|Date of Report: Tuesday, 7th November 2017|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
A Mooi brown caught on the streamer
In October, areas of the Dargle recorded their heaviest rainfall in a single week ever, for this particular month. Up in the Inzinga catchment, one farmer measured 194mm in about 4 days. The Inzinga river however, like the Umgeni, has dropped off in its level quite steeply since that 10th/15th October event. The Mooi and Bushmans catchments had falls nearer 50mm over the same period, and those rivers are not flowing quite as strongly, and they too are dropping fast….in fact a bit faster. Then venture north and south of us here in the midlands, and you find heat and drought in worrying measure. In all cases, I get a sense that the replenishment of the water table since the 2015/6 drought still has to happen, and what none of the areas have had yet, is a long wet season. Instead we seem to be limping between rationed rainfall events, even if they are heavy rainfall events.
In October I had a pleasant trek up the Lotheni, which saw just a few hard-earned Browns. A couple of 18inch plus Browns from the Umgeni, a day on the Bushmans just before the rains came, chasing skittish fish in gin clear water, and more recently a morning on the Mooi in which the fish aggressively chased a small streamer in slightly dirty water.
That last trip was an interesting one. The dirty water prompted me to try a #8 Mienkie, since I was having no joy on a dry or nymph. I was chucking the thing upstream on a 3 weight, which I think goes to show what an amateur I am at the whole steamer thing. Predictably the fish were taking no interest while the fly was in dead drift. When it drew opposite me in the stream and I started to work it back with a combination of rod tip movement and retrieve, that is when the fish started to smack it. But here’s the interesting part: For love or money, I could not hook these fish. I struck fast, slow, and everything in between, all without result. But what did happen, is that the same fish would go for the fly again on subsequent presentations. That is not normal! And then a fish went for the fly so close to my feet, that I got to see what was happening. The fish were rushing up to the fly, turning sideways and bashing it to drown it. Then they would turn full circle and go looking for the fly that they had “stunned” with a view to eating it. But of course it wasn’t there, because, fast or slow, I had struck it away. In the end I had time for just two fish, and my time was up and I needed to leave.
The stillwaters have continued to fish well generally. The rain we have had has kept the ‘non irrigation dams’ nice and full, but those that are pumped, especially in the Kamberg remain low, some critically so. This difference between a dam used for irrigation, and one not, seems particularly apparent this year. So many dams that were built back in the eighties, seemingly for the hell of it, are now being used to earn a farming living, and are arguably lost to us as reliable fishing venues as a result. Those that are not pumped, and which are still reliable fishing venues remain a delight to be treasured. The ones I have fished in the last month have produced plenty of fish from one to three pounds. These fish, almost without exception have regurgitated minnows when landed. Now there’s a hot tip if ever there was one!