the pantyhose that you're holding in your fingers neatly to the top of the shank. Trim excess and form a neat taper. Tie in the polypropylene deep into the bend of the hook so that the pattern has a definae curve to it. These imitate abdominal breathing filaments of the natural. The diameter of the polypropylene should be roughly equal to the diameter of the hook wire.
Tie in the flashabou rib and spin a noodle of dubbing onto the thread.
Dub the abdomen leaving space for the thorax. Wind on the rib and tie it off.
Dub the thorax using the same material as for the abdomen. Tie off the thread behind the ball. Brush out the thorax dubbing slightly.
Return to contents
Venue Review Fancy Free Terence Babich
This will be the first of hopefully many inserts to come. My wife and I will be reviewing different venues and reporting back on what they are like. Some will just be for fishability and some both accomodation and fishability. Men don't always get to fish alone and besides Fathers and Mothers Day coming once a year, family days are everyday.
more cold expected as the cold front moved in. Despite the cold front there were some good fish about. I caught most on black wooly buggers while my brother caught on GRHE's. Some of my other friends found success with anything orange. What I particularly like about this venue is that it has it's own hatchery. This means that they are able to constantly stock their dams as required.
So a short while ago I got to visit this venue located between Dullstroom and Belfast. It's a little off the beaten track done a sandy road by nothing my wifes BMW couldn't handle. The venue is situated on a small stream and has nine dams of varing size. Some of them are bigg enough to float tube on and large enought to not feel on top of the nearest flyfisherman. The dams are also all accessible by vehicle.
Vaughn Coombes, the host, is very enthusiastic about everything fishing and this certianly added an extra dimension to out stay there. Vaughn took us on a tour of the hatchery which I found very interesting. The venue is very popular and booking in advance would be a good idea.
Accomodation in my opinion is fantastic and more than adequate for fishers and in fact the family. The house we stayed in had a really good fireplace and my wife made sure that she used all 10 bags of wood to keep us warm! A very welcome feeling when it is a bit chilly and with
Contact Vaughn Coombes on 082 901 8961 email@example.com If you want your venue reviewed contact me on 083 867 6423 or on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to contents
FOSAF NEWS Tribute to Bill Mincher
th Bill Mincher passed away on the 17 of June this year after a long illness. Fly fishers throughout the country and especially those of the FOSAF organisation will remember Bill Mincher for his tremendous achievements to promote their favourite pastime. He served as chairman of FOSAF for many years particularly in its formative years. The first of his memorable achievements was the series of books he had published which gave tremendous impetus to flyfishing. Initially there were the Nedbank Guides to Flyfishing comprising 5 volumes followed by 5 editions of the Favoured Flies series and finally the FOSAF Guide. There are very few anglers in SA who do not have at least one or but more likely many more of these titles on their shelves. Another of Billâ€™s passions was the Yellowfish Working Group which was formed in the late nineteen hundreds to conserve and protect our many indigenous fishes and especially the flagship species, the yellowfish. These fishes are
under threat due to the badly polluted state of our waterways. And from a national point of view it is vital that interest groups like this one draws attention to the state of our rivers as these fishes are an important indicator species of river health. Without Billâ€™s leadership of this group in the early years this interest group would never have reached that status it has amongst anglers, conservationists, scientists and the general public. Bill was one of those rare individuals who was always prepared to volunteer for a deserving cause. After the Yellowfish Working Group he devoted his energies to orchids and the wild orchid society benefited from his skills. He was a supreme organiser who seemed to get the most out of people. Although he was a hard driver when it came to one of his projects he was always the perfect gentleman, the epitome of tact and good manners. It was a great privilege for all of us at FOSAF to know him.
Return to contents
FOSAF Members Winner kindly donated by
This issue's winner is Peter Avery, membership number EA0005, of Pietermaritzburg. His prize is a R750 voucher to be used against Snowbee branded tackle, kindly donated by Jan Korrubel of The Kingfisher in Pietermaritzburg.
along with fly vests and packs, and a range of luggage.
The Kingfisher's range of Snowbee tackle includes fly rods, reels, lines and Dacron backing, as well as an extended range of accessories comprising monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided leaders, tippet, fly boxes, zingers and tools, nets, fishing gloves and glasses, and a fly tying vice. Also in the Snowbee range are float tubes, waders, wading boots for river and flats,
Pietermaritzburg - 105 Victoria Road; Tel. 033 345 4224
Snowbee fly tackle is available from the following Kingfisher stores:
Kloof - Shop No.1, 6 Village Road; Tel. 031 764 1488 Durban - 53 Hunter Street; Tel. 031 368 3903
Return to contents